United copies American Airlines’ effort to pseudo-copy United and Delta

Full fare passengers can now earn big bonus points on United flights, similar to the program American Airlines introduced at the beginning of the year. More than similar, really; the earning rates are identical:


The main difference is that United’s promo ends on 28 February 2015 while American’s runs through the end of the year. Why? Because on 1 March 2015 United switches to a revenue-based earning scheme which should see most passengers flying on the premium fares rewarded quite handsomely without the need for the bonus points. So, yes, United is copying American here but only insomuch as American tried to “copy” the earn rates United or Delta passengers will earn on premium fares without switching to such a program outright (yet).

One other interesting bit to note on this promo is that it covers all flights operated by United Airlines and also flights sold as UA flight numbers but operated by joint venture partners Air Canada, All Nippon Airways, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Lufthansa or Swiss International Airlines. This is a HUGE change from tradition with MileagePlus promos by including partner-operated flights. And that’s mostly good news for passengers.

Doesn’t do much for me on my cheap tickets, but I know a few people who should benefit nicely from this deal.

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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, and LinkedIn.


  1. The reason they’re doing this is because of drop in the premium pax paid loads.

    What do you know…reward programs that attract actual high paying customers might just work.

    1. They’re doing it to fill the gap between now and March 1. Once March 1st comes around the program will be on par with DL and likely ahead of AA in terms of rewarding premium fares. And far more rewarding than the mileage-based version of the program.

      As for the claim that there is a drop in premium pax loads, where are you getting that data??

  2. Where is Billy getting the data? If UA’s premium pax loads were strong, would they be offering bonus miles?

  3. Very weak management from United. What do they think we are lemmings. I make a decision and then that’s it for a year or so. Being able to earn a couple extra thousand redeemable miles for a few trips won’t sway me one way or the other.

      1. I guess there are those who fly last minute fares week in week out and can a maintain status across multiple programs. Since I usually max out at just above100k a year I prefer to get/maintain and then enjoy the status on one airline, I don’t typically change mid cycle regardless of promos etc. Not saying I won’t fly the other airlines if I have to, but I maintain just one primary program. I guess it’s the beginning of the year and they perhaps fear they will loose a few high rev flyers to Delta, either way it’s reactive as usual from United.

        1. There are also others who may not fly enough to make top tier so they choose to go for two mid-tiers. Or who have lifetime status on multiple airlines. Or who have different needs for non-stop flights at various times and where this sort of thing can skew booking patterns.

          Yes, it is a response to the competitive landscape. Every airline takes such actions from time to time. Remember that this is very much a response to AA’s “reactive” move regarding revenue-based earning at DL & UA.

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