The Travel Trolley

United changes frequent flyer program to reward based on spending, not miles

United Airlines today announced that members of its MileagePlus program will earn award miles based on their ticket price rather than distance flow.

The change, which takes effect next year, mirrors a change Delta Air Lines made to its frequent flier program earlier this year.

The new earning structure will apply to MileagePlus members worldwide for most tickets for travel on United and United Express flights, and most United-issued tickets for flights on the company’s airline partners – tickets with numbers that begin with “016,” according to United. Members may earn up to 75,000 award miles per ticket.

In addition, next year United plans to offer members new opportunities to use their award miles, including for single-flight purchases of extra-legroom United Economy Plus seats and to purchase Economy Plus and checked-baggage subscriptions, the airline said.

“These changes are designed to more directly recognize the value of our members when they fly United,” Thomas F. O’Toole, United’s senior vice president of marketing and loyalty and president of MileagePlus, said in a news release. “We are also pleased to give our members new redemption options that expand the usefulness of their MileagePlus miles.”

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