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Will You Be Getting #Oscared in 2020?

Will You Be Getting #Oscared in 2020?
Joe Cortez

With major changes coming to United MileagePlus in 2020 and beyond, FlyerTalkers want to start a trending topic about the situation. Much like the airline’s hotel partner, frequent flyers of “The Friendly Skies” are reporting getting #Oscared When aboard the airline.

First, FlyerTalkers complained about getting #Bonvoyed, with very concrete examples of how the hotel’s program changes negatively affected guests staying at properties. Now United Airlines flyers are rising up with their own trending hashtag: #Oscared.

As defined on the FlyerTalk forums, getting #Oscared is not what happens when you receive a small golden statue signifying outstanding work in cinema. Rather, #Oscared refers to, as FlyerTalkers puts it: “How awful United has been treating its elites. Especially with the new elite requirements for 2020/2021, which only reward a small minority flying on corporate contracts (and do nothing for personal loyalty).”

How Are Flyers Getting #Oscared?

The idea of getting #Oscared comes with the changes to United’s loyalty program, MileagePlus, in 2019. These changes have severe ramifications on how the airline’s most elite travelers re-qualify for status and use the bonuses of their stature.

First, United announced they would no longer publish an award chart. Starting on November 15, 2019, the airline is moving to a “dynamic” award chart that does away with close-in fees. When the change happens, award prices will “fluctuate based on a variety of factors, including demand.”

Next, the airline shook up how they award Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades, making way for “PlusPoints.” The program sounds simple: flyers are given a bank of points once they qualify for status, and then spend them on upgrades from economy to business class, first class on partners, or even United Polaris. But as some FlyerTalkers noted, there are situations where you can get left with a balance that is only redeemable for short-haul flights.

By October 2019, when nobody thought United could beat Boeing in the race to the bottom, they did something that universally offended flyers. Starting in 2020, flyers will no longer earn status based on their flying habits, but by how much they spend with the carrier. If you want to make it to Premier 1K on in the “new” MileagePlus program, get ready to spend up to $24,000 on base fares only.

To put that in perspective: To qualify for MileagePlus Premier 1K status in 2021 on spending alone, a flyer has to spend roughly what a household of four under the federal poverty guideline earns in one year.

“We Just Got #Oscared”

The social media rally cry came from FlyerTalk member app, who calls for other flyers who have been wronged by the airline to take their grievances to social media. Their rally cry is United’s chief executive’s first name turned into a hashtag: #Oscared.

In the first thread post, app states their rationale: “The same way that folks have made #Bonvoyed a mark against Marriott, we should come up with a hashtag.”

But instead of driving a rally, many FlyerTalkers have simply resigned to the fact they’ve been #Oscared by the new system. While some have given up the race to elite status, others simply accept that the days of wine and roses are gone.

“I’m essentially being #Oscared, but I’m used to it now,” writes FlyerTalker katan. “I fly just over [100,000 miles] a year. I used to be 1K for several years in a row then came the spend requirement and I could only get to platinum. Now, I’m not sure I’ll even make gold in the new system. My only saving grace is making million miler in 2020.”

“There will be a whole segment of frequent travelers who will go from having some status 2020 to no status in 2021,” notes forum member j2simpso about low-level elites dropping out. “They may be correct that the number of Premier 1Ks and Platinum’s will drop but they will be surprised to see how many lowly Silvers and Golds disappear after responding to these enhancements.”

Other flyers don’t see a problem with the new changes, noting that while it hurts some, others will have less competition for upgrades. They also don’t see the need for a hashtag campaign, because getting #Bonvoyed is technically about more than just a thinning of elites.

“Most of the complaints about Bonvoy derive from horrible customer service…properties being allowed to skimp on elite benefits, and management that just doesn’t care,” writes long-time FlyerTalker Kacee.

“The Bonvoy devaluations hurt everyone – The new Premier changes does not,” FlyerTalker HNLbasedFlyer agrees. “It will hurt some and reward some. I don’t see a similarity.”

And a minority of FlyerTalkers don’t blame United CEO Oscar Munoz at all. Instead, their ire is towards United president Scott Kirby, who defected from American after the US Airways merger completed. Some of the more creative hashtags FlyerTalkers suggested include: Kirb Your Enthusiasm by user Zorak, #KickedToTheKirk by atword, and #WeGotScottKirbyed by gene2632.

Perhaps FlyerTalker zrs70 offers the most levity in this situation. They dropped out of the race long ago, and are happier for their decision:

“I come back and read some threads and realize that I, too, once put so much focus on elite status. Life is really and truly so much better without the stress.”

Are you getting #Oscared by United? Or does elite status no longer matter? Share your thoughts on the FlyerTalk forums!

View Comments (3)

3 Comments

  1. cmd320

    October 31, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    No one is getting #oscared, they’re getting #kirbyed

  2. 8MiHi

    November 2, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    It is clear that this new program seeks to reward the most profitable flyers. It also rewards paying for upgrades, something that was not included before.
    The new requirements are a bit daunting and may hold me back a level sometimes, but criticizing a system that rewards profitability is not going to work.

  3. White Eagle

    November 15, 2019 at 9:18 am

    One more reason to avoid UA like the reinvented bubonic plague-in-the-air that it is. Sad that UA does not spend more creative time on caring for PAX instead of ONLY how to pad thier P&L—at customer expense always, of course. Will be on the lookout for #Oscared. Better yet, maybe Oscar should explain to Congress his campaigns of false advertising, like so-called “Dynamic” (HaHa!!) award charts & the rest of the clutter in UA’s Unfriendly Skies.

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