Northwest has finally improved the offerings of its elite program. It doesn’t bring them up to par with American and United, which both offer a substantial international upgrade benefit to their top tier flyers, but it’s a move in the right direction. The Flyertalk discussion is here.
After flying 60, 90, 120 and 160,000 miles Northwest is offering elites the choice of new benefits (much as United has been doing the past couple of years). Choices include bonus miles, the ability to give away lower tiered elite status, lounge memberships, and most importantly — starting at 120,000 miles flown — international upgrade certificates.
Now, Northwest only offers 2 at 120,000 miles and 2 more at 160,000 miles flown (compared to 6 for United and 8 for American at 100,000 miles) but Northwest’s certificates appear to come out of revenue inventory so you’re not jockeying or waitlisting for a seat. That’s a real start, and finally a reason to fly Northwest if you do more than just domestic travel (where the only real benefit to the program has been complimentary domestic upgrades).
I’ve been saying for years that this is a needed step for their program. Their view has been “we just don’t have as many business class seats as the competition so we can’t offer this.” Guess they’ve come around!