This news has been out a day or so now, so you might have already heard that United is matching Southwest’s offer of double points, though with some caveats. This is for new tickets purchased for travel through November 21, 2013.
Wandering Aramean points out some of the obvious downsides, like the fact that it’s only on new purchases and it excludes a number of cheap fare buckets (only fares of S class and above qualify).
And, I’m certainly not disagreeing that this promo doesn’t exactly dazzle. My travel for November (and largely December) is already booked, so I doubt I see any value out of it. However, since we’re at the end of October and you need to buy a ticket on United, there’s a reasonable chance that the lowest fare buckets (N, G, K, L, T) are no longer available since you’re likely within 21 days of travel when most people have already booked.
If you pay for your own travel, it may be worth looking into the difference between a T fare and S fare. Most companies will require you to book the lowest fare class available and rightfully so. But, if it’s your money, those miles might be worth a few extra bucks on a long flight. If you’re not familiar with how to search by fare class, I find the easiest way from the United home page is to click on “Advanced Search”:
On the advanced search page, you can scroll down to select fare class:
While anything is possible, it’s unlikely that the gap between an N fare and an S fare is a couple bucks it may be worth checking for this promo.
Other than this scenario, I’d say this promo is pretty useless. And, while I believe it was already a foregone conclusion that there won’t be any significant double EQM/PQMG offers before the end of 2013, I think this announcement is another piece of evidence that there isn’t something bigger coming, as there’s at least a reasonable chance that United would have announced the two together. Again, I could be surprised, but I wouldn’t expect double EQM/PQM, etc from any airlines this fall.