On January 1 I noted that United was waiving their minimum revenue requirement for elite status for some members who had flown enough but not spent enough in 2014.
There was some speculation that United was losing too many elites. It’s not that they want low spending elites, per se, but a program certain manages the total number of elites at each tier relative to the total member population and available seats at the airline. Too many elites and they can’t deliver benefits consistently and they’ll turn off valuable customers. Too few, and they aren’t effectively utilizing the marketing muscle at their disposal.
It’s why in tough times you’ll see airlines offer double elite qualifying miles. It’s not the total value or mileage or revenue flown that makes a customer valuable in some cases, it’s how much travel they’re giving the airline relative to the rest of its customers.
Airlines also aggressively court the best customers of other airlines, at times, through programs like status matches.
In a sign that United may not be doing especially well with a key customer segment, Business Travel News reports that:
United Airlines on Thursday will loosen some rules related to its corporate status match program, including lengthening the period during which travelers can maintain their matched status.
..for 22 months rather than 12 months, according to the carrier. Additionally, United reduced the reapplication period—the time employees must wait since they last received a MileagePlus status match—to three years from five years.
…Platinum and Premier 1K-level members also will be able to earn regional and global premier upgrades when they meet usage requirements.
Corporate matches will last for 22 months. In other words, status earned through a match early in 2015 will last through January 2017 instead of just January 2016.
Customers will be eligible if they haven’t had a match in 3 years. And matches, available up to 1K, will allow for confirmed upgrades to be earned upon completion.
United appears to need to address a loss of elites among its corporate customer base.
There’s no word yet whether publicly available status matches, rather than through a corporate program, will become more generous as well but we should know soon enough. In the meantime if you work for a large company that deals with United you may be able to get some status through the end of the next member year.
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