United’s giving its biggest spenders another year of Global Services perks

Jul 23, 2021

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The question I’ve gotten most often throughout the pandemic hasn’t been “Are hotels still offering free breakfast?” or “Which credit card should I get?” It’s whether or not United will give current Global Services members another year of perks, and when we’ll all find out.

Well, we finally know the answer to your most-pressing status question! And, as you’ve likely gathered from the headline, it is indeed good news.

United just confirmed: Global Services members who earned status based on their own travels will get another year of benefits, regardless of how much they’ve flown in 2021. Status will be extended through Jan. 31, 2023. (Elite members who received a Global Services “nomination” based on a corporate contract will not have their status automatically renewed.)

Back in May, Luc Bondar, the head of United’s MileagePlus program, indicated that the airline was considering a Global Services extension, saying “We’ll do the right thing by our best customers.” Global Services members are indeed the airline’s best, in many cases spending tens of thousands of dollars (or far more) during a busy year of corporate travel.

Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting opportunities to travel for work, these flyers are largely limited to leisure trips, taking advantage of the same flight deals you and I are — fares that are unlikely to get them anywhere close to earning Global Services this year.

Fortunately, there’s no need to worry about requalifying right now. Travelers who have earned Global Services status based on their own travels should be receiving an email from Bondar within the next few days. Here’s a preview below:

(Screenshot courtesy of United)

It’s easy to understand why Global Services members have been so eager for the airline to confirm an extension. The benefits are among the best offered by any airline in the world — customers can expect top priority for upgrades, the most knowledgeable phone agents and United Club access on domestic trips, among many other perks.

This is the second extension for Global Services members. In August of 2020, United announced that top elites who qualified based on their 2019 travels would have their benefits extended through Jan. 31, 2022, even if they weren’t able to fly.

Last year, United extended status for all of its elite tiers, as well, but that’s unlikely to happen again in 2021. Instead, the airline has introduced an array of limited-time promotions, and we’re expecting the airline to offer even more status shortcuts soon.

As for the competition, American Airlines Concierge Key and Delta 360 elites received status extensions in 2020. As of now, those perks expire in January of 2022, but it’s possible that both airlines could follow United’s lead and announce another year of gratis perks. Some AA Concierge Key members have already reported receiving extensions, so a formal announcement may be in the works.

On the United front, could we see another Global Services extension next year? I wouldn’t count on it. With travel picking up considerably, including among business flyers, Global Services members will most likely need to take to the skies next year if they’re hoping to keep their perks through the beginning of 2024.

Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy

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