4 Little-Known Perks of United's Frequent Flyer Program

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  • MileagePlus members can take advantage of the Excursionist Perk and receive a free one-way reward flight.
  • Members can also get free Silver Premier status with United by having an elite status with Marriott and also earn free miles for dining out and shopping at their favorite stores.

Take advantage of United’s MileagePlus program to earn free rewards.

United Airlines is the second-largest airline by fleet size. United Airlines' frequent flyer program is called MileagePlus, and is free to join and members receive rewards when they fly. There are four levels of elite status members can reach; Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, and Premier 1K. In addition to the typical benefits such as free checked bags, flight upgrades, and easy award redemptions, here are 4 little-known perks of United’s Frequent Flyer Program.

1. Excursionist Perk

The Excursionist Perk is a free one-way award you can add to a round-trip award flight. You will need to book a multi-city flight using your miles in order to qualify. Essentially, you are able to book three one-way tickets for the price of two.

There are other rules and restrictions to get the free flight. The Excursionist Perk leg of your itinerary must be outside of the region from where your travel originates. For example, if your journey begins in North America, you will only receive the Excursionist Perk if travel is within a region outside of North America. But the free leg can’t be to fly overseas and travel must also end in the same region where travel originated from. Lastly, the free leg will either be the same or a lower cabin class from the flights you booked.

Here is an example of how the Excursionist Perk works. Your itinerary is to go from Chicago to London, London to Paris, and then Paris back to Chicago. In this case, the free one-way award you receive will be from London to Paris. All the requirements were met since there are at least three one-way awards, the itinerary starts and ends in the same region (continental U.S.), the Excursionist Perk leg isn’t overseas and for travel in one region (Europe), and that region isn’t the region where the trip started or ended from. All of this may sound complicated, but if you are able to plan your trip right, you can potentially gain one free flight for every two flights paid for by rewards.

2. Earn complimentary Premier Silver Status with United MileagePlus

You can receive United MileagePlus’ Premier Silver status by being an elite member with Marriott. RewardsPlus is a partnership between Marriott and United Airlines. Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite members automatically receive Premier Silver status with United MileagePlus without stepping foot on a plane.

In addition, United MileagePlus Gold members and above automatically receive Gold Elite status with Marriott. Gold Elite status members receive complimentary enhanced Wi-Fi, a Gold welcome gift, late checkout, enhanced room upgrades, and other benefits at over 6,700 hotels worldwide.

Through the partnership, you can convert up to 100,000 award miles into Marriott Bonvoy points every year. Even better, you can convert 3 Marriott points per 1 United airline mile. By taking advantage of the RewardsPlus partnership, you can maximize your membership benefits and gain more points.

3. Earn free miles by eating at your favorite restaurants

The MileagePlus Dining program allows you to earn free miles by dining in or ordering online at over 10,000 MileagePlus Dining sites. Members can link multiple debit and credit cards to their account. By paying with a linked card at participating restaurants, bars, and clubs, members will earn free miles for every dollar spent.

Membership is free, and VIP members earn 5 miles per $1 spent. To become a VIP member, all you need to do is elect to receive email communications from MileagePlus Dining and have completed 11 qualified transactions per year. Members can currently earn 3,000 bonus miles for their first dine.

4. Earn free miles by shopping at your favorite stores

Members can earn free miles by shopping online at over 1,100 stores, such as Apple, CVS, The Home Depot, and Macy’s. It is easy to earn miles on your online everyday shopping. Members shop through MileagePlus portal or the MileagePlus X app. After shopping, click on the store of your choice, then you will be taken to its site. You checkout as you normally would and you will automatically earn miles into your MileagePlus account. Often, stores will run promotions so you can earn even more miles.

Before making any purchases, check with other shopping apps and sites to see you are getting the best deal. After comparing you can determine if you would rather have the miles or other benefits such as cash back. Combining the purchase by using a credit card rewards can result in potentially even more benefits.

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