Hi United. How's it going? Been a rough few years, eh? As someone who works for a publically held company I know the feeling of underperforming in your sector. Kinda sucks, doesn't it. Creates lots of pressure. It's rather obvious that the recent devaluation to MileageMinus is an attempt to control costs. As a business guy, I get that. Costs are bad. We don't like liabilities. But I think you're barking up the wrong tree. Can we discuss, in a very logical manner, your actions and the business impact? A little unsolicited business advice if you will. You've dug yourself in a hole. Let's think about that statement for a second. You've willfully commoditized the product in an effort to reduce costs. Here's the fatal flaw that you're now realizing - when you commoditize your product you better be able to compete in an undifferentiated space on price and COGS alone. Based on your cost structure, operational performance, and current fare structure your costs are too high, you performance is below that of your competitors, and you try and extract a premium for a product that is undifferentiated. Remove yourself from your current environment for a second and reread that sentence. Does anything here make sense from a macro business perspective? Nope. It sure doesn't. Hence, the hole. I get it though, you can't charge a premium for a premium product. That's a losing business proposition that a handful of tried and all have failed at. Hello, VX, I see your gradual decent into BK. So what's a business to do you ask? Figure out your customers and sell to them It's time you reanalyzed your customer base. Who provides you with profitability and who do you want to defend, tooth and nail, from realizing that you're selling a commodity product at a premium and having them defect over to one of your other competitors (who routinely outperform you in just about every key metric)? And how to you increase that segments profitability without alienating them? Oh, you've already done that segmenting you say? And that's why you've implemented the spend requirements in your FFP and you have that GS program. Well, good job. Apparently a dog that keeps crapping on the carpet can learn a new trick (that all the other dogs have figured out). So what do you do with this fantastic data set? Stop knocking your best customers over the head Your best customers are your best customers. I get it. You might think that we're unfailingly loyal to United based on our continued tolerance of devaluation and subpar performance. And to an extent, I think you're right (we're a stupid and stubborn lot). But with ever straw you pile on the camel's back you take one step closer to breaking that back. You really don't want your customers flirting with your competitors because, let's face it, they're much sexier. The worst thing you can do is make a stupid customer realize they're being played for a fool. If you want to extract more revenue do it through smarter pricing. Continue to unbundle and selectively sell those products (to the right target). Provide a differentiated premium product that provides value for a premium that can be rationalized. Negative changes are inevitable Practical businessman me gets that negative changes are inevitable in your sector. I don't lose sleep over that inevitability. But the timing and who is bearing the brunt of those negative changes has me scratching my head. Why, when you're underperforming your sector, would you force your customers (and let's not kid ourselves, every time you make a change like this you force everyone to look around) to look around? Hint: not too many people like flying United lately. You're telling your sacred cows (to use the BCG customer matrix) that hamburger is on the menu tomorrow. Mooo. It seems that your best customers have ben bearing the brunt of your latest rounds of fees and changes. Want to know why, previously, you've avoided harassing this group? Because they're profitable. Don't mess with that. It's insulting to all of our intelligence that you charge a premium to be served a drinkable drink in a Club that we pay an annual membership for; when that exact same drink (which has a higher service cost) is cheaper on an airplane and cheaper outside the premium club. No, your tattered furniture and towers of salty snacks don't justify a premium. And now you're telling us that one of the last pieces of differentiation left - the decent MileagePlus award redemptions - is going away? Who does that penalize? Your best customers. The ones that have hundreds of thousands of miles. Why do we have those miles? Because we fly a lot. Because we give you a lot of business. Want to do something smarter? Penalize the folks that do things like churn credit cards or acquire miles in some way that doesn't add value to you. You can do that by offering different redemption rates for different tier levels within the MileagePlus program. You see what I did there? I gave you an opportunity to accomplish nearly the same thing, while creating another reason for people to be more loyal. The net effect on your best customers would be zero. And you'd anger people who maybe you don't really care about (or, care less about). And you reduced the liability of the miles on your balance sheet. And that's just one of many ideas of things you've executed very poorly over the last few years. Please, stop trying to fire your best customers. It's not in your best interest. Really, it isn't. And please, stop spending time making bad decisions and focus 100% of your efforts on giving us a reliable product. Until you do that all of our loyalty is up for grabs.