United appears to have chosen a moment in time where it thinks that its customers aren't watching to push through a subtle (yet very real) devaluation to its MileagePlus loyalty program - a program that had already been significantly devalued since the beginning of this year.
Right now United is trying to bring in some cash by hawking discounted miles on the open market and it's trying to make the sale interesting by offering MileagePlus members a mystery deal. Newsflash - this a terrible, terrible sale.
United is the second of the three big US carriers to announce measures aimed at placating its frequent flyers (Delta announced its measures yesterday) and the airline is going further than simply extending status for all that currently hold it – there are changes to this year’s elite status requirements, it will be easier to earn status through credit card spending and numerous flyer benefits will no longer expire this year.
Considering that it's Black Friday it's a little surprising to see that only three of the major airlines are running mileage sales today but, on the positive side, two of the three airlines are offering the best rates we've seen them offer this year and the third is only a little way behind.
United has completely overhauled the way Premier status is earned and has increased the spending thresholds for each status level too but, despite its best efforts to shift MileagePlus towards being a revenue reward program, the airline hasn't actually managed to prevent the distance travelers fly from having a significant effect on the status they can earn.
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Earlier this week I wrote about a great way to generate "cheap" miles with which you can then book American Airlines premium awards at a very good rate (assuming you can find the awards you need), and now it looks like it's possible to do something similar with United MileagePlus.
United Airlines has today announced that it is replacing Regional Premier Upgrades (RPUs) and Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs) with a new upgrade benefit called "PlusPoints". The new system shouldn't see any members disadvantaged and, instead, should add a bit more flexibility to how members can upgrade their flights.
United is back with another short-term mileage sale in which it's offering MileagePlus members bonuses of up to 85% through 27 August. Compared to some of the airline’s more recent sales this is a definite improvement (and may offer good value for some) but it’s not the best deal we’ve seen this year.
CLEAR is a program that relies on biometrics and allows enrolled travelers to reduce the amount of time they spend passing through security at select US airports by automating the document check portion of the TSA’s screening process.