With no advance notice to members, United Airlines decreased the elite-qualifying mileage and segment earning rates in premium cabins, including first, business, premium economy and full-fare economy, on several partner airlines. In some cases, members will now be earning 33 percent fewer elite-qualifying miles, from 150 percent of miles flown to 100 percent of miles flown.
The partner airlines that now only offer 100 percent of elite-qualifying miles and segments flown include Air New Zealand (A, B, C, D, E, J, O, U, Y, Z), Asiana (A, B, C, D, F, J, Y, Z), Croatia Airlines (A, B, C, D, F, Y, Z), Egyptair (A, B, C, D, F, J, Y, Z), LOT Polish (A, C, D, P, Z), Singapore (A, C, D, F, J, P, R, S, Y, Z), South African Airways (B, C, D, H, J, K, M, Q, S, Y, Z), TAM (A, B, C, D, F, J, Y, Z), TAP Air Portugal (B, C, D, J, Y, Z), Thai Airways (A, B, C, D, F, J, P, U, Y, Z) and Turkish (C, D). The earning rates for partner airlines Air Canada, All Nippon Airways, Austrian, Brussels, Copa, Lufthansa, SAS, SWISS and US Airways remain the same.
Bottom line: United should have announced these changes in advance so members would know beforehand about the change in elite-qualifying mileage and point earning rates. A few days after the announcement, United representative Shannon Kelly, Director, Customer Insights, posted about the change on Milepoint, explaining the reasoning behind the change. She wrote, “In March 2012, when we migrated to a single system, we unintentionally increased PQM and PQS earnings for some of our partners to our former OnePass levels, instead of taking them to their intended MileagePlus levels. While these higher earning levels remained in effect for the remainder of 2012, we are now reinstating the PQM/PQS earning rates for the following carriers and fare classes to 100 percent as of Jan. 1, 2013.”
Check the fare class and associated earn rate on partner airlines before booking your ticket so you know how many miles you’ll be earning for your flights.