Mileage Plus in 2012

UA Insider announced next year’s changes to Mileage Plus on FlyerTalk, on MilePoint, and United’s website.

To first cover the issues… The rumored speculation about revenue requirements never came (To quote UA Insider, “Heard any good rumors lately?”).

  • For Gold (50k) and Platinum (75k) elites, the redeemable mileage bonus is being cut to 50% and 75% respectively.
  • “Complimentary premier upgrades” now work anywhere that there is non-premium, “domestic” equipment with the exception of transpacific, HNL-GUM, and TYO-SIN/BKK nonstops.  Since the domestic routes for p.s. (JFK-LAX/SFO) and BusinessFirst to Hawaii (IAH/EWR-HNL) are considered superior to ordinary domestic cabins, these routes are not eligible.
  • Regional premier upgrades (former CR1s) continue to work on p.s. and are evidently expanded to include BusinessFirst to Hawaii.
  • Full/nearly-full fare economy tickets clear for upgrades before instruments; instruments (including miles) clear before elite upgrades.  Companion upgrades have gone the way of United’s policy (e.g., advance clearance with the elite).
  • Silvers (25k) have had their baggage allowance cut to one free, 50lb bag and cannot access Economy Plus seats until check-in.
  • Lifetime million-mile status will be assessed by butt-in-seat miles as United uses.  Since Continental used EQM for its calculations, United intends to do a one-time adjustment of United lifetime balances to account for EQM.  The respective targets at 1, 2, 3, and 4 million miles are Gold, Platinum, 1K, and Global Services.  This marks an official path to GS qualification outside of the steep (>$50k/yr) revenue requirements.
  • Platinum and 1Ks get their Global Entry fee ($100) paid for by United.

Historically, the “island hopper,” a domestic CO737 making 4 or 5 stops on HNL-GUM, has been eligible for complimentary upgrades (and by my reading of the rules, it still is).  Consequently, it’s possible to fly from New York to Hong Kong in (essentially domestic) First for the price of an economy ticket (EWR/NYC-ORD/LAX/SNA/SFO-HNL-GUM-HKG)

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