(Re-)Introducing Subscriptions for United Club, Economy Plus and More

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by UA Insider, May 3, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. UA Insider
    Original Member

    UA Insider Official Representative

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    **Sorry for not posting this earlier - as soon as I hit post "OTOB" I realized there was an inaccuracy in the United Club pricing I quoted and I've been following up to ensure I have the correct amounts. Rest assured you guys on MP will have the next proactive post before TOB :)**

    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to give you a heads up on several full-year subscription products we’re getting ready to launch over the next few weeks:
    • United Club: We’re re-introducing the option to purchase a full-year United Club membership with award miles. Pricing starts at 65,000 miles or $500 for a General member, and will further vary depending on Premier status. There will also continue to be an initiation fee of $50 or 7,000 miles for new members, as well as separate pricing for the the addition of a spouse.
    • Economy Plus: We’re also re-introducing the option to purchase Economy Plus for a full year, with the notable difference that we’ll have different pricing and eligibility by region (domestic 48, North America, intra-Asia, etc.).
    • Checked baggage: Customers will have the new option to purchase 1 or 2 checked bags for an entire year. Pricing will vary based on number of bags and region.
    As of today, we’re soft-launching these products on the Preview site, with rollout to the public version of united.com over the next couple of weeks. All of the above products, as well as paid United Club memberships, will include the ability to self-serve via a “Manage Subscriptions” portal in the My Account section of united.com. Within this portal, you can also take advantage of several new features, including auto-renewal and gifting options.

    If you’re a member of the Preview site, be sure to share your feedback via the comments section on the top-right of preview.united.com. Finally, please note that as we’re still in Preview phase, any subscriptions purchased through the Preview site can only be fulfilled through the Preview site until we move to full united.com launch. That means seat selections for Economy Plus, bags at check-in, etc., as well as functionality for giftees (they will need access to the Preview site as well).

    Aaron Goldberg
    Sr. Manager – Customer Experience Planning
    United Airlines
     
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  2. stephenbgarvan

    stephenbgarvan Silver Member

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    YAHoo and gratitude from longtime loyal,frugal UA flyer..
     
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  3. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Good move! Would like to see the pricing.
     
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  4. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    Annual E+ is $499 for 1 passenger, Continental US or Intra-Asia (excl. NRT-BKK, NRT-SIN and HNL-GUM) only, plus $50 "initiation fee" (waived for me). Options include All of North and Central America for $100 and Global for $200. You can add 1 companion for $200 or up to 8 companions for $400.
     
  5. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    Tried to renew my club membership to see mileage option and it doesn't work, maybe only for new "subscriptions"

    Also clicking subscription history link doesn't show anything about my existing club membership.
     
  6. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I filed a bug, but it is trying to charge the $50 initiation fee for a recently-expired (3 days ago) membership.
     
  7. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    Glad to see the economy plus option return and tiered pricing makes a lot of sense.

    $499 just seems to be a high price point for economy plus. You need to fly quite a bit on United to make it worthwhile, but not so much that status kicks in.

    I'm wondering out loud who the intended buyer will be. Seems to pricey for most leisure fliers, and to get value out of it, you really need to fly united frequently. For the well off leisure traveler, or small business owner that wants things a little nicer, not sure it's a great value unless you need to fly united (hub captive). Probablly SFO, NJ (not NYC) based or VA based (not DC), as most of the other hubs, ORD, LAX, DEN have substantial competition.

    As an alternative, for $200, you can buy US Silver for 90 days, get access to exit rows/bulk heads, free checked bags, priority boarding and check-in, etc. For the differential, you can use that on flying to get the 7,500 miles to keep silver for the year.

    Also, the base fares for E+ are pricey. For an aisle seat on a transcon, i was quoted around $80. But do I really value the E+ seat on that flight for $80? It would impact how many times i'd need to fly to make it work out? Mix of short/long haul flying impact that. But.. what about discounted First class seats? Especially with coach fares going up, I've seen First class fares on transcon routes (not p.s.) be within $150-200 each way of the coach fare (on AA, US, DL). The type of customer willing to spend $80 on the economy plus seat, would probably spend $150 for wider seat, meals, free checked bags, drinks, extra miles and first class service. I'm top tier elite on US, and i've bought up to first just for the extra miles and for the upgrade certainty.

    My thought on E+, is you can easily shrink the legroom say from 37-38" pitch down to 35ish and still get people to pay more, especially if the alternative is at 30-31. Each plane is different and the fixed position of exits make it tough to do, but my thought on getting E+ to generate more money is to have it take up less space.

    Just my 2 cents..
     
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    If memory serves right, I paid $299 more than a decade ago, before I acquired Premier status. That was for the entire network and may even have included a companion (not sure). Don't think I would have paid $499 and tehn not even have been ale to use it globally.
     
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  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    If we are reminiscing, there was a time not too long ago when Silvers were guaranteed E+ at booking for any destination...It made it worth it to fly enough to earn the silver status, and that is a benefit that I would (re)-introduce if I were a decision-maker at UA wanting to fatten the bottom line by getting folks with limited resources to make top tier elite to fly for the silver...

    Now, the ability to purchase the UC membership with miles is officially back, as opposed to some folks' claims that it was available at a time when there was no such thing.
     
  10. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I just tried to "manage my subscriptions" and got "no current subscriptions", which is of course a bug because I do have the Chase United Club Business Visa card and, thus, a UC membership.

    I wonder whether "soft-launch" is a new euphemism for "buggy"...;)
     
  11. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    But is it a membership which can be renewed separate from the CC? Maybe if you cancel the CC but still have the couple months of club membership left that becomes active. Otherwise it actually makes sense to me that they wouldn't let you renew the Club membership that way since you didn't actually buy a club membership.
     
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  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I think that a UC membership is a UC membership regardless, so that unless the only thing that "Managing Subscriptions" does is to offer the opportunity to purchase or renew a membership, I suspect that the reason mine is not showing is simply that there is a bug as others have reported, or the functionality is still incomplete. But we'll know soon enough.

    Interestingly, unless the annual fee for the Chase UC card is increased, it may remain more economical, especially for general members, to get the UC membership through this visa card.
     
  13. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I would assume anything on the Preview site is basically known to not be ready for prime time yet.
     
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  14. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this point. :)
     
  15. owenbrowntrout

    owenbrowntrout Silver Member

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    This subscription is not only too expensive but it makes you guess what your travel plans will be for the next 12 months. If you are a MP silver, do a status match and become a Delta silver medallion member which allows you to buy Economy Comfort for 50% off. You can buy an awful lot of those before you match the cost of an annual subscription to Economy Plus on United. This new plan is a deal breaker for me with United - Delta, here I come! And if I don't like Delta after a year, I can do a status match and return to United's premier program. I am a Inited MP silver premier - UA first took away my ability to upgrade to Economy Plus at booking, now they dilute the value of my loyalty even further. Any comments??!
     
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  16. owenbrowntrout

    owenbrowntrout Silver Member

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    If you have a Delta AMEX card, they give you a certificate for a companion to travel with you for free for a year. If you are a silver medallion member in the Delta frequent flyer program, you can buy an Economy Comfort seat for half off. With the money you save by not having to pay for a companion ticket once a year, you can buy an awful lot of economy comfort seats on Delta before you woulda tech the cost of an annual subscription to Economy Plus on United. Delta, here I come. United, you have been unfaithful to me but you can win back my loyalty if you fix your stupid mistakes.
     
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  17. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    It wouldn't work for paid memberships either though.. I have existing revenue club membership and it won't let me see it or renew with miles.
     
  18. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    Not to sound too harsh, but your "loyalty" doesn't have that much value. If you're not traveling enough to get gold or better, you probably mean very little to UAs bottom line. And with 1ks and GSs competing for perks like upgrades, lower ranks like Platinum and Gold are that much more under served.

    It wouldn't surprise me if UA just dumped silver all together and just offered ala carte pricing for Slver-like perks. Then if you wanted to participate in the loyalty program, you'd need to fly at least 50k/yr.

    It also wouldn't surprise me if UA started selling Global Services ....so for $500 for an itinerary, you and your traveling companions would get GS perks. The other carriers are doing it with their highest service levels, it's only a matter of time before UA does too.
     
  19. WilCo
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    WilCo Silver Member

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    If you cancel your card, your membership (in theory) is cancelled immediately. At least with the Pres plus card. Whether that actually happens I can't speak to yet.
     
  20. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    We'll know in just a couple of weeks...I usually do not over-commit or pontificate too much when the answer is so imminent :cool:
     
  21. skyvan

    skyvan Gold Member

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    I think 499 in this economy's a fair. Look at our increased airfares and overall more cramped planes.

    I may be skewed though as a newly minted UA Plat.
     
  22. owenbrowntrout

    owenbrowntrout Silver Member

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    Many Golds get that status because of business travel where they travel alone. While I am a silver, whenever I travel I pay for my wife's ticket so I am responsible for revenue tickets of 50,000 miles a year even though I am a silver. I acknowledge that business flyers tend to buy more expensive tickets. On the other hand, I regularly buy tickets for not only my wife but also my two children to travel with me. And treating my children well is good policy for an airline as they are candidates for lifelong loyalty to an airline.
     
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  23. COFreqFlyer
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    COFreqFlyer Gold Member

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    About the only point of "unknown" I see in this.... I am not seeing any variation in the amounts based on having higher Premier status. I am also particularly interested in knowing how the spouse membership will be handled here (with miles) relative to my possession of the PresidentialPlus membership.

    Otherwise, all those people whining about not being able to get club membership with miles should be able to happily STFU now. :D
     
  24. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Yes, but whenever I travel, I pay for my wife's ticket, and while I'd love to have that expense (or the miles) count towards MY elite status, that's not how it works. Would make my reaching 1K status easier. But my solution is to use award tickets as much as possible and where it makes sense for her and buy revenue for me.

    I am just looking back at myself 10 or so years ago. I did pony up $299 for E+ because it gave me a couple trips to Europe in reasonable comfort, plus a few domestic trips. I was obviously flying a lot less than today. I don't think that I would have paid $499...or actually $699 to get the European trips covered.

    But I assume, if these are the price points, that United has done its own analysis and come up with numbers that they think will maximize their profit. And of course they can adjust them over time. Even perhaps run specials.

    And, I suppose as an elite I should be glad that they price it high enough to IMO make it not too attractive for the non-elite masses, as it helps ensure I get a decent seat when I am in coach.
     
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  25. owenbrowntrout

    owenbrowntrout Silver Member

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    The conclusion I am coming to in my situation is that loyalty programs benefit the airline more than the customer. Miles are becoming less and less valuable and harder to use. Elite status perks are becoming less valuable. For me it makes sense to buy the cheaper fare - which is oftentimes on another airline - and use the savings to buy the premium economy seat on longer flights. I also intend to use my silver status to get elite status on another airline next year by flying 8,000 miles in 90 days and try their perks. One thing I have noticed is that other airlines will sell one way tickets for half the round trip fare a lot more often than United - which is a big advantage if you stay more than 60 days (when UA raises the rt fare) or want flexibility in setting your return date. So everyone should look at choosing flights with regard to price and considerations other than loyalty. Any airline will give you priority boarding and a free checked bag just for using their credit card so I am leaning towards not subscribing to any annual program and just buying the cheapest most convenient ticket and using the savings to buy a premium coach seat.
     
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