File under good news for frequent flyers: Another carrier has announced that its award miles will no longer expire, offering loyal passengers the opportunity to rack up the points and reap the rewards on a long-term basis.
Last week, United Airlines revealed that, effective immediately, its MileagePlus frequent flyer points would last indefinitely, joining JetBlue and Delta in alleviating that use-it-or-lose-it pressure from its customers’ shoulders. Of the big American airlines, these are the only three to provide that perk: Alaska miles don’t expire if you’ve either booked a reward flight or accrued new mileage within the past two years, and Southwest’s points operate within the same time-frame, as long as you have a flight- or partner-earning activity on the books. American Airlines gives you 18 months to earn or redeem miles, either on American or with one of its partners.
This benefit is one in a line of recent efforts by United to improve its onboard experience. In July, news broke that the airline was working toward free Wi-Fi for passengers, and last month, it announced a partnership with biometrics company CLEAR to offer free or discounted memberships to US-based MileagePlus members.
"We want to demonstrate to our members that we are committing to them for the long-haul," Luc Bondar, vice president of loyalty and president of MileagePlus at United, said in a press release. “More customers used miles to book award trips in 2018 than in any year before, and we expect with today's announcement that even more will use miles to travel the world in the years to come."
Though this announcement was indeed a bit of good news, it follows on the heels of a not-so-popular decision by United to restructure its requirements for rewards travel. For flights on or after 15 November, the airline is discontinuing its award chart—which details just how many miles you’d need to redeem for each flight—and introducing pricing that fluctuates based on demand, among other factors. So even though you can now hang onto your miles as long as you want, they might not go as far as they did previously, depending on when you’re traveling and where you’re going.
For more on the MileagePlus program, visit united.com.