What to Know Now

We all saw it coming. Fresh on the tail of Delta ratcheting up the minimum requirements for it’s 2016 mileage program, United followed suit late last week. Next year’s program will require an extra 20% of minimum spend for elite status, meaning instead of the $2,500 – $10,000 required for Silver-1K status, it will now cost $3,000 – $12,000.

Why the gouging? Partially because they want to match Delta’s nefarious plan and partially because they can. Elites are aplenty in today’s post-recession world, and rather than distribute more perks it’s easier to thin the herd.

Don’t worry, The New Yorker is already disappointed on your behalf. As educated consumers, you now have two choices: leave for another airline in 2015 or cough up the cash. I know which one I’ll be doing.

Subscribe to the newsletter here and send tips to gm@skift.com or @grantkmartin.

Social Quote of the Day

And just in time for the holidays, @united sends out their annual letter turning the screws a little harder on their #mileageplus fliers.

@PhotoWil | Wil Matthews, editorial and commercial photographer

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Airlines

Skift Forum Video: Southwest’s CMO on the Right Way to Brand an Airline: Among other aspects of marketing at Southwest, Krone oversees brand development and played a key role in the airline’s recent rebranding. According to Krone, the look of the old Southwest was “not a current trend or current style.” Read more at Skift

Virgin America Takes Off in First Day of Public Trading: Virgin America made a successful takeoff in its public trading debut Friday.  The shares opened at $27 — $4 higher than the price that the airline set — and then jumped as high as $29.74 within about an hour of the opening bell on the Nasdaq stock market. Read more at Skift

United Increases Revenue Requirements for Elite Status: United has updated their elite qualification critieria at united.com to show that next year the minimum spending requirement to earn elite status will go up for each status level by 20%. That’s the exact percentage that Delta is raising their requirement. Read more at View From The Wing

Portugal Really Wants to Sell TAP and Buyers Are Welcome: Portugal’s government is trying for the second time in two years to sell flag carrier TAP Air Portugal. Read more at Skift

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Airports

France Sells Stakes in Regional Airports in Effort to Lower Debt: France will start a privatization plan by selling stakes in regional airports and companies in which it holds double voting rights, Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron was quoted as saying in an interview published today in Le Monde. Read more at Skift

Delta Seeks to Boost Asia Hub With Plan to Triple Seattle Gates: Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) wants to almost triple its gates at the Seattle airport, challenging market leader Alaska Air Group Inc. (ALK), as the carrier expands its newest West Coast hub and jumping-off point to Asia.  Read more at Bloomberg

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Tech

Interview: The Design Journey of Eurostar’s First New Trains in Two Decades: Eurostar revealed its new state-of-the art e320 trains at St. Pancras station on the eve of its 20th anniversary, with much fanfare and media attention. Read more at Skift

Lyft Launches Commuter Ride-Sharing Service for Businesses: Lyft Inc., the mobile ride-sharing application that competes with car-booking service Uber Technologies Inc., has partnered with 29 U.S. companies to start a commuter service. Read more at Skift

Ryanair Boss on Passenger Data: ‘Clever Airlines Are Going to Make a Fortune’: Ryanair Holdings Plc said it’s building a database of passenger travel habits to help fine-tune offers as more people use mobile platforms to manage trips. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

KLM MD-11 listed as ‘Spacious Airline Apartment’ on Airbnb: There’s no need to rub your eyes: That is a KLM MD-11 widebody jet showing up on Airbnb.com. Read more at USA Today

What Is She Doing? Hotel Guest Secretly Tapes Maid Messing with His Belongings: Many people leave their valuables exposed in their hotel rooms while traveling, but one recent guest vows not to after his viral video of a curious maid who doesn’t steal anything, but sure seems interested in using his laptop and tablet.  Read more at Yahoo Travel

Your Turn

Friend of Skift (and occasional Business Traveler editor) Doug Lansky has a new e-book out on Travel. Find it on Amazon here, and find the glowing reviews here.

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm@skift.com and @grantkmartin. We publish the Business Newsletter twice a week on Monday and Thursday.

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Photo Credit: United is making it harder to be loyal. Skift