Premier Platinum for One Day Only

I ended 2013 with Platinum Medallion status on Delta Airlines. In addition to flying over 75,000 miles on Delta, I also flew on a number of United Airlines flights in 2013, including Philadelphia to New Orleans, Newark to Portland, Oregon, New York to Sacramento, and Newark to San Diego.  


Knowing that, on January 16, 2014, I was going on to Dubai on United Airlines – a trip which would accrue over 14,000 miles, I decided to request a challenge to MileagePlus Premier Platinum.  I followed the MileagePlus Status Match Challenge instructions and emailed an application to the Premier Status department, together with all of the required information and documentation.  


The day before I left for my trip, I still hadn’t heard back from the MileagePlus department, so I made call after call.  Finally, I was connected with “Mark” who said he was a supervisor in the department.  He asked me to re-email my application, which I did, and he then reviewed it.   We spent a lot of time on the phone going through each aspect of my credentials.  He concluded that I had met all of the criteria for the challenge and granted the status challenge for Premier Platinum. He even backdated the date of the challenge to December 26, 2013, when I went to San Diego.  The San Diego trip and the Dubai trip would together exceed the 18,000 miles to satisfy the Premier Platinum Status Challenge.  I was thrilled. I felt like a queen for a day.


All was well – United officially updated my status to Premier Platinum.  I checked in for my flight online and my tickets indicated that I was gold star alliance and/or Premier Platinum.


United Airlines changed my status to Premier Platinum after considering my Status Challenge Match Application


The following day, while already on my way to my Dubai flight, I received an email from the MileagePlus Service Center advising me that my application was denied because I had previously done a status match.  


We are unable to process a status match request for you since you were matched to another airline in 2009 and 2010.  We do not offer a Premier Status Match Challenge for customers who have been matched to another airline within the last five years.

We appreciate your business and hope you choose to continue flying with United.



Marcy Thomas

MileagePlus® Service Center


I was shocked. I didn’t even remember a prior status match.  However, I scoured through old mail and learned that I did in fact take Continental up on a silver match in late 2009. It is not surprising that I’d forgotten about this match: I was only Delta Silver at the time, and Continental was attempting to lure Delta’s customers.  It was a pro forma match essentially solicited by Continental, which I never even used.  Frankly, I had no idea it would estop me years later from requesting a status challenge at a higher level with a new carrier. I believe that this prior match was insignificant and shouldn’t count against the present status application. Moreover, a supervisor had already reviewed and considered all aspects of my application.  I thought, surely, this must be a mistake – what kind of business policy sense would it make for United’s management to approve a status challenge application one day and then take it away the next day?


After receiving the rejection letter, I wrote back to United -  for certain, I thought the email was an oversight.  I said that the matter had already been reviewed and resolved by a supervisor.  United however responded that the supervisor was well aware of United’s change of position and next-day decline of the application.  United offered me Premier Silver as a consolation. (I would not accept Silver Status as a consolation as I do not feel that this offer constitutes a just resolution to this dilemma).

Appeals were made to United on my behalf, asking the airline to reconsider its position and reinstate the Premier Platinum Status Challenge. The basis of the request combined not only the merits of my status challenge application, but also concepts of good business practices and public relations when a corporation reviews and grants an application. 

While I understand that a rule is a rule, I do not believe that the Continental nearly pro forma Silver match of 2009 compares to this 2014 Premier Platinum status challenge to United Airlines.  I feel that the initial decision was a proper consideration of the totality of my application, my background, and my positive intentions.

I believe that United Airline’s action in turning around the next day, and simply undoing a supervisor’s determination, at a time when I was relying on the decision and actually on my way to another continent flying on United Airlines, was wrong.

Of course, the door is open if United Airlines chooses to correct this, but I don’t know if it will.




Twitter: @katruns26point2




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  13 comments for “Premier Platinum for One Day Only

  1. January 31, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Ugh that stinks. I’ve never done a status match and your post makes me think that maybe I should hold off on doing one just to do one, if it will stop me in the future from getting a match that I really want

  2. January 31, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Curious to see others’ takes on this one. I am incredibly stingy about using status matches for just that reason – although I had thought it was 10 years per airline, not 5. I think the problem is that *at that time*, silver was a big enough deal to you to warrant the match, even though now it seems inconsequential. I made a similar mistake in doing a United match (from American) a few years ago, and I’m waiting it out to be able to match again.

  3. January 31, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Interesting that they are counting a status match to OnePass (a whole different and now defunct mileage program) as the same as a status match to MileagePlus. When you reach lifetime status, don’t they usually say “for the life of the XX name program”? Surely you could argue that OnePass no longer exists, that you never applied for a MileagePlus status match…?

  4. Susan - Southern Travel Girl
    January 31, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I agree with Justin on this one. OnePass no longer exists and was not part of the United Group at that time. Maybe a weigh in from @travelblawg on this would help.

  5. Miles, Points, and Mai Tais
    January 31, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    What really gets me is that they granted the status than took it back! Not cool United! Honor your mistakes (if there even was one- I kinda side with everyone else that Continental was a different airlines and Onepass was a different program)

  6. Paul
    January 31, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I would take a much different approach than begging. When you status matched Continental, you had no reasonable way of knowing that a United merger would preclude you from a future United match (heck you had no idea a merger was even going to happen in 2009 as it wasn’t announced until 2010).

    As such, you can rightfully claim that you have never had a status match with United and that their denial is an absurd decision.

  7. Eric
    February 1, 2014 at 1:16 am

    What airline did you match to in 2010?

  8. February 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    What a shame! I had that happen to me as well. I also matched to Continental at the end of 2009. A couple of years ago, I matched my Diamond status to United’s 1K but then asked them to hold it off for a couple of weeks to get past the July 1st date. when I asked them restart it, they said they couldn’t because I already had done it within the 5 years on Continental. Apparently during the suspended time, their systems got in gear and boxed me out. Big disappointment!

  9. Elaine
    February 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Looks like you got it back, if I read your recent tweet correctly. Terrfiic. Too bad it took so much time to get United to do the right thing!

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