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UA Making Significant Changes to MileagePlus: Does AS Benefit at SFO?

UA Making Significant Changes to MileagePlus: Does AS Benefit at SFO?

Old Oct 11, 19, 3:12 am
  #1  
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UA Making Significant Changes to MileagePlus: Does AS Benefit at SFO?

UA is significantly increasing spending requirements to achieve status in 2020.

https://mileageplusupdates.com/milea...qualification/

There’s been quite a lot of chatter regarding the disappointing route cuts from SFO, but is this an opportunity for AS to at least pick off some customers as UA status becomes more difficult to attain?

It would be particularly intriguing if DL and AA follow UA’s lead in these “enhancements”. Will certainly be an interesting situation to monitor...
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Old Oct 11, 19, 3:44 am
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I have to think this is AS's last, best chance at SFO to make gains against UA. But they will need actual flights to actual destinations, at times useful to those soon to be demoted 1Ks. That said, "we won't punch you the way that guy over there keeps doing" can be a surprisingly effective sales pitch.

I expect I will be one of the lucky ones to move up the UA ranks based on pure spend, though ...

Last edited by finlandia; Oct 11, 19 at 6:42 am
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Old Oct 11, 19, 6:41 am
  #3  
 
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There are a lot of SFO travelers that will actually benefit from the UA changes simply because they buy high fares and may not be traveling enough miles. So for corporate travelers it may well be easier to qualify. AS has a better chance at attracting the people with the lowest levels of UA status traveling on their own dime IF AS has a flight to wherever the customer needs to go at the time the person needs to travel. These people are likely already flying with AS or another UA competitor though so it is doubtful it will have much impact. B6 already has this system which makes it much easier to qualify for Mosaic status when flying in Mint. So AS actually loses high fare passengers and is most attractive to people flying longer distances at rock bottom prices. Each system has its own benefits. When the economy is great the UA system probably works better. When the economy is in recession, probably not so much given the high spend requirements.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 8:27 am
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I think the idea that a meaningful number of people purchase their tickets based on the redemption value of the miles they will earn flying is... laughable.
Sure, on FT, everyone maximizes that.
But the family in Redding driving to SFO to fly out to Des Moines to see grandma once every 3 years surely isn't going to pay extra to fly Alaska if their RDMs are 10% more valuable than what they would earn on UA....



Most people couldn't tell a 727 from a 747 and certainly mainly book on lowest ticket price.
So, I agree, if anything, it could drive high value customers TO United, since their hub captive dollars might yield them higher status, faster.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 9:12 am
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by WestCoastPDX View Post
I think the idea that a meaningful number of people purchase their tickets based on the redemption value of the miles they will earn flying is... laughable.

So, I agree, if anything, it could drive high value customers TO United, since their hub captive dollars might yield them higher status, faster.
DL has already come to this conclusion. Customers would have to be mathematically challenged if they were taking DL solely because of the amazing value of their sky pesos. DL is no longer going after the customer that wants to fly from SAN-SEA-DEN for $99 to get more miles while AS's program still does encourage that. UA has so many elites at SFO, by the time the 1Ks board on a peak time flights, half the plane could already be on board. Expensive international J/F flight on UA or now with partner flights not ticketed on UA stock count as well, it may well be just as easy or easier to qualify for those high end leisure or business travelers. It will also eliminate low value elites earning status with a credit card waiver.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 9:28 am
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UA Elites are more interested in Staus than RDM. If the additional spend is a challenge, dropping from 1K to Premier Platinum still affords *G, probably the most sought after benefit. With dynamic award pricing, who really knows how far your RDM will take you anyway?

With a PQD waiver not everyone (even many who reside in the US) will be affected.

James
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Old Oct 11, 19, 9:45 am
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Originally Posted by Flying for Fun View Post
<snip<
With a PQD waiver not everyone (even many who reside in the US) will be affected.

James
The $25K PQD waiver goes away with these changes. That will affect LOTS of people

Regards
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Old Oct 11, 19, 9:49 am
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Originally Posted by scubadu View Post
The $25K PQD waiver goes away with these changes. That will affect LOTS of people

Regards
And the international address waiver / loophole as well, as far as I understand it.

While we no longer waive the spend requirement for members with international addresses, we have expanded the ability to earn spend credit for these members, which makes qualification consistent for all of our members.”
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Old Oct 11, 19, 10:20 am
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Originally Posted by WestCoastPDX View Post
I think the idea that a meaningful number of people purchase their tickets based on the redemption value of the miles they will earn flying is... laughable.
Sure, on FT, everyone maximizes that.
But the family in Redding driving to SFO to fly out to Des Moines to see grandma once every 3 years surely isn't going to pay extra to fly Alaska if their RDMs are 10% more valuable than what they would earn on UA.

this, x1000 or more
Originally Posted by WestCoastPDX View Post
Most people couldn't tell a 727 from a 747 (or, more applicably, a 737 from a 320, and aside from the MAX debacle, most don’t care anyway) and certainly mainly book on lowest ticket price. ...
and because they’re only making that one trip every three years, they tend to forget that they squawked about checked baggage fees and seat selection fees the last time
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Old Oct 11, 19, 10:29 am
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post
And the international address waiver / loophole as well, as far as I understand it.

While we no longer waive the spend requirement for members with international addresses, we have expanded the ability to earn spend credit for these members, which makes qualification consistent for all of our members.”
Correct. I think the "expanded ability to earn spend credit..." is in reference to partner flights now counting for dollars spent. Previously, only flights booked on UA ticket stock (016) gave credit for PQDs. Now tickets booked directly with Star Alliance partners will still count towards spend.

Regards
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Old Oct 11, 19, 10:48 am
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I actually thought about moving to UA as I will be done with AA (I have waiver as my address was changed to Asia the same day announced the EQD). I think this kills. I have a hard time getting 15k on AA as I refuse to credit my JL CX BA in A class to AA.

(I qualify my AA status based mostly on QR). Since I have JL sapphire anyways, I may just give up status on big 3 and keep JL sapphire and star alliance gold. And be done.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 10:57 am
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post
And the international address waiver / loophole as well, as far as I understand it.

While we no longer waive the spend requirement for members with international addresses, we have expanded the ability to earn spend credit for these members, which makes qualification consistent for all of our members.”
Interesting, not surprising though. I think it is more closing the "loophole" abuse than providing a spend waiver to incentivize foreigners who are not served or marginally served by UA while still requiring a 4 UA flight minimum before granting status. UA did provide service from my hometown briefly but the routes didn't "fly" longterm.

I did enjoy the "spin" though. The irony is how they eloquently outline the current system with the tag "confused?" while the explanation of the new "easier" system is nothing but confusing.

It is very apparent that they want to reduce 1K members.

I have been Premier Silver for years via Marriott but until this year have never flown UA. Doubtful I will going forward.

James
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Old Oct 11, 19, 11:33 am
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Alaska has long had a strategy of “we suck less than the others” by doing things like keeping a mileage based frequent flyer program and allowing limited seat selection in basic economy. All the while, they have slowly made other devaluations, such as eliminating the low price guarantee, 60 day change waiver, and increasing the cost of redemptions. Even with these kinds of devaluations, they still maintain a frequent flyer program that is demonstrably better for many customers when compared to the competition.

If other airlines follow United in a more consumer-unfriendly direction, it allows Alaska to devalue further (such as increasing status earning requirements) while still being more consumer friendly than the others.

This is my biggest concern regarding how these changes at UA will affect Alaska.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 11:35 am
  #14  
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Those who were earning UA Silver or Gold flying Y may see more value out of AS MVP or MVPG, if they can use AS's route network out of SFO and Mileage Plan partner airlines. Clearly, those who were already spending a ton of money with UA benefit from the changes, so AS isn't going to be getting those high value customers.

It seems that those on the UA and DL forums don't think DL will follow UA's lead, due to their recent contract renewal with AMEX and the fact that they've doubled down on earning MQMs via credit card spend.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 12:27 pm
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I actually find this will screw UA in the near term unless they severely reduce the partner RDM earning. I was thinking of using UA in PE to LHR next summer, great EQM and nonstop. But its UA. I see now AC PE and J class are similar jet award at 125 / 200 percent. So i am actually ahead by not flying UA as much. With PQD this year...its all UA flying...next year not much UA flying at all.....they are actually pushing a lot of people to earn on partners versus UA. Of course this can be stopped by drastically reducing the earn of RDM...but they already did that and i dont think they can do very much to reduce earning....but to only award 1 mile for a J class ticket is not very attractive for UA to do.
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