As I mentioned yesterday, United Airlines will start requiring their elite fliers to meet spending thresholds to keep elite status. Here's the Cranky Flier's take:
If you’re actually earning 25,000 miles from flying and haven’t spent $2,500 on United, then United might not consider you to be worth trying to keep in the program. Either you’re trying to game the system through a really cheap mileage run, or you’re getting incredibly lucky with low fares since those are pretty tough to find these days. Or maybe you’re just flying a lot on partner airlines. I do think it’s odd that joint venture revenue on Lufthansa/Air Canada over the Atlantic or ANA over the Pacific doesn’t count, because United should view that to be the same as revenue on its airplanes. But my guess is that it’s simply a tracking problem. Either way, if you’re really flying that much on joint venture partners and not on United, then you should probably join the other airline frequent flier programs anyway.
On the whole, I don’t have a problem with this move. In fact, I applaud United as I did Delta for trying to tweak these programs to reward the kind of behavior United wants to encourage (spending money and flying a lot instead of just flying a lot). But unlike Delta, which is in a position of strength right now, United’s timing leaves something to be desired.
Again: what will US Airways do?