United Airlines Introduced Mileage Pooling Option
Family flying in a United airplane

United Airlines Introduced Mileage Pooling Option

United Airlines has launched a new feature that could help friends and families maximize their miles.

About the new feature:

This week, United unveiled a new miles pooling option. Now, MileagePlus members can invite other members to contribute miles to a joint account. Each pool can have up to five members (one leader and four others).

While pool leaders must be 18 years old or older, other participants can be of any age. As a result, adults can now have their children earn miles when they fly and then pool those earned miles for redemption. This is a strategy United is endorsing, noting that 81% of parents plan on traveling with their children in the next year and that nearly 60% say they’re concerned about travel affordability.

One restriction is that pooled miles can only be redeemed for award flights on United or United Express flights (not on partner airlines). There are no limits on the number of miles that can be contributed to a pool.

Keep in mind that, while earned MileagePlus miles can be pooled for redemption, Premier qualifying points, Premier qualifying flights, PlusPoints, and TravelBank cash cannot. Additionally, contributing miles will not impact Premier status.

What they’re saying:

Announcing the new feature, United’s COO of MileagePlus Luc Bondar said, “We’re always looking for new ways to provide the most value to all of our loyalty members and are proud to be the first major U.S. airline to allow our members to pool their miles with their loved ones and friends.” Bondar added, “MileagePlus miles pooling further reinforces United’s position as the leader in family and group travel and gives our members more flexibility to use their miles while making it easier to connect to the destinations and moments that matter most, with the people that matter most.” 

My thoughts:

Overall, this sounds like a great new feature — especially for families. While the idea of pooling miles with travel buddies sounds novel, it also seems less practical to me, whereas the ability to cash in on miles your child has earned strikes me as a major benefit.

That said, I do need to point out that, while United may be the first “major” U.S. carrier to add such a feature, JetBlue does offer a similar program. In their case, pool leaders must be at least 21 and there can be up to seven total people in a group.

Regardless of whether United was truly first to this concept, I think it’s a good addition to their loyalty program — and will perhaps inspire other major carriers to follow suit.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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