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Wild speculation on UA's new strategy for Polaris, Upgrades and Award Space

Wild speculation on UA's new strategy for Polaris, Upgrades and Award Space

Old Feb 8, 19, 12:10 pm
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Darlox View Post
I've personally used the ORD lounge prior to swapping terminals for an LX flight ORD-ZRH. So if the lounges are a draw, there's still little/no incentive to not fly a partner, other than it's more _likely_ you're flying UA if you're at an airport with a Polaris lounge...
Valid point re PL use on a *A ticket.
Minor UA-advantage is the use of the lounge on inbound-connections. E.g. Coming off UA 945 FRA into ORD I would rest and minimize inflight "dining", then head for a nice lunch a the PL instead, before my domestic connecting flight.
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Old Feb 8, 19, 12:11 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by threeoh View Post
The penalty is for all airports except the origin of your long-haul flight.

FRA-EWR-SFO you can access lounge at EWR and SFO if FRA-EWR is UA but not if it's LH.
True, but I'm thinking like a midwesterner here again... When you live outside of a hub, your origination flights never have great amenities, and you're always connecting through a major hub for your TPAC/TATL flights! So the lack of lounge at my originating airports is rarely a consideration.
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Old Feb 8, 19, 12:22 pm
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by Darlox View Post
True, but I'm thinking like a midwesterner here again... When you live outside of a hub, your origination flights never have great amenities, and you're always connecting through a major hub for your TPAC/TATL flights! So the lack of lounge at my originating airports is rarely a consideration.
What about on the return though? e.g. MRS-FRA-ORD-XXX if you live in XXX. Wouldn't you like lounge access in ORD while you wait for your connecting flight home? Might be enough to push you from LH to UA for the TATL leg. You'll get lounge access in FRA either way.
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Old Feb 8, 19, 12:26 pm
  #49  
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Originally Posted by threeoh View Post
What about on the return though? e.g. MRS-FRA-ORD-XXX if you live in XXX. Wouldn't you like lounge access in ORD while you wait for your connecting flight home? Might be enough to push you from LH to UA for the TATL leg. You'll get lounge access in FRA either way.
To be honest... I've never looked at that as a consideration. And I'm not just playing Devil's Advocate there. If I picked up an itinerary where I had like a 4-hour layover on my return, then yeah, I suppose it would be a consideration.

But for anybody who lives in either of the USA's middle-two timezones, you're generally flying under 1 of 2 scenarios: You've just come in from Europe, it's late-afternoon, and you have maybe an hour or two to catch the last flight to your home airport. Or you've just hit the West Coast from Asia, it's zero-dark-thirty in the morning, and you have an hour or two to catch the last flight east, or else you're stuck on the ground for 12+ hours until that night's red-eye (or stuck with an extra mid-continent connection in DEN or ORD, to get home, which sucks almost as badly!).

So I take the point, and it's valid. Just, for me (and a lot of other non-coasters) it's rarely a major consideration due to inbound Int'l flight timings. The outbounds are always the ones with potentially-excessive layovers!
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Old Feb 8, 19, 12:59 pm
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
That is the rule in many USG departments and agencies - you're flying SFO-SIN? Leave a day earlier and and come back to work a day later.
That was the rule the last time I had to goto SIN (from the east coast). Though it was just "leave a day earlier", there was no "come back to work a day later". And leaving a day earlier did not mean anything. I would arrive in SIN at 2am and get little to no sleep. We'd have at least one status around mid-morning to noon meeting, maybe more.
Then at least one telecon with the east coast (late night time in SIN). Plus there was a plethora of "preparation" work to be done because these trips were always poorly planned at the last minute. "Leave a day earlier" just meant "transfer a day of work to SIN. I'm not sure how one can practically be expected to report to work at 6am while arriving on a 2am flight anyways.

Now being over 14hrs, we would have been allowed to fly J, however, the program I worked had an overriding directive forcing Y travel.
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Old Feb 8, 19, 1:23 pm
  #51  
 
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Originally Posted by Darlox View Post
To be honest... I've never looked at that as a consideration. And I'm not just playing Devil's Advocate there. If I picked up an itinerary where I had like a 4-hour layover on my return, then yeah, I suppose it would be a consideration.

So I take the point, and it's valid. Just, for me (and a lot of other non-coasters) it's rarely a major consideration due to inbound Int'l flight timings. The outbounds are always the ones with potentially-excessive layovers!
Yes, I think if you have a 1-2 hour connection it doesn't matter as much and 3-4 hour connection starts to matter more.

FWIW, here's a whole recent thread where someone was trying to make just this decision (UA w/ PL access vs *A partner and no access) so it definitely does factor in for some:

Hobson's Choice or False Dilemma? TATL LX(OS) no lounge on arrival or UA w/ PL access
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Old Feb 8, 19, 4:11 pm
  #52  
 
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Originally Posted by Darlox View Post
Even in the case of the highest-value flyers, I'm thinking we may have had a nomenclature shift here. Is MP a "Loyalty Program" or a "Rewards Program"?? If it's a "rewards program", then well... we are where we are. It's just another in a giant market of marketing scams with terrible "rewards".

But if it's a "loyalty program", then it's seriously out of whack. The purpose of "loyalty" was to incentivize people to choose UA over other carriers, with the promise of receiving the benefits of that loyalty down the road. FF programs started out as, and still ostensibly are (at least on the major legacy carriers) loyalty programs. Hence my confusion about a loyalty program that seems to more strongly incentivize using other carriers!!! Maybe I'm just behind the times... loyalty is dead, long live the transactional customer!!
I agree conceptually, but it is a balancing act. I have season tickets to the Rams. They come with plenty of benefits to promote loyalty- everything from transit passes and a free stadium blanket to discounts at the team store to opportunities to participate in events with players and coaches to discounted additional tickets if I want to take people to games.

At the same time, if I had wanted to go to the Super Bowl, I would have had to pay full price. No way is the NFL going to induce loyalty with something incredibly valuable that can be sold for full price.

FF programs, as a whole, are supposed to incentivize brand loyalty..On a whole, I suspect you are right that they do not do enough anymore to do that (and this problem extends beyond UA). But it's also true that longhaul business class seats that people pay a lot of money for are extremely valuable things, and airlines have decided to be super-careful about comping them to secure loyalty. And in general, businesses are very loath to comp things that can be sold for a bundle, even where there's a brand loyalty benefit.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 8:35 am
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
Is it possible that there is a significant preference for some consumers to fly UA internationally as opposed to partners, especially after the introduction of Polaris?

That would explain just about everything- they can charge a premium because they get it.

Another possibility is they make more money selling TOD upgrades than upgrading FF'ers.
If I had to connect anyway for an international (i.e. ex NA destination), and leaving aside the importance of accumulating MP on UA metal, the Polaris product isn't better than Air Canada through Toronto - so if there is a price differential, I can see why AC is an attractive option.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 8:08 am
  #54  
 
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If UA can get people to pay 3 times the competitor's price for the same flight time and connections, theyll do it.

I now dont bother with UAs business class offerings on long haul flights. From Houston UA is frequently triple the price of competitors for the same aircraft/class/connection times.

I suspect that much of UAs business class pricing is driven by people who arent ultimately paying for the tickets or who have deep discounts on tickets.

Im far less irritated by UA now that I use them when they are price competitive only. So what if Im only Silver or Gold or I make MM a year later than I would otherwise Im still flying in the front and with the same connections and Im paying thousands less per year. Last year, had I flown UA long haul business class exclusively, on just 3 transcontinental roundtrips, I would have paid 9k more.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 9:30 am
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
You're right - my memory is shot!

Wonder how long it will take UA to fix the "glitch" blocking SQ, TAP and Thai award bookings?
I predict at least six months. UA must be making a profit on it somehow and will not "fix it" too quickly.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 12:36 pm
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post

There is no incentive for UA to make additional saver award space available so long as DL and AA offer even worse options.
Former UA FF here, AA EXP now. I don't see how AAdvantage is worse. I can and do fly mostly on partners. Flying J on BA/IB/AY earns 2X EQM and the $ spent on partners counts towards EQD qualification for status. The award chart isn't as great as it used to be with 62.5k CX F to HKG from N.America, but it still beats UA's chart handily. I've also already managed to burn 4 SWU on upcoming flights, including a roundtrip to Europe during peak summer season.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 1:01 pm
  #57  
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
It does mean at least 9, but it also doesn't necessarily mean any more than 9.

And it certainly doesn't mean at least 18, regardless of there being an eligible P fare currently published.
@mduell: He/she was making the point that if there is P9, there is likely at least J18 (i.e., if they are willing to sell 9 P seats, there is very likely more than 9 available for full-fare business class).

I don't know if this is true, but it seems reasonable to me.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 1:33 pm
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by J S View Post
@mduell: He/she was making the point that if there is P9, there is likely at least J18 (i.e., if they are willing to sell 9 P seats, there is very likely more than 9 available for full-fare business class).

I don't know if this is true, but it seems reasonable to me.
No, it's not true that P9 means J>9. It means J>=9. A flight can be booked 41/50 and the inventory can be J9 ... P9. It means they are willing to sell 9 P fare tickets, and they are willing to sell 9 J fare tickets, but it does not mean they are willing to sell 9 P fare tickets and 9 J fare tickets.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 7:39 pm
  #59  
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
No, it's not true that P9 means J>9. It means J>=9. A flight can be booked 41/50 and the inventory can be J9 ... P9. It means they are willing to sell 9 P fare tickets, and they are willing to sell 9 J fare tickets, but it does not mean they are willing to sell 9 P fare tickets and 9 J fare tickets.
I think we all understand the logic, hence my use of the work "likely."
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Old Feb 13, 19, 11:13 pm
  #60  
 
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I rarely buy last minute business class fares (once a year or so). When I do, from IAH, I have found that UA has never been competitive in terms of price, and things have only gotten worse. You might be able to find a $4K to $5K fare across the pond in Turkish or Swiss, whereas UA is 2X that. I suspect they charge this because they can, and there are a lot of locked-in corporate customers or those who will only fly a US-flagged carrier. Can't blame them for charging so much if it works for them.

If you have a lot of flexibility, you purchase way in advance, and you are willing to leave from any major US gateway, you can still do pretty well on UA in business, IMO. Went to India this last Christmas, Jakarta the Christmas before that, India the Christmas before, and the fares were all quite reasonable.
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