MileagePlus

Logo of MileagePlus.

MileagePlus is the frequent flyer program of United Airlines.

Following the United-Continental Airlines merger, Mileage Plus was chosen to be the frequent flier program for the new United Airlines. Subsequently, on June 29, 2011, United changed the program's name from Mileage Plus to MileagePlus. On 1 January 2012, MileagePlus will become also Copa Airlines and Copa Airlines Colombia frequent flier program following the United-Continental Airlines merger.

Contents

History

Frequent flier programs started in their current form in 1979 at Texas International Airlines.[1] Two years later, American Airlines launched their AAdvantage program.[2] United began their Mileage Plus program one week after AAdvantage launched. United announced that its Mileage Plus frequent flier program will be kept for the combined carrier.[3]

On July 9, 2011, Tom Stuker became the first member of the Mileage Plus program to reach ten million lifetime miles on United.[4] He earned this distinction flying from Los Angeles to Chicago on flight 942. United President and CEO Jeff Smisek was on hand to congratulate United's number one customer. For reaching the ten million mile number, he was given the only United Titanium Card and his name was placed on the side of a United Boeing 747-400.[5]

Following the United-Continental Airlines merger, Mileage Plus was chosen to be the frequent flier program for the new United Airlines. Subsequently, on June 29, 2011, United changed the program's name from Mileage Plus to MileagePlus.

Partner Airlines

Airlines who are part of the Star Alliance and others participate in a program enabling passengers on these airlines to receive MileagePlus credits. Although MileagePlus credits are received for all booking classes on United flights, many booking classes on partners are excluded from receiving credit. Exclusions for booking class credits vary for each partner airline.

Award Redemptions

United Airlines has been criticized recently for so called Starnet blocking. United admitted in a Washington Post article that it prevents its MileagePlus members, regardless of tier, from redeeming rewards on all Star Alliance flights. United Airlines is currently the only known Star Alliance member to restrict access to reward flights.

Miles earned do not expire, provided that any miles are earned or redeemed at least once every 18 months.

Premier Status

Premier status membership, which has added benefits over the standard level membership, is a feature that was not initially part of the program. Beginning in 2010, Premier members have access to unlimited domestic upgrades on a space-available basis. The status levels and naming conventions below will be effective when the new MileagePlus program officially starts late in the first quarter of 2012, with the exception of Premier Associate, which is no longer being used.

Premier Associate (3P) was an invitation-only elite level operational between 2006 and 2010. Premier Associate status could be gifted by Premier members as a reward for reaching certain plateaus. Privileges were similar to Premier Silver members and included access to Economy Plus seating, but did not include unlimited domestic upgrades or the 25% mileage bonus on flown miles.

Premier Silver (2P) members, who accumulate at least 25,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) or fly 30 segments, are offered priority boarding, complimentary Economy Plus seating at 24 hours prior to time of departure, Complimentary Premier Upgrades, a 25% mileage bonus on flown miles, and Star Alliance Silver status. In 2005, 535,000 members of MileagePlus qualified for Premier Silver status. This status level will be called "Premier" until the new program takes effect in 2012.

Premier Gold (1P) members fly at least 50,000 EQM or 60 segments, and receive all Premier benefits plus a 50% mileage bonus, higher upgrade priority, access to exit row seating in advance of flight, Star Alliance Gold status, and lounge access when traveling internationally on any Star Alliance member airline the same day. In 2005, 239,000 members of MileagePlus qualified for Premier gold status. This status level will be called "Premier Executive" until the new program takes effect in 2012.

Premier Platinum (0P) members fly at least 75,000 Premier Qualifying Miles to 90 Premier Qualifying Segments in a calendar year. Benefits of Premier Platinum status include higher upgrade priority for Complimentary Premier Upgrades, as well as a 75% bonus on redeemable miles. This will be a new status level in 2012 compared to the previous Mileage Plus program, and is based on the Platinum Elite level from the Continental OnePass program. However, beginning in 2011, Premier Executive members who earned 75,000 miles were granted two CR-1 (known as Regional Premier Upgrades in the new program) upgrade instruments.

Premier 1K members fly at least 100,000 EQMs or 120 segments, and receive all Premier Platinum benefits plus six Global Premier Upgrades good for a one-class upgrade on any United or Continental flight, along with the ability to earn Regional Premier Upgrades valid across United's North American, Central American and Asian/Micronesian route system. Premier 1K passengers are sometimes granted accommodations and meals during flight delays and irregular operations caused by weather or air traffic control. In 2005, 46,000 members of MileagePlus qualified for 1K status.

Global Services

Global Services (GS)is an invitation-only program to recognize United's most valued high-yield customers. Full invitation criteria are not made public by United; re-qualification for current GS members could be attained by flying 50,000 full-fare miles in a calendar year, according to company letter to members. Since the merger with Continental, flying 50,000 full-fare miles is no longer valid for re-qualification.[6] Benefits complement and expand upon those offered to 1K passengers, including: higher priority for upgrades and front-of-line access in premium security lines. Global Services members are able to upgrade award flights using miles, Global Premier Upgrades and Regional Premier Upgrades. In 2005, 18,000 members of MileagePlus qualified for Global Services membership.

Million Miles and Beyond

Million Miles and Beyond is a program offered to MileagePlus members who have accumulated one million elite qualifying miles (prior to 2012) or actual flown miles (after 2012) or more on United Airlines and Continental Airlines during their lifetime. These customers receive the benefits of lifetime Premier Gold membership. Spouses and significant others of the Million Mile member also receive lifetime Premier Gold status, but these do not include Regional or Global Premier Upgrades.

2 Million Miles and Beyond is a program offered to MileagePlus members who have accumulated two million elite qualifying miles (prior to 2012) or actual flown miles (after 2012) or more on United Airlines and Continental Airlines during their lifetime. These customers receive the benefits of lifetime Premier Platinum membership. Spouses and significant others of the 2 Million Mile member also receive lifetime Premier Platinum status, but these do not include Regional or Global Premier Upgrades.

3 Million Miles and Beyond is a program offered to MileagePlus members who have accumulated three million elite qualifying miles (prior to 2012) or actual flown miles (after 2012) or more on United Airlines and Continental Airlines during their lifetime. These customers receive the benefits of lifetime Premier 1K membership. Spouses and significant others of the 3 Million Mile member also receive lifetime Premier 1K status, but these do not include Regional or Global Premier Upgrades.

4 Million Miles and Beyond is a program offered to MileagePlus members who have accumulated four million elite qualifying miles (prior to 2012) or actual flown miles (after 2012) or more on United Airlines and Continental Airlines during their lifetime. These customers receive the benefits of lifetime Global Services membership. Spouses and significant others of the 4 Million Mile member also receive lifetime Global Services status, but these do not include Regional or Global Premier Upgrades.

Infinite Elite members was a promotional program offered by Continental Airlines in the early 1990's that offered lifetime Platinum Elite status on Continental for flying a certain mileage amount for a number of continuous years. With the integration of OnePass and MileagePlus, Infinite Elite members will be offered Premier 1K status, but will not receive Global Premier Upgrades.

Upgrades

500-mile e-upgrades were recently discontinued, in favor of UDUs, Unlimited Domestic Upgrades. Elite members may now get complimentary upgrades on all domestic flight segments (to also include Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Puerto Rico & St Thomas), based on their elite status, which mirrors the upgrade progression of the former 500-mile e-upgrades. Global Services may get upgraded 120 hours in advance of the departure time of their respective flights. 1Ks at 100 hours; Premier Executives at 72 hours; Premiers at 48 hours. If an upgrade is not actually being offered at that time, the guest will be placed on an upgrade waitlist within those parameters. A UDU is also offered to one traveling companion on the same booking as the elite member (maximum party of two).

References

  1. ^ David M Rowell (August 13, 2010). "A History of US Airline Deregulation Part 4 : 1979–2010 : The Effects of Deregulation – Lower Fares, More Travel, Frequent Flier Programs". The Travel Insider. http://thetravelinsider.info/airlinemismanagement/airlinederegulation2.htm. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  2. ^ American Airlines. "American Airlines AAdvantage Program Details". https://www.aa.com/aa/i18nForward.do?p=/AAdvantage/programDetails/main.jsp&anchorEvent=false. Retrieved 28-May-2009. 
  3. ^ http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Mileage-Plus-to-be-the-prnews-3963842293.html?x=0&.v=1
  4. ^ http://www.nbcchicago.com/traffic/transit/125274904.html
  5. ^ http://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/07/united-airlines-frequent-flyer-hits-10-million-miles/
  6. ^ Conor's Web Log of Esoterica: United's Global Services

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