United: Global Services members will have to wait for a status extension
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
United’s top published tier is Premier 1K, and, on Sunday, the airline confirmed that current elite members — up to and including Premier 1K — would have their current benefits extended through Jan. 31, 2022. That’s great news for most of the airline’s frequent flyers, but there’s a very important group that isn’t covered by the announcement.
Some of the carrier’s biggest spenders belong to an invite-only tier, called Global Services. While the criteria has never been published, members generally spend a significant amount on United-operated flights each year. It isn’t unheard of for pre-tax airfares to total $100,000 in a calendar year.
You’d expect United to go above and beyond to keep these customers happy — say, with clear, speedy communication during the current COVID-19 crisis. However, while all other frequent flyers learned on Sunday that their earned tier would be extended, United’s biggest spenders are being promised that the airline “will be offering, at a minimum, Premier 1K status to all 2020 earned Global Services members,” as UA confirmed to one customer via email. (Delta’s doing something similar with its invite-only tier, Delta 360. In an email to TPG, the carrier said that “Those selected to the program for 2021 will be contacted by Delta in February 2021).
While I’ve been happy with Premier 1K, it’s a clear downgrade from Global Services, where benefits include far more flexible confirmed upgrades, top priority for complimentary upgrades, expanded award availability, tarmac transfers for tight connections, a dedicated customer service line and a whole lot more. We’ve reached out to United Airlines for comment, and will provide an update if we hear back.
Personally, I’m confident that United will ultimately end up extending Global Services for all current members, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the carrier wait a few weeks or even months to communicate that decision. Why the delay? At this point, it still seems possible some travelers could take to the skies later this year. If United tells its biggest spenders that they don’t need to worry about giving the airline any business, they very well might book expensive business and first-class tickets elsewhere.
At the same time, those top customers will continue to grow anxious about losing access to their coveted Global Services tier — some will purchase and fly on United tickets just to reaffirm their dedication to the airline, I’m sure, though others will grow more frustrated as time goes on, and consider taking their business elsewhere, next year and beyond. If United hopes to keep it biggest spenders engaged, executives need to act, sooner than later.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees