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WebFlyer Home > News & Advice > NotiFlyer

NotiFlyer :: Late-Breaking News
Late-Breaking Program News Mileage Plus Intoduces ?Choices?
(Posted: May 1, 2006)

United and Chase have introduced United Mileage Plus Choices. Only Mileage Plus Visa cardmembers will earn Choices -- a new form of currency from United with enhanced redemption opportunities.
Members can use Choices for five new awards, including: any open seat on any available flight booked on united.com with no capacity restrictions or blackout dates; any hotel stay or car rental booked on united.com; Economy Plus Access; or Elite Qualifying Miles/Segments.
Members may also use Choices for traditional awards.
"United's new Choices are the most significant innovation in frequent flyer benefits I've seen since 1988," said Randy Petersen, editor and publisher of Inside Flyer magazine. "This impressive array of redemption options brings a new level of transparency and value to today's frequent flyer."
Cardmembers can simply purchase their ticket on united.com with their Mileage Plus Visa card and then redeem Choices at http://united.com/chase for a credit that will be applied to their Mileage Plus Visa statement.
Unlike Saver or Standard Awards that have set redemption amounts, the amount of Choices cardmembers redeem is based on the price of the ticket.
For example, cardmembers can purchase a $129 ticket from united.com using their Mileage Plus Visa card and redeem 12,900 Choices for a $129 Visa statement credit. Cardmembers can also redeem Choices for less than the full amount of the ticket with a minimum of 10,000 Choices.
To learn more about Choices and for complete terms and conditions, visit http://united.com/chase.

Previous comments:

Don Beck
posted: May 7, 2006 at 2:08pm (MT)

You sound like an advertisement for United. I just got off the phone with them. 4 months ago I flew to Europe R/T in business class for 80,000 miles per member of my family. With their new choices program they want 375,000 per family member. This is the biggest shaft I've seen and trust me my loyalty to that airline just went out the door. You need to read the fine print and report this story acurately. It looks like you do a copy and paste from United.com.

Denver, CO

Scott Jones
posted: May 8, 2006 at 10:15pm (MT)

Um, Don, with all due respect, it is you who doesn't seem to understand the implications of this program. At the risk of inducing further wrath, I reproduce, below, the relevant portion of the United FAQ.

Should I redeem Redeemable Miles or Choices for a flight?

It depends on the price of the ticket, your Redeemable Miles and Choices balances, and Saver and Standard Award availability. Using Choices allows you greater flexibility in selecting award travel.

Use Choices when:

* The price of the ticket makes it more attractive to use Choices than Redeemable Miles
* Saver Awards are not available
* Standard Awards are not available
* You want to earn Redeemable Miles for your award flights, earn Elite Qualifying Miles/Elite Qualifying Segments or try to upgrade your ticket

Use Redeemable Miles when:

* A Saver Award is available and the price of the ticket on united.com requires more Choices than the Redeemable Miles you would redeem for a Saver Award.
* A Standard Award is available and the price of the ticket on united.com requires more Choices than the Redeemable Miles you would redeem for a Standard Award.
* If you want to save your Choices for other redemption activities, such as hotel and car redemptions

You are totally correct that paying 375k Choices makes no sense compared to 80k miles. But you can still get the 80k mile ticket, and United readily admits that people in your position would usually want to go the miles route instead. But I can see a number of ways this new program would be great for those who are willing to fly economy class, especially on domestic routes.

posted: May 12, 2006 at 6:48pm (MT)

Sorry, but I have to agree with Don from Denver. I just had a similar bad experience around a family trip to Hawaii. As a 10 year 1k vet, I can attest that United's rewards program is at its worst - eliminating saver and even standard seats in favor of these high priced "Choices"

Santa Barbara

posted: May 13, 2006 at 12:09am (MT)

Scott - I think you would be right, if it was just as easy to get your ticket with miles. But as most mileage plus members are finding out, there is never anything available when you try to reserve a seat using miles!! My suspicion is that United will reduce the number of available seats reserved for mileage plus awards in order to boost the choices program. Its only a good option when it is actually an option, not the only alternative.

A further gripe I have with them is that I have found I cannot find an available seat for a saver or standard award when I attempt to book online, but when I call, the reservations agent can often find something. Coincidentally, booking my award travel over the phone costs $15. Hmmmm.
Portland, OR

Derek Kerton
posted: May 16, 2006 at 6:02pm (MT)

"Choices" is the biggest scam I've seen from United or Chase. Here's my beefs:

1) In May 06, they send me email and mailers telling me about the Choices program, and a change in the Terms of my credit card. This is the first I've heard of it. However, they changed the credit card from miles to Choices in January. Why did they wait five months.

2) Choices aren't worth as much as miles. A typical domestic ticket costs $500. That would normally be about 25,000 miles, for which you would have to spend $25,000 on your Chase credit card. Now that $500 ticket will cost you 50000 Choice, and you have to spend $50,000 on your credit card to earn it. Sound like an improvement?

3) Splitting loyalty programs into two, miles and Choices, decreases the value of each. There will be more unused miles, and more complexity to redeeming awards.

4) They push "5 different ways to redeem points". Give me a break. You could do all those things with miles. I particularly like the last option, buying Elite Qualifying Miles. 50,000 Choices will get you 5,000 EQMs. That's a lousy deal! You could buy a $500 ticket for 50,000 Choices, and fly cross-country (or Paris on a cheap flight) and earn up to 12,000 miles the old-fashioned way. Basically, the option they offer (5k EQM for 50k Choices) is the cost of a flight, without the flight. Great deal!

5) I used miles for flexibility. If a domestic flight was $900, I'd use miles instead of cash to buy the ticket. If a flight was cheaper, I'd use cash. Sure, now I can use Choices instead of cash, but in reality I'll have fewer miles available to use to avoid the overpriced tickets.

Randy Petersen from Inside Flyer and Don Beck don't sound like they've thought this through. Either they are in bed with the industry, or they are misgiven in their analysis.

David Chandler
posted: May 16, 2006 at 8:34pm (MT)

I am 1k with United and have a Mileage Plus Visa. I didn't know they changed the terms of agreement for the card to push this new "Choices" program. Generally speaking I am always skeptical when an airline changes anything. It almost always means the consumer loses. This Choices thing is going to finally push me to find a new airline for my business and pleasure travel. I am lucky to fly out of LA (well lucky in this regard) with my choice of airlines. United can't keep restricting the already limited benefits of being a frequent flier and expect people to stay. I do have "Choices"!!!

Rod Bachelor
posted: May 17, 2006 at 2:51pm (MT)

I have to agree with Derek. It took a while to understand from United's literature that "choices" are the *only* thing you'll earn from the Mileage Plus Visa. When you work it out though, the advantages of a MP Visa just went out the window.

Choices are basically 1% cashback that you can only use for airfare, hotels or cars booked on United. You're better off getting a card that pays 2% cashback (or 3% if you can find one) and just buying a ticket.

I've had a MP Visa for 10 years now but I think the time has come to look around again. Bye Bye United!

posted: May 18, 2006 at 11:29pm (MT)


Yes, the choices program sucks. But you''re still earning miles using your visa.

Yes, there are very few saver tickets. But that''s always been the case.

I was able to get a saver award to asia one WEEK before my flight. It''s possible...just be flexible.

Read hte frickin'' faq before you get all huffy puffy people!

Stu Chicago
posted: May 20, 2006 at 7:16pm (MT)

This whole united thing is a scam and I have to agree with the poeple against it. The bottom line is the Choice program requires you to use in all reality 10x's the normal miles if you fly international. Who in thier right mind would use the new choice program designed to benefit only United? Think about this....
Full fare coach international ticket $1,600.00 cost you 160,000 choices/miles. (you use to get a first class and business class ticke for that same amount, now you get a coach ticket refund)
If you buy a busines class ticket to Europe it cost about $6,000.00 or 600,000 choice/miles
if you buy a first class ticket to Europe it cost about $14,000.00 or 1,400,000 choice mile
You could normaly get 10 first class ticket for same 1.4 Million miles if you could get it and fly when they want you to and rout you thru 5 cites. United Mileage Plus program is simply a disaster for the consumer. When will the industry professionals do the math and wake up? They say a $500.00 ticke cost 50,000 miles
You could normaly fly the U.S. to europe for 100,000 miles and their auctions are a scam as well, I hear you bid the miles, they take the miles and cant deliver the goods. I know of one person who bid about 700,000 for a Italy by Vespa trip and United took his miles and wont respond to him and give him the trip. United is a disaster to deal with. The business prevention department is open in full swing and the best frequent flier program today is Frontier they won the Freddie award. They answer the phone now saying how can we not help you? Just listen to the tone of anyone you talk to... no empathy for a consumer in any way. The must use mind control to train their people who else would work for a place that manipulates the rules to benefit only them. I hope all of the major news stations and papers pick up the comments from the former fliers and spenders... I have quit using my mileage plus credit card... They may have just won a battle and will loose the war.

posted: May 21, 2006 at 2:07am (MT)

I simply do not understand this choices program and when I called UA the Indian guy at the other end just read information (poorly) from a card that was already on the Choices website'

In a nutshell can someone tell me:
1. I have bought 2 UA tickets using my choices visa card - if I post these transactions on the UAL/choices website what happens - do I get more miles or miles that I can use for no-blackout days?
2. Everytime I go on the mileage plus site to book saver award travel there are no free dates available - how then can I use my "choices" miles to get the dates I need (at the saver level).

posted: May 21, 2006 at 2:43am (MT)

I simply do not understand this choices program and when I called UA the Indian guy at the other end just read information (poorly) from a card that was already on the Choices website'

In a nutshell can someone tell me:
1. I have bought 2 UA tickets using my choices visa card - if I post these transactions on the UAL/choices website what happens - do I get more miles or miles that I can use for no-blackout days?
2. Everytime I go on the mileage plus site to book saver award travel there are no free dates available - how then can I use my "choices" miles to get the dates I need (at the saver level).

posted: May 21, 2006 at 6:00am (MT)

This is obviously a move that benefits United who was facing a flood of miles in their program from the credit card use. Now they converted the credit card to a 1% reward program with restricted use, which is obviously going to curb the costs somewhat. As always the consumer gets the loosing end of the stick. There are better cards out there that give you more cash back for a smaller annual fee.

Burlingame Flyer
posted: May 21, 2006 at 11:07pm (MT)

Let's try and make this simple. Am I still earning miles that will post to the United Mileage Plus program that I can redeem for traditional rewards, or not? Don in the original posting seemed to say you had a choice between Choices and Mileage Plus. Stated a different way, can I still earn traditional Mileage Plus miles on my Chase card? That's what I really want to know.

Burlingame Flyer
posted: May 21, 2006 at 11:09pm (MT)

Sorry, I thought of another question. I converted to a platinum card and was promised a companion ticket every other year. Is that affected?

Why would I stick with this card for $100+ per year?

Hometown Scammed
posted: May 26, 2006 at 2:30pm (MT)

Agree with all who concluded that this is:
1) a bad deal for the consumer
2) a boondoggle for united and chase
3) now merely equivalent to a 1% cash back card
4) a scam because it is retroactive to jan 1 (5 months prior to notification)

I also have ceased using my united plus card and am searching for a new bank and airline to get my business.

David Lerner
posted: May 28, 2006 at 3:50pm (MT)

From reading the Choices FAQ, it appears that Choices is merely an additional redemption option for points earned through the credit card. You don't earn Choices & Miles, you earn Choices which also count as miles. When you use Choices, your miles drop. When you use miles, your Choices don't drop, unless the only miles you have are Choices. Confusing, yes. But do read the FAQ.

So, it appears to simply be another way to redeem the miles you earn through the credit card, they do NOT appear to have taken anything away at this point, you can still redeem those miles the old fashioned way if that works better for you.

posted: Jun 13, 2006 at 1:18pm (MT)

The second person to post, Scott Jones, has it correct. Simply put, nothing has been taken away from the previous program. All that was ADDED (not changed, but added) was an additional option. It is true there are next to no times where someone would use Choices but I can think of a couple:
1. I live in D.C. and often times I find tickets to California for $275. This would cost me 27,500 Choices OR 25,000 miles. With Choices the miles I fly are still accrued, therefore I recieve approximately 4500 redeemable flight miles that also go towards Elite Status. So if I chose Choices, it would be a net of 23,500 Choices, less than the number of miles. In addition, I would be closer to elite status.
2. The only other time I could see this work is when there are absolutely no available flights with saver or standard awards.

Granted, there are few times where Choices will be used, but as I said earlier nothing is taken away.
As far as availability of saver awards......3 weeks ago, during high travel season, I booked a flight to LA using a saver award less than 24 hours before I left. The flight was Thurs-Sun (popular flight days). So it is possible and you do have to at times be flexible. Maybe you ahve to drive an extra hour to that airport but it saves you a few hundred $'s.
For those ranting about changing to another airline or credit card, I just say this:
I am a member of AA Advantage and Delta Sky Miles as well. If you think they are going to be any better you are sadly mistaken. In fact, many of these have both higher interest rates and yearly fees. I am not suggesting United is the best and only one to look at. i think it is important to be diversified so you have options. United, in my experience, is among the best however.

posted: Jun 13, 2006 at 1:19pm (MT)

typo above - the net would be 23,000 miles which saves 2,000 over miles

posted: Jun 13, 2006 at 10:35pm (MT)

Wow, I didnt know so many people would get so exited about a credit card! This Choices doesnt seem that bad...you dont have to use Choices if you dont want to (hence, CHOICES, get it?)...if you can get a saver/standard award ticket for a better value, then get it.

The Choices amount is based solely on the price of the ticket, right? So just buy the ticket, earn your miles and EQMs like normal (I like that over a redeemed award ticket, and then you're good to go.

I tried it recently; My wife didnt have enough Choices for a $400 flight, but we were able to apply 15,000 Choices for $150 toward the cost of the ticket much like a coupon. That's a pretty good value, since many of her miles/Choices were earned through biz travel on her company's dime. That's when I got it--this is all about flexibility...it helps people like us who dont have time to waste looking for a saver award but cant necessarily waste miles on standard awards.

It is a little wierd how the currency is called "Choices" but if it saves me money, you can call it monkey poop for all I care.

posted: Jun 15, 2006 at 2:15am (MT)

You have all missed the major way you get screwed by this program. You don't redeem Miles OR Choices; usually you are required to redeem both Choices AND Miles. See the FAQ's:

"Q: When I’m redeeming Choices, why does my Redeemable Miles balance go down?
A: Choices earned are reflected in your Redeemable Miles balance. Therefore, any redemption of Choices will result in an equivalent reduction in your Redeemable Miles balance."

Therefore, if you purchase a $400 domestic economy ticket because there is no award availability, you get charged 40,000 choices AND 40,000 Miles. This way United can slowly eliminate award availability and require larger amounts of miles for the same flight. (Most likely UA is still getting the money for the ticket and Chase is writing off the loss.)

Here is another FAQ which proves my point:

"Q: How do Choices impact my Redeemable Miles balance?
A: Choices earned will continue to be reflected in your Redeemable Miles balance, so when you earn Choices, you will see an equivalent increase in your Redeemable Miles balance. Consequently, any redemption activity that uses Choices will result in an equivalent reduction in your Redeemable Miles balance. Redeemable Miles can continue to be used for traditional Mileage Plus awards, such as Saver, Standard, and Upgrade awards. Your Choices will only be debited if your Redeemable Miles balance falls below your Choices balance and requires that Choices be used to complete the redemption."

This indicates that you can never redeem more Choices than Miles.

In FAQ: "Your Choices balance is reduced because your Redeemable Miles balance falls below your Choices balance, requiring that Choices be redeemed to complete the transaction."

Any time you redeem miles for "traditional awards" your Choices balance decreases so that you never have more Choices than Miles.

This program allows Chase to foot the bill for award tickets. (Since I doubt UAL is sending money to Chase for the credit card credits.) This is certainly in Chase's interest since keeping UAL financially afloat with this "subsidy" is essential to maintain their lucrative affinity card business.

This is a much better disguised bailout than the loan guarantees that American Express made to Delta to keep the airline afloat to keep the affinity card business alive.

I wonder what Randy thinks of my insights?

mary kelley
posted: Jun 27, 2006 at 6:18pm (MT)

Another scam United has pulled is in the Silver Wings program for those over 55. We are life members. When I looked at the Silver Wings Plus web site, it appeared that unless we now fork over $200 plus per year, our life membership program is worthless.

posted: Jun 28, 2006 at 5:55pm (MT)

I think some of you guys are missing the point here with this. Nothing has changed with the way you accrue frequent flier miles with your credit card. It's just that in addition to the miles, you now also earn "choices" (stupid name--they should have just called it points or something) with your credit card purchases. Depending on your trip, it can be better to use them.

Scenario 1: Domestic flight for $400. That would cost me 40,000 choices which is equivalent to 40,000 miles. In such a case, I'd just get the saver award if it is available for 25,000 miles.

Scenario 2: International Flight for $450. That would cost me 50,000 miles if I could find a saver award, but it'll only cost me 45,000 choices/miles (and I'd earn miles) so I'd use choices in that case.

I've looked in to this extensively and there is nothing bad about it. It just gives you another option. Use your frequent flier miles (and earn your frequent flier miles) like always. In my experience so far with this program, in most cases, if you can find a saver award, it's better to book that and it'll cost you less miles. There are some instances where choices can save you some miles (like scenario 2 above) but saver awards are almost always better. Choices act like currency. Recently I wanted to go to Ireland and couldn't find a saver award for 50,000 miles. The flight cost $580. So my options at that point were to pay the cash, use 100,000 miles for a free ticket or use 58,000 choices (which means I basically use 58,000 miles). I ended up using choices because I wanted the free ticket, but didn't want to use the 100,000 miles so in this case, choices saved me 42,000 miles, plus I got the frequent flier miles, and on top of all that, there's no restrictions.

That's the other major point to remember here. They aren't setting aside "choices" seats like they do with saver/standard award seats. They are offering the same seats as always--it's just that if you don't want to pay for it, you can use choices as currency to get that seat. Really, there's nothing but positives to this program. If you don't think so, than you don't understand it.

George Perkins
posted: Jul 1, 2006 at 8:52pm (MT)

Just got our first annual companion voucher certificate for having a Mileage Plus Platinum Visa. A "zone fare" chart came with it showing prices for the "exclusive low fare" ticket that needs to be purchased. All fares are at or near the cost of TWO fares on United.com and some are nearly DOUBLE! So much for the "free" companion ticket.

George Perkins
posted: Jul 1, 2006 at 8:54pm (MT)

Just got our first annual companion voucher certificate for having a Mileage Plus Platinum Visa. A "zone fare" chart came with it showing prices for the "exclusive low fare" ticket that needs to be purchased. All fares are at or near the cost of TWO fares on United.com and some are nearly DOUBLE! So much for the "free" companion ticket.

posted: Jul 12, 2006 at 1:36am (MT)

It seems everyone is right here: Yes, United has pulled the rug out from under their customers by changing the rules after the game has started. However, that has always been possible--even likely--because FF miles are revocable at any time.

And yes, the current impact to customers is neutral because you can use Choices to buy regular old MP awards and don't have to do the 1% rebate nonsense.

HOWEVER... it is obvious that United has gone halfway towards dramatically reduced MP benefits. Now that they have bifurcated the award structure, it is only a matter of time before they shift EVERYONE over to the sucky "Choices" awards. So burn those MP miles now, because they will only go down in value in the future.

Kudos to United for exiting bankruptcy, partly due to throwing their FA's under the bus and partly due to screwing their customers like this. But if you lose your base of loyal business travelers to Jet Blue and SWA (assigned seats!) in the process, some great accomplishment that was.

posted: Jul 18, 2006 at 9:31pm (MT)

I am also one of you -very mad United customer....but not for too much longer. Using Chase credit card had only one purpose...get the miles and fly business class for it.
I think it's a time for all of us to find a new AIRLINES and also new Credit Card and we will see how much Chase and United will like that. How long it will take them to THINK and try to get all the customers BACK and return with their normal MILES PROGRAM!!!! So, all of you, start looking and let's get United and Chase rethink their business strategy!!!!!!

posted: Aug 3, 2006 at 2:16am (MT)

It seems that you get BOTH the Choice Points as well as Mileage Plus Miles for every dollar charged on the card. If that is true--and the FAQs on the UAL site are a little vague on this subject--then nothing is being taken away. You can just ignore the Choice Points and use Mileage Plus Miles for saver awards as we always have. Choices just gives you another option--a less atractive option in most cases.

Am I correct? Or am I missing something here?

posted: Aug 18, 2006 at 1:37am (MT)

Another issue not mentioned. The (Free Companion) Visa Zone Fare seems like a decent deal, especially if you are planning on using it during the "peak" season for your destination. A word of caution to those who are thinking about upgrading to the Platinum Visa, this free companion fare is the most difficult ticket I have ever tried to book. You have to call the 1-800 number (to India) and try to find a "T Class" fare. I don't know when T Class was invented, but it is impossible to get a seat on just about any flight. I have tried to check united.com for a T Class fare before calling, but come up with everything (Q,W,V, etc) except T. So, Buyer Beware! If you go for this "free" deal you're going to have to work for it.

My Recommendation -- Diversify, use what airline suits you best at the time you need it and collect every airlines miles. I belong to just about every major alliance program (Star Alliance, One World, etc) out there, United works best for some trips, American and Delta for others.

Disclaimer: I have had the Visa Credit and Check Cards for 4+ years. It wasn't until Choices were introduced that I encounterd problems.

Also, I have a theory on the lack of Saver fares. I think there are so many of us out there trying to cash out miles that we are just eating up the few seats available. United may just be trying to prevent a "run on the bank" (Chase)by limiting seats.

posted: Aug 18, 2006 at 9:39pm (MT)

Supposedly your mileage balance is supposed to be going up along with the choices(credit card use). But that doesn't seem to be happening in my case? Is anybody elses? I tried to speak to the help line, but we had a communication barrier.

I thought about using the choices for a hotel stay, but that doesn't make sense if they are going to take away miles when they aren't related to the choices.

Why is this so confusing?!

Sandy Wood
posted: Aug 26, 2006 at 1:44am (MT)

There is one section of the FAQ that helps us all see how "Choices" stinks and that section is the one with some math, where an example of mileage redemption is given.

They give 2 examples. These 2 examples show that there is NO "either/or" redemption option. That is, you cannot call up and say, "Spend choices, not miles, on this ticket."

(Also, you cannot say, "Give me miles, not choices, for this action I have taken [flying, shopping, whatever.]" So you have no choice in what you earn either.)

The math examples clearly show what their other deliberatly misleading "answers" dance around:

Choices and miles are now all one bowl when it comes to redeeming for anything.

And the quantity in that bowl is reduced in a very bad way IF your "miles" balance is more than your choices balance. When that happens, miles suddenly don't count as much as they used to and so Choices must be used too! That way choices are reduced AS WELL as your miles.

(Have 30 miles & 20 choices. spend 25 miles. 5 miles remain but since choices was 20 at start and 20 choices is less than 30 miles at start, they then ALSO take 15 choices if you spend 25 miles. End? 5 miles & 5 choices NOT 5 miles and 20 choices you'd expect. They will ALWAYS take choices out whenever the miles balance is more than the choices balance, even if you have enough miles to get an award and should not need to touch choices. Cr-A-z-y!)

My math example is just the short version of their 2nd example, below.

Look over the 2 math examples and you will see that it is possible to spend 40,000 miles & choices to get a 25,000 mile saver reward.

Here's the examples, from the UAL Choices FAQ page:

Can I redeem Choices for Saver, Standard and Upgrade awards?

Yes, you can redeem Choices for traditional awards, because the Choices you earn are also reflected in your Redeemable Miles balance. However, your Choices will be used last and only if necessary to complete such redemptions.

For example:
1. Starting balance: Choices – 20,000 Redeemable Miles – 55,000
2. Book a Saver Award for U.S. domestic travel: 25,000 Redeemable Miles
3. Ending balance: Choices – 20,000 Redeemable Miles – 30,000
Your Choices balance is not reduced, because Redeemable Miles are applied first and your Redeemable Miles balance still exceeds your Choices balance.
4. Starting Balance: Choices – 20,000 Redeemable [chopped]

Sandy Wood
posted: Aug 26, 2006 at 4:22am (MT)

[To pick up where this entry form cut me off...]

4. Starting Balance: Choices – 20,000 Redeemable Miles – 30,000
5. Book another Saver Award for U.S. domestic travel: 25,000
6. End balance: Choices – 5,000 Redeemable Miles – 5,000
Your Choices balance is reduced because your Redeemable Miles balance falls below your Choices balance, requiring that Choices be redeemed to complete the transaction.


So that's how you lose both choices and miles.

Time to Fly out of this program.

posted: Sep 5, 2006 at 8:33pm (MT)

I have to admit I'm a bit puzzled by this thread. For $140, Chase's United Platinum Visa gives you 20,000 miles, plus 5,000 EQMs after the first purchase, plus 5,000 EQMs after you spend $35,000 during the year. Every dollar spent is going into my United account - we just got three 80,000 Business Class US-Europe tickets on 2 weeks notice (there was a $15 fee per ticket). The miles add up just as they always have, we never even dealt with Choices. It's also interesting that you can have more than 1 of these cards - we have 3 and are getting a 4th today - we've received 20,000 EQMs already and will have another 10,000 EQMs by the end of the year. $560 for 80,000 miles and 30,000 EQMs seems like a really good deal - the only one better was the $500 Ameniti deal, that was 50,000 United miles for joining and 50,000 United miles for renewing when joining - I wish they'd bring that program back, 100,000 miles for $500 was awesome! Maybe we're missing something but we just got the 3 business class tickets at peak travel to Europe just using miles generated from Chase, it's been a winner for us. Any other positive stories about this?

posted: Sep 19, 2006 at 5:29pm (MT)

One word: confusing! I did a Google search using "united mileage plus confusing", and found this page. I thought maybe it was just me, because it's one of the craziest and most confusing programs I've ever seen. The new Choices program is awful, and UAL is going downhill. I've been with them for 30 years, but now it may be time to go with the best airline deal instead of being a loyal United customer.

posted: Jul 4, 2007 at 12:53am (MT)

You still earn miles, but you have the option of spending miles worth a penny each on regular tickets. This generally doesn't make sense, unless you really can't use your miles any other way. I find the main way I can use my miles is on upgrades which really are great.

posted: Jul 4, 2007 at 12:57am (MT)

Here's another little trick if anyone is reading this. I switch between United and AA frequent flyer credit cards. They give you a year free plus 20k bonus miles for signing up. A month before canceling one card (to avoid the annual fee) I sign up for the other card (picking up the free year and bonus miles once again). They keep offering me the cards over and over again and I'm on the third iteration right now. It's crazy but it works!

posted: May 12, 2008 at 8:03pm (MT)

I have read all these comments about United's mileage program and have to agree with all those who say it is a scam that benefits no-one except United
However ... REMEMBER ..... all Frequent flyer programs are a a scam and benefit no-one except the airlines. They all have the same " Oh ! we're sorry but there's seats available on the flight you want, or that day is blacked out, or the best one, the miles that you earned and/or paid for have expired and it will cost you %50 per 5000 miles to re-instate them "
They all have the same attitude .... we want to have your customer loyalty but we don't want to uphold our end of the deal.
SADLY, with the excuse of higher fuel prices and higher operating costs .... read that as corporate greed and horrible mis-management ... they are going to instigate even more stringent rules on their f.f. programs to avaoid giving you free trips or to make those tris economically worthless.
I feel for you United flyers but know that the rest are the same. I have just been burned by American, after being withthem for 15 years and I am really pissed.

I just wish there were a group of people sufficiently mad enough to to force some changes.
Does anybody know of such a group ???

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