United Airlines made an announcement today about negative changes hitting the program in 2015.
You would think that the airline would have something positive to announce to it’s frequent fliers, but apparently that is not the case.
United Premier Benefits Changing
Gold members lose the third bag, free Global Entry for Platinum and 1K members gone, mileage upgrades need copay on PS routes and award tickets issued by Premier members will not inherit the status for non-premier traveler.
Copa Partnership Ending
The partnership that United and MileagePlus has had with Copa had derived from the times when the airline was partly owned by Continental and used Onepass as its frequent flier program. When United and Continental merged, Copa continued to use MileagePlus as it’s frequent flier program.
Now, Copa has decided to launch its own program starting on July 1, 2015. From that date onward, United Premier members will lose the access to complimentary upgrades on the airline, no more preferred seating in the front rows of economy, Copa segments won’t count towards the four minimum that is required for MileagePlus status and no Premier qualifying dollars on Copa flights unless ticketed on United ticket stock.
United Premier Platinum and 1K members can continue (for now) to use RPU’s and GPU’s to upgrade on Copa flights.
The number of miles that you earn for Copa flights will change on March 1, 2015:
Here’s a comparison what you earn until February 28, 2015:
It was time for Copa to end its partnership with United’s MileagePlus. As I pointed out above, it was just a leftover from the time when the airline was partly owned by Continental. Now, the airline can start better rewarding those that fly with them.
Copa will comp some sort of status for MileagePlus members that fly with the airline a lot in the first half of the 2015. The status that is granted on July 1, 2015, will last for 16 months.
It is interesting to see what partnership the airline will have with hotels and airlines in the future. Let’s hope that their award chart is competitive and that they start selling miles ala Avianca. The airline will stay in Star Alliance.
It is truly sad to see all the negative changes that United is making to its program. It is like a death by thousands of cuts.