Reading the tea leaves for MileagePlus partner earning rates


With just a week to go before the new MileagePlus program launches for United Airlines and the OnePas program of merger partner Continental officially disappears, there are still a number of unanswered questions about the new program. Earning rates for flying on partner airlines is among the major points still unknown. In the past couple weeks a test website for the newly merged web presence of the company has been available (http://pss.united.com) and even more recently some details regarding earning rates for partners has shown up on that site. I am hesitant to consider this data completely authoritative for many reasons, among them that the carrier has explicitly stated that the site is not official, but there is enough information there that I figured giving it a first pass was worthwhile.

Each of the programs had about 500-600 rules for earning on Star Alliance partners; the new program is no different in that regard. Of those, somewhere between 20-40% seem to have at least one aspect of the earning rates changing as part of the new program. That’s a lot of new information to process.

In most cases the changes reflect the company choosing the rates from one of the two programs which is being retired; there are, however, a few instance where the numbers are completely new. And, since many people like to wonder if the program is trending more towards the legacy United or Continental way of business, my rough count suggest that in those cases where the two were different and one of the legacy rates was chosen, Continental "won" at a 2:1 clip.

So, what are the changes of note? Here are a few, broken down by partner:

Aegean

  • Four economy fare buckets – P, T, U & V – no longer earn at all. This is in line with the legacy United rates and worse than the legacy Continental rates.
  • Two economy fare buckets – Y & B – will earn fewer EQMs per trip. The are now at 100%, the legacy United rate, versus the 150% rate that Continental offered.
  • Four premium cabin fare buckets – A,C, D & Z – will now earn 125% EQMs per trip. This is a downgrade from the legacy Continental rate (150%) and an upgrade from the legacy United rate (100%).

Air China

  • Eight full fare or premium cabin buckets – A, B, C, D, F, J, Y & Z – will earn 100% EQMs, matching the rates in the legacy United program. This is a downgrade from the OnePass program (150%).

Asiana

  • Most full fare and premium cabin classes will see EQM earning set at 150%, matching the OnePass program and an increase from the United program.
  • Two discount economy fares – G & T – will see earnings at 70%. This is an increase from both the OnePass program (50%) and the Mileage Plus program (0%).

Austrian

  • Most full fare and premium cabin classes will see EQM earning set at 150%, matching the OnePass program and an increase from the United program (100%).
  • Deep-discount economy fares – S & W – will earn only for flights within Europe, at the rate of 100%. This is a downgrade from the Mileage Plus program and an upgrade from the OnePass program.

    bmi

    • Two economy fare buckets – L & U – no longer earn at all. This is in line with the legacy United rates and worse than the legacy Continental rates.
    • Three full fare economy and premium cabin buckets – I, S & Y – will earn 100% award miles and 150% elite miles. This is in line with the legacy Continental rates and an upgrade from the legacy United rates (100%/100%).
    • Six premium cabin buckets – A, C, D, J, P & Z – will earn 125% award miles and 150% EQMs, matching the rates in the legacy Continental program. The EQM earning rate is an upgrade from the 100% earnt in the legacy United program.
    • All fares earn 500 mile minimums, matching the OnePass charts and an upgrade from the United charts.

    Blue1

    • Eight full fare or premium cabin buckets – A, B, C, D, J, S, Y & Z – will earn 150% EQMs, matching the rates in the legacy Continental program. This is an upgrade from the legacy United program (100%).
    • One discount economy fare bucket – O – will earn at 25% RDMs/EQMs. This matches the legacy OnePass rate and is an upgrade from the legacy United rate (0%/0%).

    EgyptAir

    • Most full fare and premium cabin classes will see EQM earning set at 150%, matching the OnePass program and an increase from the United program.
    • Seven deep-discount economy fare buckets – G, L, S, T, U, V & W – will earn no credit, matching the legacy United program; this is a downgrade from the 25-50% rates they earnt in the OnePass program.
    • Two economy fares – Q & K – will earn at 100%, matching the legacy Mileage Plus program and upgrading from the 75% rate in the OnePass program.

    Ethiopian

    • Three premium cabin fares – C, D & J – are upgrading from 100% to 150% EQMs. This is an upgrade from both legacy programs (100%).

    Lufthansa

    • Most premium cabin fares see an upgrade to the award miles earning rates, in line with the previously discussed earning rates for United flights. These rates are much higher in most cases than the legacy United or Continental rates.
    • For discounted economy fares – L & T – the rates will match those of the legacy United program, earning 100% on intercontinental flights and on intra-Europe flights which connect to intercontinental flights. The OnePass program offered 50% credit on all flights in those fare buckets.

    Swiss

    • Similar to Lufthansa, most premium cabin fares will earn at much higher award miles rates. In addition, the EQM earning rates for those fares will be increased to 150%, matching the legacy Continental rates and improving from the 100% that United used to offer.
    • Three discount economy fares – K, L &T – disappear from the earning charts completely, a downgrade from both legacy programs.

    US Airways

    • No more 500 mile minimums for flights, a downgrade from the OnePass program and matching the United program.
    • Only 100% EQMs on Y and B fares, a downgrade from the United program and matching the OnePass rates.

    Croatia AIrlines, Singapore, Thai & TAP

    • Most full fare and premium cabin classes will see EQM earning set at 150%, matching the OnePass program and an increase from the United program.

    For Air Canada and TAM the earning rates are not yet loaded on the site, and the TAM page shows some data from bmi and some from TAM. For Copa it does not show an elite earning bonus, though that is unlikely to actually be the case.

    The only chart that appears to remain the same across the board is that of partner Turkish Airlines.

    Non-alliance partner EVA will see a much broader partnership, with many more fare buckets available for earning. The rest of the non-alliance partners look to be pretty much the same, though I didn’t give those charts as thorough a review.

    Again, please remember that the analysis here is from unofficial data and should not be considered necessarily accurate, though it is accurate from what was on the website when I looked at it today.

    And, should these rates end up being accurate, it would appear that this is a case where the company being somewhat one-sided in where they favor a legacy program will work out well for customers. In nearly all the cases that the legacy OnePass rates were picked it was an upgrade for the Mileage Plus rates. The same cannot be said for the cases where the legacy Mileage Plus rates prevailed.

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    Seth Miller

    I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

    7 Comments

    1. Doing a simple +1/-1 for each bullet point that might result in a positive change for PMUA or PMCO flyers, PMUA flyers should see a net positive change and PMCO flyers should see a slight negative change as a result of these potential changes.

      1. I think it is tilted a bit more towards a strong positive for legacy UA folks and only slightly negative for legacy CO folks. Not enough major negative changes to be upset by for me so I’ll take it.

    2. Plus there’s a new 500-mile minimum for some airlines, such as Thai.

      Overall, the changes pretty significantly help me.

    Comments are closed.

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