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United Airlines Making Major Changes to ‘Premier’ Membership Criteria

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United Airlines has announced that it’s overhauling the way the airline calculates eligibility requirements for frequent flyers to qualify for MileagePlus “Premier” status.

With four Premier tiers—Silver, Gold, Platinum and Premier 1K—Premier status affords its members special perks, such as free upgrades, pre-boarding, priority service and extra checked baggage allowances.

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At the moment, Mileage Plus frequent flyers can qualify for Premier status based on the amount of money they spend, number of miles flown or total eligible flight segments taken. But, starting in 2020, Premier status’ qualifying criteria will be based instead upon the number of qualifying flights purchased, which won’t include basic economy tickets.

An illustrative video from United explains that achieving Premier status will be less about distance flown, and more about the value of tickets purchased and the number of trips flown in eligible classes. Ultimately, this means travelers will need to spend more in order to reach each Premier tier.

To clarify, currently, Premier status calculation takes into account:

— Premier Qualifying Miles

— Premier Qualifying Segments

— Premier Qualifying Dollars

Now, Premier qualifying credit will be based upon just two factors:

— Premier Qualifying Points (PQP)

— Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF)

Under the new system, United has done away with complicated fare-class multipliers, which is considered to make tracking their qualification status more difficult for customers. Moving forward, without flight segments taken into consideration, any takeoff and landing combination counts as a flight, no matter how far the distance flown.

Each dollar spent on Economy Plus seating, or subscriptions, and preferred seat purchases will earn the purchaser one premier qualifying point, including basic fare and surcharges. Members achieve status for each Premier tier through a combination of accrued PQPs and PQFs, or through a higher number of PQPs alone.

New factors being incorporated into the Premier status calculations include MileagePlus upgrade award co-pays, paid upgrades and flights ticketed and operated by Star Alliance partners, although these will be credited at a lesser ratio of PQPs to dollars spent.

“The goal of these changes was to offer a more valuable program to our most loyal and valued customers,” a United spokesperson told FOX Business.

The evolution of Premier status calculations doesn’t change the way the average United MileagePlus member accrues his or her awards miles, and the way that customers qualify for Million Miler status isn’t changing, still being based upon actual distances flown.

To benefit frequent flyers on the whole, United also recently eliminated its expiration policy on rewards miles and began offering discounts for MileagePlus members to join Clear, the biometric airport security screening service.

For more information, visit MileagePlusUpdates.com.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source |

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Numerous Cities on List For Potentially Losing Air Travel

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The ball is now in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s court when it comes to deciding whether to grant the request of domestic airlines to significantly trim certain cities and airport from their respective service lists.

And, ironically, it comes at a time when the majority of the country is starting to reopen for business in the wake of the effects from the coronavirus pandemic.

The government comment period on the matter ended on Thursday, leaving the matter to a decision by the DOT, which has not said when it will issue a ruling according to USA Today.

Airlines are looking to drop service to conserve some desperately needed cash, with demand for air travel having dropped to unprecedented lows. At one point, screenings by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) were off 94 percent compared to a similar date last year. But as a condition of accepting federal grants and loans as part of the CARES Act stimulus package, U.S. carriers needed to maintain the same amount of service it offered prior to the coronavirus impact as well as seek permission from the DOT to drop routes.

But the cuts could be devastating to small airports.

According to USA Today, Anthony Dudas, the airport director in Williston, North Dakota, said that the town is a gateway to the rich Bakken oil fields. Before the pandemic, it had five daily flights from United and Delta. Now, those flights have been reduced to one a day for each of the two airlines. If Delta is granted permission to suspend service, the community will be down even further – serving a $275 million airport that opened last year.

“While we understand the need for air carriers to have flexibility in adjusting schedules and services, we believe the impact from significantly reducing air service to western North Dakota will be enormous,” Dudas wrote.

Here is the list of cities that could be dropped.

ALASKA AIRLINES

Charleston, South Carolina

Columbus, Ohio

El Paso, Texas

New Orleans

San Antonio, Texas

ALLEGIANT AIR

New Orleans

Ogdensburg, New York

Palm Springs, California

San Antonio

Springfield, Illinois

Tucson, Arizona

AMERICAN AIRLINES

Aspen, Colorado

Eagle, Colorado

Montrose/Delta, Colorado

Worcester, Massachusetts

CAPE AIR

Portland, Maine

Corvus Airlines

Goodnews Bay, Alaska

Kodiak, Alaska

Napakiak, Alaska

Napaskiak, Alaska

Platinum, Alaska

DELTA AIR LINES

Aspen, Colorado

Bangor, Maine

Erie, Pennsylvania

Flint, Michigan

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Lincoln, Nebraska

New Bern/Morehead/Beaufort, North Carolina

Peoria, Illinois

Santa Barbara, California

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Williston, North Dakota

ELITE AIRWAYS

Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida

FRONTIER AIRLINES

Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina

Mobile, Alabama

Palm Springs

Portland, Maine

Tyler, Texas

JETBLUE AIRWAYS

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Palm Springs

Sacramento, California

Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida

Worcester, Massachusetts

Seaborne Virgin Islands

Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands

Christiansted, Virgin Islands

Culebra, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Vieques, Puerto Rico

SILVER AIRWAYS

Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands

Huntsville, Alabama

Key West, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Tampa, Florida

SPIRIT AIRLINES

Asheville, North Carolina

Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands

Christiansted, Virgin Islands

Greensboro/High Point, North Carolina

Plattsburgh, New York

SUN AIR EXPRESS

Nashville, Tennessee

SUN COUNTRY AIRLINES

Madison, Wisconsin

Philadelphia

Portland, Oregon

Sacramento

St. Louis, Missouri

UNITED AIR LINES

Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton, Pennsylvania

Charlotte Amalie

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Fairbanks, Alaska

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Ithaca/Cortland, New York

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Key West, Florida

Lansing, Michigan

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Rochester, Minnesota

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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