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A perk of United elite status in recent history has been that when you book award tickets for others using your miles they inherit your status benefits for their trip. This means they would have priority boarding, free E+ seats, free checked bags, and even a shot at upgrades in some cases. However, back in November United announced that they were “fixing that glitch” and your elite status would no longer transfer to others flying on your miles effective April 15, 2015.
Travis over at One Mile at a Time reminded us of that looming deadline today, and I want to re-emphasize it here because this change absolutely hits family travelers the hardest. I often would book my United ticket as a purchased revenue ticket and then I would book my family members using my miles so that I could continue to earn miles on my ticket, but save money by not having an out-of-pocket cost for their tickets. Via this process going forward they will no longer have the Group 1 boarding, free E+ seats, etc unless I am actually on the same reservation. This means we have to either all use my miles or all purchase tickets.
The change was initially worded in a way where it wasn’t clear to me if the benefits stopped transferring to others if you purchased tickets after 4/15/15, or if you had to travel by 4/15/15 to still have the perks transfer. I did a test award booking today for a non-status family member using my miles and it still let me select their E+ seats for free for a date after April 15th, though it also tried to sell me “Premier Access” for the traveler. The United checked bag page also states that:
Eligibility for the checked baggage service charge waiver for travelers on award tickets issued or re-issued on or after April 15, 2015, is based on each traveler’s Premier status at check-in, rather than the status of the member whose miles were used to purchase the award ticket.
I’m not 100% confident that all benefits from your status will be in place for non-status friend or family member flying on your miles after 4/15/15, but at the very least the E+ seat and checked bag benefit should be fine if you can lock in the award ticket by Wednesday the 15th.
I know this was just viewed as a “glitch”, but I am sad to see it go as it made my elite status more valuable since I could share the perks with others. Heck, Hyatt Gold Passport just formalized this sharing of status on award stays, so it isn’t totally far-fetched that a program would intentionally have something like this in place, but United has it slated to disappear next week…