If you haven’t heard, United has formally announced the changes to MileagePlus that will take affect next year. I am way late to the party in blogging about the changes, but my initial impression is that they really aren’t all that bad. One thing is for certain, four tier programs are officially in vogue. The new United will now have four tiers, Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, and Premier 1K. Premier Silver is the basic tier, and from what I can tell, is the one that will see the most changes. Premier Silver members will now only be allowed one checked bag free of charge. and can only select Economy Plus seats at time of check in.

In other news, the bonus miles awarded will change for the typical mid-tier flier. Premier Gold members, the typical 50,000 mile flier, will now receive 50 percent bonus miles as opposed to the 100 percent bonus that United Premier Executives receive today. Premier Platinums, a new 75,000 mile or 90 segment tier will receive 75 percent bonus miles, and only Premier 1K’s or 100,000 mile or 120 segment tier members will receive 100 percent bonus miles. I think these new tiers align most closely with US Airways Dividend Miles.

Personally, I think it could have been worse, and rather than a lot of United members moving on to other programs like AAdvantage, Dividend Miles and SkyMiles, I have to wonder if the future of these programs isn’t headed towards looking a lot more like the new United program and Dividend Miles rather than AAdvantage and Delta SkyMiles. I have to give the new United MileagePlus a little more thought over the next few days before I say more. But believe me, I’ll have more to say.