How the New Changes to United and Delta’s Corporate Travel Programs Could Affect You

January 12th, 2019 by Holly Godbey | Comments Off on How the New Changes to United and Delta’s Corporate Travel Programs Could Affect You

If you’re a corporate or business traveler, you probably use a corporate travel program. Many business leaders spend hundreds of hours in the air each year. Airlines recognize this and want to make sure they earn your loyalty by offering certain perks, amenities and benefits.

Jason Hartman, frequent business traveler and founder of Hartman Media, has said, “In our global market, business travelers increasingly find that the more a brand can simplify the business travel process and allow them to focus on the business part of their journey, rather than the logistics, the more loyalty they’re willing to show that brand.”

If you’re a fan of United Airlines, then, you’ll be glad to know the airline recently launched its new corporate travel program, United Corporate Preferred. Photo: United Airlines

If you’re a fan of United Airlines, then, you’ll be glad to know the airline recently launched its new corporate travel program, United Corporate Preferred. Similar to the MileagePlus program in that you can earn your way up into better, more beneficial tiers, United Corporate Preferred is the base level, followed by United Corporate Preferred Plus and United Corporate Preferred Elite.

Eligibility to join, of course, depends on your company’s contract status. If your company is in a positive place with United, you could stand to benefit from joining. After all, it doesn’t hurt to have the status in your back pocket in the event of a canceled flight or lost luggage.

Perks include preferred upgrades, preferred standby, operational adjustment protection, and preferred discounts. In the upper membership tiers, benefits include travel waiver flexibility, preferred boarding and preferred seating. 

However, this preferred seating comes with a caveat; while you can reserve these seats for free, they’re only really preferred for one reason; they’re near the front of the main cabin. That’s it. There’s no extra legroom or special treatment. You just don’t have to sit in the back, and you’re one of the first passengers off the plane. 

This calls into question the value of some of these United Corporate Preferred perks as well, seeing that many travel managers for larger corporations don’t allow employees to book particularly cheap fares anyway. Why? They find their employees work less during a flight when they have an undesirable seat. In fact, an ARC survey showed 63 percent of travel managers never allow their employees to book basic economy fare. So, if your company is already paying for your corporate travel to be upgraded, there’s no use taking advantage of similar upgrades from the airline. 

Around the same time as United’s new rollout, Delta also changed to its corporate travel program. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Around the same time as United’s new rollout, Delta also changed to its corporate travel program. This winter, it’s extending its Corporate Priority program to bookings with partner carrier Air France-KLM. The airline hopes to continue adding similar partner carriers to its Corporate Priority program later on. If you’re unfamiliar, Delta’s program offers those similar seats closer to the front of the plane, priority boarding and priority service recovery. If you’re a business traveler who often travels Delta internationally for business, then you could have good things in your future. 

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