Phew, finally got that off my chest.
In case you’re unfamiliar with airline status for United here is the quick rundown of how to earn status (until 2012 when they merge the program with Continental officially)
- Premier: 25K miles in a year
- Premier Exec: 50K miles in a year
- 1K: 100K miles in a year
- Global Services: Invite only…aka people who travel too much for their own good.
As you can imagine, the more you fly the better it gets (think George Clooney in Up in the Air). So why is the Premier Exec the ugly middle status?
Well the GS are badass, you’re on a plane that much and you automatically get upgraded to business (and also first) on all your flights unless there is a lot of ridiculously wealthy folks on the flight. You get tons of bonus miles oh and you can upgrade your entire travel party (aka your family) with your status…screwing over others in the process.
The 1K members are also rewarded handsomely and can even get upgraded on international flights. There are a decent amount of these guys around (think consultants and sales folks), but given the number of business seats, they’re usually covered.
Premier members travel enough in the year to have a comparatively light amount of work travel, so they get very basic perks. These guys are just excited to make status. They get to start getting in the express line, boarding early, a free checked bag. It’s like growing up and not having to sit at the kid’s table anymore.
Who does that leave us with? Premier Executives. At somewhere between 50-100K miles per year, we travel a lot. It’s October, I’m in Copenhagen and I’ve already flown >64K miles in 2011, with more to come. The upgrades are just not there because of GS and 1K members. International upgrades are not included. With people clamoring to get on planes these days, we get cut off by Premiers eager to show off their new status and get on the plane first. It sucks.
Coupled with United’s inability to upgrade planes or infrastructure…things really suck. Let me give you an example.
These past two weeks I flew from SFO-SAN-SFO-BOS-CPH (tomorrow back to SFO). They messed up my status when I checked in so I had to call so they reassigned me from Premier to Premier Exec. Then I got to the airport to find out that while I am a Premier Exec member, I don’t get to access the international lounges because United never sent me a membership card.
For my flight from FRA to SFO tomorrow, I have people rooting for me. My boss called to try and get me upgraded to business. Another coworker was trying to sell me their upgrade pass. (It’s worrisome when multiple people feel sorry for your travel schedule).
So where am I?
At the moment, I’m in standard economy (vs. economy plus), my seat on the plane doesn’t recline and I was told by the United rep there are 50 people on the upgrade list, so not to get my hopes up. Oh, and did you know United doesn’t even provide free booze on international flights?
United. You’re welcome for those miles, but it would be nice for you to say Thank you and mean it every now and again.
So my hotel room key stopped working, which required a trip to the front desk.
“And please remember to keep your key away from mobile phones”
“Um, I have four phones in my purse…”
[Insert blank stare]
Can we tell I work in mobile?