MileagePlus Is Still the One for Frequent Flyers

December 23, 2018



Frequent flyer programs are the origin of points-based rewards systems, the standard in the loyalty rewards space. We recently took a look at their history, and we found that one frequent flyer program has sustained brand favorability. For the 15th consecutive year, readers of Global Traveler have voted United’s MileagePlus loyalty program the Best Overall Frequent Flyer Program in the world. United has been recognized with this distinction every year since the inception of the GT Tested Reader Survey in 2004.
In the Global Traveler survey, completed by frequent business and luxury travelers, United’s MileagePlus program was also named the Best Frequent-Flyer Bonus Program for the sixth consecutive year. Additionally, the United MileagePlus Club Card from Chase was named Best Credit Card and Best Credit Card Rewards Program, both for the seventh consecutive year.
“It is an honor that United’s MileagePlus loyalty program is consistently recognized by Global Traveler as the Best Frequent Flyer Program,” says Luc Bondar, United’s Vice President of Loyalty. “It represents our continued commitment to our MileagePlus members and credit card holders. We are proud to offer a service that continues to be consistent and meets the standards our members expect.”
MileagePlus members earn award miles by flying United, United Express, Star Alliance airlines, or other airline partners, and by purchasing products or services from partners around the world. Members have a variety of options for using those award miles, including to pay for travel, hotel stays, car rentals, and related merchandise.
United continually updates the MileagePlus program, offering its members new ways to earn and redeem miles as well as adding benefits. Some additions from the last 12 months include:


  • The launch of the new United MileagePlus Explorer Card, which offers an expanded two miles per dollar spent on hotel stays and restaurant purchases, in addition to two miles per dollar spent on purchases with United, travel benefits, and inflight discounts.

  • The introduction, with collaborator BP, of a program in the United States that lets customers earn and use airline miles at the pump for gasoline purchases.

  • Recent enhancements to the MileagePlusX app to enable more ways for members to earn and redeem miles daily while shopping or dining.

  • Continued expansion of MileagePlus Exclusives, allowing members to use miles on unique and memorable experiences with a VIP touch across a wide range of mileage levels.

  • Increased checked baggage allowance for Premier members.

  • A boarding process for all customers, allowing Premier 1K and Premier Gold members to board in an earlier group.

With accolades coming steadily to United, we see that points-based loyalty rewards program depend on constant updates for continued success. The collaboration with BP is particularly interesting. It finds a brand awarding points for purchases from another brand. That’s not the norm, but customers seem to like it.

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