Poll: Should Award Redemptions for Others Inherit Your Status?

I’ve pulled myself away from my irritation over United’s fare class availability removal long enough to read another Flyertalk thread that got me thinking. And I have a quick poll at the bottom of this post asking for your opinion.

My parents recently returned from a trip I booked for them on my miles. A new perk (glitch) with the conversion from United’s Apollo to Continental’s SHARES reservations system allowed them to fly under my Premier 1K status. I was able to get them better seats and they enjoyed complimentary checked bags, priority security, boarding group 1, etc.

I was thrilled. What a great new benefit (inability to inhibit) with the merger. My bolded parentheticals are that way because I believe this is a SHARES issue whereby travelers flying on a sponsor’s miles inherit their status out of the system’s inability to differentiate. (Someone correct me if I’m wrong – is that the way it worked for pre-merger Continental fliers?) And I have a feeling this isn’t the way United wants it.

Anyway, I thought it was great that my non-“Frequently Flying” parents were able to enjoy some of my perks. As it turned out, they flew economy outbound and first class on the return. (I know… I’m a bad son… they didn’t get first both ways). As such, the extra perks under my status only really applied to the outbound since they would have gotten them anyway on the return for being first class passengers.

But then I read the Flyertalk thread. It initially reported that inherited award users no longer fly under the sponsors’ status. It was later corrected to reveal that they still do, but is it necessarily a good thing?

In my selfish example, yes… I was incredibly happy my parents had extra perks. But if the situation were reversed – where my non-status parents booked me a trip with their miles – I’d hate to fly as a “kettle” when I have status with the airline. Don’t flame me… yes, it would still be a wonderful gift, but I hope you get my drift at the same time.

So what do you think? Should award redemptions for others inherit the status of the bookee?

[poll id=”8″]



  1. I don’t know how the United UG program works, but what about those lesser status people who were flying that day they got upgraded? Are you telling me that passengers who never fly and never earn status can get a UG over those that do because they inherited the gifter’s award status?

    • @Truthiness: Well, only GS members can upgrade award tickets, so yes… those who were sponsored by a GS can indeed get upgrades as they’re flying under that status. I’d have to imagine the population of such on any given flight would be negligible. But yes.

  2. Darren,
    If you have the United Explorer card, you are eligible for CPUs on award tickets. I don’t think that carries over to tickets bought from an Explorer holder’s account though.

  3. For me it’s conditional

    If the status holder is traveling together, then the other award Tix should most definitely inherit

    But I don’t want some spoiled brat have higher upgrade priority than me just because his third uncle twice removed is a 1K

  4. @Kris and @Darren,

    The CPU-on-award benefit *does* carry over to tickets bought from an elite cardholder’s account. My mother has been upgraded (and gotten lounge access) on award tickets booked from my account (I have the Club visa), and other FTers have reported the same thing.

    I do like the benefit, although I have to admit that it seems a little unjust. And, while I would be willing (in exchange) to accept *not* getting my status benefits while flying on somebody else’s miles (although I don’t expect this to happen), it’s not a price I have to pay — if you are an elite flying on a GM’s miles, you can still use your MP # to override and get your benefits.

    • @Robin @Kris: Thanks for the info Robin – I forgot credit cardholders got the benefit. And yep, I guess you could easily override the MP# with your own for the benefits.

  5. Last week I used my miles to get my crew froom multiple destinations LAX, CLE, LGA ORD and they all got upgraded as GLOBAL SERVICES status and all got upgraded ahead of whoever else was flying on the same flights. I am uncertain as to how I should feel about the situation, being a GS passenger and having once sat in a middle seat in coach while a pilot sat in F Class. Oh then i was just a 1K and pilots owned the airline and bankrupted it soon after as I recall.
    The whole upgrade thing has turned into chaos but for two days my crew got to see how the other half live without personally ever choosing United for themselves which is always my first choice. Now they LOVE United but what will they get when they check in next time and sit in coach with all the grumbling Premiers and people who board before them because they have a credit card.
    I ALWAYS get on last so I don’t have to see them unload all the carry-on bags or stuff them into that closet that used to be for jackets.
    Maybe they will figure it all out but for now I am enjoying all the new faces at the airline.
    Peter Noone Happy `UA customer with no carry-on baggage ( I am foolish in my trust to ever see my baggage again but isn’t that why they have mens wearhouses near all the airports)?

  6. I can verify that this is TRUE! Booked my Mom using UA miles on Lufthansa BOS-MUC-BCN/VCE-FRA-BOS, where Dad was on a paid ticket on their way to/from a Mediterranean cruise. I had UA Gold at the time. On check-in, they said, “I see that your sponsor (point giver, I guess!) is a United Premier Gold and Star Alliance Gold traveler. There’s no charge for your additional bag, and please enjoy our lounge here and in Munich.” They had a wonderful time, and I love making my folks happy.

  7. Yes, awards I book for friends get CPUed all the time. Issuing FFN’s status carried to pax on pmCO as well, so def possible that they intend it. Not holding my breath, though. They just closed a different, very lucrative glitch… *sigh*

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