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United Internal Memo Blames Partner Airlines For Leap in Frequent Flyer Awards Requirements

Excerpt from Bloomberg Businessweek

Dec 20, 2013 7:30 am

Skift Take

As is usual, as seen from the attached United internal memo, the airline is mostly concerned about salespeople’s “customer speaking points,” and is blaming the huge jump in mileage redemption requirements for its most loyal passengers on MileagePlus partners.

— Dennis Schaal

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The number of award miles needed to snag a seat in the premium cabin will rise dramatically next year at Delta (DAL) and United (UAL)—and airline mile collectors are fuming.

The biggest changes in both airlines’ loyalty programs will be for international travel in first and business class, where some award levels on United will jump as much as 87 percent. To be awarded a first-class ticket now from North America to the Middle East, for example, a traveler has to spend 150,000 frequent-flyer miles. Beginning Feb. 1, that award seat will require 280,000 miles when flying on one of United’s partner airlines. The same trip on United’s own planes will require 180,000 miles, up from 150,000.

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