United Airlines announces updates for the 2011/2012 Mileage Plus program

Today, United Airlines announced updates to the Mileage Plus program for 2011 and 2012.  Just about every blogger has already posted their thoughts, and here are mine:

Update: EQM and EQS earned in both Mileage Plus and OnePass count toward 2012 status. This is non-news in my opinion, and has always been silently expected. They’re just stating the obvious, meaning, the elite qualifying miles and segments you accrue in 2011 on either United or Continental will be combined into the unified program to begin in 2012.  Makes total sense.

Update: Elite members can earn unlimited Regional Upgrades. Sounds nice, but this change rubs a lot of 1Ks the wrong way, myself included.  It really depends how much you fly, actually, and for those like me who fly between 100,000 and 124,999 miles each year, you’ll likely be losing out on 4 CR1s (Confirmed Regional Upgrades) out of the 8 you’re used to.  This assumes, of course, you’d normally hit the 10,000 mile qualification each quarter as the program currently requires.  The updated rule will now only disburse two CR1s as soon as you reach 75,000 EQM (or 90 EQS), and then two more for each additional 25,000 EQM (30 EQS) during the program year.  I’d have to earn at least 150,000 EQM next year to earn the 8 I’m used to, and that will be a stretchI will happily retract my displeasure with this update should a 2011 DEQM promo or some type of 2010 rollover EQM occur.

This change is great news for people that hit the 75,000 EQM next year that have never earned CR1s previously, especially the high-mileage Premier Executives who normally accrue between 75,000 and 100,000 EQM.

It was this time last year, actually, we almost lost CR1s entirely.  United retracted their total elimination of CR1s after being inundated by calls and emails from angry 1Ks.  Maybe I should just shut up and be thankful they’re still around!

Update: 1k qualification. Major downgrade to those of you who earn 1K via segments.  You would need to hit 120 segments next year to remain 1K for 2012.  Ouch!

Update: Receive Systemwide Upgrades at 100,000 EQM (120 EQS). Worded differently, system wide upgrades will post to your account as soon as you hit each threshold.  Well, this sort-of makes sense.  We’d normally have to wait until January 1st to receive our first 6 for re-qualifying as a 1K.  No complaints from me.

Update: By mid-2012, Premier Executive members who earn 75,000 EQM or 90 EQS will have upgrade priority. This is sort of status-quo for the 75,000 EQM-ers from Continental, but adds a 4th mileage qualifying level to the standard United scheme.  What’s it going to be called?  Premier Executive Plus?  1P+? 1<K? Or will the new United come up with some other status names for each level?  Are they going to line up with Delta’s levels eventually?  Who knows at this point, and a lot can change before 2012.

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