With this guide, business travelers will have all the information they need to get the most out of a United MileagePlus membership.
If you’re a frequent United Airlines passenger, then there’s never been a better time to think about joining their loyalty program – United MileagePlus. As a legacy carrier, United makes frequent appearances in travel receipts. In fact, 2017 saw United rake in almost 15% of airline spending for business travel, making them the third-most expensed airline of the year, according to data released by Certify.
From benefits to points, there’s lots to uncover in a travel loyalty program. Here, we examine the many facets of a United MileagePlus membership.
As a United MileagePlus member, you have the opportunity to achieve Premier status, where loyalty benefits become active. To qualify for Premier status, you have to:
- Fly a minimum amount of miles (also known as PQM) or segments (PQS), and
- Spend a certain amount of dollars per year (PQD)
Specific amounts depend on which membership tier you’re lined up to receive. For example, at the lowest level, Premier Silver, you need either 25,000 PQM or 30 PQS, plus $3,000 in spending. From there, the required miles, segments, and dollars increase for Premier Gold, Platinum, and 1K statuses.
Once you become a Premier member, a myriad of benefits become available to you. We won’t list them all, but the ones that frequent road warriors will be happy to have include:
- The ability to earn miles on United and some partner flights
- Priority check-in, security screening (if available), and boarding
- Access to airport lounge on overseas trips (for Gold, Platinum, and 1K)
- Free checked bag(s) on Economy tickets
- Reduced fees on flight changes (for Gold, Platinum, and 1K) and United Club (for Gold and 1K)
- Additional perks when flying on airlines in the Star Alliance network, like priority wait-listing and standby (for Silver and Gold)
The wonderful thing about Premier status is that once you reach it, most of the benefits you’d like to have are available to Silver members or just one level up. While other travel loyalty programs place heavy restrictions on what benefits are available to lower membership tiers, United MileagePlus seems to generously check off more boxes than the norm. See for yourself below:
How to Earn Points
United MileagePlus provides a plethora of opportunities for members to earn rewards. The key methods for acquiring miles are to:
- Fly with United
- Fly with a partnered airline, like Hawaiian or Aer Lingus
- Fly with an airline in the Star Alliance network, like Air Canada or Lufthansa
- Stay at a partnered hotel, like Marriott, IHG, or Starwood
- Book your accommodation through United Hotels, Rocketmiles, or PointsHound
- Use a partnered rental car service, like Hertz, Dollar, or Thrifty
- Take the Amtrak
For business travelers, a well-rounded loyalty program like United MileagePlus makes it possible to earn on every aspect of your trip planning, from ground transport to accommodation. In other words, you don’t have to cover miles in the air to earn miles on your membership.
Outside of your business travel needs, there are additional ways to garner rewards, including:
- Shopping online at United MileagePlus Shopping, Harry & David, and other ecommerce sites
- Shopping in-store at places like Mercedes-Benz (for real)
- Booking a United Cruise or United Vacation
- Using a MileagePlus credit card on select purchases
How to Spend Points
Don’t be a miles hoarder! For the most part, you can use your miles on most of the things that got you them – flights, hotel stays, and car rentals through partnered companies, plus online shopping and additional leisure activities.
You can also get creative with how you reward yourself by putting your miles towards in-flight Wi-Fi, United Club access, and TSA PreCheck. If you’ve ever had to chip away at projects while flying or felt that you’re wasting too much time at airport gates and in security lines, then these are smart ways to start spending.
These are all, of course, business traveler-friendly methods of using miles. More exciting ways of cashing in include attending sporting events or Broadway shows, acquiring the latest in Apple tech, or donating to a charitable cause.
That’s all the intel we have on United MileagePlus. Already part of their loyalty program? Share your favorite aspects of being a member in the comments below!
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