Old Feb 5, 09, 7:04 pm
  #1002  
gleff
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: DCA
Programs: AMC MovieWatcher, Giant BonusCard, Petco PALS Card, Silver Diner Blue Plate Club
Posts: 22,217
Originally Posted by United PR View Post
Like any well-run business, we work within a budget to provide you with a set of benefits that recognize your loyalty. Inevitably, we must prioritize which benefits deliver the most value to our members and are sustainable for us to offer.
Every other Star Alliance program manages to make all partner award inventory available to their members. This includes US Airways, another US program (which an award chart more favorable on the whole than United's current chart) and it includes Aeroplan -- a publicly traded company!

We recognize that the ability to redeem awards on Star carriers is an important benefit and we continue to buy seats from our Star partners for your benefit. In fact, our spend on partner carrier awards has increased nearly 20% year over year. Since we are always reviewing our inventory levels, you may periodically see more seats become available.
Woo hoo "we continue to buy seats from our Star partners for your benefit." They're doing us a favor? We continue to buy tickets and earn miles for their benefit. Many continue to use the UA Visa from Chase, Chase buys lots of miles from UA for their benefit. And the value proposition -- the 'deal' being offered by United -- is that those miles can be redeemed for the award seats offered by their Star Alliance partners.

If this is not the case then United should say so, not just here but in their advertising. And they should make clear that Chase needs to do so as well. Otherwise it is a bait and switch, a lie.

And 20% increase in partner redemption spend? (1) UA revenue has been increasing, from increasing mileage sales (at least until the most recent quarter, I haven't looked over the 10-Q but imagine it slowed down) so naturallly there would also be increased redemption cost, (2) UA metal inventory has been on the decline, so hardly surprising. that redemptions occur on partners. This statistic is highly misleading, at least it does not say what UA would imply that it means...

We, of course, do not have control of the amount of award inventory our partners make available to their customers.
And neither do other Star Alliance members. But it isn't as though the miles are 'free' -- Mileage Plus SOLD those miles and took in REVENUE which it then uses to buy those seats. What Mileage Plus wants to do is take in the revenue from the mileage sales, just not spend the money on redemption.

And when award inventory is made available to United, we must buy it from our Star partners at the prices they set for those awards. It simply does not make good business sense for us to open up all availability on our partners – doing so would require unpopular trade-offs elsewhere in the Mileage Plus program.
1) Every other Star partner manages to do it.

2) United massively increased the mileage required for premium awards. That means more revenue (miles) for each award that is not costing UA more money...

While we understand your frustration that some of the destinations we serve are sometimes unavailable for award travel, please know that the vast majority of destinations are available at different times of the year. Our recent and future airline partnerships, including Jet, Aer Lingus, Continental and others, are adding more destinations and routings.
But UA is telling us that they won't spend more for awards, so new partners may mean 'more destinations and routings' but not more redemption seats, otherwise UA would be spending more than is 'responsible'.


Some of you have also raised a point related to elite customers competing with general members for Star award tickets.
Which is silly, as all customers are competing with all other Star Alliance members for seats.

The point wasn't about elites competing with general members at all, it was a plea to exempt elites (at least!) from this silly, stupid practice of Starnet blocking.

You’ve also taken this opportunity to express concern over our employees intentionally misleading you,
No, it's not the employees intentionally misleading, it's UAL Loyalty Services misleading the employees. And this has absolutely happened.
We are taking steps to increase their awareness around the product and to ensure that you receive a more consistent response going forward.
Translation, we realize we need to make them aware that UA is not offering the seats so they don't do a manual sell.

Finally, with regards to award search, we have made some significant functionality improvements to united.com over the last few years and agree that continued improvement is a development priority.
This is not at all about .bomb's display of UA flights, UA needs to at least let us search on our own for what flights they are willing to let us book on their partners.

Nothing I hate more than finding available partner award seats, constructing itineraries (and several variations and options and decision-tree scenarios) and getting told that one segment isn't available .. for days at a time. Let us do the research and reduce the cost of CSR time. Let us know what you will and will not let us book.

We hope the majority of you understand that every program has trade offs and we encourage you to look at the perks Mileage Plus offers across the board.
Yes, it makes perfect sense to fly UA and become a 1K, secure the CR1s and SWUs, etc etc.

It is a good elite program for flying.

It is not a good program for mileage accumulation, and I'll say again that it makes little sense to credit non-flight miles to this program any longer.

In other words, "understand that every program has tradeoffs" and some kinds of activity make sense with Mileage Plus, and some make sense with other programs instead. That's precisely the understanding that comes from "look[ing] at the perks Mileage Plus offers across the board"....

All of this has been shared with the appropriate decision makers and while there are no immediate changes planned, please know that your comments are always appreciated.
gleff is offline