United moves to revenue based award program.

United Airlines

United has joined other major airline Delta in vanquishing their miles based frequent flyer program. Starting March 1st, 2015 you will no longer earn miles based on miles flown. They will instead use a revenue based award system. The new earning chart is based on the multipliers below. For those that travel frequently for business on the corporate dime this will most likely result in more miles earned per year. If you are a consumer who often reaches status based on bargain tickets for long flights this will be a dramatic reduction.

How many miles you earn per dollar will be determined by your Mileage Plus Program status.  The new program announcement includes a calculator for determining how many miles you will earn per dollar spent.

The mileage calculator is for estimating purposes only. Actual mileage posting will be determined by the actual ticket price, purchased ticket routing, fare class, Premier status, residency and ticket issue date. For tickets purchased in a currency other than US dollars, United will convert the purchase to US dollars and then calculate the number of miles you will earn.  For each flight, you will earn miles based on your MileagePlus status at time of departure not at time of purchase.

Award miles earned per dollar
Premier Silver
Premier Gold
Premier Platinum
Premier 1K®

United states that the new program will not change how you qualify for MileagePlus Premier status.

If you use a credit card that earns MileagePlus miles, nothing is changing with how you earn those miles. You will continue to earn even more miles with a MileagePlus cobranded credit card. United MileagePlus Explorer cardmembers will earn two award miles for each $1 spent on tickets purchased from United. For tickets that will earn award miles based on ticket price, the class-of-service bonus and Premier bonus will be included in the number of award miles you earn per dollar.

The new system for awarding miles will also apply to tickets for flights operated by a Star Alliance™ or MileagePlus partner airline when the ticket number starts with “016.” Tickets for flights operated by a Star Alliance™ or MileagePlus partner airline that aren’t issued by United (ticket numbers that don’t start with “016”) will still earn award miles based on distance flown and the purchased fare class.

You will be able to earn up to 75,000 award miles per ticket. There will not be a minimum number of award miles you can earn for a flight.

The change to how you earn award miles will apply to most tickets for travel departing on or after March 1, 2015, regardless of when you purchase the ticket. The new program will apply to all MileagePlus members worldwide.  The change does not affect the qualification requirements for 2015 Premier status. Premier qualifying miles and segments are still based on the number of paid flight miles traveled and the fare purchased. Learn more about Premier status qualification here.

In early 2015, you will have the ability to use miles for new options such as Economy Plus one-time purchases, Economy Plus subscriptions and checked baggage subscriptions. United plans to announce more details later this year.

The revised MileagePlus program will create a greater divide in the mileage program with the focus being to reward the business traveller and remove the incentive for a lot of people to invest in a given airlines mileage program or credit cards. Let’s hope American Airlines and Alaska Airlines hold the line, and see a uptick in customers for it.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Jed Stafford
Jed Stafford

MilesGeek was founded by Jed Stafford, a seasoned traveler with over a decade of experience. The concept of MilesGeek emerged after Jed booked numerous around-the-world itineraries using points and miles. Along the journey, a curious realization dawned upon him: his passion lay not in the intricacies of daily mileage hacks, but rather in the captivating narratives of the people and places encountered during travel.

As MilesGeek evolved, it attracted other writers who contributed compelling content. The name now reflects the number of miles we travel each year more so than reward miles. While we continue to spotlight mileage and points that offer substantial benefits, our aim is to emphasize long-term mileage advantages, steering clear of the transient allure of short-lived deals.

There are plenty of great sites out there such as The Points Guy which already successfully cover the daily nuances of credit card offers and breaking short-term deal alerts. Our focus lies in providing insights into maximizing travel benefits throughout the year, rather than bombarding readers with transient offers. We advocate for utilizing sign-up bonuses and credit card points to attain free travel, especially for those seeking to explore the world on a limited budget.

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