Presidential Plus Card Changes

Old Mar 3, 2012, 2:29 pm
  #1381  
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Originally Posted by joel67
A bit uncalled for, I believe. I had plenty of time to get my own PP card, but didn't see any value for a 1K flyer like me who already has club access covered. What I do see, though, is new overcrowding at priority check-in, security, and boarding lines and at United Clubs, with lots of people waving these credit cards around. Those benefits that I used to enjoy require a certain level of exclusivity to work, so I'm thinking that their destruction might possibly be related to this badly underpriced card that seems so popular among the PMCO flyers now flooding the PMUA facilities (like you?). Can you really call this envy?
Not seeing value for you is all well and good, but it is entirely different from not seeing value. There are thousandsódare I say millionsóof us who do. You may feel we don't deserve what we pay for but don't be aghast when we disagree with you. Intimating that we "overcrowd" things without earning that right is what's uncalled for, methinks.
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Old Mar 3, 2012, 2:53 pm
  #1382  
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A bit uncalled for, I believe. I had plenty of time to get my own PP card, but didn't see any value for a 1K flyer like me who already has club access covered. What I do see, though, is new overcrowding at priority check-in, security, and boarding lines and at United Clubs, with lots of people waving these credit cards around.
It wouldn't matter if they didn't toss 1Ks in with everyone else. But they did.

The card isn't under priced either, its MORE expensive than a club for elites, and if its a little cheaper than a club membership for a GM, it also means, almost by definition they won't use it much.
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Old Mar 3, 2012, 3:32 pm
  #1383  
 
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Originally Posted by RNE
Not seeing value for you is all well and good, but it is entirely different from not seeing value. There are thousandsódare I say millionsóof us who do. You may feel we don't deserve what we pay for but don't be aghast when we disagree with you. Intimating that we "overcrowd" things without earning that right is what's uncalled for, methinks.
I don't deny that this card is a great value for many, many people; that's exactly my point. It's just difficult to accept that the benefits that many of us have worked so hard to get with our miles and dollars over many years have been so devalued now because the new UA wants everyone to be elite.

Originally Posted by entropy
It wouldn't matter if they didn't toss 1Ks in with everyone else. But they did.

The card isn't under priced either, its MORE expensive than a club for elites, and if its a little cheaper than a club membership for a GM, it also means, almost by definition they won't use it much.
I hadn't noticed that CO was (and is) charging less for the clubs than UA did, so for a 1K it costs you an extra $20 per year. Doesn't really change my overall thesis, though, which is that for a large number of people who would have considered any of a number of individual high-priced options worth considering, the card is a no-brainer. Therefore it's certainly possible that it will cause a lot of cardholders to occupy the clubs and to stand in various lines who would not otherwise have been there, while not necessarily adding much incremental revenue for UA (unless, as I said, Chase is paying them the whole fee and more). Seems like just another example of the TOD philosophy.
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Old Mar 3, 2012, 4:18 pm
  #1384  
 
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Originally Posted by joel67
As a PMUA person seeing the Presidential Plus card for the first time last year, I'm still having a problem understanding why such a card even exists in this form. First there's the pricing:

- It's about the same cost as United Club membership, which it includes, so why would anyone ever buy club membership by itself?

- It's cheaper than the annual baggage option, which is included, so why would anyone ever buy the baggage option by itself?

- Same question for the annual Premier Access option, although I can't find that at the moment.

- If all the above isn't enough, they throw in the FEQMs, which for many have been worth thousands of dollars a year compared to the alternatives, as well as various other discounts. What would you be willing to pay for an upgrade on an award ticket?

- On the whole, this card is crazy cheap for anyone needing even 25% of its benefits, yet it serves to cheapen many of those benefits by flooding clubs, priority lines, etc. with people who have barely paid for those services.

The other question that comes to mind is who the target customer might be? On the one hand, a kettle taking just two or three trips a year can become "elite" for the cost he might have paid checking his bags alone, so this is the ultimate card for kettles. On the other hand, a moderate-level elite can use the club access, FEQMs, and award upgrade to become super-elite.

No matter how you look at it, this card feels greatly underpriced and pretty well designed to substantially dilute the benefits that the rest of us would normally get, either by paying top dollar or earning them through actual flying. Either Chase pays CO/UA a really big subsidy to offer this card to its members (like more than the annual fee!), or its another one of those cases of the airline caring more for TODs now, without regard to the integrity of their benefits program and pricing.

On the whole, it seems like this card should cease to exist in its current form and be replaced with two or three cards that have more limited and targeted benefits.

Am I missing something in this analysis?
Yes I think you are missing something. These benefits are mostly lost on top fliers. For example as a GS my new packet states that my upgrades apply on reward travel. I will likely requal, so that's through 2013. Even if travel falls off 1K soft landing would be likely. Given the expiration of FEQM's now I am very unlikely to use any earned this year before they expire. Also new UC memberships (or renewals) are deeply discounted for GS.

This has marginal value for a 1K (if they value UC membership). It's best for a heavy silver. Average for a Gold or Plat who values the lounge membership. Not worth the cost for a GS or a kettle though.
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Old Mar 3, 2012, 4:33 pm
  #1385  
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Originally Posted by Red_Rob
It's best for a heavy silver. Average for a Gold or Plat who values the lounge membership. Not worth the cost for a GS or a kettle though.
*nods* I've been gold the past couple of years but last year just decided to go with the "Presidential Plus + Silver" approach.

I only fly 30k ish per year but this card gives me enough FEQMs to stockpile should I fall short soon (or should gold return to its prior luster).

With the lounge and enough spend miles to allow me to just milage u/g all my mid-con/transcon I can feel like a big wig without having to actually waste my time doing milage runs.

I'm also out of the US a lot of the time so no Forex helps a good bit too.

I was a bit bummed that they stopped the "double your miles" with onepass shopping thing and some of the other downward adjustments over the last few months, but overall I still like this card a lot.
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 5:33 am
  #1386  
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Originally Posted by joel67
It's just difficult to accept that the benefits that many of us have worked so hard to get with our miles and dollars over many years have been so devalued now because the new UA wants everyone to be elite.
Allow this lowly gold brick to enlighten you with my perspective on working hard for devalued benefits. I have flown 300,000+ BIS miles on CO metal, and spent tens of thousands of dollars doing so. Yet, any Star Alliance Goldówho may not have flown a mile or spent a dime on CO and UA metalócan (in theory) board before me, get upgraded, etc., despite all the time and money I spent. Should I join your chorus bewailing this outrage?

RNE, harumphing, "Let's let UA decide how to dole out its largess."
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 8:52 am
  #1387  
 
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Originally Posted by joel67
No matter how you look at it, this card feels greatly underpriced
I can't think of any real benefit of the card to a 1K flyer that flies 90%+ internationally.

I'd still like to know if there are any international-oriented 1Ks that have kept the card beyond the introductory period. Even the rep I spoke with when I called to cancel couldn't think of anything.
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 9:35 am
  #1388  
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Originally Posted by joel67
Therefore it's certainly possible that it will cause a lot of cardholders to occupy the clubs and to stand in various lines who would not otherwise have been there, while not necessarily adding much incremental revenue for UA (unless, as I said, Chase is paying them the whole fee and more). Seems like just another example of the TOD philosophy.
I'm sure that the airlilne benefits greatly from this arrangement. UA likely gets a large portion of the annual fee and gets paid by Chase for the RDM, EQM, and other benefits.

Originally Posted by RNE
Yet, any Star Alliance Gold—who may not have flown a mile or spent a dime on CO and UA metal—can (in theory) board before me, get upgraded, etc., despite all the time and money I spent.
Getting *G generally requires spending a great deal of time and money on air travel. UA might not be getting all of the revenue directly, but they clearly gain an advantage from the reciprocal arrangement and the benefits given to its elites. UA also generates revenue from *G members who fly UA instead of a domestic competitor.
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 12:46 pm
  #1389  
 
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Originally Posted by TomA
I can't think of any real benefit of the card to a 1K flyer that flies 90%+ internationally.

I'd still like to know if there are any international-oriented 1Ks that have kept the card beyond the introductory period. Even the rep I spoke with when I called to cancel couldn't think of anything.
+1

The current card allows lower-levels to inexpensively crowd into our space, but nothing to help us move up as well. I'd gladly pay $375 per year to gain GS benefits if they offered such a card. I might even charge some purchases on the card!
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 1:39 pm
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Originally Posted by joel67
+1

The current card allows lower-levels to inexpensively crowd into our space, but nothing to help us move up as well. I'd gladly pay $375 per year to gain GS benefits if they offered such a card. I might even charge some purchases on the card!
Sure. But then GS's would be complaining about us crowding into their space...

Well, no one can make 1K via the card anymore. The international flying plats are the biggest losers.

They killed too many benefits and didn't add enough back. I suppose it wasn't profitable as it was.
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 1:59 pm
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Well, the keyword is international. For those 1K who fly mainly domestic with a few intl scattered this is still a no-brainer.
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 2:45 pm
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Originally Posted by kyte
Well, the keyword is international. For those 1K who fly mainly domestic with a few intl scattered this is still a no-brainer.
I think I had one domestic flight last year. Las Vegas.

But the really top dog flyers (the upper GS and "2K" types) are almost always heavy international flyers. UA has literally created a card whose value is almost perfectly negatively correlated with someone's value as a customer. It has the most benefit to a non-elite. It has next to no value (certainly over competing cards) to international 1K/GS's. And the MOST bizarre thing is that the few things that such customers didn't already have (25% bonus, non-expiring FEQMs, food and beverage discounts, etc.) were removed.

Last edited by TomA; Mar 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 2:58 pm
  #1393  
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Originally Posted by TomA
UA has literally created a card whose value is almost perfectly negatively correlated with someone's value as a customer. It has the most benefit to a non-elite. It has next to no value (certainly over competing cards) to international 1K/GS's. And the MOST bizarre thing is that the few things that such customers didn't already have (25% bonus, non-expiring FEQMs, food and beverage discounts, etc.) were removed.
I never thought about it that way. Yu're absolutely right!

As a lifetime UA Club member, I get this card for $100/year. That's a little high for a plain-vanilla mileage-earning card, but the primary CDW on domestic car rentals and a few of the other perks this card offers make it worth the fee for me. With the changes, any hint of usefulness of the FEQM have completely disappeared.
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 3:17 pm
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Originally Posted by TomA
I think I had one domestic flight last year. Las Vegas.

But the really top dog flyers (the upper GS and "2K" types) are almost always heavy international flyers. UA has literally created a card whose value is almost perfectly negatively correlated with someone's value as a customer. It has the most benefit to a non-elite. It has next to no value (certainly over competing cards) to international 1K/GS's. And the MOST bizarre thing is that the few things that such customers didn't already have (25% bonus, non-expiring FEQMs, food and beverage discounts, etc.) were removed.
It's hard to say what UA/Chase are thinking, but as has been stated previously there seems to be a pretty clear target for this card and it's not the top tier international flyers. It's those who want lounge access who mainly fly domestic whether one is 1K or not.

I'm not necessarily surprised either .. they already have the loyalty/$$ of their absolute top tier customers. They're trying to recruit more middle tier and this is a pretty effective way of doing it.
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 3:36 pm
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Originally Posted by kyte
It's hard to say what UA/Chase are thinking, but as has been stated previously there seems to be a pretty clear target for this card and it's not the top tier international flyers. It's those who want lounge access who mainly fly domestic whether one is 1K or not.

I'm not necessarily surprised either .. they already have the loyalty/$$ of their absolute top tier customers. They're trying to recruit more middle tier and this is a pretty effective way of doing it.
Don't know. But it seems to me that if you are marketing a credit card that generates most of its revenue through merchant fees, you would want to attract the biggest spenders.

In general, would that more likely be a top-tier Global Services member or would it be a Silver or non-elite?

(Keep in mind--the main competition is AMEX Platinum...)
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