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United Airlines allows MileagePlus members to pool award miles with friends, family

United is the first major airline to have shared accounts with miles pooling.
United Airlines-Pilots
Posted at 10:33 PM, Mar 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-22 22:33:45-04

United Airlines is making it easier than ever for family members and friends of all ages to share and use miles for award travel.

The Chicago-based airline announced Thursday the debut of MileagePlus miles pooling, just in time for summer travel planning.

Whether it's relatives or friends, United now allows its MileagePlus members to access a new feature to contribute and combine miles into one joint account with up to five people on United.com.

"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," MileagePlus COO Luc Bondar said in a statement.

Bondar said the new pooling feature, a first among carrier competitors, "further reinforces United's position as the leader in family and group travel" and gives members "more flexibility to use their miles."

MileagePlus miles pooling is now available to all MileagePlus members by logging into their account on United.com.

Last fall, frequent flyers sounded off online after they were left discouraged by drastic changes to the Delta SkyMiles loyalty program -- including access to the Delta Sky Club lounges and how to earn award miles and status, a shift that Delta CEO Ed Bastian later walked back, suggesting more modifications after he said the airline "went too far."

How United miles pooling works

Choose a pool leader

Any MileagePlus member over 18 years old can become the pool leader and create a pool for free when logged in to their account on United.com.

Each pool can only have 5 people

The pool leader has the ability to invite up to four family members, friends, or close travel companions of any age to join the pool if they have an active MileagePlus account, which is free to join and has no minimum age.

No limit on contributing miles

There are no limits to the number of miles that any member can contribute to an active miles pool.

Booking with pooled miles

Pooled miles can be used when booking a ticket online at United.com or while using the United mobile app.

"For example, if a group of friends is planning an upcoming summer getaway and each friend has their own individual MileagePlus accounts with their respective number of miles, they can combine all, or a select amount of their personal miles into one central 'pool' that can be used to purchase flights and offset the cost of ticket prices," the airline explained in its announcement.

Pools do not impact member status

If an individual has Premier status with United, contributing to a MileagePlus miles pool will not affect that persons' status.

Who earns miles when flying on a pooled ticket?

"Only members who travel on a ticket using pooled miles will earn any eligible Premier qualifying points (PQP), not the member who contributed them," the airline clarified. "Members cannot pool PQP, Premier qualifying flights (PQF), PlusPoints, or TravelBank cash."