United Puts Elite-Level Perks up for Sale


Ever wished you could whisk through check-in, security, and boarding, like the elite frequent flyers do? Well, for $25, United will give you all three. The airline is launching a new Premier Line option, which lets ordinary customers purchase these three significant perks normally reserved for elite-level members of Mileage Plus. The feature will be available at 14 airports, including United hubs (Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington Dulles) and major cities like New York and Boston, and United may expand the program further down the road.

Premier Line purchases can be made online in advance or at airport check-in kiosks on the day of your flight. United will sell a limited number of purchases each hour in order to keep the express lanes moving at an express speed. Elite Mileage Plus members will continue to receive the perk for free.

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This is certainly a good move for travelers who want the convenience of express lines but don't fly enough to earn elite status in Mileage Plus. $25 isn't an insignificant charge for this convenience, but it's not prohibitively expensive either, meaning travelers on a tight schedule can purchase some peace of mind without spending a fortune. And like United's new door-to-door shipping program, Premium Line is an elective fee, not something you're forced to pay.

But what about frequent flyers? Elite Mileage Plus members log a lot of miles to earn these perks, and it's safe to say United is testing their loyalty by making elite benefits available to the masses. Tim Winship examines Premium Line from the perspective of the mileage-earning set.

What do you think? Will you use United's new service? Or do you think it's $25 for a whole lot of window dressing? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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