United Airlines Extends Invitation-Only Global Services Status

United Airlines Extends Invitation-Only Global Services Status

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United Airlines has announced that it’s extending elite status for another year… but only for those belonging to the uber-exclusive Global Services tier.

United Airlines’ Global Services extension

United Airlines has emailed Global Services members to inform them that their status will be extended by another year, through January 31, 2023. United extended elite status for all MileagePlus members due to the pandemic in 2020, though up until now hasn’t outright extended status by another year. This is the first sign of elite status being extended further.

As the email to Global Services members explains:

As a United Global Services member, you’ve shown extraordinary loyalty to United over the years, earning our highest level of status. Even though you haven’t been able to travel as much over the last year, you deserve recognition for your loyalty, which is why we’re extending your Global Services status through January 31, 2023.

For those of you not familiar with Global Services, this is United’s top tier elite status that doesn’t have published qualification criteria. It’s for big spenders, so you’ll generally only be invited if you book a lot of full fare and/or business class tickets, and you shouldn’t expect an invite if you spend less than $50,000 per year with the airline (and even then it’s no guarantee).

Global Services status gets you top priority for everything, from upgrades to standby. On top of that, “soft” treatment is generally quite good, so you can expect proactive help in the case of irregular operations.

Global Services members get United Club access

What about United extending other status?

Interestingly in 2020, United extended all elite tiers other than Global Services first, and then extended Global Services status. In 2021 we’re seeing United extend Global Services status, with no indication of other status being extended.

A few thoughts:

  • United has made it easier for members to maintain status in 2021, including reducing elite thresholds and giving members a head start towards requalifying; then in the spring we saw a further promotion launched
  • No major airline in the United States has extended status by another year in 2021 with no strings attached; I wouldn’t be surprised to see United launch another promotion that makes it easier to requalify, but I don’t think other status levels will be fully extended
  • I get the logic of extending Global Services status over other tiers — many Global Services members qualify through international business class tickets, and that’s the type of travel that’s still reduced the most; United doesn’t want to lose these customers once international travel does recover
International business travel is still way down

Bottom line

United Airlines is extending Global Services status by another year. There’s no indication that other elite tiers will be extended similarly, though perhaps we’ll see some further promotions that make it easier to requalify.

I know a lot of Global Services members will be relieved to see this update. From United’s perspective I think this also makes sense. Those generally spending $50,000+ per year with United pre-pandemic are customers they want to keep around, especially since these are largely people who travel internationally for work, and are impacted by border closures.

Are you surprised to see United extending Global Services status by another year?

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  1. Tim

    I’m glad UA extended GS status. I’ve been GS for 8 years now and I typically fly to Asia at least once a month. With the borders mostly closed, my international travel dropped significantly. I’m at 27k PQM so far this year, which isn’t bad but it’s almost all been domestically, which makes GS tough to attain.

    Can’t wait until the world is completely open and safe again.

  2. DeePee

    Unless they extend my status for 2022 I'm changing airlines. There's no way I can make Platinum again with the Chase spending waiver gone.
    Of course with almost 2MM FF miles banked, and 1MM Gold status for life, UA won't see rev from me ever again.

    1. Eskimo

      @DeePee

      Funny thing I see often with these lifetime status, airlines and hotels.
      You actually switch once you reach your lifetime status.

      I know many people who isn't loyal to their lifetime program anymore.

      My conclusion, Chasing lifetime status these days is a fools errand.
      Just determine the benefit year by year. Switch if they are no longer good. If it's good for 20 consecutive years, your lifetime is just a consolation bonus.

  3. José María Villavicencio

    The higher I have gotten is “GOLD”.
    I am sure “United” is NOT doing it because they have a compationate heart or so… they know exactly what day are doing and is NOT exactly that (the companionate heart.

    1. El Eskimo

      Try switch to AA. It's a lot easier to get "GOLD" on AA.

      The rest doesn't make sense at all. Maybe in Spanish for you?

      Estoy seguro de que "United" NO lo está haciendo porque tienen un corazón comparativo o algo así ... saben exactamente qué día están haciendo y NO es exactamente eso (el corazón compañero.

  4. Peter

    As a non-US based 1K member, i struggle with UA's promotions... they can give me all the incentives and promotions they want for me to fly UA, the realitiy is i just cannot as long as the White House does not remove the travel ban. The amount of intra-European flights i would need to take to qualify using Star Alliance partners is just beyond ridiculous...

    Yet i understand UA does not have us international members of the radar,...

  5. D3kingg

    The money I spent with American during Covid while y’all were in lockdown. They should be offering me an honorary Concierge Key invitation. Kind of like the grade curve professors used in college where my 58% exam score magically became a 71%

  6. Alex

    Always questioned the AA, UA and DL invitation only statuses as they clearly violate most companies ethics rules as this is not a company benefit but rather a gift and its value exceeds what most companies allow in their corporate handbooks. Adherence would eliminate many of them.

    1. UA-NYC

      Eh it’s been an easy year to requalify no biggie

    2. Greg

      Not for a lot of us whose organizations (and clients) aren't doing meetings, especially for those of us working in APAC.

    3. dmstorm22

      Wish I was so lucky. Granted my travel was nearly all work related but I don't know when it will return to 2019 levels.

      I may scrape to 1k, more likely platinum. From what I heard there's a few promos left for UA to pull out so I'm keenly awaiting the next.

    4. LovetoFly

      This was the easiest year ever to qualify. I locked that in back in May......

  7. RF

    Good for the GS group. Hopefully United doesn't forget about other elite tiers. Let's see some extensions or very lucrative promos please.

  8. Jacob McCarthy

    Keep in mind many who are Global Services (and Concierge Key on the AA side) don't actually "earn" it directly from the airline. For many, they fly less than even what is needed to even qualify for 1K or EXP. They get it through their company's corporate contract with UA or AA respectively...

    1. Jetset

      United explicitly only did this blanket extension for “earned” GS which excludes those granted through corporate relationships.

      Doesn’t mean those won’t get extended but as you’d expect they want to tie those to renewing a contract with United.

  9. Eskimo

    I'm going to guess that international premium cabin travel is indeed part of the secret qualification formula.

    Being a Tech executive probably does significantly affect United.

    1. Anthony

      I have been GS for many years. 1-2x international flights a year in J but heavy domestic. There are many GS that are mostly/all domestic flyers.

    2. Eskimo

      That's not what I actually meant. :S
      Yes I've heard of GS who flew only domestic.
      What I mean is there might be a different weight to domestic vs international. As $ / miles / PQM isn't equal weight.

    3. jetset

      I think “Many” is probably a stretch (or we use that word differently). I would guess less than half of GS are flyers like you that only do 1-2 trips in international J a year.
      I worked in management consulting with many colleagues who were GS. We flew in first class domestically traveling each week and I wasn’t aware of a single person who made GS without more than a couple international trips.
      ...

      I think “Many” is probably a stretch (or we use that word differently). I would guess less than half of GS are flyers like you that only do 1-2 trips in international J a year.
      I worked in management consulting with many colleagues who were GS. We flew in first class domestically traveling each week and I wasn’t aware of a single person who made GS without more than a couple international trips.
      Agreed it doesn’t need to be folks who primarily do international but it’s a small set of people who have corporate policies allowing full fare domestic flying, who also don’t do much international flying, and qualify for GS.

      There is a very big set of travelers who fly in international J regularly including Apple supply chain and manufacturing folks.
      I used to fly weekly to London and would often run into colleagues from different offices on my flights.

      Back to topic though very glad to see the extension as I’m very much domestically focused this year for travel and not flying expensive routes.

Featured Comments Load all 22 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Tim

I’m glad UA extended GS status. I’ve been GS for 8 years now and I typically fly to Asia at least once a month. With the borders mostly closed, my international travel dropped significantly. I’m at 27k PQM so far this year, which isn’t bad but it’s almost all been domestically, which makes GS tough to attain. Can’t wait until the world is completely open and safe again.

Eskimo

@DeePee Funny thing I see often with these lifetime status, airlines and hotels. You actually switch once you reach your lifetime status. I know many people who isn't loyal to their lifetime program anymore. My conclusion, Chasing lifetime status these days is a fools errand. Just determine the benefit year by year. Switch if they are no longer good. If it's good for 20 consecutive years, your lifetime is just a consolation bonus.

LovetoFly

LOL. Bye Felicia.....

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