United Airlines MileagePlus Members Face Higher Mile Costs for Certain Partner Flights

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 6, 2024 10:30 AMNews
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White and blue airplane on airport during daytime
White and blue airplane on airport during daytime. Source: unsplash

United Airlines has introduced a new policy affecting its MileagePlus scheme for intra-European and intra-Asian business class reward flights, which began overnight between April 30th and May 1st. The policy, first reported by View From The Wing, increases the cost in miles for these flights, leading to what some consider a devaluation of the reward program.

The changes were noticeable on flights such as the 49,000-mile route between Frankfurt and Istanbul, operated by Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa. Similar price increases were seen on flights between Beijing and Bangkok, as noted by The Points Guy.

The Impact on Regional Business Classes

In Europe, business class often resembles economy class with the middle seat blocked off, whereas in Asia, airlines like Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Asiana offer wider seats or even lie-flat options. These more luxurious offerings make the increase in miles more significant for travelers seeking comfort. Singapore Airlines, for instance, uses its Airbus A350 and Boeing 787-10 planes with advanced business class seats, featuring a 1-2-1 staggered layout.

United Airlines’ New MileagePlus Pooling Feature

United Airlines recently introduced a new feature called MileagePlus pooling, which allows members to combine their miles with up to five other people. This feature encourages users to form groups with family or friends to earn and redeem miles together. The aim is to facilitate group travel, recognizing that many families travel together.

Summary: The New Policy's Impact

The new policy marks a shift in United's MileagePlus scheme. While pooling offers benefits, the increased mile costs for premium cabins in Europe and Asia may displease those looking for good deals. While the changes may enhance exclusivity for premium customers, they also highlight the primary benefits of intra-European and intra-Asian flights, such as lounge access and better food.

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