United to award miles based on ticket price, rather than distance

United to award miles based on ticket price, rather than distance

United Continental Holdings Inc., the second-biggest airline by traffic, has announced its decision to award its MileagePlus program customers with miles based on the price of tickets, rather than the distance they fly.

The announcement points to the shift in United Airlines' loyalty program. While the decision will favor bigger spenders, average fliers will feel penalized. In other words, the carrier is about to reward big-spending fliers at the expense of bargain-hunting fliers who often rack up miles in their long-distance journeys.

The change will mostly prove beneficial to people who fly 25,000 miles or more per year using United Airlines' services.

Thomas F. O'Toole, president of MileagePlus and senior vice president of marketing & loyalty at United Airlines, said, "These changes are designed to more directly recognize the value of our members when they fly United."

Starting March next year, elite members of the airline's MileagePlus program will earn 7 to 11 miles for every dollar they will spend on air tickets, excluding taxes. Regular members of the program, who fly less than twenty-five thousand miles and spend less than $2,500 per year, will receive five miles per dollar they will spend on tickets.

United is not the first airline to announce such as move. Many other American airlines, such as Delta, have also started basing their awards for fliers on money they spend, and not on miles they fly.

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