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United Moves to Revenue-Based Rewards Program

SmarterTravel

Unsurprisingly, United will follow Delta’s lead in converting MileagePlus from a mileage-based earning scheme to revenue-based earning.

The changes, announced today, will take effect on March 1, 2015.

Mileage Earning

The key change to MileagePlus will be to the earning side of the program, with miles awarded according to a combination of the price of the ticket and the member’s elite status, as follows:

  • Non-elite members earn ticket price x 5
  • Premier Silver members earn ticket price x 7
  • Premier Gold members earn ticket price x 8
  • Premier Platinum members earn ticket price x 9
  • Premier 1K members earn ticket price x 11

The requirements to earn elite status—currently a combination of miles or segments and spend—will remain unchanged.

As will Delta, United will cap the number of miles earned for a single ticket at 75,000, regardless of the ticket’s price or the member’s status.

For flights on partner carriers, miles will continue to be awarded on the basis of flown distance and class of service.

Mileage Redemption

The award side of MileagePlus will remain mostly unchanged, except for the addition of some mileage-redemption options, including Economy Plus seats, Economy Plus annual subscriptions, and checked bag subscriptions.

(MileagePlus members are still reeling from February’s award-price increases that significantly devalued the program.)

Winners & Losers

As with Delta’s new program—which in key respects United simply copied outright—the new MileagePlus will be more rewarding for high-frequency travelers who purchase more expensive tickets (business travelers, for the most part), and less rewarding for infrequent leisure flyers.

Reader Reality Check

Will you be a winner or a loser under the new scheme?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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