MileagePlus is the frequent flyer program of United Airlines.
Earning the Miles You are able to earn the miles under this program in the following manner:
a. By Travelling on United Airlines or United Express or the partner airlines
b. Booking partner hotels
c. Booking car rental services
d. Booking rail services
e. Booking with cruise partners
f. Spending from the partner credit card companies, shopping, buy lifestyle products from partners, dine and get entertained in different ways, taking financial services from partners, buying home and utility services and by buying a number of business products and services from the partners.
Let us understand these one by one.
Flying with United or United Express Whenever you fly with these carriers, you earn miles which contribute to your frequent flyer program and also towards Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM) and Premier Qualifying Sectors (PQS). How much you earn will also depend on the booking class purchased.
For F, A (3 cabin Global First) fare class of travel, award miles earned are 250% whereas the PQM and PQS are 150% and 1.5 respectively. For other F, A booking classes and J.C,D classes of travel, award miles earned are 175% and PQM/PQs are 150% and 1.5 respectively. Z, P booking classes of fare earn 150% award miles whereas PQM/PQS is respectively 150%/1.5. Y,B fare class travelers earn 125% miles awards and their PQM and PQS are 150% and 1.5 respectively. For other fare classes of United Airlines and United Express, award miles earned are 100% and the PQM and PQS are 100% and 1 respectively.
The Premium members also earn bonus miles. Silver, Gold, Platinum and 1 K members earn 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% bonus miles while flying on United Airlines or other Star Alliance members.
Flying with partner airlines You can earn and use the miles (PQMs and PQSs) from the MilesPlus account by traveling on its 35 odd partner airlines. How of these will be earned on each of these airline partners will also be dependent on the flight fare class purchased.
Hotels You can also earn the miles by making reservations at the 15000 odd hotels all around the world. The miles can be earned on the basis of per dollar spent. There can even be a conversion of reward points of these hotels into miles of MilesPlus program.
Car Rentals Hertz, Avis, Alamo Rent a Car, Budget, Dollar Rent a Car, National Car Rental, Sixt Rent A Car, Thrifty Car Rental, Ground Link, Super Shuttle, Execu Car and Carmel are the companies where you can earn the miles per day.
Rail-Road transport United also has a tie-up with Amtrak, the American Railroad Passenger Corporation. You can earn the miles when you fly United and make a connection at Newark airport to/from stations at New Haven, Stamford, Philadelphia 30th Street and Wilmington. You can also earn 500 or 750 award miles traveling on Business or First class segment respectively on Acela Express Trains between New York Penn station and some other stations such as Bay Back and Route 128 Stations of Boston and Washington DC.
F,A fare class on First Class travel will earn 325 miles. J, C, D, Z, P fare class on Business class will earn you 325 miles. Y,B fare class on Full-fare Economy, M, H, E, Q, U, V class on Economy and W, S, T, N, L, G, K class on Discount Economy will give you 250 award miles.
Credit Cards Different types of co-branded cards are there for different countries. The USA has a series of United MileagePlus series of cards including Explorer, Club Card, Explore Business Card and Club Business Card.
Similarly, Japan has Saison Card, UC card, JCB Card, MUFG card and Diners Club Card. Similar cards also exist for Hong Kong, Guam, Caribbean and Latin America and UK.
Using/Spending the Miles
The miles accumulated under MileagePlus can be used for buying award flights on United as well as on partner airlines. These can also be used towards class upgrades.
There are MileagePlus Standard and Saver plans. The Saver Plans can be used on United and their partner airlines flights around the world. However, these are capacity controlled, meaning that if there is high demand of flights in certain sectors then these award flights might not be provided on these sectors. The Standard Awards are also capacity controlled but there is a larger inventory of flights available for booking. Further, these standard awards are available only on flights of United, United Express and Copa Airlines.
You can also use these miles on Star Alliance partner flights or other flights partners.
Cruise redemption: Redemption of the MileagePlus points can be done on buying cruise packages for different world famous cruise destinations across the world. You can choose from the famous cruise lines, or destinations, or even the themes of (reasons for undertaking) cruise. Cruise Line packages are further divided into the normal Cruise packages as well as the Luxury Cruise packages. Cruise deals can also be searched from the ports of departure (US and rest of the world), destination ports and theme based cruises as well.
Customers can choose from 9 Cruise Line deals, 15 Luxury Cruise Line deals, 11 destination cruises, 13 themes, cruises from 22 departure points of US and 14 worldwide departure points. Number of miles that can be redeemed for each one of these is mentioned against these.
Upgrades You can also use these miles for upgrading to the next class of travel. These upgrades can happen to United Global First, United First, United Business First and also to United Business.
Besides the awards upgrades, the passengers can also get the Premier upgrades which are available to all the Premier members. There is a provision for immediate upgrades as soon as ticketing is being done for the Premier members who are traveling on Y and B class of fares and for Premier 1K members while buying M class fares. However, capacity controls do apply in these flights.
There is another type of upgrade available by way of using these Miles. This upgrade is called the Regional Premier Upgrade. These are one-way and one-cabin upgrades. Premier members get two Regional upgrades when they meet qualification requirements of Platinum and two additional ones on meeting the Premier 1K status.
Then there are the Global Premier Upgrades which are also one way and one cabin upgrades. These members earn 6 upgrades on meeting Premier 1K status. Additional 2 upgrades are available for every 50000 PQMs and 60 PQSs. United, United Express and Copa Airlines flight upgrades are available from UnitedEconomy, UnitedBusiness, UnitedBusinessFirst to the next higher level of cabin class.
There is also a provision for upgrading on the Star Alliance partner airlines.
Buying the Personal Miles @ USD 35 per 1000 miles + 7.5% excise tax. You can buy a minimum of 2000 miles per account, meaning that the minimum purchase per account is USD 75. These are available in increments of 1000 miles upto a max of 1,00,000 miles in a year and in increments of 5000 upto a max of 150000 miles in a year
Transfering the Miles: Miles can also be transferred @ USD 15 per 1000 miles. A minimum of 2000 miles can be transferred per account and upto a maximum of 100000 in a year. However, the receiver shall not receive more than 25000 miles from another account in a year. This means that the transfer to 4 different people can be done. An additional processing fee of USD 20 per transaction is also levied.
GiveMiles is another arrangement of Delta which enables you to buy miles online for you friends and family. All provisions of Personal Miles are applicable to this section as well.
You can even donate the miles, spend these with the hotels and credit card partners.