United Airlines Awards Change: What It Means for Families

See recent posts by Amanda Geronikos

In February, Delta Airlines announced it would begin rewarding frequent fliers for dollars spent, rather than miles traveled. Now, United Airlines has adapted the same policy; MileagePlus members will earn 5 miles for every dollar spent.

The changes are a result of research that indicates frequent fliers — typically corporate travelers — don’t feel they’re adequately rewarded. That said, corporate travelers will benefit most from the change, though some families may luck out, too. Since many families fly during peak periods (summer months and winter holidays), when airfare is highest, they’ll reap more rewards. For example, a round-trip ticket from Seattle to Orlando might yield 1,735 ($347 X 5) rewards miles — that’s 8,765 for a family of five.

American Airlines, which merged with United Airlines last year, said it won’t change the structure of its individual loyalty program until both programs combine, though it’s likely to happen next year.

The United Airlines changes will go into effect on March 1, 2015.

–Amanda Geronikos

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