With 800,000 New Members In A Month, United MileagePlus Pivots Away From Elite Members [Roundup]

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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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  1. “Breakfast is from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., with the last chance to order at 9:30. At around 8 o’clock, the dining room gets very crowded.”

    There are several thousand Hamptons, mid-tier DoubleTrees, and Embassy Suites that fit this exact criteria.

  2. The link on the MileagePlus tidbits does not seem to work. But it sounds like they are following AA’s lead a bit. AA’s approach to points from spending has definitely got me to spend more on that card, along with the availability of BA award flights for fewer miles than on BA.com. In fact, a lot of the spending I used to do on my UA card I now direct to AA, and have become AA plat. I used to be UA 1K for years, then dropped to Plat in the pandemic and will now drop to Silver for 2024. If I could just get to UA (and *A) gold with UA spending, and stay AA plat (and OneWorld Sapphire), I think I’d be in good shape with the most useful benefits of status given that I usually fly in paid domestic or paid or award international business class anyway.

  3. San Francisco illegally overtaxing hotels. Who would have thought that? Since the same tax model is widely followed, other jurisdictions will also have to refund money.

  4. Some interesting insights.
    Your miles will never expire. But they won’t be worth a “s” in a few years
    For the benefit of the traveler we shifted to a revenue based system.
    Developed strategic partnerships (i.e. Marriott and credit cards. Credit cards are mission critical)
    Interesting recap about the COVID period, how close they came to running out of cash, and how they generated cash flow from MP, $7 billion. Followed later by government assistance.
    They get a lot of customer data (travel and spending insight) from MP

    I’m still old school, do a lot of flying (work and personal) and get my status that way. I don’t use a UA or other airline credit card. Insufficient value. While I’ve not had an issue making 1K, the return value for that loyalty has shrunk significantly. It seems like current trends will lead to a point in the near future to decide whether maintaining that loyalty is worth it.

    The host really needs to mute her mic or break the habit of constantly say yeah..yeah..OK..OK-lovely. Just let the guy talk.

  5. @ Gary — The first things said by Luc Bondar say it all. He admires Marriott Bonvoy. This guy admires backstabbing. I guess he must love Delta, too.

  6. Ironically Delta is going the opposite direction. They were too focused on general members so now they gutted the program for everyone except high elites flying with OPM. We will see how that works for both of them.

  7. We should stop calling these loyalty programs. They don’t reward loyalty, they only reward wealth. You can be a 1K with just two first class international trips, and you can barely make silver with two dozen economy flights.
    Besides, as it has pointed many times here, miles and points are becoming worthless. Let’s call these what they are, marketing tricks to fool customers.

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