Million-Miler Sues United For Being Downgraded To Second-Tier Status

If you’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the same airline over the years with the understanding that you will reap lifelong benefits for doing so, you’d probably be a bit peeved when that airline decides that you’re just a regular old business traveler. That’s why one million-miler on United Airlines has filed suit.

The man, who says he flew anywhere from 200,000 to 250,000 miles each year on United, claims that recent changes in the wake of its merger with Continental, have led to an “immediate and significant retroactive demotion of benefits to Million Milers.”

Before the Continental merger, members of United’s Million Mile club had been “guaranteed Lifetime Premier Executive status for life.” which included a one-time award of three system-wide upgrades, two free regional upgrades a year, a 100% bonus for the miles flown each year, and other boarding and seating benefits.

But then when the merged airline announced its MileagePlus program last October, Million Milers were put into the Premier Gold tier for travelers who fly at least 50,000 miles each year.

For the plaintiff in the lawsuit, this 50% bonus miles instead of the 100% he’d been enjoying. Also gone are the three system-wide upgrades and the two annual regional upgrades.

“United’s egregious actions, if left unabated, will result in its unlawlly, not to mention immorally, retaining the millions upon millions of dollars it received from Million Miler members,” reads the lawsuit, which alleges breach of contract, good faith and fair dealing, and seeks class-action status for similarly affected Million-milers.

“After the merger, United reneged by taking away or downgrading all the promised lifetime benefits, only to market them as ‘new and improved benefits.’ Million Milers are hardworking people, most who are required to fly for a living,” the man tells ABC News. “They are not asking for anything more than what was promised to them by United.”

A rep for United tells ABC that, “We believe this suit is without merit.”

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