Delta did it first, back in January, when it sent a note to its loyalty program members stating that now it would not just award "Silver" status based on the amount of miles flown, travelers would also have to reach a minimum spending level (of $2,500 during the calendar year) to achieve that status. Take a read of Delta's announcement.
Well, guess what? As is wont to happen in this copy-cat industry, United has just followed suit. Beginning in 2014, those hoping to achieve "Silver" status will have to fly 25,000 miles and spend $2,500. "Gold" status costs exactly double that, both in miles and dollars. Platinum minimum are even higher. Happily they do count airline tickets bought on partner airlines towards both the mileage and the money minimums.
Of course, the airlines are doing this to discourage passengers who want status from going for the bargain basement discounts. And really, to accrue that amount of miles, you're going to have to spend close to that amount anyway, right? But it does seem rather, well, stingy to me.
What do you think? Is it ok for the airlines to be adding cold-hard-cash into an equation that was once based simply on miles flown? And if they keep changing the rules like this are some passengers likely to opt out altogether? Would love to have your opinion.