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Update: My United Status Match That Wasn’t

by on July 12, 2012 · 40 comments

in Elite Status, United

Earlier this week I blogged about status matching and challenging elite status and that I recently was offered a match to United Platinum, simply by emailing them my American Airlines Executive Platinum information. Here’s my email exchange – as you can see, this didn’t end up as planned and I’m not happy about it.

My original email to [email protected]:
“Hello-
I am currently an American Airlines Executive Platinum member and would like to bring my business to United. Will you match me to 1K? If so I will switch to United.
My MileagePlus is 12345
Brian Kelly
Address

A copy of my AA statement is attached (I had taken a screenshot of my online account statement and attached the JPG). Please let me know if you need anything else. Thanks!”

Response less than 24 hours later:
“Hello Mr Kelly,

We’re always glad to hear from MileagePlus® members like you. Thanks for writing.

We would be happy to grant you status in the MileagePlus program.  The one consideration we would have, we match American Executive Platinum at Platinum.  You would have Platinum for the rest of this year and all of next.  Let us know if that is what you would like to do.

We appreciate you taking the time to contact us.

Regards,

Shelly XYZ”

My response:
Is there any way to get to 1K- even with a challenge? If not, I’ll take Platinum. Thanks!”


Within 36 hours I get the following:
“Hello Mr. Kelly,
Congratulations! You have been awarded Premier Platinum® status in the MileagePlus® program! This will make your travel with us comfortable, simple and more rewarding than ever.
Your status will be effective for 90 days. Your 90 day time frame will be July 11 through October 9, 2012. To remain a Premier Platinum member through 2012, you will need to fly 25,000 paid, qualifying miles or 30 segments on qualifying flights* within that 90-day timeframe.
If you meet the above required paid flight miles or segment threshold, a Premier Platinum kit will be issued and mailed to you. Until you have a card, be sure to add your MileagePlus number to your reservation in order to benefit from your Premier status.
*Qualifying flights must be operated by United, United Express, or Copa with a United or Copal flight number and credited to the member’s MileagePlus account. Flights operated by United, United Express, or Copa that have a partner’s codeshare flight number do not qualify. Flights operated by any other airline do not qualify.Premier Platinum status can be earned each year by flying 75,000 Premier status miles (PQM) or 90 Premier status segments (PQS) between January 1 and December 31 of each calendar year. You earn PQM and PQS on qualifying purchased flights on United and United Express and the Star Alliance members. For a current list of Star Alliance member airlines, please visit www.united.com/staralliance. For details about the MileagePlus premier program, visit www.united.com/premier. MileagePlus members are only allowed to earn premier status through the Premier Status Match program just one time.
Regards, Tammy XYZ”
So the good news is that I now have United Platinum status and that United is responding quickly to these requests (right after the merger they were taking weeks to respond). The bad news is that it’s not 1K and it’s actually challenge – not the match I reported on Tuesday. This is aggravating because I am racking up a bunch of United MQM’s on the Star Alliance Mega Do in November, but that falls outside of this 90-day challenge window.
I already sent an email back requesting a match instead of a challenge, but something tells me this is going to be an uphill battle. I think it’s very misleading that I emailed premiermatch@united.com and they agreed to give me Platinum and then once I agreed, they spring a 90-day challenge on me. I’ll keep you all updated, but wanted to clarify that it seems like United is not actually matching American or Delta elites, but is instead requiring challenges – something I don’t think is a bad idea, but they should be more up front with the process.
My first experience so far has not been pleasant – perhaps a sign of things to come?

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  • Kevin

    At least you got a response back. I sent them several emails months before a trip to Singapore which would have covered the challenge miles needed and I never got anything back. Once I returned I was annoyed and sent a simple “nevermind” email which they did respond to within hours. Go figure.

    They did eventually give me 2,500 miles as a “sorry” for taking so long to get back to me which was unexpected and not requested, but I’m not one to say no to free miles.

  • Guest

    oohh boo hooo

  • cg

    I have AA Gold and after reading your last post I sent them an email for the match. I got the same ‘challenge’ response and they offered the challenge for Premier Silver…

  • Ashley

    At least they gave you Premier Platinum, I’m Diamond on Delta, but live in Chicago, so I switched to United at the beginning of the year. They matched me to Gold (with a challenge) which then, after the revamping of the merger, put me at Premier Gold. Sadly, I don’t feel it’s anywhere near comparable to Diamond on Delta. Six months later and I have yet to be upgraded on a United flight even though I fly every week.

  • SeaBee3

    Ask them to suspend the challenge until whatever date you want. I did that last year (actually, they matched my Diamond to 1k then, but that was per-merger) because they told me the status would only last until the end of the year. I asked them to move it until after July as I wanted the status throught this year as well. They moved it no problem.

  • studddd

    Welcome to UA, where UA cares nothing for its entitled frequnt flyers.
    Oh, and did u know that Plat is lessor than the benifits that use to go to the old UA GLD?
    Don’t kid yourself, you will rarely make domestic first with Plat anyways. Moreover, most short haul flights are snack boxes, even up to 2 1/2 hrs like MIA to IAD.

  • Scottrick

    Most people already made the appropriate comments. United was indeed unclear in that they offered you a match in the first email and gave you a challenge in the second. It could be because you suggested a challenge to 1K in your reply. (Really? You were never, ever going to get that.) Situations like this are why (1) I try to handle all my United business over the phone or (2) I confirm the details with a separate email before I say “yes” to anything they propose.

  • Mehul Sheth

    I was extremely frustrated with the match/challenge program as well. I was matching my Delta Platinum as I was moving from Milwaukee to Chicago and knew that I was bringing all my buisness (about 100k/year) to United. After taking a business class trip to London I called United to ensure that I had gotten the appropriate miles. To my surprise the customer representative told me that I had fulfilled my mileage requirements! I insisted that it was actual flown mileage, not bonus miles. She insisted that I had completed the challenge and that I should expect my Platinum card in the next few weeks. Although I took additional United flights over the rest of the 2 month match period, I did take 2 Delta flights as the itinerary was easier, thinking that I had fulfilled my requirements.

    I called about a week prior to my 3 month challenge status finishing as I had not received my card. They informed me that I had not made the match, and was about 1,000 miles short. I explained my situation to no avail. The supervisor stated that even though their customer service agent told me I matched I should have asked to speak with someone from the Status Match department, although she wouldn’t let me escalate to Status Match on that call. When I explained that I had a trip coming up that would be over 1,000 miles, but only 1 week outside of my timeframe, she refused to give me any leniency!

    I understand their need to follow the rules, but the inability to provide any leniency in what was clearly misinformation by one of their representatives was unacceptable. I’m glad I have the luxury of two carriers with hubs in Chicago…

  • http://twitter.com/jamucsb Jamison

    i did a match when it was CO…. do you think i can do a match again since its now United? What do you think?

  • http://twitter.com/jamucsb Jamison

    yup, im premier gold right now and it’s such a joke.. so glad I won’t be re-qualifying this year.. AA for life

  • Zvi1

    I had elal gold and they only gave me a challenge too. The good part is I had to fly right then and made the needed miles to keep the gold status.

  • Michael

    This is a classic bait and switch. You get Plat for a 17 months, congrats! Oh wait, you get plat for 90 days with a challenge. Horrible.

  • Mark The Shark

    I was offered the challenge for silver status by United using my Delta silver status. The best I could find to hit my 10,000 miles is a trip to HNL for about $950 roundtrip (I have a $100 certficate that I wasn’t going to use anyway which would drop the fare to about $850). What do you guys think? Is it worth spending $850 and a day and a half of travel for silver status? I would end up with about 12,000 United miles out of the deal.

  • Sadfa

    I had a similar issue when requesting Premier Gold Match with my AA Platinum status.

    I flew about 16,500 miles in the 90 day window and didn’t hit the required 17,500 miles even though I had a flight scheduled about a month after the deadline ended that would have put me over.

    Tried status match again a few months later to find out you can only do it once every 5 years.

    United FAIL.

  • Szilard H.

    C’mon man! Tell ‘em that you are THE pointsguy and they will grant you 1K! ;)
    But all jokes aside, I think they misunderstood you… It happened to me many times since I have been with United and they will rectify the error after a few emails, I am sure!

  • Szilard H.

    BTW, it is the “Missing flight credit” that takes them forever. I submitted a request for missing miles on the 2nd of April, 2012…. still no news!!!

  • Na

    the only status worth having on United, of course, is Global Services, which is based on $ spend rather than miles flown (which is the rational approach for most airlines to take). People like you won’t find much value in elite status on United because you don’t spend much $ on airfare. On the other hand, fly JFK-LAX/SFO PS in $2,400 business seats once or twice a month, and United will happily upgrade you every day on other flights.

  • theblakefish

    Get used to it, Brian. This is how the new UA operates…

  • sfobuddy

    The match would be easy to do with some crazy F fare like the RGN to ??? However, are they more receptive to a true ‘match’ if it is a foreign airline, say BA?

  • Frenchita23

    I am flying to Asia and was looking to get United to match for 90 days my Gold status on Delta. However, they said that I got matched about 4 years ago, and they have a 5 year limit. Do you think it would be worth calling up and asking nicely? I’ve got horribly long flights to Asia coming up at the end of the month, and the showers in the lounges at the end of the road sure would be nice. Any advice is much appreciated!

  • whendoublewidesfly

    wow took them over a month to reply to me!

  • Guest

    There is a thread on FT about United status match/challenge. They will only offer the challenge to those with an equivalent status on another airline. They dicontinued the match over a year ago, AFAIK.

  • Mehadi

    Why you guys bother commenting , thepointsguy barely ever replies or answers
    Any comments.

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    Yes! It can’t hurt to try and explain the situation to them and let them know you have upcoming travel. If you just want Star Gold, try status matching to any Star Alliance Airline such as Turkish Airlines for example, then you will get lounge access all the time flying United.

  • Max M

    Mark:

    It depends on how much value you plan on getting from earning status by doing the status challenge. So if you’re doing the status challenge, and only expect to fly on United 2-3 roundtrips during the time you’re actually elite on United after completing the challenge, that’s something to think about. After all, the only thing you’re gaining for sure are more bonus miles earned as an elite and economy plus. Your chances on getting upgraded to a premium cabin are a gamble; not a sure thing.

    Something to consider.

  • Max M

    Reading the comments here, it appears you’re limited to a status challenge once every 5 years. With that said, since your status match was with CO, I don’t see what you’ve got to lose by asking UA for a status challenge. I say status challenge because it appears TPG was under the impression that it was a status match, not challenge.

    Play your cards smartly. Based on the helpful info shared by TPG, expect a status challenge– not match. If you don’t think you can handle the requirements of a potential challenge, then you’ve wasted your time and money on a challenge, with the only silver lining being the BIS frequent flyer miles you’ve earned.

  • cyndi

    Earlier this spring I applied for a challenge to Silver with United as I knew I was flying to Hawaii on United and also wanted the baggage benefit. After two emails which never got responded to and talking to someone who told me to fax my credentials because I would get a response in 24 hours… of which I didn’t get any response at all. Took my trip without status. One week after my return from Hawaii I received the welcome to Silver without a challenge requirement. too late… they definitely fail from a customer service perspective

  • Mrdgoldman

    Took about 30 hours to get this response –

    Mr. Goldman:

    Thank you for contacting the MileagePlus Service Center.

    It is my pleasure to inform you that your request for Premier Silver
    status has been granted!

    Your Premier benefits and privileges are effective immediately……

  • Mark The Shark

    Thanks Max! Does anyone have experience with United Silver? Has your experience been positive with upgrades? I would like it for the upgrades, but will probably only fly United 2 to 5 times while I have silver status with them.

    The savings on baggage fees (and reduced other fees are minimal).

  • TD

    That’s a bummer. Let us know what comes of it please. Also, what is the reason why matches won’t happen inside of an Alliance? Like, why wouldn’t my USAir Chairman be worth anything to United?

  • Schmenge

    For what it’s worth, I had previously done this in March of ’10 –here’s the response I got after request this past week: “We are unable to process your Status Match request at this time. The Premier Status Match may be granted only one time within a 5 year time frame.” Had read posts re this, but thought I’d try anyway…

  • Jason

    Huh? Are you writing from alternate universe that you think these comments are aimed at TPG? We’re talking about UA.

  • Jason

    I tried to do a match from Delta Silver Medallion to Premier Silver. I too got the “we awarded you status for 90 days…” line. I replied to see if they’re reconsider a match instead of challenge. Response pending.

  • Jason

    Dear Mr. [Jason]:

    Thank you for contacting the MileagePlus Service Center.

    We have reviewed your account for eligibility in the Premier program and we regret that we cannot extend membership to you. To maintain the integrity of the Premier program, status is awarded only to those members who have flown the published requirements. We realize you have a choice of airline carriers and hope that you will continue to allow United to provide you with the service to which you have become accustomed.

    Regards,

    [Unhelpful Team Member]
    MileagePlus Service Center

    Right, so I have a “choice” to either be treated like a number on United or utilize my Silver Medallion status. Bye United.

  • Jonathan

    I am in the same boat as the author. I think they call that “bait and switch.” No, I am sure that’s what it’s called.

    This relationship is off to a rocky start…

  • JPerks

    Mark the Shark,

    I have been with United this whole year so far and am just short of 1K by 7,000 miles, monthly trips to Asia/Pacific help. I personally never saw an upgrade until I hit platinum. (Mostly because United flys much smaller regional jets throughout the States). You will also “never get upgraded” on any long haul flights, unless you redeem a voucher, then there is only the chance.

  • http://aftab.com/ Parry Aftab

    delta did the same thing. I have to fly 26000miles within 90 days, and am already a 1K united member.
    does anyone do a real status match?

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  • bo

    sorry that you actually have the time stamp on it. overlooked it.

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