United Continental unveils revamped loyalty programme

21 Sep 2011 by BusinessTraveller

The holding company for United and Continental Airlines has announced details of the revamped MileagePlus scheme which will launch next year, including four Premier levels and a relaunched Million Miler programme.

Continental’s OnePass scheme will cease to exist on December 31, with current members being automatically enrolled into the MileagePlus scheme, and miles being transfered at a 1:1 rate.

The revamped MileagePlus scheme will feature standard membership, four Premier tier statuses, and the Global Services recognition for select members by invitation only.

The new Premier tiers will be awarded as follows:

  • Premier Silver (replacing the existing Premier tier): 25,000 Premier qualifying miles (PQM) or 30 Premier qualifying segments (PQS)
  • Premier Gold (replacing Premier Executive): 50,000 PQM or 60 PQS
  • Premier Platinum (a new tier level): 75,000 PQM or 90 PQS
  • Premier 1K (replacing the current 1K tier): 100,000 PQM or 120 PQS

The full benefits of each level are detailed here, but a few key points are:

  • 25 per cent Premier bonus award miles for Silver members, rising to 50 per cent for Gold members, 75 per cent for Platinum cardholders and 100 per cent for 1K members
  • Platinum and 1K members will pay no fees for close-in award bookings, changes and redeposits
  • Gold, Platinum and 1K members pay no fees for same-day flight changess
  • Gold, Platinum and 1K members get lounge access when travelling internationally
  • Silver memberhip is equivalent to Star Alliance Silver status, while Gold, Platinum and 1K membership equates to Star Alliance Gold

Frequent travellers will note the downgrading of some benefits here – Premier Executive (Gold) members currently earn 100 per cent bonus award miles, which will halve under the revamped scheme.

Also Premier (Silver) members will only be able to check in one piece of luggage for free (down from the current two), while Gold members will be able to check in up to three pieces without charge, up from the current two.

All Premier tier members will remain eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades, but Silver members will now have to wait until 24 hours before departure to have these confirmed, while Gold members will be able to do so 48 hours beforehand, Platinum members 72 hours and 1K members 96 hours.

Similar to the recent Million Milers revamp by American Airlines (see online news August 25), United will make eligibility for this lifetime Premier Gold status more tricky in the new year.

From the start of 2012 the carrier will determine lifetime earnings based on actual flight miles (rather than all miles earned from sources including branded credit card purchases).

This will follow a one-time adjustment which will calculate each member’s lifetime earnings based on their elite qualification miles earned in MileagePlus and OnePass since joining the programmes.

Note that Million Milers will also earn lifetime Gold status for their spouse or significant other, while those earning three million miles will attain Premier 1K status, and members earning four million miles will receive Global Services status.

Full details on the revamped scheme can be found at

Report by Mark Caswell

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