My Loyalty May Be Waining

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by sfo1, Jan 28, 2016.  |  Print Topic

  1. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    After flying strictly UA for the past 15 years and finally becoming a million miler I think my loyalty may not be what it was. I am going to Vietnam and have two GPU's left for 2016, hunting and pecking for R space is almost impossible and when I find it I have to fly on the specific dates which does not need my needs.

    The cost of the W fare is significant. So, I start looking around and what do I find, EVA Air from Vancouver one stop, decent flight hours, and Premium Economy for CAD$1649.00. I check out the reviews of PE and decide that for the cost of flying UA, not being able to fly when I want to, getting the lie flat seat which IMO is not that great and the same meal over and over again on most International flights it is just not worth it any longer. I buy my ticket on EVA, choose my seat in the PE cabin and am happy that all the stress and anxiety is gone. It was an easy choice.

    Then I need to fly OW YVR LAX in the middle of summer. UA now has one non stop on an RJ and they want over $400.00 for the flight. I look a Seattle and they have two and the lowest fare is $235.00. I look at AS and their lowest fare for the flight I want is $135.00, again this is a no brainer so it's booked, seat assigned and no stress or anxiety.

    I also notice that in almost every instance of where I wish to go over the next year, when I use matrix to check all airfares, UA seems to be in most cases considerably more expensive. I have tons of miles to use and will use them for European flights in economy class, I won't waste miles on BC for a short European flight. So, I guess UA will see less of me, maybe it's time for a change. I have always felt pretty loyal to UA and have been treated pretty nice by them, but will probably fly them less frequently in the future.
     
  2. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    As a business traveler, loyalty to airlines and hotels makes no sense to me. There's a saying around here: "The brick doesn't love you back" and I've found it to be very true. UA doesn't care one wit about its 1Ks. I can't think of an example where Hyatt has cared about me because I'm Diamond.

    As a business traveler thinking about airlines, the only things I consider are lines and times. I want the shortest line (non-stop) at the times that work for me. (Those in tighter budget situations have to consider price.)

    As a business traveler thinking about hotels, loyalty makes even less sense. I want the nicest hotel room for the cheapest amount of money - some balance between the two. I'd love to stay at Four Seasons in every big city I'm at. But I don't want to pay $800 or whatever. I also often want the hotel closest to where my business will be, depending on how big the city is.

    Now, wanting to consolidate for points is a factor. As OP said, there's a lot of points to be accrued here, and we do all this travel, so we might as well get some benefit out of it. Where someone else has a much better line and time, I'm going to fly them. And where someone has a much better fit for me hotel-wise, I'm going to stay with them. But everything else being equal, yeah of course, I'm going to try and accrue points.

    (If you're a full-time business traveler with a very large travel budget, it also makes sense in to fly just one airline most of the time because of the invitation-only tier. That's very important because of how things work out during IRROPS. But that's a special case.)

    The brick doesn't love you back, so stop loving the brick! :)
     
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  3. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    Thanks for the reply, I will say that all my travel has been on my own dime, I have been retired since 1999. I have no hate, dislike or anything else for UA, they have been good to me, and things have pretty much gone right, GPU's have always cleared, and CPU rate is good except for flying out of EWR. But it's time to spend some money on some other airlines and see what I may have missed or perhaps not. UA will get my FF miles business and that's about all. I have to rationalize now, why would I fly UA to ORD and then to Europe when a nonstop is available on LH or AC from YVR, that's where my miles will be used. If I can get a really great fare on say Icelandic Air or Wow then I would not waste my FF miles, as they are at least worth something for the time being. I will fly UA when it suits me and others when it does not. At least beginning in 2017 I will have *G, E+, SDC, and Group 2 boarding, if that should go away then I guess I will go away.
     
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  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Hello, fellow MMer :)

    I had a very similar experience a couple of years ago. I was trying to get to southern Africa from SFO and want use my SWUs at least part of the way (to Europe). Or C awards. Short of an EgyptAir flight with a lengthy layover in Cairo there wasn't anything UA could offer me for my travel dates (not flexible).

    I ended up buying BA Premium Economy seats all the way, which was reasonably priced (especially when compared to UA E+ W fare with SWU lottery and then LH E- for the rest).

    I am no longer a 1K, will continue to fly UA (or *A) when it benefits me, but I am not in the rat-race-for-status anymore. First trip this year will be outbound UA, inbound AS. Life is good as a free agent.
     
  5. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    Thanks for your reply.....
     
  6. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    To quote Neil Diamond, except for the name and a few other changes this story's about me, too.

    Also Million Miler on United, thirty years with Mileage Plus and frequently 1K, but I haven't spent a dime on United in the last few years (since they downgraded Million Milers and characterized us elites as "overentitled" in fact). When I'm on United, it's an award ticket (and I still have plenty miles to burn), and I'm no longer fixated on having to renew status.

    It looks as though I will fly United on a purchased ticket later this year, because it is the most economical and fits best with my schedule, but interestingly, mine will also be a split ticket -- United out, Delta back. United is now just one of the competing crowd, and will have to earn my dollar based solely on price, schedule, and service; no longer does it get preference or special consideration as a favored carrier.

    I do believe United's management made a strategic mistake throwing the elites under the bus. In marketing, they say it's easier and less expensive to retain a customer than to find a replacement; United's economic model rejected that maxim. Perhaps they will prove to have been right.

    Speaking of maxims, it is a basic leadership maxim that loyalty down breeds loyalty up. That seems to be another one they've rejected. But if the brick doesn't love you back, there's no sense in loving the brick.
     
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  7. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    United may be making small improvements, but there's an "escape velocity" issue. Once the airlines chase away a customer for whatever reason, it can be easier to see the warts. United charges me much more for nonstop routes where I'm captive if I need specific times.

    As a business traveler, there are times I have to suck it up and pay the fare. But, as prices have gotten higher I've found myself looking at other options more frequently. At that point, knowing I won't get anywhere near 1K except for dumb luck, it's easier to buy the next ticket on someone else.

    I'll disagree with @Garp74 here on Hyatt, though. I get more than my fair share of suite upgrades and my PLA rocks, so there are bonafide reasons to be loyal.

    An airline that offers me mediocre food, generally poor service, bad wifi? Not so much.
     
  8. radonc1951

    radonc1951 Gold Member

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    My criteria for choosing an airline is schedule, price and then loyalty. If I find that UA has the same schedule and reasonable price comparison to its rivals, loyalty wins out. However, if I have to do a UA connection vs. another competitor's non-stop and furthermore the NS is half the price of the UA connection, then loyalty is meaningless.
    What this meant for a CLE traveler last year is that WN and AA got a sizable chunk of my business. This is more remarkable given the fact that I had not flown much on WN for years prior to that.
    I fully concur that one should look at airlines like bricks. However, having some status with airlines is much better than none at all (which I guess means that at least the brick has your name on it :D).
     
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