United Has Changed Their Basic Economy Fare Rules, Again

Basic Economy. If there is one thing about airfares that airlines are constantly changing, the rules for basic economy fares would have to be at the top of the list. It’s understandable why management keeps changing the rules. These fares were entirely new and they didn’t know how customers would react. You’re trying to be Goldilocks and not have the porridge too hot or too cold but the odds are that you’re going to overshoot one way or the other when setting the rules up on your first try.

However, I think United is up to their fourth or fifth try to get their Basic Economy rules “just right.” The most recent change to the rules involves how many elite miles you’ll earn when flying Basic Economy with United, and took effect on December 11, 2018.

The previous rules were harsh on United Elite flyers when they booked a Basic Economy flight:

If you’re a MileagePlus member, you will still earn award miles based on the fare and your MileagePlus status. MileagePlus members will not earn Premier qualifying credit or lifetime miles or toward the four-segment minimum, and they won’t receive some benefits.

The new rules allow for earning Premier qualifying dollars, lifetime miles and credit towards the four-segment minimum requirement:  (Changes in Bold)

If you’re a MileagePlus member, you will still earn award miles based on the fare and your MileagePlus status, as well as full Premier qualifying dollars, lifetime miles and toward the four-segment minimum. However, MileagePlus members will earn 50% Premier qualifying miles and 0.5 Premier qualifying segments, and they won’t receive some benefits

In summary, MileagePlus members, including Premier members, now earn:

  • Award miles based on the fare and MileagePlus status
  • Full Premier qualifying dollars (PQD)
  • 50% Premier qualifying miles (PQM)
  • 0.5 Premier qualifying segments (PQS)
  • Lifetime miles
  • Toward the four-segment minimum

It’s nice to see United take a little better care of their most loyal customers. These changes will still punish frequent flyers for buying a Basic Economy ticket but giving some credits might be enough to keep them booking with United instead of looking to fly another airline, and that exactly what United wants.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

Feature Photo courtesy of Alan Wilson on Flickr

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