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Buenos dias everyone. I received an email from Copa Airlines announcing “changes” coming to their ConnectMiles program in 2018. Program changes aren’t usually a good thing for most members, and that’s also the case here – with one exception.
The program changes all apply only to flights on Copa, and most of the negative impact falls on their Silver members (the lowest elite level in their program) and those buying the cheapest paid tickets.
Additional Restrictions on Economy Promo Fares
Following in the steps of several other airlines, Copa is making its cheapest fares less attractive from a mileage perspective. Currently, all paid tickets on Copa earn at least 100% of the miles flown for both redeemable miles (RDMs) and elite qualifying miles (EQMs). Starting in 2018, Economy Promo fares will earn only 50% of the miles flown in both of these categories. (This is already the case for crediting Copa flights to the United Airlines MileagePlus program). Elite members flying on Economy Promo fares will also be moved down the upgrade priority list, regardless of their elite status, they will not be upgraded until the day of departure.
Other Mileage Earning Changes
ConnectMiles is making some other relatively small adjustments to their mileage earning chart: Business Flex fares will earn 200% EQMs and RDMs (up from 175% and 150% respectively), and Economy Flex fares will earn 125% EQMs (down from 150%).
Devaluation of ConnectMiles Silver Status
ConnectMiles Silver members will enjoy fewer benefits in 2018 than they do currently. The baggage allowance for Silver members is going from 2 bags up to 70 pounds (32kg) to 2 bags up to 50 pounds (23kg). Silver members will also not be upgraded until day of departure (currently they can be upgraded 24 hours prior to departure).
Improved Usability of Copa Upgrade Certificates
There is one positive change to the program for Copa’s top-tier elites. Similar to United’s program, Copa Platinum and Presidential Platinum members receive regional and global upgrade certificates. Starting in 2018, those certificates will be valid on Economy Promo fares and award tickets.
While seeing mileage programs erode is never a good thing, most of these changes are fairly minor, and Copa deserves praise for announcing these changes with a lot of notice – they go into effect for tickets purchased starting May 1, 2017, for travel beginning after January 1, 2018. If only all airlines gave as much notice about program changes…
Will any of these changes affect your travel plans? Let me know in the comments.