Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why Your United Lifetime Flight Mileage Suddenly Increased

Happy new year folks. Crosscheck and I were talking about this blog, and the fact that we have tons of great ideas for things to write here while we're flying, but when we get back on the ground our brains are blank again. I'm going to try a different approach this year, which will be to write shorter posts more often, generally around the time I'm flying.

Like today, when I completed my first two segments of 2012. But today I'm not writing about my fight experience. I'm going to explain why my lifetime mileage on United suddenly jumped on New Year's Day from 552,000 to about 675,000. It has to do with coming up with a single system for tracking mileage, that handles CO and UA accounts fairly and equitably.

Up til now, MP accounts tracked "BIS" miles: Butt In Seat while on board UA and United Express aircraft. CO's OnePass counted these EQMs (elite qualifying miles) as well as "bonus EQM" - like miles from partner airlines, or airline credit cards or other promotions.

As a way to get people back on the same page, United recalculated lifetime MP balances to include not only the BIS mileage on UA aircraft, but the bonus EQM on UA as well (previously excluded). This is a one time bump. As United pointed out, "the lifetime miles balance will either increase or remain the same."

If you have a MP account as well as a OnePass account, UA will be combining their lifetime miles to come up with a single, new MP lifetime balance. This is the number with which you'll start your 2012 frequent flyering. And sometime late in Q1 of calendar 2012 the balances will no longer be shown as CO and UA separately, but instead will be combined.

What does this mean in practical terms? Well if you're a UA Premier Gold member, you will have more competition now, and may have a harder time getting upgraded on UDUs (or whatever they are calling them now). Best way to ensure the upgrade? Pick a higher-ranking fare class when you book your ticket.

Last thing to note is that as of January 1, 2012, the bonus party is over. If you want Million Miler status, you're going to have to earn the rest of the miles the new fashioned way: by actually flying. This from UA:
Starting January 1, 2012, flight miles on the new United (including Continental), Copa Airlines, or Copa Airlines Colombia will accrue toward Million Miler status.
So don't give up on promotions, MP Dining, transferring your Marriott Rewards, and so on. Those will still be credited toward award mileage balances. But the EQMs will come from flying, and (maybe) from the United MP Explorer Visa card (but probably just from dollars spent on EQM...I'm not even sure, and I have the damn card). 

Confused? Don't worry about it. The mileage wonks will track this stuff for us. Our job, as always, is to fly fly fly.


Image: Old and new MP logos via Plane Picky.

No comments:

Post a Comment