Only One Checked Bag Free For Star Alliance Gold Members Traveling on United Airlines Flights

This Airbus A320-232 aircraft operated by United Airlines moves down the taxiway on its way to the runway to take off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on October 7, 2013. Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

Without any advance notice, United Airlines apparently quietly reduced the allowance of free checked bags for Gold elite members of Star Alliance from three checked bags weighing up to a maximum of 70 pounds each to only one checked bag weighing up to a maximum of 50 pounds on domestic flights within the United States — effective as of October 17, 2013.

This revised checked baggage policy does not affect Premier Gold elite members of the United Airlines MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program, who will still enjoy checking up to three bags weighing up to a maximum of 70 pounds on domestic flights in the United States operated by United Airlines at no additional cost…

…for now, according to some FlyerTalk members who portend that more perceived devaluations will be implemented by United Airlines within the next six months or so. Other FlyerTalk members predict that the end of airlines alliances are nearing.

While the exact reasons for the checked baggage policy change is unclear, some FlyerTalk members blame those who took advantage of becoming Gold elite members of Star Alliance by earning 20,000 Aegean Airlines Miles&Bonus frequent flier loyalty program miles within a year — arguably the easiest way to become a Gold elite member of Star Alliance. I am not so sure that that is the main reason, as I do not believe that the number of Aegean Airlines Miles&Bonus frequent flier loyalty program members are enough to prompt the change — although it could possibly be a contributing factor.

Is this latest change much ado about nothing; or are many FlyerTalk members correct in predicting that benefits on flights operated by United Airlines will continue to erode — perhaps substantially?

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