Changes are coming to members of the United Airlines MileagePlus program. United Airlines has decided to change its elite status earning structure from a distance base calculation to spending base. The new changes will come into effect on tickets that are purchased for travel on or after March 1, 2015 . It will not matter when you purchase the tickets for the new changes to apply.
The number of MileagePlus points you earn will depend on your elite level:
- General members will earn: 5 points for every $1 spent
- Silver Premier members will earn: 7 points for every $1 spent
- Gold Premier members will earn: 8 points for every $1 spent
- Platinum Premier members will earn: 9 points for every $1 spent
- 1k members will earn: 11 points for every $1 spent
Many frequent flyers will find this to be a huge devaluation. Especially those are go on mileage runs because finding a cheap plane ticket will not earn you as many elite qualifying points as before. This new earning structure rewards people who are big spenders on an airline.
Changing from distance base to spending base calculations appears to be the trend that airlines going in. Delta Air Lines also made similar changes that will also come into effect in 2015. These kinds of changes only makes me even more motivated to earn more points to travel and especially to diversify my portfolio. Points help to greatly reduce the cost of travel and diversification helps being hit by devaluations, because you can leverage the positives of every program to help you with your travels.
Furthermore, if we continue to see more devaluations throughout the loyalty programs, I might be considering putting more emphasis on my travel cash back credit cards. The Capital One Aspire World Travel, which I already have, would become my first choice credit card to use, so long as they do not devalue their program either.
Chasing elite status may become a thing of the past. At the end of the day, you have to decide what is most important to you. Do you value elite status or do you want to get the best bang for your buck?