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United: Global Services members will have to wait for a status extension

April 06, 2020
3 min read
United: Global Services members will have to wait for a status extension
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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.

Global Services members have access to a number of valuable perks, including top priority for upgrades to United's Polaris business class. Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

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.

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Featured image by Photo by Zach Honig/TPG

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1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.