Different Airlines have their loyalty programs which are beneficial especially for those who frequently fly with a particular airline. These types of programs are highly rewarding for frequent travellers and are launched by the Airlines with the motive of rewarding their frequent travellers and retaining the existing customers. So, loyalty programmes present a win-win situation in which both the airline as well as the customers get benefits.
In this article, we will be talking about the United Airlines’ MileagePlus Programme. If you are a frequent flyer of United Airlines, then you ought to know about this programme because it could be very advantageous for you. This article is a complete guide to what exactly is the United Airlines’ MileagePlus Programme and what are the benefits associated with it. In this article, we have covered topics like earning United Miles, United Elite status, Using United Miles etc.
So without any further ado, let’s start knowing about United Airlines’ MileagePlus Programme.
What is United MileagePlus Programme?
United MileagePlus is the frequent flyer programme of United Airlines which is worth it for those travellers who fly via United Airlines or partner airlines. What makes it different from the other frequent flyer programmes is that it is beneficial even for those who are not frequent travellers. This loyalty program is free to join and you can start earning miles from day one. The United MileagePlus is known for covering a wide range of award travel destinations, incredibly amazing economy award availability and a variety of ways through which the members can earn and redeem miles. United Airlines is a member of Star Alliance, it flies to more than 210 US destinations and 120 international destinations, and has more than 35 partner airlines. If you become a member of United MileagePlus, then you can get free flights, complimentary checked bags, club lounge access and some upgrades which could make your travelling experience a lot more amazing.
The flexibility and wonderful perks of this programme make the membership very rewarding. United Airlines operates out of 8 hubs and serves numerous countries around the world.
If you become a member of this programme, there are four levels of elite status which you can reach to earn more miles for every dollar you spend on United Airlines to receive amazing perks when you fly. Available at different levels of status, these benefits include:
- Free checked bags
- Flight Upgrades
- Flight changes on the same day without having to pay any fees
- Easy reward redemptions
Here are some quick facts about United MileagePlus:
- Countries served: 48
- Airline Alliance: Star Alliance
- Number of miles required for a free flight: About 5,500 miles or even more
- Value of United Miles: 1.2 cents
- Hub Airports in the US: Denver, Chicago, Guam, Houston, Newark, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and San Francisco.
- Air Lounges: More than 45 United Club locations along with access to participating Star Alliance lounges
- Covers a wide range of US and international destinations
- No fuel fees are charged on award flights.
- Elite status gives excellent value at middle and higher tiers.
- Free one-way flights are provided on some multi-city award flights.
- Elite status of the lowest tier might not be worth it.
- Clear award charts are no longer available which made award redemption easy.
- Mile value is below average when compared to other airlines.
What is the worth of United Miles?
The value of United Miles is 1.2 cents per mile. Remember that eventually, your choice of any frequent flyer programme is not just limited to miles. It also depends on various factors like where you are living, where you are flying, what value the elite status gives etc.
What makes United MileagePlus a good choice is that it does not impose fuel surcharges. Many partner airlines charge hundreds of dollars for this, but United Airlines does not.
Remember that United Airlines does not pass these charges along. This means that for some of the partner airlines of United Airlines, you can save a significant amount of money by booking an award flight on these airlines through United’s Star Alliance and MileagePlus airline partners.
Is United MileagePlus worth it?
Even if you travel with United Airlines or its partners occasionally, you can join the United MileagePlus Programme. You should consider joining it especially if you live in or nearby a United Hub. For someone who is a frequent flyer of United Airlines, the United MileagePlus is worth it. MileagePlus offers little value to infrequent flyers but it does offer a lot of value to frequent and very frequent flyers.
The best part is that it is free to join and you can start earning miles as soon as you sign up for membership in this programme.
Some of you must have this doubt in mind: should we run after earning United Elite status? Well, the value of United MileagePlus’ elite status depends on majorly two factors: travelling habits and the level of status you can reach.
Advantages and Disadvantages of United MileagePlus
The United MileagePlus offers excellent value for those travellers who travel frequently and very frequently, those who are United loyalists, live close to a United hub city and also fly through other Star Alliance airlines.
The United MileagePlus undoubtedly provides a variety of advantages to its members but it has certain disadvantages as well which you must know before opting for its membership.
Let’s first look at the advantages and then we will see the disadvantages.
United MileagePlus Advantages
- Easy miles redemption process: The United Airlines MileagePlus Programme provides a variety of ways to redeem miles. This programme is known to be better than the other ones in terms of miles redemption. The easy miles redemption is one of the very lucrative advantages which is why people choose to be members of United MileagePlus.
- Amazing perks for higher-level elite members: If you are a lower or top-level elite member, then the programme will provide some very amazing perks to you. The MileagePlus programme offers top value to the higher-level elite members. So, if you are also one of the higher-level elite members, then you should consider becoming a member of this programme.
- Star Alliance Partnership: We mentioned before that United Airlines is a member of Star Alliance. This means that you can earn United Miles on partner airlines and redeem them for high-value awards like luxurious first-class flights on any partner airline and a lot more.
- Excursionist Perk: One of the many benefits of United MileagePlus is the Excursionist Perk. As per this benefit, you can get a free one-way flight on your multi-city award ticket bookings.
- Worldwide flight network: Award ticket redemption becomes easier with the widely spread worldwide network that the airline has. United and its partners have a very widely spread worldwide network which gives travellers a lot of award ticket redemption options.
- No fuel surcharges: United Airlines is one of the very few airlines which do not impose fuel surcharges on award bookings.
Now, let’s look at some of the disadvantages of the MileagePlus programme.
- Below-average mile value: The very big disadvantage which restricts a lot of people to become a member of the MileagePlus programme is the below-average value of the miles. Although 1.2 cents per mile is a decent value, it is still a lot less than the other mile values which are being offered by other airlines.
- Modest benefits for the people of the lowest elite tier: The benefits are not very lucrative when it comes to the people of the lowest elite tier. So, if you are someone who is not after getting the United Elite status, then you can also have the same advantages by just opening a United Credit card account.
So, you have both advantages as well as disadvantages. You can read about everything in detail on the official website of the airline as well and then make your decision whether getting a membership of the United MileagePlus programme will be beneficial for you or not.
How to earn United Miles?
There are a plethora of ways to earn United Miles so that you can use these miles to get free flights and avail of other rewards. Here are the ways to earn United miles:
- Buying plane tickets for United Flights: Buying flight tickets for United Airlines is one of the most common and easiest ways to earn miles. The miles you receive by purchasing plane tickets for the flights which are operated by United Airlines are based on the dollar amount of the flight ticket charges and the tier of your United Elite status.
Members of the entry-level MileagePlus get 5 miles for $1 on their spending on United flights. If you are someone with elite status, then you can earn an additional 2-6 miles for every dollar you spend based on your level.
Here are the details of how many miles you will earn for every dollar based on your status:
- None – $5 per mile
- Premier Silver – $7 per mile
- Premier Gold – $8 per mile
- Premier Platinum – $9 per mile
- Premier 1K – $11 per mile
Star Alliance partners:
This is another very easy and quick way to earn miles. Here are the two conditions in this case regarding how you can earn miles.
If you purchase a ticket for a flight operated by a partner airline but ticketed by United Airlines, then you will receive miles based on your care just like you would while buying a ticket for a United flight.
If you purchase a flight ticket for a flight which is operated by a partner airline and is not ticketed by United Airlines, then you will be receiving miles based on flight distance as well as the fare class you have booked yourself in.
This is another very widely used way of earning United miles. It is the fastest way of earning United miles after buying a flight ticket. When you purchase a credit card, you not only get a very generous signup bonus which can get you a free flight instantly, but you can also earn United miles for your everyday spending. Moreover, even if you fly only a few times a year, the amount you save on United Baggage fees itself can make it worth having a United Credit Card. Here are some of the best United Airlines Credit Cards:
- United Gateway Card
- United Explorer Card
- United Quest Card
- United Club Infinite Card
- United Business Card
MileagePlus X app
The MileagePlus X app enables you to quickly collect miles. All you have to do is download the app and log in with your credentials and search for offers which allow you to earn as much as 12 miles for every dollar or even more, by shopping or dining at numerous merchants. Also, we would like to mention here that United Credit Card holders also receive a 25% bonus. Here is what you are supposed to do to earn miles through the app:
- Every time you are using the app, you will have to click on the name of the merchant you are purchasing from in the application and then, buy an e-gift card from the merchant in the exact amount of the total amount you have to pay.
- To make the payment, you have to use the barcode or gift card number along with the PIN which you have received to pay.
This is a great way to earn miles which allows you to earn United Miles while shopping both, through the app as well as through the credit card which is linked to your account to pay for your purchase.
Yes, you can earn miles while dining at your favourite restaurants as well! MileagePlus Dining is probably the most delicious way to earn miles. You just have to join the United MileagePlus Dining, link a credit card, search for restaurants which are a part of the programme, eat delectable meals at those restaurants and make the payment with your linked card.
New members get to earn bonus miles. When you are doing it for the first time, you receive 1500 bonus United Miles and 500 miles for the next three times you dine. There are three levels of earnings with MileagePlus Dining which are based on whether you prefer to receive emails from the programme and on the number of transactions you make:
- Basic Members: The first level is the basic members. In this level, 1 mile is given for every 2 dollars that you spend when you choose not to receive the MileagePlus Dining emails.
- Select Members: The second level is the select members. In this level, 3 miles are given for every dollar you spend when you agree to get the MileagePlus Dining emails.
- VIP Members: The third level is the VIP members. In this level, 5 miles are given for every dollar you spend when you become a select member and complete 11 eligible transactions within the year.
As soon as you finish off with the specified number of transactions, you will automatically start earning miles at the VIP level.
United MileagePlus shopping portal
Earning miles through the United MileagePlus shopping portal is an attractive option for those who spend less time travelling and spend more time shopping. Here are the different options available for using this:
- You just have to go to the MileagePlus Shopping portal and sign in with your credentials. You now have to browse through more than 900 online stores and services, select an offer, click on it and select the option “shop now” to be directed to the store’s site. Then you just have to shop and earn extra miles on your purchase.
- You also have the option to link offers to your card and purchase in person to receive attractive deals.
- If you are using Google Chrome, then you can also choose to install the MileagePlus Shopping button on your browser and use it to apply miles and discounts to your transactions at the time of checkout with a participating merchant.
- Travel partners:
You can earn miles by choosing to fly with the travel partners of United Airlines as well. For instance, you earn the following miles on hotel stays:
- Earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend when you make a hotel reservation through United Hotels.
- Earn 3 miles for every dollar you spend when you book a vacation rental stay via Vrbo or through Villas of Distinction.
- Earn bonus miles via several other United hotel partners.
You have the opportunity to earn even more miles while booking a rental car through United. For more details, you can go through the website.
Booking through United Vacations can help you in earning bonus miles after earning the miles you get for the United flights. United Vacations offers its travellers attractive vacation packages to more than 250,000 resorts in more than 400 destinations with about 10,000 amazing activities. These packages are inclusive of airport transportation and some other services to make your vacation a more amazing experience.
You don’t always have to travel by air to earn miles. You can choose to travel by sea as well. When you are booking through United Cruises, you get an opportunity to earn up to 4 United Miles for every dollar you spend depending on which category of room your book
This is the very last option that you have to get miles. United Airlines allows you to purchase miles as well. You can purchase 1000 United miles for $35 along with fees and taxes. There is a minimum purchase amount of 2000 miles. You can either buy miles for yourself or for someone else who is a MileagePlus member. This is usually not a recommended option because it’s not worth it. However, if you are in a situation where you need just a few more miles to get an award ticket, then it may be worth the cost to purchase miles.
How to use United Miles?
There are various ways to use United Miles for availing of free flights, hotel stays, cruises and more. Read on to know about the ways through which you can use the United Miles to get the best value for your money.
Using United airlines miles to make flight reservations:
This is one of the best ways to use United Miles. You can use your miles to book free flights on United Airlines and its Star Alliance airlines partners. You just have to go to the official website of United Airlines and enter details like your origin, destination, and date of travel to know what the price of an award ticket is. United Airlines’ website has a good award search which gives plenty of results in addition to avoiding the $25 phone booking fee that is charged to everyone except the members of the two highest levels of elite status.
- United Airlines has two levels of awards for every cabin class, namely, Saver and every day. Let’s know about each one of them.
- Saver Awards are less expensive, but at this level, availability is very limited.
- Contrary to this is the Everyday awards. In these awards, there are plenty of seats, but the per-mile value is very less.
- Apart from these factors, there is no difference between these awards.
- The award flight prices of United Airlines vary significantly, depending on your cabin class and your time of flying.
Book flights on partner airlines:
As we have mentioned, United Airlines is a part of the Star Alliance Network. You can use your miles to make reservations for any of the partner airlines as well. Making flight reservations on Star Alliance Partners can provide you with some of the greatest value United Award redemptions, specifically when you book yourself in Business class or First class.
Upgrade on United Airlines:
This is another very good way to use your United Miles. With the help of miles, you can upgrade your travel class and make your flying experience more comfortable and elite. Here are the ways through which you can get an upgrade with United Miles:
- Get an upgrade during booking: Travellers have the option to request a United Upgrade award during booking. To do this, you have to sign in to your United MileagePlus account with your credentials and click on Award Search Options. You then have to search for your flight and click on MileagePlus Upgrade awards. In case, no flights are showing upgrade availability, then you can book and request an upgrade later on.
- Get an upgrade after booking: Travellers can request an upgrade after booking as well. There are various ways to do this. You can sign in to your United MileagePlus account and open up your reservation to make an online request. You also have the option to give a call on the dedicated Premier Elite Service line or call United Reservations or talk to a United Airlines representative at the check-in counter or the gate within 24 hours of the scheduled departure of your flight.
- Choose a PlusPoints upgrade: Travellers also have the option to get a PlusPoints upgrade during or after booking a flight on United Airlines or partner airlines. For this, at the time of booking your flight, you have to go to the Advanced search options and select PlusPoints Upgrades, from the drop-down menu of upgrade types. In case of an existing reservation, you have the option to request a PlusPoints Upgrade at the website of the airline or through the mobile app by clicking on the “Upgrade Reservation” link or by giving a call to the dedicated Premier service line.
- Get a Star Alliance Upgrade: Travellers also have the option to use their United miles to purchase a one-cabin upgrade on flights which are eligible on some Star Alliance partner airlines. Travellers can request these upgrades for up to four people per reservation, even if you are not going to travel with them. You can get these upgrades up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure of your flight.
Other miles redemption options at United Airlines:
Although award flights are the best ways to redeem your miles, there are some other redemption options available as well if you don’t want to book flights. Here is a list of other options available for the redemption of miles:
- Car rentals– Travellers have the option to use miles to book a rental car with Avis and Budget with the help of the MileagePlus Car Awards booking portal. So you can save some bucks on car rentals.
- Cruises– You can also redeem your United miles for cruises to several destinations. So, if you have always wanted to travel via a cruise, you can do that now without putting a burden on your pocket.
- Experiences and events– You can also use your miles to book events and experiences, to make your trip more adventurous and full of exciting moments.
- Hotel stays- You can use your miles to book stays at hotels and resorts around the world with the help of the United Hotels booking portal. So with the help of miles, you can save money on your hotel stays as well.
- In-flight Wi-Fi– This might be an important use of miles for some people who want to stay connected to the internet while they are flying. You can use your miles to pay for in-flight Wi-Fi on United flights which allows you to have access to uninterrupted internet.
- Magazine subscriptions– If you are an avid reader who loves to read while travelling, then you can use your United miles to subscribe to your favourite magazine or give a subscription as a gift to someone fond of reading magazines.
- Gift cards – You can use your United miles to purchase electronic gift cards from several retailers and restaurants, like Apple, Starbucks and Walmart to name a few.
- Merchandise – You can utilise your MileagePlus Merchandise Awards portal to shop with United miles for merchandise, from electronics and luggage to jewellery and sports equipment, from different retailers. So getting some cool merchandise on a budget with the help of miles is another very good way to spend them.
- TSA Precheck – Travellers can use their United miles to give themselves the gift of a speedy and more convenient trip through airport security. This is another very lucrative way to spend your miles wisely.
- United Club membership – You can redeem United miles for an airport lounge membership so that you can have space to rest or work between flights. This is best if you need time to rest or have some important work to finish off, in between flights.
United Star Alliance Partners
United is one of the founding members of the Star Alliance network. Apart from the Star Alliance Network, the airline also has several partner airlines. This long list of partner airlines makes United Airlines more valuable and significant.
Star Alliance partners with United Airlines
Here is a list of the Star Alliance partners of United Airlines:
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Asiana Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- EVA Air
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- TAP Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
Here are the names of some other United Partners
- Aer Lingus
- Air Dolomiti
- Azul Airlines
- Boutique Air
- Cape Air
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Olympic Air
- Silver Airways
United Airlines Excursionist Perk
This is another very significant factor which raises the value of United Miles. The Excursionist Perk allows travellers a free one-way flight in a multi-city award ticket, thus enabling you to visit two or more cities while you pay for the price of one.
But, there are certain restrictions which you need to know:
- Your trip must begin and end in the same award region which has been specified by United Airlines.
- The free one-way ticket you receive by using this Excursionist Perk has to have an origin and destination in the same award region as defined by United Airlines.
- The service cabin and award inventory of the free one-way ticket is the same or even lower in comparison to the preceding one-way award. Speaking in simpler terms, if your first one-way ticket is in business class, you will get your free one-way flight either in business class or in economy class. You will not get your free one-way flight in first class.
- In case, more than one award is eligible for qualifying as an excursionist perk based on the above criteria, then only the first one of all these awards will be free. You will be able to ticket extra segments into a multi-city itinerary, but you are not permitted to use the Excursionist Perk more than once on one ticket.
If you are desirous of visiting more cities, then you can add them after the Excursionist Perk, but then, you will have to pay the regular price for a one-way award.
This is not just it. You can do a lot more with the United Excursionist Perk. You are also allowed to add as many breaks in your segment as you would like to. The Excursionist Perk segment does not even have to be in the same destination zone as the first qualifying one-way award. To explore what more you can do with the Excursionist Perk, you can go to the official website of the airline and go to the multi-city award search.
United Elite Status
In this section, we will know all about the United Elite Status. There are four levels of United Elite Status and to attain each level, there are different requirements. Travellers are granted elite status based on the number of Premier Qualifying Flights they take and/or the number of Premier Qualifying Points they earn.
Let us discuss in detail what the terms Premier Qualifying Points and Premier Qualifying Flights mean.
- Premier Qualifying Flight: According to United Airlines, QPF has been defined as a take-off and landing. PQFs can be accrued by travellers with all types of United tickets except the Basic Economy and award tickets.
- Premier Qualifying Point: You receive 1 PQP for every eligible dollar you spend with United Airlines. This also includes the purchase of a basic economy ticket. PQPs can only be earned on the base fare and this is not inclusive of any taxes and fees. Expenses that lead to accruing PQPs include ticket fares, Economy Plus seating or subscriptions, preferred seat purchases, MileagePlus upgrade award copays, flights which are ticketed and operated by Star Alliance partners and the paid upgrades on flights which are operated by United and United Express.
You receive the status based on the combination of the number of flights you take and the money you spend on those flights. The status you get also depends on the combination of PQFs and PQPs or is only based on PQPs. For more exact details, you can visit the website.
Benefits of United Elite Status:
Having a United Elite Status comes with very lucrative benefits. The MileagePlus perks are incredibly amazing which makes flying a more delightful experience. The MileagePlus perks include:
- You get to earn bonus miles on United flights if you have United Elite Status.
- No charges have to be paid by you for checked bags. Checked bags are free for travellers with United Elite Status.
- People with United Elite Status get free access to Economy Plus seating for themselves as well as their travel companions.
- People with the United Elite Status get to change or cancel a flight without a fee on the day of departure.
- Travellers with United Elite Status get a free snack and drink in the economy.
- People with United Elite Status also get free upgrades on United when space is available for MileagePlus Premier members.
FAQs Related to united Airlines MileagePlus
Ans. PQP is short for Premier Qualifying Point and PQF is short for Premier Qualifying Flight. Both the terms have been described below:
Premier Qualifying Flight: According to United Airlines, PQF has been defined as a take-off and landing. PQFs can be accrued by travellers with all types of United tickets except the Basic Economy and award tickets.
Premier Qualifying Point: You receive 1 PQP for every eligible dollar you spend with United Airlines. This also includes the purchase of a basic economy ticket. PQPs can only be earned on the base fare and this is not inclusive of any taxes and fees. Expenses that lead to accruing PQPs include ticket fares, Economy Plus seating or subscriptions, preferred seat purchases, MileagePlus upgrade award copays, flights which are ticketed and operated by Star Alliance partners and the paid upgrades on flights which are operated by United and United Express.
Ans. No, there are no charges for joining United MileagePlus. Signing up for United MileagePlus is free. However, you will have to spend money with United and its partner airlines or sign-up for a United credit card to earn miles and redeem them for amazing benefits.
Ans. To sign up for United MileagePlus, you just have to fill out an online enrollment form. You have to give in details like name, date of birth, address, gender, mobile number and email address. You have to choose 5 security questions and answers, and a password. After you are done signing up, you get a frequent flyer number and you can then start earning miles. Signing up for this programme is just a matter of minutes.
Ans. No, United MileagePlus is a frequent flyer programme and not a credit card. You can, however, open a United Airlines co-branded credit card that will enable you to earn United miles by making everyday purchases. These credit cards also give welcome bonuses and perks like free checked bags.
Ans. You have the option to submit requests for credit for a previous flight up to 12 months after the date of the flight. You will have to log in to your account and fill in a mileage request form. For this, you will need to enter a 13-digit ticket number. In case the flight was operated by a partner airline and United is not able to find the flight in their system, then they may ask you to give additional information to get the credit for the flight.
And. To add a family member to United MileagePlus, you can merge two MileagePlus accounts only if they belong to the same person. If you are a MileagePlus member and one of your family members is also desirous to join, then they will have to create their account. If you want to add one of your children who is under 18, then you can sign them up for an account.
Ans. There are three levels of earnings with MileagePlus Dining which are dependent on whether you prefer to receive emails from the programme and on the number of transactions you make:
Basic Members: The first level is the basic members. In this level, 1 mile is given for every 2 dollars that you spend when you choose not to receive the MileagePlus Dining emails.
Select Members: The second level is the select members. In this level, 3 miles are given for every dollar you spend when you agree to get the MileagePlus Dining emails.
VIP Members: The third level is the VIP members. In this level, 5 miles are given for every dollar you spend when you become a select member and complete 11 eligible transactions within the year.
Ans. To change your name on United MileagePlus, you will first have to log in to your account. Then, you have to go to the option “Profile & Preferences,” select “Personal Information” from the drop-down menu and select the option “About Me” to edit your information. Change your name and save the changes.
Ans. Yes, you need to submit certain documents for a name change. After making the request, you will have to give any one of the documents to verify the name change. The document could be a marriage licence, divorce decree, legal name change document or government-issued IDs with your current and former names. If you are not able to provide one of these documents, then you can fill out a name change affidavit and submit it with a copy of your ID. You will need to get the affidavit notarized and submit it through the mail.
Ans. If you have the United Elite status, then you get the following benefits:
You get to earn bonus miles on United flights if you have United Elite Status.
No charges have to be paid by you for checked bags. Checked bags are free for travellers with United Elite Status.
People with United Elite Status get free access to Economy Plus seating for themselves as well as their travel companions.
People with the United Elite Status get to change or cancel a flight without a fee on the day of departure.
Travellers with United Elite Status get a free snack and drink in the economy.
People with United Elite Status also get free upgrades on United when space is available for MileagePlus Premier Members