More Changes To United Airlines Frequent Flier Program

Could this be a sign of thawing in the hearts of United Airlines? They announced yesterday that after four months of crediting Mileage Plus members with actual miles flown instead of a minimum of 500, the airline will reinstate the old program for “elite” members.

The change occurs Jan. 1, when United’s “elite” Mileage Plus members will earn a minimum 500 miles for any flight, Robin Urbanski, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail message.

United also will credit their accounts retroactively for flights made since July 1, when UAL unit dropped the minimum award for all Mileage Plus members.

The change shows the value airlines place on retaining the loyalty of passengers who fly the most. American Airlines said last week that it would drop a minimum award in favor of actual miles flown for all except its elite-program members, saving money by reducing the number of passengers eligible for free trips.

United opted to add back the minimum guarantee for elite travelers to “keep our program competitive with other airlines and reward our most premium members,” Urbanski said.

The rest of you plebs will, of course, still only get the actual amount of miles flown.

United Airlines restores mileage credit in bid to keep loyal customers [IHT]