OK, United just announced that you no longer get “miles” in Mileage Plus, instead you get points based on your ticket price, ticket class and level. So according to http://mileageplusupdates.com if you are buying a full fare ticket (I would guess), if you are Premier 1K, you get 11x your purchase price. I would presume there would be steep discounts for discounted tickets.
But qualification for elite status is still based on the old PQM or miles, PSQ (less important these are segments) with a minimum you fly plus a multiplier plus the dollars you spent (PQD) unless that site hasn’t change quite yet since it gives contradictory information on how many PQMs you earn. These PQM are modified by the price of your ticket and class (so 2x for full fare business or 175% for discounted business JCD and 125% for full fare economy YB and 100% for all those discounted fares I love like M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, G, N so for most fliers, you won’t get any business class bonus for say class H).
The third measure is lifetime miles which is based on actual miles flown without a discount.
Wow something like five different measures when flying. I have a headache!
And this is a huge loss for lower cost fares like $362 to cross the US (Forbes) so for a premier it goes from 4,908 points becomes something like 1,810 if you are ordinary (and assuming there is no additional discount for lower fares) to maybe 3,982 assuming again no additional discount for discount fares. So this is something like a 3x devaluation to a 40%. I’d guess it comes out to around a 2x devaluation (so United goes from 2.2% before 2014 to 1.8% per point to probably something more like 0.9%, wow. wow.). It does mean that “old” united award miles are pretty valuable so in some sense it isn’t as bad as the 2014 devaluation, but it means it is really hard to earn points now.
Net, net, getting to lifetime status isn’t such a bad thing if you can get it, then you get the perks (until that is devalued of course) of say Premier Platinum if you get to 2M miles (wow that is alot!). So I’d say if you can do that, fly on United a bunch to get to 2M miles, then stop and use your “old” miles up and enjoy as them as fast as you can before another devaluation. Finally, it means that the “traditional” programs like American and Alaska are looking pretty good. Or credit cards that get you business class or 1st class domestic (since then you don’t have to have high status to make it through the economy cabin lines).