I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the United Airlines MileagePlus program.
As someone who was born and raised in Chicago I could often be found traveling out of O’Hare on the Chicago based company, United Airlines. I’ve had a MileagePlus since I was five. My very first First Class flight was on United Airlines. Some years later, my wife and I took our first free flights as Mr. and Mrs. on our honeymoon to Maui using MileagePlus Miles.
Therefore, it didn’t surprise me one bit when Global Traveler magazine voted United’s MileagePlus loyalty program the Best Overall Frequent-Flyer Program in the world for the 15 consecutive year! Global Traveler is a publication written for mostly frequent business and luxury travelers. As United keeps improving services for business travels this award makes sense.
In the last 12 months United has been offering members new ways to earn and redeem miles as well as increased benefits which include:
- The launch of the new United MileagePlus Explorer Card, which now offers an expanded 2 miles per $1 spent on hotel stays and restaurant purchases in addition to 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases with United, travel benefits and inflight discounts.
- The introduction, with BP, of the only program in the U.S. that lets customers earn and use U.S. airline miles at the pump for gasoline purchases.
- Recent enhancements to the MileagePlusX app to enable more ways for members to earn and redeem miles every day while shopping or dining.
- Continued expansion of MileagePlus Exclusives, allowing members to use miles on unique and memorable experiences with a VIP touch across a wide range of mileage levels.
- Increased checked baggage allowance for Premier members.
- A new boarding process for all customers, allowing Premier 1K and Premier Gold members to board in an earlier group.
Global Traveler named MileagePlus Best Frequent Flyer Bonus Program for the sixth consecutive year. The United MileagePlus Club Card from Chase was named the Best Credit card card for the 7th consecutive year along. MileagePlus also won Global Traveler’s award for Best Credit Card Rewards Program, also for the 7th consecutive year.
Why Global Traveler Got it Right
In a perfect world, United Airlines would still be one of my go to airlines, but moving away from their main hub means I’ve shifted some of my travel elsewhere. A large part of that is due to the fact that I can fly my son for free on Southwest on every flight. However, the reason I believe that Global Traveler got it right is because the United MileagePlus program excels above all else in their ability to offer award fares to a variety of destinations.
United Airlines has the largest partner alliance – the venerable Star Alliance – which makes it exceptionally easy to book long distance travel using award seats. They also makes it easy to search for those seats on their website. I also love that United has retained some form of a stopover, in the form of the excursionist perk, unlike the other U.S. carriers.
- Not sure how to book those stopovers or open jaw? Let Juicy Miles take care of that for you.
Another reason is that United Airlines has partnered with Chase to offer the United MileagePlus Explorer Card which has strong benefits. The sign up bonus gives a free one way business class ticket to Europe with some change left over. For those that don’t mind flying economy the signup bonus will get you over the pond and back. They also don’t add in those pesky fuel surcharges that other award programs add on.
As United Airlines and Chase are partners, it is incredibly easy to top up a MileagePlus account with Ultimate Rewards points from Chase’s suite of transferrable point cards.
- Chase’s Ink Business Preferred (80,000 points)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (50,000 points)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (50,000 points)
Unlike Amex and Delta, Chase doesn’t charge a penny to transfer points to United MileagePlus.
Every year since 2004, United has been recognized by Global Traveler as Best Overall Frequent Flyer Program in the World. The ease in which you can earn and use MileagePlus award tickets puts United Airlines MileagePlus at the top of my list as well. Plus those memories of stepping onto the Premiere 1k red carpets just before boarding a United Airlines plane with my family will never go away no matter how many flights I take.