Starting Tomorrow United Will Offer Corporate Status Matches — Up to 1K — for 22 Months!

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.

(HT: tom911)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I passed 1k some months ago and received upgrade instruments promptly. I happened to pass 150k miles on Dec 31. Still, waiting for instruments to post. The agent on the phone are now saying they normally post upgrades at the end of Jan! Really? It was predicted that there would be unhappy folks who have their tickets bought through corporate travel agents who will not get the recognized spend even though they have done the miles. All this just points to their unhappiness and UA is not trying to fix a predictable cluster.

    the UA system has just become far to complicated only a lawyer or a tax consultant (or an MBA intern loose with a spreadsheet) would think this way. Customer focused people, no.

  2. Is this a unique UA change? And a positive, albeit small, change.

    So funny how this barely gets any credit or publicity, then a “bad” change gets 1,000 bad blog posts.

  3. my sources tell me this will be in the form of a challenge whereby they give you the status and after a set time like a hundred twenty days you have to fly enough during that time to keep the status for the 22 months or you lose it.

    kind of like the old Hyatt diamond challenge

  4. @Levy
    I hit 1K a few weeks ago and my upgrades still haven’t shown up, but when I passed Platinum, the RPUs showed up the day I passed 75K. Very odd indeed.

  5. Sorry but you’re a bit of a fool if you give an airline $20k+ in spend and get upgraded less than 20% of the time. I guess these are the kind of 1K’s United wants…

  6. Its funny that everyone complains that UA follows DL or AA, and then when they do something on their own it shows how they must be failing?!

  7. you never really explain what a corporate status match is. does that mean if your company has a corp contract UA will grant status depending on your position? or do you need to show you have status on another airline that gets matched? can you match status if you just lost your UA status (i.e. was 1k in 2014)?

  8. We have Corp Status match at my employer, and it works for the latter (as you explained above). You’ll need to prove status on another airline, at which point UA would match it outright — no challenge, trial, co-pay, etc. We have a large matrix of airlines, and how their elite statuses would transfer over to a United equivalent. Typically these programs are for companies who do their best to shovel money to the airline–a “preferred carrier” type relationship (similar to how some companies prefer their employees stay at Hilton versus Hyatt when possible). I cannot comment on the last question you had – -I’ll be trying this myself once the 2015 program is open. Good luck!

  9. Does the clock start for the three year moratorium on matching on the date of the match (say february 2015) or when status expires (January 2017)? The value proposition for someone who wants to just try out UA and might not requalify is very strong if the clock starts on the date of the match. This does assume that the three year moratorium isn’t increased in the interim…

  10. Another devaluation to 1K….As much as they will be gaining elites (particularly low dollar) they will be loosing higher dollar elites that will go elsewhere. I’m not spending 40-50k so I’m not going to be GS which seems the only worthwhile status…

    Hopefully I can status match over to AA near years end.

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