United Will Give Top Elite Status And 250,000 Miles To Employees Who Quit

United has publicly warned of layoffs. They won’t need nearly as many employees given lower levels of air travel demand, and making these warnings publicly sets them up to ask for another government bailout.

Despite provisions of the first airline bailout that require airlines to keep everyone employed through September 30, and maintain rates of pay, airline lobbyists got CARES Act language changed to allow airlines to reduce hours and therefore pay employees less. United is imposing forced unpaid vacation on non-union workers.

Unsurprisingly airlines are doing their best to get workers to take leaves and early retirements. United has a new offer for some employees that includes airline elite status and miles.

  • Take an early out at the end of June, get 1/3 pay until November 30
  • Continue to receive health care through November 30
  • Receive Mileage Plus 1K status and 250,000 miles
  • Plus 5 years of active employee travel benefits, and then retiree travel benefits
  • Plus ‘priority access’ to future job openings

It may make sense to take an early out, if the offer is better than straight termination in a few months. And since most of the benefits accrue only in 2020, the airline is likely to remain out of bankruptcy long enough to deliver.

The elite status and miles are of some value for those who plan to travel, even aside from their employee travel benefits. Of course we’ve already seen United devalue both programs during this crisis.

Whether or not this makes sense depends on (1) an employee’s seniority, and thus their likelihood of furlough, and (2) what they think future offers may look like.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. What value is 1K status or miles for an airline employee/retiree? Are those fares “eligible” for those benefits.

    I have no idea how these flight benefits work; I would just think it would be of limited value.

  2. Yes employee discount fares are treated as consumer fares and are eligible for all benefits including GPUs. It’s hard to get the GPU gate buckets to price with the employee discount fare but I’ve had it happen. SIN-SFO

    Either way. Bad deal if you lose your place in the seniority list. Top priority for future openings (you out trust in United !?!! ) no stinking way. Holding your spot in the lost guaranteed you come back when the airline grows. You quit… that’s goodbye.

  3. Mileage plus status is only being offered to managing directors, not the rank and file.

  4. 250K miles might be good for a single coach round trip to Hawaii in a year, the way they are determined to devalue MP and the value of the miles

  5. First of all this is inaccurate reporting. Reading the memo this offer is not for all employees. One reply mentions “losing your place on the seniority list”. This does not apply to workgroups that are inner union contracts and seniority order separation from the company. This offer is for those salaried non union jobs and management jobs. All of the office staff from customer service, IT, maintenance, flight ops etc that aren’t covered by a CBA will see force reductions in October.

    The author says this is for United to make the case for another government bailout. I disagree. These are steps a company takes to assure their survival without government assistance. How would the author of this article manage his own personal finances with zero revenue? Spend like normal or conserve your cash and plan for the future.

    The author of this blog often seems to find items he hates about the airlines and build a case without using any facts other than his intuition. I would be interested to see what history he has in actual management of anything other than a blog.

    Also he appears to derive his own earnings from “reporting” on the airline industry. Where will he get his own income when there are no airlines or traveling to report on in the future.

    The author has a voice to those that are potential travelers. Travelers that want to fly but maybe have concerns. Wouldn’t it be great if he used his voice to promote traveling? Showing the steps airlines are taking to disinfect planes between flights. Putting out the statistics that show if you are under 55 your chances of getting struck by lightning is higher than dying from COVID. That 7,500 people die each day in the USA from something other than C19. Helping people feel comfortable about traveling again should be his goal since he needs travelers to read his “articles”.

  6. @Garry Kravit you write “Reading the memo this offer is not for all employees” – before you call this “inaccurate reporting” you should actually read the piece, because what I wrote was “United has a new offer for some employees” so what that I’ve written is inaccurate exactly?

  7. I agree with UA-NYC. “You can have 250,000 miles. Which we will devalue with no notice whenever demand goes up. Or down.”

  8. 250k miles is nothing. Up the offer to something like 2 million and maybe it would incentivize some near-retirement age to step down.

  9. Correcting a couple inaccuracies:

    1. It is Premier Platinum status for 3 years for Managing Director level employees only.
    2. The transition to lifetime retiree travel benefits after 5 years is only for employees who qualify for retiree travel based on age and years of service as of 11/30/20 anyways (not everyone who takes the package).

  10. Any United employee considering taking early retirement do not trust them. American offered an early retirement package which clearly stated retirees will continue as active employee (D2) pass riders. Parker came from US AIR and down graded this promised benefit.

  11. I’m an active employee, but just a few clarifications:

    1K status is for Managing Directors who leave, not all employees. From internal notes, there are no further details on how long it would last. It’s a fairly small population that would qualify

    Only those eligible for retirement would get retirement benefits after the 5 years. I would not be getting lifetime benefits… just the 5 years if I took the offer

    “Full pay though June 30” is actually 80% pay as you still have to take the 1 unpaid day per week until June 30

  12. You title implies all employees. So you are using click bait tactics. If you really meant some employees you would have included that in the title versus what you titled the article.

  13. You need to (1) check your facts and (2) edit your clickbait headline and inaccurate content. The package is complex and full of a lot of specific detail and in your rush to publish, you’re “reporting” incorrectly.

    The elite status is for Premier PLATINUM — and it is ONLY applicable to Managing Directors (aka “Level 1”). It is not applicable to Vice Presidents (they do not have a job “level”) or any other title.

    The 250,000 miles is a benefit CHOICE of two options to be selected from. There is another option an eligible employee may select from instead of miles (no, I’m not disclosing details of the other travel-related option).

    If you’re reporting on internal memos, GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT before you publish.

  14. @Garry Kravit- “if you are under 55 your chances of getting struck by lightning is higher than dying from COVID”? I could not find any stats for under 55- I assume you just made this up. According to the CDC, 20% of the Coronavirus deaths in the US are 64 and under, so that would be 18K deaths in two months , probably 25K-30K if you include the unreported.

    This is for 64 and under- under 55 is not reported. But the number of deaths by lightning in the US in an average 2 month period? 7. So probably anywhere 1,000x as high a chance, or more.

    If you feel like lying is the way to get people to fly again… Well, you probably work for an airlines

  15. Garry Kravitt, you need to understand that United isn’t making “zero revenue.” The airline brought in $5 billion this quarter. $5 billion is more than zero.

    Ask me how the got the $5 billion and why.

    Don’t defend United executives. They don’t know you, don’t like you and won’t thank you.

  16. You all are looking to blame someone for this . Blame China. Companies are just trying to keep afloat. I’m sticking it out. If its safe to go bar hopping,why wouldn’t it be safe to fly.

  17. I am a mx supervisor for united and this is a lie a perversion of the truth

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