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Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Wandering Aramean, Aug 22, 2014.
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"That is cold, but it's warmer than winter in Chicago"
Thanks for posting, Wandering Aramean! It shows that Mr. Smisek is a good sport, and let's face it, smart of him to wear a "United Airlines" t-shirt while getting doused with a bucket of ice water!
Now I'll do my best to refrain from mentioning how much United Airlines customers get soaked by ancillary airlines fees...
Considering what he's done to and got in store for MileagePlus, it is about time he too got soaked!
I have no problem with what's changing next March...with my travel patterns and spend, I'll earn a hell of a lot more RDMs than I am now (double or more) and will have fewer 1Ks to compete with for upgrades.
Oh...and to bring the thread back to the topic, good for Jeff for participating and donating!
1. Simple math would show that most who would "double" their miles under the revenue-based system were probably not earning very many miles under the legacy system. Either that or they would be paying a lot more under the r-b.s. The larger picture, however, is that of most members being soaked.
2. The qualifications for making 1K or any other elite status level have not changed. Therefore, the only reason for there to be fewer 1K to compete with would be a mass desertion of UA MP elites for greener pastures...
Are you sure?
I did the math so that no one would have to, so I am pretty sure. The way to figure it out is to compute the breakeven point between the legacy FF system and the r-b.s.
I think my issue with your proclamation is you said that most who double tomorrow weren't earning much today.
Steve Gadfly and I will both double our reward miles and are both earning quite a lot today.
I understand you did math, but I don't see how the math you did relates to the assertion you made which I quoted.
I do not see the problem unless for you "most" means "all". As I recall it, and by your own proclamations on this board, your tickets tend to be pricey. If that is true, then it is not surprising that your situation would not change or you may wind up ahead. Nothing wrong with that. It is just the way things work out. The math would help you figure out just how far ahead.
I fly a lot to SIN on W tickets. Currently, I average around $1,700 to earn 44K miles RT, including elite bonus. To earn 44K miles under the r-b.s would require a $4,000 ticket for a 1K.
In the new system I would have earned ~638k RDMs to-date. So far this year I've earned ~342k RDMs. Pretty big difference.
I still don't think you've supported your "most" assertion, as I don't think you have supportive data of what "most"
people pay, but I'll leave it be. I understand you lose out in the change, and higher value customers like Steve Gadfly and I win out. But I don't know where "most" UA Mileage Plus members come out.
@Garp74 articulated the RDM side of my statement already (for what you pay to go to SIN, I pay in a week to fly domestic on mostly RJs)....I mentioned competing with fewer 1Ks because of the upcoming minimum spend requirement.
Do you guys pay for a majority of your tickets or does your employer?
Sure there is a big difference, which is not surprising from what you just stated. It is obvious that you purchase mostly C/F tickets, which "most" cannot afford.
Hmmm...the math is straightforward, actually. Assuming that you are a 1K (safe assumption) and that "in the new system you would have earned ~638k RDMs to-date" (your own words), then your spend to-date just on plane tickets is:
~638,000/11 = ~$58,000
That is a lot of money to spend just on plane tickets by the end of Q3. I sincerely doubt that "most" people who would "double" their miles in the new system spend that kind of money on plane tickets, regardless of how you define "most".
It would take me 5 years of flying to spend $58K just on plane tickets. My current RDM balance is shown as 341,532, which is the same as your total to-date, but mine quite likely includes leftover miles from last year. An assumption that I can make safely is that I earn at least 200K RDM and spend $10K each year to make 1K. Thus, for my pattern of flying, a spend of $58K/yr would earn me around 1.2M RDM per year under the legacy FF program, i.e., I would earn some 6 times my current estimate of 200K RDM/yr, which is quite conservative. As one who travels almost exclusively in relative comfort in C/F/BF for a fraction of what you spend, I fail to see your enthusiasm for the r-b.s. because it seems to me that you are not even getting the most out of the current system...
If you still do not think that I have supported my case, I suggest you just go out there and read independent analyses by bloggers, who reached the same conclusion. It should actually be intuitively obvious, but I just did the math based on your own data...
I just addressed your and @Garp74's view on the RDM claim...quantitatively.
Which upcoming minimum spend requirement? You mean the one that is current in effect? It seemed to me that "most" had accepted that one as "getting rid of the low hanging fruit", but I did not hear many contemplating desertion as a result...
Same here, except that the r-b.s. is a different beast altogether in comparison to the usual "course corrections", aka "devaluations", that we have had in the past.This is a wholesale remake of the legacy FF system but with no apparent benefit for the "loyal" customer, who would be redefined as the big spender and not the road warrior who would do MRs or take detours and longer flights simply to remain "loyal" to one airline for the sole purpose of reaping the associated benefits. I'd rather use my/my employer's air travel funds more wisely to get "better value" elsewhere than I would get out of the r-b.s. The short of it is that the r-b.s. spells the demise of the legacy "loyalty" FF system.
The flaw with your analysis is that it identifies 'loyalty' as flying an airline a lot without regard to whether you're a profitable/desirable customer or not. Citing bloggers (who in nearly all cases blog about flying on the cheap or manufactured spend and using the garnered rewards to fly on expensive long-haul trips in premium cabins) doesn't support your argument at all. The airline has chosen to reward the most profitable customers with the biggest windfall of miles.....that's it. This is the direction FF programs are likely going so no matter which airline you decide to flee to, I'm sure your satisfaction with their program will be short-lived.
Last year, I flew 220,000 PQM on UA on nearly ALL domestic flying (I did have two intl paid pleasure trips). I don't know my exact spend but I know it was A LOT. It's not uncommon for me to spend $1,500 just to bounce around the eastern 1/3 of the country for a few days and I tend to travel pretty much every week. That is what makes me a profitable customer and loyal in the eyes of the airline.
IIRC, the spend requirement is in effect now however the ranks of people who are currently premier based on the non-spend system will be at their current level until the end of Feb...after that, only people who have earned status based on PQM & spend will qualify meaning fewer 'low-spend' elites as of the beginning of March 2015.
Now....to bring this thread back on-topic yet again:
Good for Jeff for bringing attention to this terrible disease and donating to the cause!
It's always funny how these threads seem to devolve into a "I'm right, you are wrong" debate......and many times (like this thread) have nothing to do with the original topic. How the CEO (or whatever his official title is) getting a bucket of water dumped on him relates to another debate about the changes in the FF program is still a mystery to me.
Sent using a small piece of fruit.
I'm thinking there are better ways to do this, but maybe it's just me
This is not relevant at all to my initial statement, but let me say that what you call a "flaw" in my analysis is precisely its strength: It does NOT deal with the subjectivity of "value". Rather, it deals, literally, with the value, as in numbers, of travel. Someone who spends $58K/yr would do very well under any system and would be an outlier on a board like this one where folks come to find ways to get the biggest bang for the buck. For $58K/yr, I would be earning millions of RDMs, but it is more likely that I would not even be here!
There will be a drop in the ranks of elites as a result of the PQD requirement, but not as big a drop as that which will follow the beginning of the r-b.s
Something that we can agree on since I have published papers on the neuroscience of ALS and contributed to this very foundation that has cleverly gotten CEOs to get wet, while they raise serious moneys for a very worthy cause.
Hence the need to be as quantitative as possible...
No mystery at all. $misek is about to soak loyal UA travelers with his copycat move to DL's r-b.s. monstrosity, so it is nice to see him get soaked, for a change and for a great cause too!
The airline doesn't make much money off of your business so they don't reward you as much....end of story.
You are obviously so married to your viewpoint that you don't listen to other's arguments if they don't fit your narrative. This thread turned into exactly what has driven a lot of people (myself included) away from TOBB and I won't support or read it anymore....MP is supposed to be better than that. I'm done debating you so don't bother replying....I won't read it.
That is the most ridiculous statement to have been uttered on this board, especially from someone who acknowledges that all their expensive tickets are paid for by their company. Why is it ridiculous? Because any airline that would be foolish enough to depend solely on revenue from those that the r-b.s. would reward would file for chap 7 in no time. Secondly, it is highly presumptuous to assume that UA does not make much money off me without knowing where I rank in their take-in/passenger.
I tried to quantify my arguments precisely so that they would cease to be just a point of view. The numbers I put up in response to @Garp74 speak volumes for my point of view. As for yours, I have no idea what it is other than this attempt to equate the mild discussion here to what goes on at TOBB (I suspect that this ad populi is meant to draw sympathy). However, few threads on discussion boards are as one-dimensional as you would apparently prefer them to be. Almost always there will be tangents and that is the nature of the medium.
I am done here.
You'd said: "I'm done debating you so don't bother replying....I won't read it". I too did say that "I am done here", but then I realized that you'd actually provided the above info that allows us to assess precisely why you are so enthusiastic about the move to the revenue system, even stating "I'll earn a hell of a lot more RDMs than I am now (double or more)". Well, I now have the answer and things won't be as good as you think they'll be. In fact, you'd have to deplete your employer's travel funds to be able to "double" your RDM compared to what you are earning under the current FF system.
Facts, Data and Methods:
The input data I used in the following calculations came from you: "Last year, I flew 220,000 PQM on UA on nearly ALL domestic flying". In order to earn so many PQM flying only domestically, I am going to assume that you purchased mostly expensive tickets (J,C,D,F.A; even Y/B would yield results in the same ballpark) so that you earned 175% class-of-service (cos) bonus and 150% elite bonus (eb) -- in fact, unless you currently purchase such tickets, your enthusiasm for the r-b.s. would be even more puzzling.
If you flew 220,000PQM and purchased the high-class tickets listed above, then we can easily calculate the actual distance that you traveled because
PQM = distance traveled * eb
distance = PQM/eb = 220,000/1.5 = 146,667 miles.
Note that that "distance" is NOT the same thing as your total RDM; it's just the actual, butt-in-seat, miles that you traveled excluding all bonuses.
Now, how much would you have to spend under the revenue-based system to earn 146,667 + all the associated bonuses (i.e. your total RDM), assuming that you are a UA 1K? We simply need to find the breakeven point using an equation which I'd previously derived that includes the bonus miles:
tc= ticket costs = distance * (1 + eb + cos)/mult
tc [the breakeven $ amount that we want] is the total spend on tickets that would break you even after traveling 146,667 actual domestic miles under the r-b.s;
distance [146,667 miles] is the distance you traveled under the current FF program, regardless of how much you spent.
eb is elite bonus [150% or a factor of 1.5];
cos is class-of-service bonus [175% or a factor of 1.75];
mult is the elite multiplier under the r-b.s. -- is 11 for a 1K.
Let's plug it all in and come up with the 'tc' or the breakeven total ticket costs:
tc = 146,667 * (1 + 1.5 + 1.75)/11
= (146,667 * 4.25)/11 = 623,335/11 (this means that your total RDM earning last year was 623,335)
Almost like for @Garp74, you'll have to spend a lot of money (~$57K) to earn the kind of miles (623K) you are currently earning under the new system. With that kind of money, which I assume you are already spending, one would do well under any system. The problem is that a savvy traveler would be doing even better under the current system. Therefore, even folks who spend huge amounts under the current system should think carefully before they get too enthusiastic about migrating to the r-b.s. As I had indicated, it would take me ~5 years to spend $50K+ just on plane tickets. More to the point is that if I spent that kind of money in just one year, my RDM earnings would be over 1M miles.
The preceding is not my "point of view". It is the math, which you are free to challenge. Based on the results, it is unclear to me how you would "double" your RDM earning under the new system without also doubling your spending since the relationship between spend and RDM is linear: RDM = $tc * mult. Total costs would have to double.
My conclusion thus remains the same: "As one who currently travels almost exclusively in relative comfort in C/F/BF for a fraction of what you spend, I fail to see your enthusiasm for the r-b.s. because it seems to me that you are not even getting the most out of the current system."
I thought I would put my finding out here as food for thought just in case you decided to come back...
Not to contribute to the hijacking of this thread but didn't you just inherit the wind?
...."and the fool is now servant to the wise of heart"?
I have no idea what you mean. I am just participating in unscripted discussions that just unfold on their own depending on what the participants choose to post. There is no philosophical or biblical meaning that I am aware of beyond that...