Mileage Plus is the frequent flyer program from United. Awards are classified as either Saver or Standard. As you might surmise, Saver Awards require less miles to obtain, but come with blackout dates and capacity control restrictions, whereas Standard Awards do not. Note that United is a member of the Star Alliance (a partnership of more than 20 airlines aimed at extending their collective global footprint).
Key Assumptions for Calculating the Value of United Mileage Plus miles
GetDebit needs to make some assumptions in order to estimate the value of the United Mileage Plus program:
- GetDebit needs market prices for various flight destinations to properly value Mileage Plus miles. As such, we rely on our Detailed Analysis of Flight Costs.
- United offers both Saver and Standard Awards. United Saver awards are limited in quantity and generally much more difficult to find. Since Standard Awards are generally twice as expensive in terms of miles required, GetDebit assumes that all redemptions are in the form of United Saver Awards. This means to get the valuations we estimate below, you’ll need to book well in advance. You can view the United Awards Chart for more detailed information (effective June 15, 2011).
- GetDebit assumes travel is allocated 25% to domestic (within US) and 75% to Asia, given Asia represents the best redemption values. We exclude travel to the EU due to its slightly lower valuations, though frankly the differences are relatively minor.
- GetDebit has applied a 5% non-cash penalty to the value of United Mileage Plus miles. See our Frequent Flyer Mileage Valuation Comparison, for a good side-by-side view.