United Elite Team Competition 2008

Just got an email from United to remind me about this promo, now that the rules are fully out there. First of all, for those of you not familiar with the promotion, here are the details. I think this is one heck of a cool promotion, and there are some serious prizes at stake here! This can be especially rewarding for someone just starting a consulting gig who hardly flew last year, but I’m predicting the year-over-year EQM’s required to win are a lot lower than most of us expect. We’re talking 50 winning teams here, which is a lot. Let’s also keep in mind that finding a group of four that are all traveling more than the year before can be very difficult, so unless you can network with others that have similar travel patterns (via FlyerTalk or whatever), it’ll be hard to be too extreme. I’m predicting 400,000 EQM’s year-over-year for the whole team in order to win at the very most, which isn’t a lot for such a huge prize.

Unfortunately for me, I’m not worthy of participating in this promotion:

This year-over-year themed contest is open only to Mileage Plus members are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia as of January 1, 2008, and who are 21 years or older as of January 23, 2009.

Of course being the natural skeptic that I am, not to mention the fact that every contest I’ve ever seen that doesn’t include alcohol has had 18 as the minimum age, I decided to email United. Here’s a portion of the response:

Your concerns regarding the terms and conditions of the “Elite Team Competition” contest are appreciated.  United’s Mileage Plus department designs marketing programs and promotions to best meet the needs of all participants.  You address the age requirement of being 21 years old.  This is a matter of consistency due to the existence of a sweepstakes reward through the choice program.  The same age of 21 is used for both the team contest and sweepstakes promotion, per the advice of United’s Legal department.  Also the 21 year age limit is used so that a winner of a sweepstakes and/or contest is legally responsible for any taxes that may be owed for the reward/prize.  We are not able to make expectations to the terms and conditions as such.  Your understanding is appreciated.

Now I’m no lawyer, but huh? Since when does one have to be 21 to be responsible for taxes? Long story short I’m disappointed in United on this particular front because everyone else seems to have no problem doing promos that are 18+, but ultimately I’ll accept it and move on. I could go for it and ultimately lie, but since I may want to eventually get into the industry and some people at WHQ know me, that might not be the best idea. And of course, how could I forget the most important part, the moral implications of lying.;)

 I would still love some clarification, though for anyone in the know ont his kind of stuff. Does UA have a point here, or is this just poorly researched on their part?

Filed Under: United


  1. “Since when does one have to be 21 to be responsible for taxes?” Cool – I’m writing to the IRS to ask them to send me back all the taxes I paid from ages 14-20 ;^)

  2. Yet another comp restricted to US residents 🙁

    I think the winning increase will be more than 400k. After all, you could be like me and have nil UA Mileage Plus EQMs for 2007 and credit a few hundred thousand EQMs for 2008.

  3. Good point, but there’s one important thing to keep in mind:
    “To be eligible, participants must have been enrolled as Mileage Plus members as of January 1, 2007”

    That seems to exclude a lot of that happening, although there is the chance that some people have status with United from gifting.

  4. Ah but you can be enrolled with no EQMs (eg running your balance out, crediting elsewhere such as bmi), etc. You don’t need to have had earned UA status in 2007, just have some by end 2008.

  5. Anyone looking for team mates. I am probably middle of road. Guessing 50K miles by end of year over last year.

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