!Official Updates from UA Insider
This section contains official updates as provided by United's official liaison to MilePoint, UA Insider (a/k/a Scott O’Leary, Managing Director of Customer Solutions, United Airlines). Please read through the linked thread to review discussion by the community and any clarifying points or answered questions offered by UA Insider.
- 2012 Loyalty Program Announcement
- Boarding Process Update
- Merger Update
- Mileage Plus & OnePass Award **Fee** Changes (Effective June 15, 2011)
- Mileage Plus & OnePass Award Changes (Effective June 15, 2011)
- Mileage Plus & OnePass Redeemable Mileage and Elite Status Transfer
- Economy Plus to remain at United and expand to Continental.
2012 Loyalty Program Announcement(top)Date Announced: June 29, 2011
MilePoint Thread: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/mileage-plus-loyalty-program-for-the-new-united-in-2012.13517/
- No action is required. OnePass members who do not already have a Mileage Plus account will automatically be enrolled in the new program. For members who have accounts in both programs, we encourage you to link your accounts now, and then we’ll do our best to match up all other accounts.
- You can still link your accounts ahead of time. If you have accounts in both programs and want to link them yourself before Q1 2012, you can do so at united.com/linkmyaccountsorcontinental.com/linkmyaccounts.
- Your miles and status are safe. Rest assured that all reward miles, elite qualification credit, and lifetime status (if applicable) will be preserved as we transition to a single program in 2012. Again, your reward miles and elite qualifying miles/segments are safe as we transition to the single program. In addition, OnePass members will earn 2012 elite status based on their combined OnePass and Mileage Plus elite qualifying activity in 2011.
- We still owe you a bunch of details. Later this year we will announce the specific details of the 2012 Mileage Plus program, including mileage expiration, account numbers, lifetime status, elite tiers, qualification and benefits. I know you’re starving for these details, and we’re going to explain it all in the coming months.
Boarding Process Update(top)Date Announced: June 2, 2011
MilePoint Thread: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/new-boarding-process.10138/page-4#post-51289/
- We’re reinstating zone boarding on the United side. Beginning Jun. 8, United will return to boarding by zones. Among other things, this should directly improve the experience for the folks who purchase Economy Plus by ensuring they aren’t in the last boarding group. In addition, we’ve found a way for our combined airline to support zone boarding, and expect to introduce zone boarding to Continental in the coming year.
- We’re simplifying the announcements. Also on Jun. 8, we’ll be adjusting our announcements to be simpler, shorter, and create better separation throughout the Elite boarding process. While all premier customers will continue to use the carpeted lane, we intend to manage this better through these new announcements. Uniformed Military and Global Services members will be invited to board as part of the preliminary announcement. Then we will board First Class along with 1K and Platinum members, followed by Business Class (on three-cabin aircraft), followed by Premier Executive and Gold members, followed by Premier and Silver members.
Merger Update(top)Date Announced: May 18, 2011
MilePoint Thread: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/merger-update-%E2%80%93-may-2011.11081/
- New branded look at our airports. Debuting today at Chicago O'Hare (ORD) is our new branded look for our airports. This will include a new look for our ticket lobby and gate areas. Re-branding our airports will take a while, and we're starting with our hubs. More airports are coming soon - Washington Dulles and San Francisco are next on deck. We’re excited about our new look and hope you will be too.
- Premier Access. This is the new name for our priority airport services, which includes priority check-in, priority security checkpoint access (where available), access to priority boarding lanes and priority baggage handling. These are services already offered by both airlines, but what's new is who has access to them: customers booked in First and Business Class, Mileage Plus and OnePass elite members. The Premier Access name will be rolling out as airports get re-branded, but entitlements for these individual services are effective immediately. For more information, see united.com/premieraccess.
Worth noting: Continental Presidential Plus Card members are entitled to these services on Continental only, and Premier Travel purchasers are entitled to these services on United only. This will be the case until Continental and United operate on a single system in 2012.
- New Boarding Process. There are about a zillion comments about this already, so I’ll spare you the gloss. If you’re accustomed to traveling on Continental subsidiary, the major change is allowing our top tier Elite members (Global Services, Presidential Platinum, 1K, and Platinum) to board along with First Class. If you’re accustomed to traveling on United, the major change is allowing Mileage Plus Premier and all Continental OnePass Elite members to have access to the carpeted bypass lane, plus the introduction of rear-to-front boarding for the general process. These were difficult decisions, but we ultimately went with an approach we could support consistently across both airlines. Thanks for your patience while we roll this out.
- Reciprocal Elite Phone Line Access. Elite members who enter their account number in our automated phone system will now be recognized and prioritized ahead of all other callers when contacting either airline.
- Aligned Policies and Fees. Keeping with our goal to have consistent policies and fees across both airlines, we’ve made a few new adjustments. The two most notable changes are below:
Same-Day Flight Changes. Our definition of what constitutes a “same-day change” will remain separate and unchanged across both airlines, but we will be aligning our fees and exemptions. The fee will be $75, and will apply to both confirmed and standby changes. We’ve also aligned and expanded who is exempt from these fees: OnePass Gold/Platinum/Presidential Platinum and Mileage Plus Premier Executive/1K/Global Services members when traveling on either airline.
Continental Chase Bag Fee Exemptions. The bag fee waiver benefit for Continental Chase Cardmembers has been expanded to include flights operated by United. This will be applied automatically at check-in as it has been done at Continental.
- Improved Self-Service Options. As many of you noticed, we’ve made some self-service improvements designed to make the process more seamless. Some examples include actually being able to get seat assignments on one another’s websites, showing both airlines’ confirmation numbers when applicable, and automatic re-directs for check-in and reservation look-up. In addition, we’ve rolled out a new common kiosk launch screen at over 80 airports, which will automatically look up your reservation regardless of which airline you’re flying.
- Aligned Check-in Requirements. Starting on Jun. 15th, we will have aligned check-in requirements for both airlines. For domestic flights, this means a consistent 45-minute baggage check-in cut-off for our hubs and exception airports (30 minutes if you don’t have bags to check), and 30 minutes for all other airports. For international flights, the check-in cut-off time will be 60 minutes regardless of whether you’re checking bags (except for LIM which is 75 minutes and KSA/KWA/MAJ/NAN/PNI/ROR/TKK which are 90 minutes).
Worth noting: The international check-in cut-off for United will increase by 15 minutes (was 45 minutes). The domestic baggage check-in cut-off will increase by 15 minutes in Continental’s domestic hubs (EWR, IAH, and CLE). There are also 10 airports that will no longer require a 45-minute check-in cut-off (CLT, IND, JFK, ONT, PDX, PHL, RNO, SJU, SMF and SNA). All cut-off time changes will take effect Jun. 15th. For more information see united.com and continental.com.
- New Link for Linking Accounts. The ability to transfer miles between United Mileage Plus and Continental OnePass accounts should be nothing new to you, but we have a new link – united.com/linkmyaccounts. This enables those of you who have accounts in both programs to link your accounts in order to combine your miles and earn awards faster.
- Onboard Product and Lounge. We’ve aligned our Choice menu food-for-purchase program in Economy Class, taking the best-sellers from both airlines. This includes some hot items, which will be offered on aircraft equipped with ovens. As for our front cabin products, the alignment is targeted for later in the year. We’re also in the process of aligning our on-board beverage programs, including soft drinks, beers, spirits and coffee. By late summer, we will begin serving a new custom coffee at both airlines, and the beer selection on domestic flights will include Heineken, Budweiser and Miller Lite. On the lounge front, we are still working on aligning our food and beverage offerings, included an expanded complimentary beer selection coming soon.
- Twitter Channel Change. If you follow us on Twitter (or want to start), we’re changing our channel this morning. You’ll be able to follow both United and Continental at @united.
Mileage Plus & OnePass Award **Fee** Changes (Effective June 15, 2011)(top)Date Announced: March 14, 2011
MilePoint Thread: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/award-fee-changes-eff-jun-15-2011.8737/
- Close in Booking Fee: This fee will apply to awards redeemed less than 21 days before departure. They’ll be $75 per person for general members, $50 for Premier and Silver members, $25 for Premier Executive and Gold members, and will continue to be waived for 1K, Global Services, Platinum and Presidential Platinum members.
- Worth noting: For OnePass members, there’s no change. For Mileage Plus members, this is the re-introduction of the close-in booking fee, but with Elite-based discounts.
- Award Change Fee: This fee will apply to award changes that are not considered ‘simple changes’. They’ll be $75 per person for awards redeemed by general members, $50 for Premier and Silver Elite members, $25 for Premier Executive and Gold members, and will continue to be waived for 1K, Global Services, Platinum and Presidential Platinum members . Also starting Jun. 15, we’ll offer Mileage Plus members a flat change fee of $75 for awards issued prior to Jun. 15. The Elite discounts, however, will only apply to awards issued on or after Jun. 15.
- Worth noting: For OnePass members, there’s no change. For Mileage Plus members, this is a reduction of 50% or more, depending on your Elite status.
- Simple Award Changes: Simple award changes will remain complimentary across both programs; however, the definition of what a “simple change” is will continue to be different between our two programs for the time being. Specifically:
- For Mileage Plus redemptions, the origin, destination, carriers and routing would have to remain the same.
- For OnePass redemptions, the change would have to be made at least 21 days in advance and the origin and destination must remain the same. The routing and carrier, however, may change.
- Mileage Re-Deposit Fee: This fee will apply to awards that are cancelled and re-deposited. They’ll be $150 per person for awards redeemed by general members, $125 for Premier and Silver members, $100 for Premier Executive and Gold members, and will continue to be waived for 1K, Global Services, Platinum and Presidential Platinum members.
- Worth noting: For OnePass members, this is an increase for general, Silver and Gold members. For Mileage Plus members, the fee is the same for general members, but will decrease for Premier and Premier Executive members.
Mileage Plus & OnePass Award Changes (Effective June 15, 2011)(top)Date Announced: March 16, 2011
MilePoint Thread: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/mileage-plus-and-onepass-award-chart-changes-%E2%80%93-eff-jun-15-2011.6314/
- Domestic award trips less than 700 miles each way will cost less. OnePass members have enjoyed this benefit, and now Mileage Plus members can, too. This means it’ll cost less miles for domestic award trips that are less than 700 miles each way. On the OnePass side, this will be an adjustment from the current 750 miles each way.
- One Way awards. A new benefit for OnePass members. This is something Mileage Plus members currently enjoy, and starting Jun. 15th OnePass members will too. Saver/SaverPass and Standard/EasyPass awards will be available one way on United, Continental and our partners for exactly half of the roundtrip amount. Enjoy!
- We’re aligning our geography. The region definitions for both programs were already similar, except in a handful of areas. In Latin America, for example, we’ll be adopting the more granular regional definition used by OnePass. In addition, we’ll no longer have countries that straddle multiple regions, such as Turkey, Egypt and the Micronesian network.
- Some travel award amounts are changing. While there are more increases than decreases, the balance isn’t too far off, considering the rate at which certain awards are redeemed. In most cases there are trade-offs. For example, the Saver Business Class amounts between the U.S. and Europe, Japan, North Asia, South Asia will decrease by 5K miles, while the Economy Class amounts between the U.S. and Europe, Southern South America will increase by 5K miles.
- Some Mileage Plus Upgrade Award and Star Alliance™ Upgrade Award requirements will also change. There are a fair amount of changes here. Some mileage amounts will increase, as will many copays. On the bright side, Elite members will remain exempt from copays on most domestic mileage upgrade awards. Put another way: if you’re an elite member, and the itinerary is eligible for a complimentary Elite upgrade, then the copay doesn’t apply.
Mileage Plus & OnePass Redeemable Mileage and Elite Status Transfer(top)Date Announced: March 7, 2011
MilePoint Thread: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/sneak-preview-new-mileage-plus-onepass-mileage-transfer-and-elite-status-tools.5406/
- Transfer redeemable miles between your OnePass and Mileage Plus accounts. Give it a spin at united.com/transfermymiles or continental.com/transfermymiles (both take you to the same place).
- Match Elite status and combine Elite earnings for your OnePass and Mileage Plus accounts. For those of you who have Elite Qualification miles and segments/points in both OnePass and Mileage Plus, you can now combine these earnings to earn Elite status, Regional Upgrades and Systemwide Upgrades. Go to united.com/combinemyactivity or continental.com/combinemyactivity for all the details.
Economy Plus to remain at United and expand to Continental.(top)Date Announced: February 17, 2011
MilePoint Thread: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/economy-plus-is-here-to-stay.3094/
- Why wait until 2012 to start? As with any major cabin retrofit program, there’s a fair amount of engineering and planning that needs to be done before we can start on the first aircraft. This is the amount of lead time we need to get the process started.
- Will Economy Plus be installed at the expense of First Class or Economy Class seats? This is yet to be decided. It’s an important decision, especially for our domestic fleet, and one we’re putting a lot of thought into.
- Will Elites still have complimentary access to Economy Plus? The short answer is yes. As many of you know, Continental and United Elites have different policies for accessing extra legroom seating. Currently, on Continental-operated flights, extra legroom seats (select bulkhead and exit row seats) are complimentary to OnePass Gold/Platinum/Presidential Platinum and Mileage Plus Premier Executive/1K/Global Services members in advance, and to all Elite members from both programs at check-in. On United-operated flights, Elite members of both programs have access to Economy Plus both in advance and at check-in. We will be harmonizing this policy in the coming year as we further synch up our two loyalty programs.
- What about the p.s. transcon product, 3-cabin First Class, and other configuration decisions? There are indeed several more aircraft configuration blanks to fill in, which we expect to announce throughout the year. Stay tuned!