United recently announced a series of small changes that are most notable for elite members as the changes will have an effect on elite benefits. Effective April 15, 2015, the status of an elite member will no longer be extended when an elite member books an award ticket for another traveler. Premier travel benefits will be based on the Premier status of the traveler, not the person who booked using their miles, when traveling on award tickets on United and United Express operated flights.
Family members and spouses traveling on award tickets will not have access to Economy Plus seating (or Premier priority travel services such as priority check-in and priority boarding) unless the elite member is also traveling on award miles on the same reservation.
For more information on changes to Premier award travel benefits, visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?11866
Effective Feb. 1, 2015, Premier Gold elite members will no longer get a third checked bag for free and United will no longer offer a payment code to cover the cost of Global Entry Fees for Platinum, 1K and Global Services members. Eligible elite members may continue to request a payment code through Jan. 31, 2015.
For more information on changes to checked bag fees visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?11868 and read more on Global Entry compensation at http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?11869
Also effective Feb. 1, 2015, elite members will be charged a cash co-pay when using miles to upgrade on United’s premium service routes from New York (JFK ) to Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO). These routes were already excluded from complimentary elite upgrades, so now in addition to the miles required for an upgrade, elite members will pay a cash co-pay ranging from $75-$250 each way depending on the fare class. For more information on the changes to upgrades, visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?11867.
Bottom line: There’s no good news for United MileagePlus elite members with these changes.