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Old Nov 8, 19, 12:34 pm
John Aldeborgh
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Rowley, MA / Edgartown, MA / Christiansted, St. Croix (USVI)
Programs: UA LT GS/4.96MM, Marriott LT Titanium, IHG Platinum, Global Entry, TSA Pre✓, Korea SeS, APEC
Posts: 579
Well if you're not going to retain customers with a loyalty program you have to retain them with either lower cost or superior product. For those of us who travel internationally and have the option of a non-American carrier there are a lot of airlines that offer a superior product, often at a lower price and with fewer connections. If United wants to make flying a commodity, that is their privilege, but there are consequences to moving away from brand loyalty based system.

The other key point is United has spent the last 40 years training its customers on how to maximize the MileagePlus loyalty program. Milage runs are a great example. They are now blowing-up this model completely, which confuses everyone, putting them all outside their comfort zone, making changing to another airline much easier. Risky at best.

As a guy with almost 5M BIS miles on United, plus being ~15 months away from retirement (when my travel will shrink dramatically), I don't have a dog in this fight. So I think I can look at this objectively and all I see is confused marketing, undecided if it's going up market or down market or both. Somehow the history of how customers are attracted and retained has been cast aside and now it's only focused are market segmentation and financial ratios. In the long-run brand loyalty is extremely difficult build and very easy to destroy. I'm afraid United seems interested in testing the limits of how easy it is to destroy.

Last edited by John Aldeborgh; Nov 8, 19 at 12:40 pm
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