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Travel Industry Travel Management

More Benefit Changes Coming to MileagePlus® Members

At the end of 2014, United Airlines announced more changes to the MileagePlus® membership plan, which go into effect February 1, 2015. These changes will affect complimentary baggage allowances, Global Entry payment reimbursement, and the MileagePlus® Upgrade Award.

Currently, Premier Gold members traveling on domestic Economy tickets are allowed three complimentary checked bags. As of February 1, those travelers will only receive two complimentary checked bags.

Second, MileagePlus® members are presently receiving reimbursement for the $100 Global Entry application fee. This reimbursement will no longer be available.

Lastly, while Premier members are currently exempt from the co-pay due upon request for a MileagePlus® Upgrade Award on the premium service (or the premium service route that travels between John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport or San Francisco International Airport), next month, members will no longer be exempt from this fee.

See United’s Premier Benefits Chart to learn the benefits of each tier of Premier status.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

United Airlines Changes MileagePlus Premier Qualification Requirements for 2016

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United will require 20% additional spending in 2015 to qualify for Premier Status in 2016.

Business travelers experienced changes last year to their loyalty programs, as a number of airlines transitioned from mileage-based awards to dollar amount requirements to qualify for elite status.

But United Airlines recently updated their qualification requirements again. Their program is now in line with Delta’s elite qualification requirements, which were announced last month.

United will require 20% additional spending in 2015 to qualify for Premier Status in 2016:

  • Silver – Increase from $2,500 to $3,000
  • Gold – Increases from $5,000 to $6,000
  • Platinum – Increases from $7,500 to $9,000
  • 1K – Increases from $10,000 to $12,000

It is interesting to note that two of the three largest U.S. carriers–Delta (#2) and United (#3)–have changed from a mileage-based to a revenue-based award program. American Airlines, now the largest U.S. carrier after its recent merger with U.S. Airways, has not announced any changes to their current mileage-based award program.

But the question now becomes: How will these changes impact available seat upgrades?

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Delta and United Change Loyalty Programs: What does that mean for the business traveler?

Screen-Shot-2014-02-26-at-8_13_48-AMWhen Delta and United announced their 2015 loyalty program changes, I don’t think anyone was surprised. But if, like me, you travel just enough to feel like a frequent flyer but not enough to actually gain status with any one airline, you might be interested to learn that travelers with loyalty status actually pay 15% to 20% more than those without status, according to data collected over a two-year period by CWT Solutions.

Traveling, it seems, is not as fun or as glamorous as it was 30 years ago, so it makes perfect sense that travelers prefer to stick with one carrier because of the benefits offered to make travel more tolerable and productive—especially if you are a road-warrior type business traveler. Those complimentary upgrades, priority boarding, and waived baggage fees definitely improve a traveler’s experience and state of mind!

Travel managers should be aware, however, and educate themselves on the 2015 changes in store. These two loyalty programs (Delta’s and United’s) are switching from miles traveled to ticket price paid. This may cause some travelers to consider other ways to ensure continuance of benefits they have become accustom.

These following articles explain in detail (including comments from travelers) how these 2015 loyalty program changes will affect travel managers, travelers, and eventually a company’s bottom line:

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Business Travel Travel Industry

United Airlines and Marriott Hotels Join Forces

Get even more perks with United and Marriott's RewardsPlus program.
Get even more business travel perks with United and Marriott’s RewardsPlus program.

As business travelers, we are always looking for ways to enhance our travel experience. And this summer, United Airlines and Marriott Hotels joined forces to provide just that–an enhanced, and “rewarding,” experience.

Recently, United’s MileagePlus® and Marriott Rewards® combined to become “RewardsPlus.” The newly linked loyalty program offers the following:

  • Status in both programs for select United Premier and Marriott Elite Members
  • The ability for MileagePlus Premier members to convert miles into Marriott Rewards points
  • More value when converting points between programs

By joining forces, United MileagePlus and Marriott Rewards are able to provide their most loyal members with unprecedented travel benefits. RewardsPlus grants United Global Services, Premier 1K, Premier Platinum, and Premier Gold members Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status and the array of benefits that come with it. Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite members will receive MileagePlus Premier Silver status, featuring some of United’s most popular elite perks. Status offerings will be effective until January 31, 2014.

Marriott Rewards and MileagePlus members also now receive added value when transferring points into miles and will get additional miles for vacation packages. Also, MileagePlus Premier members will be able to convert their miles into Marriott Rewards points.

In addition, all MileagePlus and Marriott Rewards members will receive a 20% discount when converting Marriott Rewards points into MileagePlus miles and a 10% bonus for MileagePlus miles on Marriott Rewards travel packages.

For more information, or to sign up, visit marriottrewards.com/rewardsplus.