It’s a sad sad day. Since 2007 I have been a United Airlines 100,000 mile flyer, or for short a 1k. It has been a pretty good ride all these years, I’ve become pretty familiar with the United Mileage Plus Program and also the Star Alliance program in general. You spend 1,000,000 miles flying an airline you learn a thing or two. I even enjoyed flying them. They offered oodles of free upgrades in various forms some confirmable at time of booking others that would clear as early as 100 hours out, and even ones you could use on international flights on UA. Plus I had used their miles for some incredible trips, like First Class on Singapore Airlines to the Maldives twice here’s one of the trip reports and here’s another , Business class to Bali also on SQ, and even a couple of trips to Germany also in Business but on UA.
Of course like many other good things, sometimes they come to an end, and in this case about mid 2013 UA made a drastic change to their Mileage Plus program. Granted since the merger with Continental, things had slowly gone from bad to worse. Like with any big company there are some bad apples, but after the merger it just got worse and worse. But I trudged on and kept flying UA, because I believed in them and thought they treated me well. In my job I don’t have the luxury of always flying the same airlines, between the budgets set and the carriers that fly where I might need to go and convenience, I fly a lot of airlines. So I thought UA was the best of the worst. Yet I digress, there are tons of other blogs that have delineated United’s race to the bottom, and it pains me to rehash it here and frankly it’s not the point of this entry.
What IS the point, I had to make a change. UA announced, that there would be a spend requirement attached to the mileage or segment requirement they already required. UA Silver 25,000 miles $2500, Gold 50,000 miles $5000, Platinum 75,000 miles and $7,500 and 1k 100,000 miles and $10,000 spend. Ouch $10,000 is a lot and frankly I have no idea if I spend that much per year on flights I might, but most likely not just on United and its partners. So with this new requirement I had to make a choice, and although not an easy one I had to say goodbye. In 2012 I had done a status match to American Airlines and had really enjoyed flying them. They treated me well, also provided lots of upgrades, and made me not feel like a number. In 2012/13 I kept top tier on both but rolling into 2014, I knew I could just not keep up flying two major carriers at the tune of 100,000 miles each and the 10k spend. You can only do so many Mileage Runs on top of my work and vacation travel. So I made the sad choice to drop a carrier, and it had to be UA. I was just not happy with their direction, and they just made it harder and harder to fly them. Besides that just take one small metric between the airlines, in 2013 I flew over 40 domestic segments on American and in that time only three times did I miss a complimentary upgrade, take on the other hand United about 40 segments too, and I cleared only 1/3, of which after June of 2013 I didn’t clear even one. Look a first class upgrade is NOT why I fly but it sure does make air travel nice and when you have two choices and one pulls through what would you do?
Sure I’ll get over it and sure I’ll still fly United when they offer the best price and routing, but I know that if they are one of many options they will not be my first choice. At least with Million Miler Status on UA, I at least keep some perks and lifetime Gold Status, that at least keeps some of the perks I’ve worked so hard to attain. Let’s just hope my decision to fly the NEW American pans out.
So as of 12:01 AM on January 31st, 2014 I will drop from 1k to lowly Gold, since I only flew 65,000 this year and kept my status on merit. Sad Sad Sad Sad day indeed.