Today on facebook, United Airlines posted a message about their 2012 elite status program.
In the past when I was dating my wife at the time, I was flying back and forth to the UK via United Airlines. I never complained about the dinosaurs that worked on the plane, nor the service. When I fly I don’t need much attention. I’ve always said the only service or request is that they just don’t spill a drink on me. It was nice back then because of my frequent flying, I qualified for Premier Executive Elite status with United. It was awesome because every time I flew, I was getting double award miles to use for free flights or upgrades. I also got free access to the Red Carpet Lounge on international flights only. Among other benefits, it was great to be a Premier Exec.
After getting married, it was tough to maintain that status. I dropped down to Premier status and got decent benefits. The most important benefits at any level, for me, was Economy-Plus seating access at time of booking, boarding near the beginning, and shorter Premier check-in lines/counters.
With their new elite status benefits, Premier level customers will have access to Economy-Plus at time of check-in, not at the time of booking the flight. This makes is unpredictable whether I would get economy-plus access and if I’m traveling with my family, some of us might get upgraded, some might not. I can’t afford that uncertainty. Basically I can have access to economy-plus at time to booking, but I will have to pay extra. This brings me to the thought of how much I spend a year trying to maintain my Premier status vs. just paying for the access. In the end trying to accumulate 25000 flown miles is getting harder and harder each year with 2 small kids and extra costs for their tickets. Their new plan will require people to actually flight 4 flights to even begin to qualify for elite status. RATS!
I’ve been loyal to United for quite some time. Of course I’ve taken a few other airlines, but I’ve tried to stay with United as much as possible, even when the ticket prices were more expensive on United than another airline. In the end, United has lost a loyal customer. Sorry, not just one, but 4 total: Julie, Matt, Hayley, and me. BOO!