Why the new changes to Mileage Plus are the work of an evil genius

a large airplane at an airportBy now, you probably already know about the new changes to Mileage plus, effective from 2012. In case you don’t, it’s good to gloss over them at the related Milepoint thread and Gary’s excellent commentary.

I am simply amazed at the changes. They are purely the work of a genius. Let us call him/her ‘anti-Joker’. Do I hear you asking why such a name? Well, my ‘inside sources’ informed me, this ‘anti-Joker’ asked all categories of United flyers ‘Why so Happy?’ and then made sure they leave disgruntled. I have ‘recorded’ parts of anti-Joker’s conversations with various flyers for your convenience.


Anti-Joker: Why so happy?

25K-50K flyer: I can select E+ at booking. Yay!

Anti-Joker (aside): He Ha Ha Ha.. This was easy…Come 2012, you would be able to select E+ only at check-in.

Anti-Joker: Why so happy?

50K+-100K flyer: 100% elite mileage bonus. Decent shot at upgrades. What else do you want in life to be happy?

Anti-Joker (aside): Hmm.. Elite bonuses will be cut to 50-75%. Have to do something about the upgrades. No complimentary upgrades. How does that sound.

SMI/J (aside): Hey AJ, you can’t do that. All our 1K and GS members will leave us!

Anti-Joker (aside): Have to get something more subtle. Let me ask the 1K flyers.

Anti-Joker: Why so happy?

100K+ flyer: Upgrades! What else! I can’t fly in the cattle class.

Anti-Joker (aside): Here is what I came up with: 1) complimentary upgrades will be after paid upgrades and full-fare passenger upgrades. 2) We’ll follow the Continental method of complimentary upgrades: no complimentary upgrades on international flight products.

I am proud of myself. That was slick. I now have to come up with some ointment so that these flyers don’t say ‘AJ doesn’t care about us’… (pause).. That’s it. I am the greatest evil genius in history. Now that I have made elite status worthless, I can make the lifetime program better.

Anti-Joker (over PA system): Attention flyers. Thank you for flying United. ‘We really appreciate your business’. So, we care about you. So, we have introduced some changes with the new United that you will be excited about. Lifetime status now gets much better: 1 million mile flyers will get lifetime 50K-mile status. 2 million mile flyers: lifetime 75K mile status, 3 million 1K and 4 million GS. What’s more, your Continental elite qualifying miles will also be counted.

A flyer: Are these the only changes?

Anti-Joker: Why so serious? There are a few other insignificant changes. You can read them up on Milepoint.


The changes have been cleverly crafted to make sure the new United pisses off flyers in every category apart from the moms and pops who fly to their daughter once a year. What was United thinking!

To get all our posts and articles, sign up for updates vis RSS or email. We also post updates on Twitter and Facebook on Airline Miles, the Airline Industry and other travel related stuff.


  1. Quite clever. Most people have been okay to mildly pleased, with only a few disappointed. But your post certainly puts a cynical spin on things that makes sense.

  2. The cuts and changes are TERRIBLE. With only a 50% bonus on miles flown, our acct.s are going to grow very slowly in total miles. The cut of annual, 2 confirmed regional upgrades is VERY disappointing for PE’s.

    With the new 75K mile level of status, it will make upgrading on dom. & int’l. flt.s very difficult for us prem. exec.s. The pool that they work from to upgrade will be very competitive from combining CO with UA. I hope these changes will motivate your readers to email MP & how upset we are with these changes. Maybe, UA will back off on some of them.

  3. @Scott These changes have really amazed and irked me. Wish the other airlines don’t follow suit.

    @Ken basically the idea was to eliminate upgrade as a benefit for those flying less than 75K miles.

  4. Did United and Southwest Airlines merge? Wasn’t this the same guy who overhauled the Rapid Rewards program?

  5. Totally amazed.. Tried to upgrade using miles on a Ord to Ffrankfurt then Geneva back to Chicago. No ufm even though there were plenty of seats on many flights.Economy plus seats now cost for each segment. Jeff Smucksack what a CEO . Sure did not learn from Gordon Bethune. I’ll donate my miles and go where they appreciate my loyalty.

  6. @Ron, I would be patient with United. I think their system is still going thru growth pains. I myself was not upgraded on a recent flight – in fact my name did not even make it to the upgrade list, despite being a Premier Gold. They assured me it was a software glitch. They are hopefully fixing it as we speak.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *