United adds a gift registry to the MileagePlus program

Want more miles: have others buy them for you! United Airlines hopes that customers will choose that path, adopting their new gift registry option.

The pricing is the same as buying miles – $35/1000 + 7.5% tax, with a minimum of 2,000 points per transaction – so there’s no real bargains to be had with the program. And someone who already has points can transfer them to a gift registry, too, again at the reasonably high prices that are typically charged. Still, it does present another option for accruing points, subject to some rather interesting quirks in the T&C.

I went through the registry setup process just to see how it plays out. I give them credit for a pretty slick (and actually functional) interface.



I particularly like getting to choose a custom URL for the registry address. I know that isn’t hard to do but it is still a nice touch.


I do find it a bit strange that the "Discard >" And "Submit >" buttons are the same color and adjacent to each other at the end, but that’s a pretty minor complaint in the scheme of things.


And then, you get redirected to the home page of your registry. There are tracking options for the registry, too.


They even offer an "insert" card (PDF) that you can print out to include in invitations and such:


As I mentioned above, the T&Cs of the program have some interesting quirks to them. There is a minimum number of miles required annually, for instance. It is not clear what happens if you receive gifts which total less than the 20,000 threshold, but that’s the number in the fine print.

The program also limits any one person to a maximum of 500,000 points received in a year. Again, no idea why they really want to set such a limit considering the mark-up they’re selling the points at, but the limit is there. Even more strange, however, is how they are suggesting they can enforce that rule:

Any miles purchased or transferred in excess of this amount will not be posted, regardless of whether payment has been received for such miles and MileagePlus has no obligation to reimburse for those amounts.

So it is conceivable that someone could not read the fine print, set up registry accounts for more than 500,000 points, have others buy that for them and still not get all the points. Huh?? At least the system prevents any one registry from being bigger than the 500,000 size. But an individual can have up to 4 registries.

I also played around with the registry search feature a bit and couldn’t make it find the one I just created. I’m not real sure why, but that is probably something that should be fixed. It also would be nice if they didn’t require the ZIP of the registry owner in the search; that’s just strange to me.

Overall, this isn’t something that I see tremendous value in. I think that the price point is a bit out of whack and that’s a major detraction. Still, the UI is pretty nice and the concept is sound. I’m guessing they’ll get a decent amount of use out of it. More if they fix the search function.

Never miss another post: Sign up for email alerts and get only the content you want direct to your inbox.

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, and LinkedIn.

One Comment

Comments are closed.