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United Airlines Makes it Easier To Share MileagePlus Award Miles with Family and Friends

Just in time for summer travel planning, United Airlines announced yesterday that it will become the first major U.S. airline to allow members of its loyalty program, MileagePlus®, to pool their miles with family and friends into a joint account.

The Chicago-based airline has introduced a new feature that enables MileagePlus members to pool and merge their miles with relatives or friends. This feature allows up to five individuals to combine their miles into a single joint account, accessible through United.com.

“We’re always looking for new ways to provide the most value to all of our loyalty members and are proud to be the first major U.S. airline to allow our members to pool their miles with their loved ones and friends,” said Luc Bondar, Chief Operating Officer of MileagePlus. “MileagePlus miles pooling further reinforces United’s position as the leader in family and group travel and gives our members more flexibility to use their miles while making it easier to connect to the destinations and moments that matter most, with the people that matter most.” 

Photo Courtesy of United

How MileagePlus Miles Pooling Works

Any MileagePlus member over 18 years old can become the pool leader and create a pool for free when logged in to their account on United.com.

  • Pool leaders can invite up to four of their family, friends, or close travel companions of any age to join the pool if they have an active MileagePlus account. There is no minimum age to join MileagePlus.
  • When logged in to their MileagePlus account on United.com, members will be instructed on how to contribute miles to the group pool as well as how to redeem pooled miles for award flights on United and United Express*.
  • There are no limits to the number of miles that may be contributed to an active miles pool.
  • Pooled miles can be used when booking a ticket on United.com or in the United mobile app.

For example, if a group of friends is planning an upcoming summer getaway and each friend has their own individual MileagePlus accounts with their respective number of miles, they can combine all, or a select amount of their personal miles into one central ‘pool’ that can be used to purchase flights and offset the cost of ticket prices.

Contributing miles to a MileagePlus miles pool will not affect an individual member’s Premier®status. Only members who travel on a ticket using pooled miles will earn any eligible Premier qualifying points (PQP), not the member who contributed them. Members cannot pool PQP, Premier qualifying flights (PQF), PlusPoints, or TravelBank cash.  

Last Fall, frequent flyers voiced their discontent online following significant alterations to the Delta SkyMiles loyalty program. These changes affected various aspects such as access to Delta Sky Club lounges, methods to earn award miles and status. Delta CEO Ed Bastian subsequently reversed course, acknowledging that the airline had “gone too far” and hinting at further adjustments to come.

Many other airlines moved to take advantage of the fact that travelers were disgruntled with the new Delta rewards policies and made changes to their programs to attract the loyal Delta customers. With this announcement, United is another example of airlines trying to make their programs more user friendly to attract frequent travelers.

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