When United Airlines frequent flyer George Lagen earned one million MileagePlus miles, he expected to receive annual regional confirmed upgrades, 100 percent bonus miles on all flights and additional elite benefits. When United Airlines modified its Million Miler program, however, the perks promised to those who have flown one million miles or more on United changed. Under the old program, members who flew one million miles would receive lifetime Premier Executive status (the second elite level in a three-tiered program), two annual regional upgrades and three systemwide upgrades upon qualification. Now, Million Milers receive Premier Gold status, the second elite level of a four-tiered program that has a 50 percent earning bonus, and no annual upgrades. Lagen has filed a class action lawsuit and claims that Million Milers suffered a “severe cut in benefits” and wants United to reinstate the benefits previously offered.
Bottom line: While it’s true that Million Milers no longer receive 100 percent bonus miles or annual upgrades, what isn’t mentioned in the lawsuit are the new benefits that United added to the elite program, such as the ability to upgrade a partner to your elite status and reach higher lifetime status levels, including lifetime Global Services, at four million miles.