United follows Delta with revenue based frequent flyer miles program next year!

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UA copy of delta earnings

I was hoping the other two majors would NOT follow Delta to the basement of points earnings, but it now looks like all are going to race to the bottom. This news is a shame as United, IMO, is not that great of an airline to start with; this will not make them better.

On a plus side, I think more from United will now come over to Delta :-)! A big HT to MilesFromBlighty for breaking this news!- René
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7 comments

  1. For Delta, I thought this made sense. Their capacity factor is high and they can afford to alienate the mileage runners who add weight and fuel cost while providing little in compensation. For United, with their quality and continuing integration problems, I’m surprised they pulled the trigger now (maybe a profitable quarter is shaping up?). With the devaluing of RDMs, and their ease of accumulation through CCs and portals, mileage running for anything but status has been a losing proposition. And for the airlines, giving rebates based on distance hasn’t made sense for years now.

    For me, this move by United actually restores some loyalty into ‘loyalty’ programs – except for gross price differences, I’ll immediately be moving any travel I might have done on Untied back to Delta. I can’t come up with a scenario which makes sense for me to try to maintain both DM and 1K (and I’ve already got enough MQMs to make DM through 2016). Besides, Delta’s product, and especially their PEOPLE, are far superior to United.

  2. We can thank the regulators for allowing an unprecedented and anti-competitive amount of consolidation in the industry. Do you think AA can go mileage based next year in the midst of their other changes and merger integration issues?

  3. @Jem – perfect comment. that is also my point. that is that DL could take this gamble and maybe win. US will not gain at all from this one bit – IMO!

  4. @john – sure. i hope they do not as they can clean house and win over MANY frequent flyers if they do not. sadly my guess is monkey see = monkey do!

  5. Thanks for interpreting my question which I misstated. I am one ff AA can win over if they do not change. I still firmly believe these price-based ff programs present significant conflicts of interest for business travelers and the companies that pay for their tickets. Hotels and rental cars have somewhat similar programs but hotels and rental car companies charge only one price for the same car or the same room whereas airlines charge multiple prices for the same airline seat and the prices can vary by factors of four or five or more.

  6. Do you really think United saw Delta’s program and said “hey, let’s follow them” and put together a nearly identical program in that short period of time? I have a feeling that “monkey see = monkey do” really = collusion, and should be investigated.

  7. @DiamondDave – the thing is FF miles have no value (ask the IRS – that is why they are not taxed). so, even if there is collusion, the programs have “no value” so how could you stop them. now, if they do start to tax them, then oh yeah the legal “fun” will never end as the airline will be in court more than in the air as FF sue them every day about some small FF issue. the day the IRS changes the rule will be a sad day for the airlines (if it ever happens)!

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