United Airlines changing frequent-flier program to focus more on ticket price

By Kyle Johnson,

Starting in 2015, United Airlines' frequent-flier program will be changed to focus more on flyers who travel a lot and spend more on tickets, providing more benefits to corporate travelers.

On March 1, 2015, the MileagePlus elite members who fly a minimum of 25,000 miles will earn 7 to 11 miles per dollar spent on tickets, depending on their status level in the program. Those who are simply members will earn only five miles, lowering the worth of occasional long-distance budget flights.

MileagePlus members can potentially earn up to 75,000 miles per ticket.

United also said that when the change kicks in next year, miles can also be put towards single-flight tickets with seats in United Economy Plus, which features more legroom, as well as subscriptions towards checked baggage.

United senior vp of marketing and loyalty and president of MileagePlus, Thomas F. O'Toole, said, "These changes are designed to more directly recognize the value of our members when they fly United."

O'Toole continued, "We are also pleased to give our members new redemption options that expand the usefulness of their MileagePlus miles."

United added that the old system will still be in place for flights that are not a MileagePlus partner and qualifying for higher status levels in the program will also remain the same.

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