United Airlines Chairman's Circle: The super secret elite level for top customers

 Want a ride to the plane in a Mercedes-Benz? If you join United's Chairman's Circle, you'll probably get a bunch of chances. Photo: Alan Light/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Want a ride to the plane in a Mercedes-Benz? If you join United's Chairman's Circle, you'll probably get a bunch of chances. Photo: Alan Light/Flickr (Creative Commons)

If you fly United Airlines often, you know United rewards its most loyal passengers with special goodies, like first class upgrades and free booze. 

You probably know United's top tier levels. There's Premier 1K, given to customers who fly at least 100,000 miles each year. And there's Global Services, a special invitation-only program for customers who buy tens of thousands dollars of United tickets. 

But did you know United has another level, above 1K and Global Services?

It's called Chairman's Circle. And here's how you get in, according to documents obtained by briansumers.com. I do not know how many members the program has, but some have estimated it is probably in the low hundreds. 

  • To get chairman's circle, you must be nominated by United's CEO or senior vice president of worldwide sales. Generally your company must have a large contract with United.
  • Your firm must spend at least $5 million with United per year. 
  • One person at each company gets Chairman's Circle. It usually goes to the CEO or board chair. 
  • If you're chosen, your spouse should receive Global Services Status and a free United Club membership.
  • If United drops you from the program, you'll receive 1K or Global Services status for the following year, as well as a free United Club membership. 

What does Chairman's Circle get you?

Airport Meet/Assist Service. "At your request, a United Airlines representative will make every effort to meet you at the airport when you depart, connect or arrive at a destination. You may also request this personalized service on your return where possible. Our airport representatives will provide you the quickest travel experience through our airports around the world."

Dedicated Reservations Team - "Our dedicated Chairman’s Circle reservations agents are expertly trained in all aspects of United’s products and services and are ready to serve you. They will quickly answer all your questions, fulfill special requests that you may have."

Priority Seating "As a Chairman’s Circle member, you will always receive priority seating on United, even on full flights. When booking an economy class fare, you will automatically be afforded seating in United Economy Plus, featuring up to an additional six inches of legroom. In addition, on domestic flights, you will automatically be placed on the complimentary upgrade list to the next higher class of service. This upgrade may clear as much as 120 hours before scheduled departure.

Priority Service "Should a flight irregularity occur, our qualified reservations agent will provide you with dedicated assistance and confirm appropriate alternative routings, flights, etc. as necessary."

This is probably as close as most of us will get to the acceptance letter.

Dear Mr. Last Name,

United is focused on becoming the world’s leading airline. Our expansive route network, investments in our fleet and our focus on operational reliability and customer service give me confidence in our future. Valued partners, like you, will always remain a priority, and I would like to thank you for your support of United.

You undoubtedly face many demands when traveling. At United, we’d like to ensure your journey is as smooth as possible from the moment you make travel arrangements to the time you arrive at your destination. To help with that, I would like to invite you to enjoy the exclusive array of services and benefits of our Chairman’s Circle program.

This complimentary, private, invitation-only program provides the exclusive benefits of United’s Global Services status but is reserved for our most valued corporate customers. The program is designed to make your travel on United as efficient and worry-free as possible. To highlight these benefits, I have enclosed a brief description of the special services that are now available to you.

In preparation of your welcome into the Chairman’s Circle program, we have updated your MileagePlus account to reflect your new status. I invite you to contact the dedicated reservations team to begin building your personalized travel profile, which records your personal preferences when traveling on United. To begin this process, please call the team at XXX.XXX.XXXX. You will soon receive a complete welcome kit, including a complimentary membership to the United Club.

On behalf of United and my colleagues around the world, thank you for your support and partnership. We look forward to welcoming you aboard as a Chairman’s Circle member. 

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