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Consolidated Global Services Thread: Benefits, Questions, Experiences [2022]

Consolidated Global Services Thread: Benefits, Questions, Experiences [2022]

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Old Aug 9, 22, 10:33 am   -   Wikipost
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United Global Services ("GS") is the highest tier of MileagePlus elite status. It is by invitation only, reviewed annually -- the invite criteria is not public but seems to require substantial annual spending with UA both in terms of absolute dollar amounts and purchasing higher fare classes (higher cpm - cents per mile). There are also reports of GS status being comped by UA Marketing to VIPs in companies who sign corporate travel deals with UA, and also to those individuals that purchase an annual PassPlus enrollment of $50k or greater. The sole published way to qualify is to become a 4MM, having flown 4 million BIS miles on UA metal (plus additional grandfathered credits at the time of the UA/CO merger).
GS have enhanced services / benefits over 1Ks. There is little said publicly by UA on GS benefits and/or qualification.
Last year's thread, Consolidated Global Services Thread - Qualifications, Benefits and Q & A [2021]


Known facts concerning qualification and eligibility from United:
Quote:
Global Services recognizes the extraordinary dedication of our top flyers. We consider a number of factors beyond the usual Premier-qualifying criteria.
We look at your travel spend on United-operated flights relative to that of other top Premier flyers over recent consecutive years.
Usually, members invited to Global Services tend to consistently purchase premium cabins or fully refundable tickets.

Published Benefits
Full detail of published benefits can be found at https://mystatus.united.com/gs [MP credentials login required, existing GS only]
Shortlist (incremental/different to 1K):
  • Dedicated phone number with fastest pickup times, and generally by specially-trained GS agents. Some exceptions occur, especially during busy periods (such as when weather waivers are in effect)
  • Dedicated email address for MileagePlus and other inquiries, usually answered personally within hours
  • Dedicated check-in at main airport stations, including private Global Reception centers at major hubs, providing priority TSA security access. May bring guests/companions into Global Reception areas or dedicated GS checkin lanes who are traveling on same itinerary as GS member.
  • Instrument-supported upgrades (PlusPoints or miles) clear into PN class rather than PZ class for other elite tiers, which usually have much better availability. Instruments drawn from the GS member account and applied to other reservations will also clear into PN class.
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades (CPUs) cleared beginning 120 hours prior to flight departure (versus 96 hours for 1K) for GS member and up to one other traveling on same PNR
  • Highest-priority when waitlisted for Upgrades, Award Travel, and Sold-out Flight Availability. GS members clear before any other status level or full-fare customers.
  • Priority Boarding, among the first to board the aircraft (currently after unaccompanied minors, people with disabilities and/or need more time boarding, Active-Duty Military, and prior to families with children under age of 2)
  • Priority handling in event of IRROPS, including next flight guarantee in case of re-accommodation, overseen by dedicated team of location-based GS Customer Service Agents (identified via gold scarves/ties)
  • Mercedes-Benz Tarmac Transfer for tight connections between flights at major hubs (cannot be requested in advance)
  • Access to United Arrivals Lounge at SFO when arriving from international flight, regardless of cabin class (no guests permitted) Closed
  • Access to Arrivals Lounge at LHR T2 when arriving from inbound UA-operated intercontinental flight, regardless of cabin (no guests permitted, must present Boarding Pass or physical GS card)
  • Access to Lufthansa / Swiss Welcome (arrival) Lounges in FRA and ZRH for same-day inbound UA intercontinental flight, regardless of cabin (no guests permitted, must present physical GS card)
  • Effective January 2021, GS members who do not have a United Club membership may access United Clubs on domestic itineraries, but no guests are permitted.
Additional Known Award and Upgrade Benefits (many unpublished)

Most benefits noted below require calling a GS agent:
  • GS can create saver economy award space (XN) if T inventory is available. United-operated flights only. Update 12 Dec 2018: Only for GS member + 1 companion.
  • GS can create saver business award space (IN) if PZ inventory is available. United-operated flights only. Update 12 Dec 2018: Only for GS member + 1 companion.
  • GS can upgrade economy awards (XN or YN) into Business / First with PlusPoints if PN inventory is available. United-operated flights only. Can now be completed online/via the app, in most circumstances.
  • GS can confirm any waitlisted instrument-supported upgrade (miles/co-pay or PlusPoints) within T-72 hours to flight departure provided at least 2 (two) J class premium seats remain for sale after the upgrade is processed and they are at the top of the waitlist.
  • GS are entitled to one Saver Award seat in the same class of service for one segment of the itinerary with their purchase of any premium cabin fare. GS agents can open space if it is not available provided that at least 2 seats remain for sale afterwards. United-operated flights only.
  • GS can upgrade a companion with an instrument (PlusPoints or miles) from Economy to Business / First when flying on a paid premium cabin fare, even if PZ or PN is not available, as long as J > 2 after upgrade processed. Companion needs to be ticketed in W class or higher on international cash fare itineraries, or ticketed in X/XN for upgrades from award tickets.
  • (Note: Only ONE of the two above options can be exercised per premium fare purchased, and for one segment in the itinerary, per caveats noted below. GS traveler must remain in same itinerary as companion)
  • GS can buy up from Basic Economy fares, which is usually forbidden
  • GS can access VIP Lounges (former Global First Lounges) in NRT, LHR, and HKG when booked in Polaris Business on an international itinerary. One guest permitted (two guests if a United Club member). Not accessed if booked in United Economy. (Note: VIP Lounges in NRT and HKG remain closed due to Covid-19; LHR VIP now open.)
Reported caveats & YMMV situations on unpublished benefits
  • Post 12/12/2018, agents have been instructed to grant only one "exception" when opening award space for a companion. Thus, you can open T->XN for a companion, or you can force a companion upgrade into PN, but you can't convert T->XN and then force clear an upgrade into PN. Some have reported success by requesting this in two separate calls.
  • Some agents will allow GS to open economy award space for a companion to allow for an upgrade with an instrument, even if XN or T are unavailable
  • According to GS Customer Service, a GS on a paid coach fare using an instrument will clear into Polaris business before a lower-status passenger with a paid PremiumPlus fare (i.e. O, A, R). In other words, for example, a paid O, A, R for a 1K will not give higher priority than a GS with a W fare if both are using 40 PlusPoints. This is true even on the gate waitlist.
  • Post 12/12/2019, agents have been instructed that they can only grant a companion exception for one segment per round trip journey. Thus, if you have a roundtrip premium fare, they will only open saver space, or force an upgrade, for one segment. This means you must either waitlist (if upgrading) or use a standard award, for the remaining segments.
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Old Jun 11, 22, 9:58 pm
  #571  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NYC / TYO / Up in the Air
Programs: UA GS 1.5MM, AA 2MM, EK, BA, SQ, CX, Marriot LT, Accor P
Posts: 4,993
Originally Posted by EWRFlyerAL View Post
I have to give the SFO GS lobby agents kudos. I was going to miss my flight due to a meeting running late. I did a change through the app but only economy was available (I was on a Z fare). I accepted the economy fare but when I went through the lobby I asked about the one open seat in F. They made a call and got the fare bucket opened (only J was available). With the change to economy, I was #1 on the upgrade standby list but happy I didn't have to deal with that since I had originally purchased a first class fare. This was great service. They were friendly and happy to help. It's been a while but nice when it happens.
Totally agree -- but a few years back this would have been confirmed on the way to the airport -- and you probably would have been met by a GS agent at the curb - or waiting for you in the GS lobby -- I am shocked by how much degradation in the program seems to be so easily accepted by everyone -- I mean we are happy when we get good service -- and just expect the now usual awful?
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Old Jun 12, 22, 12:52 am
  #572  
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Originally Posted by bmwe92fan View Post
Totally agree -- but a few years back this would have been confirmed on the way to the airport -- and you probably would have been met by a GS agent at the curb - or waiting for you in the GS lobby -- I am shocked by how much degradation in the program seems to be so easily accepted by everyone -- I mean we are happy when we get good service -- and just expect the now usual awful?
Many of the most senior and knowledgeable GS folks retired with the CV-19 incentives to reduce staff. UA thought it was fine.

David
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DELee is offline  
Old Jun 12, 22, 7:18 am
  #573  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Doylestown/Charlotte
Programs: UAL GS & Million M; Delta Gold Medallion (2 mio +); American; Hyatt Platinum Passport, Omni Platinum
Posts: 1,339
I wrote the GlobalServices “hotline” last Tuesday about an incident that happened in security on a return flight to the US. No response received at all…radio silence. Think they just do not care anymore
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Old Jun 12, 22, 8:04 am
  #574  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: CLE
Programs: UA GS+LT UC, AA LT PLT, Fairmont LT PLT, SPG PLT, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Diamond, Avis CHM.
Posts: 4,383
Originally Posted by greenpau View Post
Im consistently getting 10-15 minute wait time announcements now in the contact center line, no matter the time of day or operational conditions. Same with others?

One of this threads very favorite GS Agents, C******, told me this evening that shes moving to a new corporate travel desk and leaving the GS desk after 23 years. She was part of the original Dearborn team. I told her wed miss her terribly and appreciated her so much. She reminisced about how absolutely everything has changed with the GS program - both the rules and procedures on the company side, but also the friendliness and expectations of the customer.
Huge loss for GS. Competent agents are getting harder and harder to come by and she was the best.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 8:58 am
  #575  
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Illinois
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Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post
Huge loss for GS. Competent agents are getting harder and harder to come by and she was the best.
Agreed. I was so glad when she answered a call. She knew what she was doing. Really going to miss her.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 9:11 am
  #576  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Programs: UA LT GS | UA LT Club | Marriott LT Titanium
Posts: 1,008
Originally Posted by Dyce View Post
It's not hyperbolic when you point to 'major benefits' that don't exist the vast majority of the time. Try booking a trip using PP to upgrade at time of booking... on dates you want to fly. Or a companion upgrade ROUND TRIP. And don't waste time finding the one example that exists three months from now on a Tuesday at 11:59pm... anyone that finds a guaranteed upgrade at the time THEY want to travel is most fortunate. And whatever happened to Skip The Waitlist? I've never seen that option, so while you may find an example, it's infrequent to say the least.

I suspect a vast majority of GS are so because they buy several business class international tickets each year. I get treated as well, if not better, as a paying business class passenger on most airlines other than United, even when I'm flying up front on United as a GS. (note the guarantee of my first choice of slop in United business is not a 'value').

Where GS could/would add value to me is upgrades, and additional flexibility when booking personal travel. But I'm fortunate to have reached a point in life where I'm going to book first, as long as the price isn't extortionate. For example - I'm looking at flights to Costa Rica next winter... $2K in business on United, $1.3K/ticket on American. Not ONE business seat is sold/seat reserved on the United flights I want to book. If I could buy the $2K ticket for my self and open round trip business saver for my companion I would. But no way am I playing the upgrade lottery. Nope... American gets my $2.6K for 2X guaranteed business class seats and I'll get treated exactly the same as if I had spent $4K on United.

"GS are entitled to one Saver Award seat in the same class of service for one segment of the itinerary with their purchase of any premium cabin fare.
GS agents can open space if it is not available provided that at least 2 seats remain for sale afterwards. United-operated flights only."
It's laughable that someone at United thought removing the round trip part of this 'benefit' would be a good idea. Now it's not even one direction, it's one SEGMENT! This is so United. This ONE perk alone (if round trip) would make me appreciate my GS status. but ONE SEGMENT? This is why I say it's no value anymore. It's not. Value is the return benefits in relation to your spend. The miniscule incremental increase in benefits simply doesn't justify (for me) longer connections, lower service levels, etc.

Why do I have to call T-72 to force through an upgrade as long as I'm first on the list, there's J2 or more afterwards, the call agent is having a good day, and whatever hoop is new this week. Why doesn't it just process automatically?

I used to book United without consideration of other airlines because (don't laugh) I thought I'd be a valued customer. Yet we're not. Net result is I no longer fly exclusively United. Yes GS may have more benefits than lower tier status levels, but unicorn fare levels that are rarer and rarer, inflated mileage redemption tickets, one segment availability, and the standard "upgrade waitlist while we do our best to sell that ticket to literally anyone else on the plane for $49+".

Pointing out that PN is a great benefit when 99.9% of the time PN=0 is no value to me. GS lobbies? Whoop-de-doo... CLEAR is normally quicker - which I get via more than one of my credit cards. Lounge access - while appreciated is also achievable via a credit card, or negated by access to other lounges, or moot because I'm flying international business. In fact for me, in the current aviation consumer environment, playing the credit card game correctly means there's no longer a need to worry about Airline status. And if you do that, GS has no value.
All I read here is long list of mild inconveniences that are mainly a function of a post-covid surge and a huge backlog of grandfathered elites.

1. PN: on Feb 1, tens of thousands of 1Ks will be downgraded and millions of PP will expire. At that point UA will reinstate PN.
2. STW: once the PPs are purged, STW should return and the companion upgrade will be bookable via STW.
3. Fares: UA hubs sit in corporate rich regions where those companies have negotiated pricing with United. So the UA $2K vs AA $1200 on SF to Costa Rica, is really 2K - 40% Apple discount to United. So if you're flying on your own dime, it's simply going to cost you more, from UA hubs. Not new, this dynamic has been in place for over a decade.
4. Clear vs Lobby: clear won't check your bags 🙂
Hang in there GS. Happy times are 6 months away!
spartacusmcfly is offline  
Old Jun 12, 22, 9:57 am
  #577  
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Programs: United 4MM GS, Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 206
Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
All I read here is long list of mild inconveniences that are mainly a function of a post-covid surge and a huge backlog of grandfathered elites.

1. PN: on Feb 1, tens of thousands of 1Ks will be downgraded and millions of PP will expire. At that point UA will reinstate PN.
2. STW: once the PPs are purged, STW should return and the companion upgrade will be bookable via STW.
3. Fares: UA hubs sit in corporate rich regions where those companies have negotiated pricing with United. So the UA $2K vs AA $1200 on SF to Costa Rica, is really 2K - 40% Apple discount to United. So if you're flying on your own dime, it's simply going to cost you more, from UA hubs. Not new, this dynamic has been in place for over a decade.
4. Clear vs Lobby: clear won't check your bags 🙂
Hang in there GS. Happy times are 6 months away!
Sorry but i'm with Dyce on this one. 35 years of elite with both United and Continental and Lifetime GS like you are but the level of service has fallen dramatically, benefits have been reduced and i have NO confidence any of it will improve substantially. For the first time ever i am intentionally booking away from United for international premium travel. They have already lost $30K this year to other carriers
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Old Jun 12, 22, 11:23 am
  #578  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Houston
Programs: UA GS 2MM/Lifetime UC, QFF Platinum, HH Diamond, HawaiianMiles
Posts: 7,581
BOS-IAH today. There were a few wheelchairs, then GA got on mic, saying Global Services 1K. Skipped military and families with kids under 2. Mega scrum at gate
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Old Jun 12, 22, 12:53 pm
  #579  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Programs: UA LT GS | UA LT Club | Marriott LT Titanium
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Originally Posted by LifetimeGS View Post
Sorry but i'm with Dyce on this one. 35 years of elite with both United and Continental and Lifetime GS like you are but the level of service has fallen dramatically, benefits have been reduced and i have NO confidence any of it will improve substantially. For the first time ever i am intentionally booking away from United for international premium travel. They have already lost $30K this year to other carriers
Not saying service hasn't suffered, it has. I'm simply saying the reason is a glut of elite members and elite currency. By Feb 1, 1K membership will get cut by 33%+ and PP currency slashed by 70%+.

At that point, if things like PN availability don't reopen and IRROPS support improve, then UA is clearly changing its business model, in which case it's ok for us also to reconsider our relationship with UA.

We'll all know in roughly 6 months...
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Old Jun 12, 22, 1:35 pm
  #580  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Houston
Programs: UA GS 2MM/Lifetime UC, QFF Platinum, HH Diamond, HawaiianMiles
Posts: 7,581
Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
By Feb 1, 1K membership will get cut by 33%+
Really? Qualification for 1K still a very low bar, maybe by Feb 1 2024
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Old Jun 12, 22, 2:08 pm
  #581  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Programs: UA GS+LT UC, AA LT PLT, Fairmont LT PLT, SPG PLT, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Diamond, Avis CHM.
Posts: 4,383
Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
All I read here is long list of mild inconveniences that are mainly a function of a post-covid surge and a huge backlog of grandfathered elites.

1. PN: on Feb 1, tens of thousands of 1Ks will be downgraded and millions of PP will expire. At that point UA will reinstate PN.
2. STW: once the PPs are purged, STW should return and the companion upgrade will be bookable via STW.
3. Fares: UA hubs sit in corporate rich regions where those companies have negotiated pricing with United. So the UA $2K vs AA $1200 on SF to Costa Rica, is really 2K - 40% Apple discount to United. So if you're flying on your own dime, it's simply going to cost you more, from UA hubs. Not new, this dynamic has been in place for over a decade.
4. Clear vs Lobby: clear won't check your bags 🙂
Hang in there GS. Happy times are 6 months away!
Wishful thinking. Besides, 1K clears into PZ, not PN, so I'm not following the logic.
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ctownflyer is offline  
Old Jun 12, 22, 3:18 pm
  #582  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Programs: UA LT GS | UA LT Club | Marriott LT Titanium
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Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post
Wishful thinking. Besides, 1K clears into PZ, not PN, so I'm not following the logic.
1. Why do the phone lines have waits? Because the call centers aren't scaling to handle all the temporary 1Ks, just to fire them in Feb.
2. Why are IRROP service levels low, because there are so many elites, UA has abandoned even trying to be proactive.
3. GS are also flush with PP, so opening PN doesn't make sense as GS will hand out PPs like jelly beans.

The only way to reliably upgrade, on a flight with space, is the 3-day rule, which system-validates traveler is GS and PPs are from GS account.
spartacusmcfly is offline  
Old Jun 12, 22, 3:28 pm
  #583  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post
Huge loss for GS. Competent agents are getting harder and harder to come by and she was the best.
Say it aint so. She is the best! Helped me as recently as a month ago when a flight got cancelled and there were no seats available for 2 days until she did her magic and got me on the next flight - all in under three minutes!!!
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Old Jun 12, 22, 3:46 pm
  #584  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Westchester NY
Programs: UA GS 4+ MM
Posts: 349
Originally Posted by bmwe92fan View Post
Yes quite possibly! The GS agent didn't care about my PNR -- she cared about how my wife got to Tokyo (which was via ANA which I had to prove). If my wife had been upgraded from Y to J on the outbound, or if GS had opened space for her -- she would not have been upgraded travelling with me on the return flight. FYI -- FWIW my flights to / from Tokyo were purchased as two one ways....
If you are a GS million miler where your spouse has GS status, you could book yourself outbound in first and return in coach (preferably as two one ways). Then do the opposite for your spouse....book them in coach out and first return. That way each GS is using the companion upgrade perk once. I can't see how this would be denied. Of course, credit card billing could be an issue if your business pays for one RT first class fare. I haven't tried this yet, but am anxious to give it a whirl.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 4:43 pm
  #585  
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Originally Posted by kirkwoodj View Post
Really? Qualification for 1K still a very low bar, maybe by Feb 1 2024
Agreed. Assuming the $24k limit will come back for 2023 we'll see the purging Feb 2024. Can't wait for that to happen!

That said ... I am still seeing a lot of PN available ... maybe just the routes I am looking at?
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