These Numbers Show Why United Doesn’t Value Me


i knew that i made 1K on less than $4,000 of PQD spend last year, but it’s not until i saw my most recent flight postings that it really hit home as to why United doesn’t care for people like me. i simply am not helping them bring home the bacon. i may be a high-volume flyer, but i’m certainly not high-value, in terms of actual dollar amount and what i mean for the airline.

yeah, i’m helping them with their load factors, but i have to wonder if they aren’t losing money on me overall. i plead ignorance when it comes to the economics of running an airline, but $205 on a 5,692 mile flight doesn’t sound like there’s much room for profit. this is especially true when you consider i skate by without paying those cha-ching! fees thanks to being part of the elite crowd that this spending requirement is designed to whittle the numbers of: no baggage fees (i usually only carry on, and when i do check a bag, i’m exempt), no better-seat fees, no lounge access fees (and you know how much i enjoy using the lounges), no fees for changing award tickets, and so on. why reward a cheapskate flyer like me if i’m not good for business?

as i’ve said previously, i can totally understand where they’re coming from, but it’s not a nice feeling to know that your loyalty is not being returned. but, i love getting deals so i can’t hold a grudge! the airline (not United) will for sure be losing money on my next flight, the $150 fare mistake from Mexico City to Buenos Aires and back.


7 Comments on "These Numbers Show Why United Doesn’t Value Me"

  1. Have you considered flying as you would normally and using a Chase card to exempt yourself from the PQD requirements? You’d need to spend $25k on the card, but the Platinum benefits (for waiving fees and allowing changes) are the same as 1K. If you’re going to meet the mileage requirements it is something to consider.


    • yep! i’ve been trying to avoid the points game but i am dipping my toe in with the Chase card. i have over $5k in spend down, just(!) $20k to go. and most definitely, #BYOE.

    • i currently have 58k in star alliance flights booked, so i may or may not make the minimum mileage requirement for platinum. we’ll see — the year is still young!

  2. How did you find that Argentina flight mistake? Despite following traveling blogs for a couple of years now and loading them all into feedly I feel like I still miss out on this stuff. Is it just best to frequently check out flyertalk or what is the secret?

  3. @Jonathan – United’s contempt for their customers doesn’t end when crossing some magical PQD barrier – my company spends hundreds of thousands of dollars for our fliers (mostly international) every year, and United hates us just as much as you and your less than $4k spend. Luckily we’ve been given more authority lately to book away from United when prudent.

    • heh i’m not sure if that’s comforting or not. but i think that’s good advice for everyone — no point in us staying loyal to a company that treats us like this.

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