Today is the last day of my elite status with Mileage Plus, or any other frequent flyer program for that matter. When United followed Delta in awarding elite status based on spending in addition to miles or segments flown, I stopped flying frequently since I knew I was never going to spend enough money to qualify… even for lowly silver status. I also was a little underemployed last year so I deliberately cut back on air travel.
Tomorrow, I join legions of ordinary travelers and other over-entitled elites, who earned elite status doing cheap mileage runs in February and October, and are now just general members of United’s frequent flyer program.
What do I lose now that I’m traveling in the back of the Snowpiercer?
- No more priority boarding. Although it seems like everyone was in Group 2, this is going to sting the most because I always found room for my carry-on bag. Now I am going to be that guy who is gate checking it or shoving it in the overhead bin above some jerk in business class.
- No more priority check-in or security line access. This was nice whenever I had an ex-JFK flight in the evening, when seemingly every other airline scheduled their flights, and the security line was jammed. But at LAX or SFO, almost everyone is an elite and only Global Services customers really see any shorter lines.
- No more getting help during IRROPS. Elite status made a difference when something went wrong at the airport, such as flexible rebooking, free rooms, and a much shorter customer service line. I’m going to dread seeking help the next time something goes wrong.
The rest, I think, I can live without…
- No more randomly getting PreCheck. This happened time-to-time but most frequently when I had a flight out of BUR, where there’s seemingly never a line for security. Ever!
- No more free checked bag. It used to be two free bags for Silver/Premier/2P members, and three for Gold/Premier Executive/1P and higher.
- No more complimentary Economy Plus seats at check-in. It used to be available at booking.
- No more upgrades on domestic, non-PS flights. Since my most common routing was JFK-LAX, I almost never took advantage of these upgrades. And after the merger, I got upgraded exactly once: an improbable LGA-IAH with a companion two years ago. The rest of the time, I was always like #83 on the upgrade list between IAD and SFO. This guy, MON, J, always settled for a row-seven seat, which usually had more legroom than domestic first-class anyway.
But as with the other big change in my life, I’m now free to see what else is out there.
I’m sure I’ll find something to my liking.