United now charging checked baggage fees for Star Alliance Gold?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by tommy777, Oct 15, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. tommy777
    Original Member

    tommy777 Co-founder

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    @UA Insider

    There has started to come reports on milepoints Scandinavian sister site Bonusfeber.no that United recently has began to charge Star Alliance Gold members for checked baggage contrary to what the United.com website says. This happened in the last few weeks

    Example #1

    Customer with Star Alliance Gold has a domestic booking DEN-JAC and gets charged 50 USD for the first checked bag at check in both in Denver and Jackson Hole. Customers receipt says that he's eligible for one free checked bag.

    Example #2

    Customer with Star Alliance Gold has an international flight EWR-OSL in Economy and gets charged 100 USD for the second bag.

    Customer receipts says that he's eligible for two free checked bags.

    New fun stuff in the works or a systems glitch?

    Original thread on bonusfeber here: (In Norwegian)

    http://forum.bonusfeber.no/threads/united-dropper-star-gold-fordeler.1776/#post-21439
     
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  2. danielwood

    danielwood Gold Member

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    unbelievable and unfair
     
  3. radonc1951

    radonc1951 Gold Member

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    I have seen that the counter agents for UA are quick to grab the CC for a checked piece of luggage until you tell them you are *G. Then they look and voila, no charge for baggage.

    The simple thing to do is just say that you are a *G passenger before they grab your dough.;)
     
  4. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    I know both of these guys and the situation at Newark was a big debacle with a supervisor involved. There was no way the customers second bag would be checked as Star Gold so he was given the option of paying 100 bucks for it or leave it behind.

    If it was just the one incident, I agree @radonc1951 , but with two very frequent travelers experiencing this the same week, it seems like a subject to start a thread on

    Hopefully we'll get @UA Insider involved and the can take a peek at what happened
     
  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    This is so blatantly against the very concept of airline alliance that I must take it with a grain of salt and believe that there must be another explanation until there are more incidents or there is an explicit announcement of a rule change...
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
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  6. The Lev
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    The Lev Silver Member

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    I believe UA's new Star Gold policy is one more free bag than a non-status passenger. So for domestic flights, that means one free bag, but unless they are charging for first bag on international, Star gold should get two.
     
  7. UA Insider
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    UA Insider Official Representative

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    Hi everyone:

    For a domestic US itinerary, Star Alliance Gold passengers flying in United Economy on United/United Express flights receive ONE free checked bag.
    For an international itinerary such as EWR-OSL, they receive TWO free checked bags when flying in United Economy.

    If there is a specific example of where this isn't happening, please send us a message and we'll be happy to take a look at what may have happened.

    -UA Insider
     
  8. jgg630

    jgg630 Silver Member

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    When did this change. I thought Gold got 3 free checked bags. I'm not seeing much benefit in being Gold then. A credit card gets you same except E+.
     
  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    As far as I can tell, the free bag rule for elites has always been as stated by UA Insider. I always look at my Intl trips in Y and they have always shown 2 free checked bags. Those traveling in C or F might get 3 free bags. I have no clue about domestic bag rules since I never check anything on such trips...

    Sent from my DROID4 GLOBAL using milepoint
     
  10. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    Aren't they referring to non-United SA Gold? Like if you're Star Alliance gold on SAS, you get 1 free checked bag for a UA metal domestic ticket, and 2 for a UA metal international ticket?
     
  11. snod08
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    snod08 Gold Member

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    IIRC, non-UA as well as UA Star Golds received three free bags in the past. However, sometime last year or so, the rules changed. Now, non-UA star Golds receive only one "extra" bag. (as UAInsider already pointed out).
     
  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    This has always been confusing, IMHO. Below is what the "official" rule is on united.com:

    1K PERKS.png

    Three complimentary bags for UA Gold up to 1K elites. However, what I referred to in my preceding post is the following, which has always shown on all my reservations and suggests that as a 1K I am allowed only 2 free checked bags. The third bag never shows...

    1k Bag FEE.png
    This accompanies the table above: "Baggage check-in must occur with United or United Express, and you must have valid MileagePlus Premier® 1K® membership at time of check-in to qualify for waiver of service charges for up to three checked bags (within specified size and weight limits)."

    Since I have never checked more than one bag, I have not been able to test the rule. However, maybe other UA Gold to 1K elites out there have checked 3 bags and can enlighten us as to whether the 3-bag perk is honored.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The third bag never shows and nor does the 4th or 5th. They have to draw the line somewhere in terms of how much information to share and they chose 2 bags for whatever reason.

    The fact that the text accompanying the chart indicates a greater allowance should be sufficient to make it clear what the policy is. Or you can use the calculator at https://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/travel/Pages/CheckedBaggage.aspx (make sure to check the box for " Additional and other bag fees" to see the 3rd bag bits).

    No surprise that the policy has not changed. Unfortunate that there have been reports of agents charging incorrectly. Just another set of rules which are so complex that the front-line employees are often confused by them and apparently the systems don't do a great job of accounting for them. Or the agents ignored the systems.
     
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  14. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    This is such a confusing thread for me. NYCUA1K is talking about United MileagePlus status. But aren't Tommy and the UA guy talking about Star Alliance Gold status holders flying on United (without having any United MileagePlus status)? @snod08 highlights that the rules for ex-UA Star Alliance Gold members changed in the last year or so, to only allow what UA Insider says:

     
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  15. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Yup. Different rules for different groups.

    The agents in the cases cited in Tommy's post were clearly wrong. I don't think there should be any question about that. The bigger question is whether the agents were ignoring the prompts on their screens to force the charges or if the systems are not properly configured to show the freebie exemptions at the counter.
     
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  16. stephenbgarvan

    stephenbgarvan Silver Member

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    I highly value the UA Gold ( I am MM, former 1k,some Premier Exec many years, ) or higher 3 bags free rule that has been in force. Its of frequent importance to me over the past 15 years or so since DIA opened. Thank you.
     
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  17. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    @UA Insider thank you.

    I assume if you fly eg OSL-EWR-FLL you get two bags for free?

    I will send you a few PNRs offline. It seems like Newark staff are standing out as not knowing the rules.

    Just for the record, this is something that has started to happen very recently.

    The thread over on Bonusfeber is growing with 3 more cases that needs to be followed up on. If such a small community of frequent flyers in Norway is reporting multiple cases, United is overcharging a ton of customers and it's not good enough to look in to these incidents only, but an overall investigation is warranted.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
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  18. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    I read the reply as:

    OSL->EWR (and back) they get two free checked bags.

    But for the EWR->FLL leg, and directly because bags must be picked up at baggage claim and re-checked at EWR, they get one free checked bag.

    It's probably a bad rule as written, because it's neither the passenger's nor UA's fault that the begs can't be checked all the way through.

    Just my reading.
     
  19. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The bag should be tagged at OSL all the way through to FLL assuming no stopover at EWR. You collect it at EWR but drop it right back off so it is not "checked in" again in the sense that you don't go through the process of paying again.

    There are also some rules about overall itineraries and airlines not being permitted to change your allowance on a single ticket, though the US carriers mostly have decided that international agreements on that front (IATA 302) apply less to them.
     
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  20. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    Then either:
    - the passengers are doing it wrong; or
    - OSL is not checking all the way through to FLL; or
    - there's a stopover Tommy doesn't know about.

    I suspect OSL is not checking all the way through, since it seems unlikely that anyone would create extra work for themselves by mucking about with an already-tagged bag.
     
  21. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Or, D) The UA systems are hosed.

    I'm not sure that someone here demanding an "overall investigation" will work out so well, but it is fun to watch.
     
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  22. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Here are the reports I'm sitting on. All folks are Star Gold

    1) EWR-OSL x 2. Totally separate people who don't know each other. Passengers were charged 100 USD for the second bag.
    2) EWR-FLL. Passenger charged 25 dollars for first bag
    3) DEN-JAC-DEN. Passenger charged 25 dollars for first bag both ways.

    One other member is also reporting that she had a schedule change on a EWR-OSL and when she reticketed, the new confirmation said that second bag costs 100 dollar contrary to the first confirmation that said that two checked bags were free.

    @Seth, say what you will, but I think this needs more than helping a handful of folks receive a refund. If it was one person, sure, but this is definitely a trend and United owes a bunch of people money and I'm quite sure that won't be refunded without folks complaining.

    Not good at all

    That said, I've written an offline email to the good foiks at United and we'll see what happens
     
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  23. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    I am interested in their response.
    Mind letting us know the outcome of this?

    Thanks @tommy777 !
     
  24. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I've got no problem with trying to get more attention paid to this issue. I think the tone and style of the request in this case is probably not the best form to find success with the request. Filing a DoT complaint would likely get the individual issues resolved much more quickly and also probably do a better job of raising the issue internally at UA than making requests here or on Bonusfeber.

    I wish you luck on behalf of your compatriots.
     
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  25. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    This has been a steadily eroding STAR benefit. It started as three no matter what class one flies but now sadly has been winnowed down at the discretion of each member airline on their domestic flights, two on international appears to be the standard, though on your own carrier it can still be three on some (AC).
     

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