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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 Nov 4, 22, 3:30 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 Sep 28, 22, 7:01 am
  #1081  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Doylestown
Programs: UAL GS & Million M; Delta Gold Medallion (2 mio +); American; Hyatt Platinum Passport, Omni Platinum
Posts: 1,384
Originally Posted by Gate45 View Post
Just wow.
Asking you to fly Y on a paid J ticket on a flight that has open J seats.
Iíd say thatís wrong for any customer, let alone a GS.
"GS" agent tried to pull the same bait & switch on me a week ago after POLARIS outbound to MXP cratered. Thankfully, an EWR-based agent worked issues through and got me on an outbound LH flight. GS is totally devalued today and (corporate) United does no care
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Old Sep 28, 22, 11:56 am
  #1082  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Programs: UA GS
Posts: 1,308
Vacation travel yesterday to SJD, received the breakfast pre-order email and completed it for myself and my better half. After takeoff, FA took orders front to back, got to us in the last row and said ďIt looks like they didnít cater your meals, sorry. I have waffles left, would you like themĒ? Neither of us eat waffles, so I declined and asked for something from the back. I was offered a Take off snack box and declined (8am flight). I told her to forget food and Iíll just have a mimosa. Guess what? No bubbles catered either. Pathetic performance from UA. I wrote in and got a canned response ďAs one of our most valued customers we will strive to do better blah blahĒ and a $200 ETC. I donít want or need the ETC, I need them to actually do a better, more consistent job.
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Old Sep 28, 22, 12:27 pm
  #1083  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Programs: United Global Services, Amtrak Select Executive
Posts: 3,688
It really is disturbing to read numerous examples of UA as a default treating its most lucrative flyers who spend in the neighborhood or above $50K per year as if they are the enemy, like once-a-year travelers on a Basic Economy ticket trying to sneak into Economy+.
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Old Sep 28, 22, 12:34 pm
  #1084  
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Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
It really is disturbing to read numerous examples of UA as a default treating its most lucrative flyers who spend in the neighborhood or above $50K per year as if they are the enemy, like once-a-year travelers on a Basic Economy ticket trying to sneak into Economy+.
"Let's see how loyal these folks are..."

David
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Old Sep 28, 22, 12:42 pm
  #1085  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: BOS, PVG
Programs: United Global Services and 1MM, Marriott Ambassador
Posts: 9,428
Originally Posted by limey1K View Post
Vacation travel yesterday to SJD, received the breakfast pre-order email and completed it for myself and my better half. After takeoff, FA took orders front to back, got to us in the last row and said ďIt looks like they didnít cater your meals, sorry. I have waffles left, would you like themĒ? Neither of us eat waffles, so I declined and asked for something from the back. I was offered a Take off snack box and declined (8am flight). I told her to forget food and Iíll just have a mimosa. Guess what? No bubbles catered either. Pathetic performance from UA. I wrote in and got a canned response ďAs one of our most valued customers we will strive to do better blah blahĒ and a $200 ETC. I donít want or need the ETC, I need them to actually do a better, more consistent job.

I would be happy with $200 ETC which would buy me a nice dinner at SJD
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Old Sep 28, 22, 1:03 pm
  #1086  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Programs: UA GS
Posts: 1,308
Originally Posted by kb1992 View Post
I would be happy with $200 ETC which would buy me a nice dinner at SJD
Donít get wrong, itíll get used but Iíd prefer some consistency. Now that I say that, they are consistently bad so maybe I need to rephrase that!
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Old Sep 28, 22, 1:09 pm
  #1087  
 
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: 4,404
Originally Posted by manstein58 View Post
"GS" agent tried to pull the same bait & switch on me a week ago after POLARIS outbound to MXP cratered. Thankfully, an EWR-based agent worked issues through and got me on an outbound LH flight. GS is totally devalued today and (corporate) United does no care
United certainly cares. There are deliberate orders from above to stop giving GS members any waivers or favors and to investigate before any (highly watered down) exception is granted.

UA clearly feels GS members are over-entitled and is happy to see them walk to AA CK/DL 360 if they don't like the Kutbacks.
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Old Sep 28, 22, 1:33 pm
  #1088  
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 581
Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post
United certainly cares. There are deliberate orders from above to stop giving GS members any waivers or favors and to investigate before any (highly watered down) exception is granted.

UA clearly feels GS members are over-entitled and is happy to see them walk to AA CK/DL 360 if they don't like the Kutbacks.
had a fairly long discussion about this with a long tenured employee at the LHR club (GS side). She is also frustrated with the degradation of benefits, consistency, etc. When the employees and the customers think the product/service has gone, all that’s left is the monopoly characteristics of airline service. Otherwise, given a choice, few of us would stick sround

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 28, 22 at 6:49 pm Reason: Using symbols, spaces or other methods to mask vulgarities is not allowed.
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Old Sep 28, 22, 1:54 pm
  #1089  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: HNL
Programs: UA GS4MM, MR LT Plat, Hilton Gold
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Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post

UA clearly feels GS members are over-entitled and is happy to see them walk to AA CK/DL 360 if they don't like the Kutbacks.
I think this is more about the emphasis on corporate contracts and keeping them happy (aggressive contracts) - and a deemphasis on individual flyers - they've decided, in my opinion even pre-pandemic they aren't going to focus on flyers who can choose their carrier but rather focus on the corporate buyers that lock flyers into UA or JV partners - for right or wrong, I think they've decided the cost to focus on individuals is too high of a bar and are going for the greater spend of corporate buyers.

So yes, I agree - I think UA thinks a subset of GS is overly entitled and they've reigned that in.
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Old Sep 28, 22, 2:33 pm
  #1090  
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: New York, NY
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
I think this is more about the emphasis on corporate contracts and keeping them happy (aggressive contracts) - and a deemphasis on individual flyers - they've decided, in my opinion even pre-pandemic they aren't going to focus on flyers who can choose their carrier but rather focus on the corporate buyers that lock flyers into UA or JV partners - for right or wrong, I think they've decided the cost to focus on individuals is too high of a bar and are going for the greater spend of corporate buyers.

So yes, I agree - I think UA thinks a subset of GS is overly entitled and they've reigned that in.
while I think your concept could make sense, the reality is most people spending $50k are doing it via OPM and through big corporate contracts. At my old firm (global consulting firm) many of our partners were GS - we had a ton of discretion in which airline we chose and united competed aggressively for our business within the construct of fairly equivalent corporate rates across the airlines. These days, corporate spend is down (lower, not zero) so united still needs to convince the big corporate fliers to choose them ó united knows the corp contract gets them in the door, but if you are flying enough to make GS, you are going to push for the airline you want to be on.
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Old Sep 28, 22, 3:06 pm
  #1091  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: US
Programs: UA GS 2MM
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Originally Posted by johnsmith View Post
while I think your concept could make sense, the reality is most people spending $50k are doing it via OPM and through big corporate contracts. At my old firm (global consulting firm) many of our partners were GS - we had a ton of discretion in which airline we chose and united competed aggressively for our business within the construct of fairly equivalent corporate rates across the airlines. These days, corporate spend is down (lower, not zero) so united still needs to convince the big corporate fliers to choose them ó united knows the corp contract gets them in the door, but if you are flying enough to make GS, you are going to push for the airline you want to be on.
I agree. I work for a company that does tons of business with United. But we also do tons of business with their competitors. I always have a choice of what airline to fly and many of my colleagues book away from UA because of poor service and experience. Even with our discount, UA is often not the cheapest on international trips.

As a GS, I get some benefits that I value. So I choose UA even when my colleagues book SQ, BR and others in search of better in-flight experiences. If I was to drop to 1K, I would instantly defect.
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Old Sep 28, 22, 3:44 pm
  #1092  
 
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.
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Originally Posted by cmhua777 View Post
I agree. I work for a company that does tons of business with United. But we also do tons of business with their competitors. I always have a choice of what airline to fly and many of my colleagues book away from UA because of poor service and experience. Even with our discount, UA is often not the cheapest on international trips.

As a GS, I get some benefits that I value. So I choose UA even when my colleagues book SQ, BR and others in search of better in-flight experiences. If I was to drop to 1K, I would instantly defect.
What benefits are you still getting as a UAGS that makes it worth putting up with UA service over SQ or BR?
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Old Sep 28, 22, 3:52 pm
  #1093  
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 581
Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post
What benefits are you still getting as a UAGS that makes it worth putting up with UA service over SQ or BR?
Easy answer for me - getting degraded by the day - In the past, converting T space to make it cheaper to take my family on vacation (now just me + 1), plus points to upgrade my family, esp on award tix (all kinds of bs around using plus points, only giving benefits on one part of the trip, etc) ó all of this made it ok for me to get a slightly subpar experience when I was traveling alone for work. Iíll deal with all kinds of crap when itís just me flying 8 hrs for work if the benefit is there when my family is going on vacation

plus, with GS (in the past) if I was in chicago for work and things went haywire, I knew GS would move mountains to get me home. That trust is being eroded every day when faux GS agents tell me all the reasons things canít be done or they donít know how to do it.
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Old Sep 28, 22, 4:06 pm
  #1094  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Originally Posted by johnsmith View Post
Easy answer for me - getting degraded by the day - In the past, converting T space to make it cheaper to take my family on vacation (now just me + 1), plus points to upgrade my family, esp on award tix (all kinds of bs around using plus points, only giving benefits on one part of the trip, etc) ó all of this made it ok for me to get a slightly subpar experience when I was traveling alone for work. Iíll deal with all kinds of crap when itís just me flying 8 hrs for work if the benefit is there when my family is going on vacation

plus, with GS (in the past) if I was in chicago for work and things went haywire, I knew GS would move mountains to get me home. That trust is being eroded every day when faux GS agents tell me all the reasons things canít be done or they donít know how to do it.
Sure, that value proposition was there in 2017. But what about today?
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Old Sep 28, 22, 7:04 pm
  #1095  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Northern California
Programs: I want to be free! Free!
Posts: 3,267
Supporting GS flyers is expensive. Upgrading award tickets, extra upgrades, extra saver awards, dedicated call line to deal with mostly non-revenue generating requests.

The question I suspect UA has changed its view on is: how much incremental revenue do we get from that? How many of our GS' are hub captives? Unwilling to change to another program anyway? And of the ones we lose by yeeting benefits that costly? Sure, they book full fare and that's lucrative -- but what if I can sell that seat as an upgrade or a non-refundable fare where I don't have to provide squat in terms of benefits to ma and pa? How often am I prevented from doing so because the GS cancelled or changed flights close-in?

I suspect with rising labor costs and fares, the math on all of the above has changed. UA is cutting out the fat from the GS program, and thinks (or is at least testing the proposition), that the GS' who actually change carriers due to this aren't sufficiently incrementally profitable to outweigh the costs.

It's annoying as a GS, but it's just business.
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