Presidential Plus Card Changes

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by UA Insider, Jul 20, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. UA Insider
    • Original Member

    UA Insider Official Representative

    Hi Everyone, as has already been mentioned, earlier this week we made some changes to a few of the benefits of our Chase Presidential Plus Card. These changes are announced today as we prepare to introduce a comparable card for the new United in 2012. Existing Cardmembers will receive information in the mail in the next few weeks. There are some great new Card benefits and some changes to existing benefits. Here’s an overview:

    New benefits

    • Book any seat, any time, on any flight. If seats are available for sale, they can be redeemed at the EasyPass (or equivalent) reward level. There are no restrictions or blackout dates – a benefit that will be reserved for Cardmembers and Elite travelers beginning in early 2012.
    • Book reward seats close to your departure date without a fee. Spur-of-the-moment travel plans? No problem. Effective sometime in Q1 2012, we’ll waive the fee for booking reward tickets 21 days or less prior to departure. This benefit is reserved only for Cardmembers and certain Elite levels.
    • Double miles on United tickets. You currently earn two miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from Continental. Now you’ll enjoy the same benefit on tickets purchased from United. In addition, you’ll continue to earn double miles on hotel stays and car rental purchases.
    • Inside Access From Chase. Access to exclusive events and unique activities with Inside Access from Chase.
    Recently Introduced Benefits

    • Upgrades on Reward tickets for Elites. OnePass Elite members who are also Cardmembers are eligible to receive upgrades on domestic reward tickets already when traveling on Continental. This benefit will be available on United flights too in Q2 2012.
    • Free checked bags on Continental and United. Your first and second checked bags are already free on flights operated by Continental when you pay for your tickets with the Card. Now, you’ll enjoy the same benefit on tickets purchased from United.
    • No foreign transaction fees. Enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases made with the Card.
    Continuing Benefits

    • Lounge membership. Receive full club membership, including President’s Clubs, Red Carpet Clubs and future United Clubs.
    • EliteAccess travel benefits. EliteAccess® travel services are now known as Premier Access travel services. You’ll continue to receive all the benefits of EliteAccess on Continental flights, including priority check-in, express security screening where available, priority boarding and baggage handling. Beginning Fall 2011, you’ll enjoy Premier Line travel services on United flights which include priority check-in, express security screening where available and priority boarding. The priority baggage benefit you currently enjoy on Continental will be available on all United flights.
    • The Luxury Hotel and Resorts Collection. Access to The Luxury Hotel and Resorts Collection, which offers exclusive cardmember amenities such as complimentary breakfast and space-available upgrades at a selection of over 700 of the finest hotels, resorts, lodges and spas around the world.
    • Premier travel and purchase protection. Access Premier travel and purchase protection, including primary auto rental collision damage coverage.
    • Miles don’t expire. Beginning January 1, 2012, this benefit will be exclusive to Cardmembers.
    • Concierge Services. 24/7 Concierge Services.
    Benefit Changes

    • Flex Elite Qualification Miles (Flex EQMs) will have an expiration date. Flex EQMs earned after January 1, 2012 will expire 39 months after they are deposited. Specifically, Flex EQMs earned beginning after this date can be used at any time during the calendar year in which they were earned, plus three additional calendar years, and will then expire if not redeemed. Flex EQMs earned prior to January 1, 2012, will continue to have no expiration date.
    • Flex Elite Qualification Miles may not be applied beyond the 75K EQM threshold. Starting with the 2012 Elite program, Flexible EQMs can be redeemed to achieve up to Platinum Elite status (or equivalent). Flex EQMs earned prior to January 1, 2012, will continue to have no expiration date. The earning ratio remains the same (1,000 Flex EQMs for every $5,000 you spend with the Card).
    • Number of companions eligible for free checked bags. Free checked bags will apply to you and one additional person traveling on the same reservation effective January 1, 2012. This change does not apply to OnePass Elite members.
    • Elite mileage bonus to be removed. The 25% Continental flight mileage bonus for OnePass Elite members will be discontinued sometime in Q1 2012 (you will not get the bonus for flights after this date). In the interim, you will continue to receive this benefit only on Continental flights.
    As always, please share your questions with us and we’ll do our best to answer.

    Shannon Kelly
    Director, Customer Insights & Metrics
    United Airlines
  2. Wandering Aramean
    • Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

    What about the change in total FEQMs which can be earnt in a calendar year. Is that now capped?
    Scottrick likes this.
  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Uh oh. I don't have this card, but was considering the merged equivalent card, but this change reduces the value of the Flex EQM quite a bit.

    I guess this also implicitly confirms a 75k elite level and a higher level (if it hadn't already been confirmed... losing track of what's rumor and what's confirmed).
    Scottrick likes this.
  4. Scottrick
    • Original Member

    Scottrick Gold Member

    I agree. Since I plan on staying 1K after this year, it looks like I won't have much motivation to get this card unless I convince myself that I really really need a lounge membership.
  5. benolaa
    • Original Member

    benolaa Gold Member

    I am confused on the FEQM does that mean once you hit 75K you cant add eqm or is it simply capped at applying a maximum of 75K feqm per year. If the cap is now 75K united 1K who would use this card to increase there upgrades no longer have a reason to use this card assuming they plan on flying with United.
    druiddation likes this.
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    I am pretty sure it means you can't use the FEQM to bump to a higher level than 75k, i.e., if you are at 95k EQM, you can't use 5k FEQM to reach 1K.
  7. emajy
    • Original Member

    emajy Silver Member

    They won't let me upgrade my One Pass Plus account to the Presidential. Was going to wait until September but decided to try now. I got told I need to cancel my card, zero out the balance and then reapply. That makes no sense. I said I just wanted to upgrade without the $95 fee reduction. No dice. Seems ridiculous to me. The idea is to get me off of my Amex ( I run a good dollar amount through every month) but Chase is putting barriers in the way.
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Well, I am not really interested in lounge membership as a lot of my travel is international, but I was trying to convince myself that the combination of benefits the old card had would be worth the fee. Don't think that's going to be the case anymore assuming these new benefits are what the new card will inherit.
  9. theBOAT
    • Original Member

    theBOAT Silver Member

    There was also no mention, either staying or going, of the Hyatt Platinum and Avis President's Circle elite status benefits that are currently part of the Presidential Plus card, but not associated with (legacy) United's top card... Hope that doesn't meant they're going away, too.

    Big loss on the 25% mileage bonus, IMHO! So far, these don't sound like changes that I'll like...

  10. Switch2

    Switch2 Silver Member

    This was one of the reasons I chose this card... Now I will reconsider renewal
  11. Olton Hall
    • Original Member

    Olton Hall Gold Member

    I wish this worked on CO right now. I'm not on the upgrade waitlist as we speak and the Elite desk and a bunch of supervisors swear upgrades on rewards is not a benefit to any OP Elite much less those with the required CO/UA Chase cards. :( (I doubt I would have gotten the upgrade any way, would be nice to know how far now the list I am/was)
  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Still listed here:

    A lot (or all?) of the other changes seem to have already been incorporated into these web pages, so presumably those stay around for the time being.
  13. 15A
    • Original Member

    15A Silver Member

    So since we were already told in the paragraph above that previously earned FEQM's will continue to have no expiration, is it being repeated here to avoid answering the question as to whether these previously earned FEQM's will continue to be usable to achieve any status or EQM level after 2012? Otherwise, really glad I wasted spending all my money on the card for this benefit that I will never be able to use. I'm going to be furious if even old FEQM's cannot be used.

    If I do decide to retain the card it will be only for the lounge benefit - the FEQM restriction will shift my spending to a different card, while now it is my primary spending card. Isn't the point of it to not only get you to obtain the card, but to maximize your spending? If I can't use it to help top up to 1k in lean years, there's no incentive to actually use the card above others.
  14. unavaca
    • Original Member

    unavaca Gold Member

    I'm getting the impression that this card (and the Explorer card) are targeted towards GM/2Ps, rather than 1Ps and 1Ks. In fact, there are clearly 1K benefits in this card -- the ability to book close-in awards without a fee. Sure feels like a slap in the face to this 1P who just paid a $25 close-in fee two weeks ago...
    JLSocks and HaveMilesWillTravel like this.
  15. elementaltrs

    elementaltrs Silver Member

    BOO !!!! Flex Elite Qualification Miles (Flex EQMs) will have an expiration date. Flex EQMs earned after January 1, 2012 will expire 39 months after they are deposited. Specifically, Flex EQMs earned beginning after this date can be used at any time during the calendar year in which they were earned, plus three additional calendar years, and will then expire if not redeemed. Flex EQMs earned prior to January 1, 2012, will continue to have no expiration date.
    bmg42000 likes this.
  16. elementaltrs

    elementaltrs Silver Member

    Any chance The Continental Presidential Plus for Business will void Flex EQMs expiration date?
    Will this card remain a MASTER Card or will it turn into Visa? I hope it remains MASTER CARD !!!
  17. elementaltrs

    elementaltrs Silver Member

    I can see the confusion already with confused Tele-Customer service REPS. Imagine trying to explain to a Customer service rep, you want to apply/ redeem FEQMS earned AFTER 2012, but you do NOT want touch or redeem any of your 2009-2011 FEQMS!
    Hey United / Chase why not keep it simple? Let us roll over our FEQMS year to year without the 'threat' of a 36 month expiration, as long as we remain Chase card members in good standing, we KEEP our FEQMS?
    upgrade and MikeIAH like this.
  18. Shannon, the Continental website now says:

    "Flexible Elite Qualification Miles (Flex EQMs) — Only Presidential PlusBusiness Card membership gives you the ability to earn Elite status through everyday spending.

    This exclusive benefit has been enhanced — you'll now earn 1,000 Flex EQMs for every $5,000 spent (up to $25,000) on your Presidential Plus Business Card. Flex EQMs can be combined with the EQMs you earn when you fly to help you maintain your Elite status or move up to the next status level. Also, these miles roll over from year to year and there is no limit to how many you can earn, so you can use them when you need them to get to the next Elite status tier even quicker.

    What is meant by earning 1000 Flex EQMs for every $5000 spent (up to $25,000)? This sounds like Flex EQMs will be capped at 5000 per year. On the other hand, the same paragraph says there is no limit on how many you can earn which sounds like there is no cap as is currently the case. Also the summary in the OP did not refer to a cap.

    Please clarify
    elementaltrs likes this.
  19. gleff
    • Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    What will the card be called next year?

    Looks like the web page has been updated to no longer say 'no limit' to EQMs earned from spend, so I assume it is now capped at 5000 in a year :(

    So no new benefits unique to this card (the new benefits are the same as the explorer card) but they're taking away unlimited flex eqm's and the bonus miles for elite flying that was specifically given to encourage elites to get the card in the first place as a way to keep those elite members whole when the program was reducing elite mileage bonuses across the board. Poof.
  20. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Presidential Minus Card
  21. Black Cloud
    • Original Member

    Black Cloud Gold Member

    Ouch. There's a pretty big value in rolling over these FlexEQMs for those of us that know we'll have a year with little/no travel in the upcoming years and then expect to pick things back up. It's like a savings account for being elite. And for those of us that routinely travel in excess of 100k miles/year (assuming that remains that top level) FlexEQMs become worthless with this change.

    The vast majority of the benefits this card provides are irrelevant to top tier elites (as others have pointed out). The thesis of these FlexEQM changes for top elites. as I see it, is "sorry you already give us so much money. We really don't want you to give us any more."

    Again, you're really hurting the top tier elites with this one. I use my FlexEQMs as a rainy day fund in case something goes haywire with my travel and I, for whatever reason, don't pass 100k miles. Let's say I get stuck commuting within the Northeast every week for an entire year. Those tickets are very lucrative to CO but without the FlexEQMs I wouldn't be able to hit top-tier even though I'm traveling 50 weeks. Seems absolutely nonsensical.

    When traveling on the same reservation/PNR? Then I certainly hope ya'll are making revisions to the legacy CO companion upgrade policy, which forces elites to separate themselves from their companions. Actually, I really hope you're making changes to the legacy CO companion upgrade policy regardless. That was one of the weakest parts of the legacy OP program. I could list out, easily, a dozen reasons why the policy failed on a multitude of levels.



    As someone who has held the PPlus card for a couple years I generally use it for lounge access in place of having an outright lounge membership card. What puts the card "over the top" in terms of ROI/value is really driven by the FlexEQMs and the small incremental benefits (like the 25% mileage bonus). And are FlexEQMs really fixin' to be capped at 25k spend/year? I've never encountered a business that tried to limit the volume of business you did with it. Then again, I really don't understand much of the logic that drives banks (especially Chase). I guess I can only comprehend business models that don't have to invent new ways of killing the global economy once a decade.

    Every other "benefit" of the card is nothing more than a pass-through of an existing top-tier elite benefit, a standard benefit of many other cards with much lower fees, or marketing gobbldy gook. I'm convinced Chase's "concierge service" is nothing more than a dude drinking a Nattie Ice on his couch sitting in-front of a computer with opentable access while Sportscenter is on mute in the background.

    That premier traveler protection thing-a-ma-bob? A joke. Tried to make a clearly valid claim last year and was more or less told that because it happened on a day that ended in "y" that my claim wasn't valid. Chase says blame Chubb (outsourced service), Chubb says "your call is important to us, please remain on the line. The next available associate will be with you in a cycle that makes Hailey's comet seem like a routine event."

    That Luxury Hotel "benefit?" I'd find the best benefit of that program to opt out of receiving that 10lb book every year. What a waste of money/resources.

    Inside Access from Chase? I have no idea, nor do I really care what that is. All I ask of Chase, and I really don't think it's too much considering the annual fee on this card knocks on the door of $400, is that I get consistently decent level of customer service. I know that it's Chase and getting someone to provide you with honest answers and who will actually follow-through on stuff is asking a lot, but come on. I'd assume that people who have this type of card actually, I don't know, travel. So why Chase locks the card every other day because you have charges from outside your domicile, and then continues to lock them even after you tell them its okay (or give them prior notice there's fixin' to be a bizarre charge) is a bit aggravating. I appreciate Chase is looking out for the interest of my financial security, and I won't fault them for that, but great googly moogly.

    In my opinion the changes don't seem that large/dramatic at first pass, but there's enough in there to really make the value on this card diminished to the point that there's no longer a clear ROI for holding it if you're already a 100k+ mile flier. And if you don't fly that often are you really using things like the free luggage / lounge membership frequently enough to justify holding the card?

    Shannon, thanks for giving us the heads up on these benefit changes. Not trying to shoot the messenger. I'm sure the contracts are already inked with Chase so if there's any real actionable takeaway from this post it's that: at least this one customer despises Chase and maybe that relationship should be reevaluated (I know it runs pretty deep and it won't be, but I have to say it), the legacy CO companion upgrade process was terrible and needs to be revised, and if you'd like to retain top-tier elites holding on to this card there's some serious reconsideration on the changes to the FlexEQMs.

    JRZYSHAWN, SeaRaptor, MikeIAH and 5 others like this.
  22. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    No limit according to this post by UA Insider on another board you may have heard of:
  23. From NYC
    • Original Member

    From NYC Gold Member

    Hi Shannon -

    Hope you're well and have made the adjustment to Chicago. I've gotta add my voice to those who are pretty dismayed by the changes. For me, the take-aways seriously outweigh the new benefits. The 25% bump on miles is a big loss, as are the changes to FEQM. Will make me seriously consider staying with the card.

    Do appreciate you giving the heads up, and hope to see you again at the next StarMegaDo.
  24. SS255
    • Original Member

    SS255 Silver Member

    Shannon, I promise that if you attend the next Star Mega Do I will still be your friend!!! :) But I gotta say......I have no idea where UA's head was when this decision was made.
  25. RestlessLocationSyndrome
    • Original Member

    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

    At the end of the day, these card companies are all about profits and view these as primarily lounge cards with a small boost in benefits that entice people to join/stay but won't cost them a lot. I'm sure someone calculated how much revenue they were getting on credit card spend vs the cost of flights that they gave the 25% bonus + FEQM's and saw that they were breaking even or losing money on those.

    A basic calculation / example: a 6000 mile round trip flight from LAX to JFK for $500:
    Revenue = 2% * $500 = $10
    Cost = 25% * 6000 miles = 1500 miles * 1 cent/mile = $15
    Net = $5 loss

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