Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Continental Is Latest Airline to Diss Lower-Level Elite Status Members

I’m just worn out by the drivel that comes every day from airlines, which keep watering down perks for lower and middle-level elite-status loyalty members. And do so with patently baloney-ridden announcements like the one we Continental elite status members found in our e-mail in-boxes tonight. Who in the world do they think they’re kidding as they alienate their loyalty base in these lunges for the always small, now shrinking, tip-top of the market?

(Obviously, they will reply, and with some degree of accuracy, that’s where the dough is, and any dope can look at the numbers and see that we need the dough. OK, I then counter, stop telling me that silver or gold elite status matters. Or, more logically, probably I should stop worrying about elite status loyalty altogether.)

Also, I should add, part of the rationale for the Continental move is that it needs to match up status levels to mesh with its new best friend alliance partner United. So it’s complicated.

Anyway, read it and weep unless you’re at the top:



"We are pleased to announce these upcoming OnePass Elite benefits effective for earning Jan. 1, 2010:

System-wide Upgrades

Platinum Elite members who earn at least 100,000 Elite Qualification Miles (EQMs) or 120 Elite Qualification Points (EQPs) will earn four, one-way electronic System-wide Upgrade certificates. These certificates can be used in conjunction with any published fare on Continental, Continental Micronesia or Copa Airlines flights and are not subject to additional fees.

Learn more about System-wide Upgrades.

New Elite level — OnePass Presidential Platinum Elite

Presidential Platinum is a new invitation-only Elite tier designed to reward Continental’s top Platinum Elite members with some exciting new benefits. Members who achieve this level will be given all the benefits of a Platinum Elite member, plus top priority in Elite Upgrade recognition and flight standby, a dedicated VIP phone line and an annual fee waiver on the Continental Airlines Presidential PlusSM World MasterCard card subject to credit approval. The Presidential Plus card is available to members residing in the mainland U.S. and Alaska.

Learn more about Presidential Platinum Elite status.

We look forward to rewarding our Elite members with these new benefits, which will be available for redemption and fulfillment mid-year 2010.


Mark Bergsrud
Sr. Vice President, Marketing Programs and Distribution

*$30,000 is the inaugural spend threshold for 2010. In subsequent years, this threshold may change in order to preserve the exclusivity of this program."



ChefNick said...


As I contemplate yet another unwanted trip on XX Airlines to Japan next week, I reflect on your post.

How shameless will these people get? We all realize they're desperately scrabbling for the last possible penny in their miserable quest to be profitable, but there's a limit to "creativity."

Or maybe not.

We ALL agree that they have a right to be profitable. We all agree that to make a small fortune in their industry you have to start with a large one.

But it seems to me that they were wrestling with the same old, same old, as far back as Laker Air.

Dithering for dollars. Charging for "superior" seats. Their fine print has to rival, even surpass that of the drug companies. How many possible ways are there to say "You're being fucked"?

How many euphemisms can an ad agency come up with to say, basically, "We've come up with a new way to disguise this ripoff of yet another 50 cents but we've hired the best advertising minds to make you think that it's in your best interest as our treasured customer,and we'll spend as much money as necessary to let you know that."

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