With United’s new revenue-based frequent flyer program for earning miles from flying, you earn miles based on the price of your ticket and not based on the distance you fly when traveling on United.
- The ‘break-even’ price to earn the same miles in 2015 that you would have earned in 2014 is a ticket that costs about 20 cents per mile.
- That’s above their average revenue per passenger seat mile flown.
- So on average folks are positioned to earn fewer miles from their flying under the new program.
As a result, it is worth asking whether — if you must fly United — to credit those miles to the MileagePlus program or to credit to a partner airline.
If you are going to earn elite status, credit to United. You may earn fewer miles, but you can still earn status (the revenue requirement for status equates to just 12 cents per mile). You’ll get some upgrades, free checked bags, and airport priority. And elite status bonuses for flown miles help close the gap with what you’ll earn through other programs.
But if you’re an occasional United flyer, you may do better elsewhere. There are still programs out there that will award you with more miles for your United flights than United will.
Unfortunately, as the new United earning program went into effect, the window shut to be able to earn full mileage for all United fares with Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles.
Some folks went looking to Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus for salvation, since they offered 100% mileage earning on all United fares. But that’s changed, too.
I have to think that change is driven on the United side of things, out of their desire for other programs not to be more generous with their flights than MileagePlus is.
And if that’s the case then we can expect eventually for Singapore Airlines Krisflyer — currently my favorite place to credit United flights — to implement changes as well to award fewer miles on discount United fares.
Then there’ll be truly No Way Out.