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

Old Jan 1, 22, 12:08 am
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Last edit by: st530
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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Consolidated Global Services Thread: Benefits, Questions, Experiences [2022]

Old Sep 28, 22, 7:10 pm
  #1096  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Bucks County
Programs: UAL GS & Million M; Delta Gold Medallion (2 mio +); American; Hyatt Platinum Passport, Omni Platinum
Posts: 1,428
Originally Posted by aCavalierInCoach View Post
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.
True enough. I travel to Europe 5-7 times a year and Asia 2-3 times. Learning i can fly a lot better and cheaper on other carriers to Europe (6k v. 8-9k on mediocre Polaris) and now looking at Asia options. Im OK with those options
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manstein58 is offline  
Old Sep 28, 22, 8:57 pm
  #1097  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: US
Programs: UA GS 2MM
Posts: 1,656
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?
I agree that GS has been devalued. For me, however, I still value being able to get Saver awards out of T class and upgrade them with PPs when traveling on vacation. The one-segment companion upgrade is super frustrating, but remains better than nothing. And while I dont fly domestic very often, when I do I usually get upgraded.

SQ, BR and others offer service that is head-and-shoulders above UA. Ferragamo amenity kits, top-shelf liquors, edible multi-course meals are all things I wont get on UA. I had two SQ flights last week, actually, and you cant help but notice a difference from UA. Like I said, if I didnt get the perks above I would move 100% of my travel to other airlines. So GS, for what it is worth, is the only thing allowing UA to get my business.

Others have said GS costs UA a lot to operate. I am not so sure. There really isnt such a thing as GS-dedicated staff anymore. These agents wear many hats, which keeps productivity high. I suppose the few Lobbies and LHR lounge add operational cost, but these items are few and far between. Yes, allowing us to spend fewer miles or use upgrades on awards has the potential to cost them foregone revenue, but I also suspect inventory management protects them from real losses. Net, if there are others like me who stay only because GS - and I am sure there are - then the cost to operate the system is likely a lot less than the money they would otherwise lose.

Last edited by cmhua777; Sep 28, 22 at 9:30 pm
cmhua777 is offline  
Old Sep 29, 22, 9:48 am
  #1098  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: IAH & CMH
Programs: UA GS, UA MM, Marriott Ambassador, Hilton Diamond, Uber Platinum :)
Posts: 635
Originally Posted by aCavalierInCoach View Post
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.
Another way to look at it is how much incremental revenue are they losing? For me, in the past 12 months I've flown other airlines for the first time in over a decade. AND HAVE NO REGRETS. I get treated just as well in the front of Delta and American as I do on United... and on international airlines I have/had a better experience. Thus the incremental revenue they've lost this year from just me is $42K and counting. Yes, I still fly United when it makes sense, but GS devaluation and crappy food service onboard, is costing them some of my business. But hey, they've got the BE flyers to make up for it...
Dyce is offline  
Old Sep 29, 22, 1:08 pm
  #1099  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: HNL
Programs: UA GS4MM, MR LT Plat, Hilton Gold
Posts: 6,018
Originally Posted by Dyce View Post
I get treated just as well in the front of Delta and American as I do on United... and on international airlines I have/had a better experience.
Why wouldn't American and Delta treat you just as well?
HNLbasedFlyer is online now  
Old Sep 29, 22, 11:48 pm
  #1100  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Programs: UA LT GS | UA LT Club | Marriott LT Titanium
Posts: 1,107
Originally Posted by Dyce View Post
Another way to look at it is how much incremental revenue are they losing? For me, in the past 12 months I've flown other airlines for the first time in over a decade. AND HAVE NO REGRETS. I get treated just as well in the front of Delta and American as I do on United... and on international airlines I have/had a better experience. Thus the incremental revenue they've lost this year from just me is $42K and counting. Yes, I still fly United when it makes sense, but GS devaluation and crappy food service onboard, is costing them some of my business. But hey, they've got the BE flyers to make up for it...
I was at the reception UA held in San Francisco last night. I chatted with execs from sales as well as the three folks who run SFO, LAX, and Denver. They're quite happy with their current situation. Their forward loads look healthy and they're surprised at the resilience of the leisure traveler -- especially their willingness to pay for premium cabins. They specifically called out their Hawaii and LH Europe flights from the west coast as strong performers.

I don't think they're starved for high maintenance, $75K-100K/yr travelers. Yes, those folks sit atop the pyramid, but UA is starting to appreciate the breadth of the high-spending leisure segment of the pyramid.
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spartacusmcfly is offline  
Old Sep 30, 22, 2:03 am
  #1101  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SFO, TPE, HNL
Programs: UA GS 4MM, RCC life member (paid), Marriott Lifetime Titanium, Hyatt Globalist, CLEAR
Posts: 1,633
Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
They specifically called out their Hawaii and LH Europe flights from the west coast as strong performers.

I don't think they're starved for high maintenance, $75K-100K/yr travelers. Yes, those folks sit atop the pyramid, but UA is starting to appreciate the breadth of the high-spending leisure segment of the pyramid.
The SFO-HNL flights for the last several months have been full most of the time, and typically the domestic F fares have increased to $1.8K to $2.3K one way for flight hours < SFO-NYC, and often sold out a few days before departure. Mileage tickets for the <5 hour reclining F seats require almost the same as 12-13 hour Polaris flights SFO-TPE. Clearly a lot of high-spending tourists on board. Only once I was not No.1 on the UG waitlist, so these high fare tickets were mostly purchased by non-GS members.
PanAmWT is offline  
Old Sep 30, 22, 7:24 am
  #1102  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: West Orange, NJ
Programs: UA GS, HH Diamond, Hertz Pres.
Posts: 627
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.
My own anecdotal story:

My buddy and I flew to Scotland back in May. Ended up getting stuck an extra day in EDI due to mechanical. We were both at the Waldorf and it was going to run about $600 a night. I called the GS line and got someone who said, "Just book the rooms, we'll reimburse", but I asked for a supervisor. Got someone from Chicago, explained the room rates and he said the same thing.

When I got back home it took me a couple of weeks and one person from MP saying they only do $300 but I asked them to pull the call log as I had the name and time. I ended up with, once my friend sent an endorsement to United for his ETC's, two $1,200 ones for the flight delay and another $1,200 for the two rooms.

While they might have questioned it they did stand good to what I was told 100% so I did what any HVF does, I booked another TATL for Mrs. Augustus to go to London since she couldn't do Scotland.
AugustusM is offline  
Old Sep 30, 22, 1:53 pm
  #1103  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 30
Old-school GS service for the win!

Well Im happy to say at least today old-school Global Services service is alive and well! I was flying from Paris to Detroit via Dulles, and the Paris-Dulles flight was massively delayed and I would have missed my connection. No seats for sale to Newark or Chicago, but flight status showed they were not booked full. An amazing GS agent (shes already got gold stars on the agent list!) called to try to get be booked and when unsuccessful told me she would email GS in Paris to clear me into one of the flights. I said I just need enough notice to get to the airport in time, so please have someone call me if it clears. Amazingly, I got my wake-up call at 6am to tell me to head to the airport as I was going home through Newark and they would be waiting at check-in with my boarding passes. Surely enough that is exactly what happened and Im on my way home smoothly, comfortably and on-time. Above and beyond like old times. Wow!! Why I will continue to steer spend to United.
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chitraveler1975 is offline  
Old Sep 30, 22, 9:12 pm
  #1104  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Corvallis, Oregon, USA
Programs: UA GS (3MM); Hilton Lifetime Diamond; Marriott Lifetime Gold; AMEX Plat; Hertz Pres
Posts: 269
What is going on? Whenever I book an M, B, or Y domestic fare and PN>0, the web site offers me an instant upgrade, but the link does not work (takes me back to the united.com home page). In the past, I have just called GS and they took care of it. Called today TWICE and got agents who claimed they could not do anythying until 120 hours prior to the flight, which is totally wrong. Went to the app and got the upgrade, no problems. I guess I need to do everything through the app from now on, but something is not right with the GS agents.
Oregonflyer is offline  
Old Sep 30, 22, 10:04 pm
  #1105  
 
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: 5,319
Originally Posted by Oregonflyer View Post
What is going on? Whenever I book an M, B, or Y domestic fare and PN>0, the web site offers me an instant upgrade, but the link does not work (takes me back to the united.com home page). In the past, I have just called GS and they took care of it. Called today TWICE and got agents who claimed they could not do anythying until 120 hours prior to the flight, which is totally wrong. Went to the app and got the upgrade, no problems. I guess I need to do everything through the app from now on, but something is not right with the GS agents.
Unfortunately -- there are no more "GS" agents -- just some agents that have been trained to be "faux" GS agents to the over-entitled premium fliers UA used to care about....
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bmwe92fan is offline  
Old Oct 2, 22, 5:40 pm
  #1106  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: IAH & CMH
Programs: UA GS, UA MM, Marriott Ambassador, Hilton Diamond, Uber Platinum :)
Posts: 635
Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Why wouldn't American and Delta treat you just as well?
exactly my point
Dyce is offline  
Old Oct 2, 22, 6:59 pm
  #1107  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Bucks County
Programs: UAL GS & Million M; Delta Gold Medallion (2 mio +); American; Hyatt Platinum Passport, Omni Platinum
Posts: 1,428
Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
I was at the reception UA held in San Francisco last night. I chatted with execs from sales as well as the three folks who run SFO, LAX, and Denver. They're quite happy with their current situation. Their forward loads look healthy and they're surprised at the resilience of the leisure traveler -- especially their willingness to pay for premium cabins. They specifically called out their Hawaii and LH Europe flights from the west coast as strong performers.

I don't think they're starved for high maintenance, $75K-100K/yr travelers. Yes, those folks sit atop the pyramid, but UA is starting to appreciate the breadth of the high-spending leisure segment of the pyramid.
This might be a case of whistling past the graveyard. Demand in all of our markets is cratering. Sequence it: demand for consumer products goes first, then leisure spending, then?

Last edited by manstein58; Oct 3, 22 at 8:39 am Reason: Clarity
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Old Oct 3, 22, 8:45 am
  #1108  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Washington, DC
Programs: UA GS, Bonvoy Gold, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 62
Ultimately I think 2023 is going to be a bit of a reset - due to the pandemic, anecdotally it seems MP is top heavy at 1K and GS compared to a typical year given status extensions. This seems to be resulting in a GS experience similar to 1K in years past, and 1K experience similar to platinum or even gold, where upgrades are very difficult to come by.

The increased chance of an upgrade as a GS is nice but it's really the companion upgrade and no questions asked customer service (in my experience) compared to 1K that is the difference for me. I know GS has been devalued compared to past years (honestly what hotel/airline program hasn't?) but it's still worth it enough to me that I will push to fly United metal to EU and Asia wherever possible in an effort to keep GS.

Plus, I'll admit that I'm a sucker for the more frequent recognition as a GS pre- and in-flight, especially when traveling with 1K colleagues.

-311
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311Hokie is offline  
Old Oct 3, 22, 10:11 am
  #1109  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Programs: DYKWIA, UA GS/2MM, But I'm a "Diamond Guest"
Posts: 2,125
Originally Posted by Oregonflyer View Post
What is going on? Whenever I book an M, B, or Y domestic fare and PN>0, the web site offers me an instant upgrade, but the link does not work (takes me back to the united.com home page). In the past, I have just called GS and they took care of it. Called today TWICE and got agents who claimed they could not do anythying until 120 hours prior to the flight, which is totally wrong. Went to the app and got the upgrade, no problems. I guess I need to do everything through the app from now on, but something is not right with the GS agents.

I first encountered this bug over two years ago and reported it at the time. The solution, as you discovered, is to do it on your phone. For me that has worked every time.
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porciuscato is offline  
Old Oct 4, 22, 12:42 pm
  #1110  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Programs: UA GS MM, DL Plat, Mariott LT Plat/Ambassador, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Gold, National Executive
Posts: 898
Amazing service recovery and further service in PHL. I arrived and attempted to check a bag. The kiosk was acting wonky so I asked for assistance. The young woman behind the counter was chitchatting and not paying attention. When I asked for help she told me to use the kiosk and did not even know what GS status was (asked her colleague about the bag). When I went to the gate I was met by a premium agent (used to be a longtime IAD GS agent). She apologized for the check in agent and escorted us on the plane. The flight went mechanical and she already had us protected on the next flight and escorted us to the gate. Great service! I wish it was always like this. We were booked in F (on Z fares) and F was full on the new flight. Do I get a credit for fare difference? I've never asked for this before so wondering how it works.
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