United miles no longer expire

This might come as a surprise, but any small positive news these days is a winner in the world of loyalty programmes. United’s Mileage Plus programme, which is offered to all United/Star Alliance customers, last evening announced that they will no longer expire miles of their members, effective immediately.

The earlier policy for the airline was to have miles expire in 18 months if there was no activity in the account. Delta, which is one of their contemporaries in the USA, already had this policy for many years now. This leaves American Airlines AAdvantage as the only legacy US carrier to now expire miles every 18 months when no activity happens in the account.

Unused miles are liability on the book of an airline/mileage programme. So, with this move, United is actually signing up to keep the liability on their books going forward, rather than expiring it. But unfortunately, come November 15, 2019, there will also be another change at United Mileage Plus which is not so good. United will stop publishing award charts, and MileagePlus redemption rates on United will be dynamic, and there will no longer be a minimum or maximum price for awards. I am yet to see the impact of that move, however.

Bottomline

United has made a move where they are trying to be a more catch-all programme, taking away the focus from the needs of their most frequent flyers who would have liked the consistency of a fixed award chart, to moves such as non-expiring miles, which are going to help everyone earn for the long run.

What do you make of the new moves by United?

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