Travel

Is United Airlines Mileage Plus Rewards Program worth it?

Practically every airline offers a rewards program to keep you coming back and the United Mileage Plus program is no different. They come with varying names like American Airlines AAdvantage program, the Delta Sky Club, Frontiers Discount Den and Southwests Rapid Rewards. Each has different benefits and drawbacks but they all boil down to one thing. “Use us and save money.” However, the pages of details are often tedious and unclear but it is important to make sure you are saving the most before booking.

An Extensive Network

One of the biggest advantages to being a part of the United Mileage plus program is how easy it is to earn points, even with other airlines! There are 35 other airlines that you can fly on and still rack up points via the United Mileage Plus program. These airlines are all part of the Star Alliance network. A conglomerate of airlines that have destinations in over 200 countries. If you need to get there, chances are an airline in the Star Alliance can help you, and all of them help you accumulate points with United.

United Mileage Plus Program Star Alliance
source: united.com

United Mileage Plus Program Benefits

The United Mileage Plus program is fairly basic. You earn points depending on how far you fly and these can be spent on a variety of items. Flights, hotels, restaurants, pretty much any traveling luxury or essential. It’s also free so there really is no reason not join if you fly with them at all. However, flying with United really becomes worth it when you qualify for Premier status.

What is Premier Status?

Simply put, Premier status is the next level of the United Mileage Plus program. Again, it is also free but it isn’t as easy as signing up for the basic United Mileage Plus program. You have to earn a certain combination of PQM (Premier Qualifying Miles), PQS (Premier Qualifying Segments…basically each one translates to one flight) and spend a certain amount of money (PQD-Premier Qualifying Dollars) to qualify.

United Mileage Plus Program Premier Qualifications
source: united.com

Once you qualify for one of the tiers of the Premier program you get those benefits for the rest of that reward year! Like the base United Mileage Plus program, as long as you fly with Star Alliance partners you will earn points.

United Mileage Plus Program Premier Airlines Qualifications
source: united.com

One of the best part about moving up in the tiers Premier is that once you do it is easier to move forward. The more you spend and fly, the faster you accrue points!

United Mileage Plus Program Premier Bonus
source: united.com

So what do these tiers get you? This is where it gets juicy and the benefits to a frequent flyer are readily apparent. From increased baggage weight and quantity, to waived cancellation fees and companions who also receive economy plus for free. Did we mention that you are automatically upgraded to economy plus every flight? If you have flown often you know that extra 6″ of leg room can easily be worth it.

United Mileage Plus rewards
source: united.com
United Mileage Plus rewards
source: united.com

United Mileage Plus Rewards

source: united.com

When you want to spend your points, there are a couple ways you can do so. The first is a fairly traditional online shopping experience. You browse the United reward website and can choose different categories based upon what you want. You can also buy gift cards or pay for your favorite subscription services. Finally, one of the more exciting features that United offers is the ability to bid on different experiences. This gives you the chance to pay a lower than average cost for your favorite excursions.

United Mileage Plus Program Rewards Bidding
source: united.com

In conclusion: Is the United Mileage Plus Program worth it?

The quick answer, if you fly with United on a regular basis then yes. The mileage plus program is also free so you lose nothing by signing up. However, to fully take advantage of the benefits you need to fly enough with them to qualify for Premier status. It certainly wouldn’t be hard to use United exclusively wherever you need to go either. United Airlines operates to 235 destinations and 138 international destinations in 60 countries across Asia, Americas, Europe, and Oceania. They are also currently the worlds third largest airline by Revenue and if United can’t take you where you want, one of the other airlines in the Star Alliance network certainly will be able to.

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