Earlier today, I quickly posted the news that United Airlines will introduce a new Premier Qualifying Dollar (PQD) revenue requirement in 2014 to maintain or achieve elite status, in addition to the normal mileage requisites. It didn’t come as a shock to me and I promised to share more of my thoughts about the change.
First, here are two things you won’t hear me say:
- “Screw you United, I’m status matching to American!” Tick tock. It’s all but certain that American, especially with the new US Airways-heavy management team, will implement a similar revenue policy. And my bet is that it’ll come sooner rather than later (as in… similarly announced beginning in 2014 for 2015 status).
- “How can you do this to me? I fly exclusively with you 100,000 miles+ every year!” While I’ve enjoyed the perks of easy to attain top-tier status on cheap fares (especially in 2008 and 2009), I fully appreciate that airlines should focus on rewarding fliers who contribute the most to their bottom lines. It’s been a fun ride, but I get it.
A hard-target dollar requirement tied to each elite tier is only the beginning of United’s revenue-based approach, in my opinion.
What I see happening next is that United (and other U.S. airlines for that matter) will reduce the Premier Qualifying Miles/Segments (PQM/PQS) earned on low fare-class tickets, such as L, K, G and N (I outlined the revenue fare classes in this post). It would be a double-whammy of sorts making it harder to hit the PQM target on top of PQD for status, but I bet it’ll happen eventually.
Another potential change is that mileage redemptions could turn revenue-based. While I’ve accepted my fate for the elite status changes, this would be painful to swallow. Mostly because I’m sitting on a large stash of MileagePlus miles right now and the amount required for an international first class award would likely be exorbitant compared to today’s levels (or similar to a standard Delta award today ).
My personal shining light in all of this is that I should lock-in lifetime Premier Gold (and Star Alliance Gold) status with United this year being only 16,402 miles away.
How will you fare under the new system and am I crazy for postulating it’s only the beginning?
– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.