Thursday, June 12, 2014

United MileagePlus Policy Change

Expect to lose 50% of your United MileagePlus miles on upcoming flights.

I received and email today from United and it's not good news. Seems that United is scrapping the traditional "Mileage" loyalty program and replacing it with a system where your award miles are determined by the price you pay for your ticket.

Make no mistake, this is being done solely to benefit First and Business Class travelers and to punish those in Economy class...which make up majority of the flyers.

The new system will give the flyer (5) United MileagePlus miles per dollar cost of the ticket.

Here's an example:

Current United MileagePlus system:
* You often fly from New York to Los Angeles in Economy class.
* You buy a ticket you found on Expedia for a non-stop United flight for $250.
* The air distance of that flight is 4924 miles round trip.
* You would then have gained 4924 United MileagePlus miles.

New United MuileagePlus system:
* You often fly from New York to Los Angeles in Economy class.
* You buy a ticket you found on Expedia for a non-stop United flight for $250.
* The air distance of that flight is 4924 miles round trip, but that no longer matters.
* Your United MileagePlus miles determined by ticket price, your 5 hour flight from New York to LAX will give you 1250 United MileagePlus miles.

That's a difference of 3674 miles on a cross-country flight, a 75% drop for an economy flight.

If you think $250 is too low of a price, we can try an example at $400. 
Upon checking Expedia today for a flight, there are over 10 flights for this route all at or near $400.
So a $400 ticket with (5) miles per $, comes to 2500 United MileagePlus miles.

So for a $400 ticket, the 2500 totals miles is a 50% drop from the 4924 miles you would get today.

In fact, in order to get the same 4924 miles, you would need to spend $985.

For the same date of the Expedia search above, a Business class ticket from New York to Los Angeles is $2000, which would reward that passenger with 10,000 miles. A First Class ticket costs $2100, rewarding the passenger with 10,500 miles.

The new system does something that should be done: it rewards those spending more money. But it comes at the expense of those budget travelers who are losing at least 50% of their award miles. 


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