United Airlines Is Allowing Friends and Families to Pool Award Miles

This could make redeeming miles a little bit easier

United Airlines
United is trying something new with award travel.
United Airlines

Booking air travel using miles can be, depending on the circumstances, eminently satisfying or insidiously frustrating. If you’ve amassed enough miles to book a dream vacation free of charge, you might well feel the added boost that comes from making a system work. If you don’t quite have enough miles to make a desired trip click into place, though, you might find yourself going full Richard III and lamenting the lack of a few hundred more miles.

All of which makes a recent announcement from United especially enticing. The short version is that the airline is allowing groups of friends or family members to pool their miles into a supply that all group members can draw from. (United’s announcement makes it clear that individual members will not see a change in their Premier status as a result.) Groups can be up to five people in size, and MileagePlus members of any age can join. You do have to be 18 or over to start a pool, however.

It isn’t hard to see the appeal of this — whether through families looking to book travel together or friends looking to take a weekend trip somewhere. It’s the rare airline announcement where there doesn’t seem to be something sinister lurking in the fine print — though assumably, United will benefit by having more specific data on frequent travelers.

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In an article about the new feature at The Points Guy, Gabrielle Bernardini pointed to two other notable caveats with the new system. The first is that this United is implementing a 90-day period between leaving one pool and joining another pool. The second is that pooling only works on flights operated by United; for the time being, at least, partner flights are off limits. Whether that will change — or if more airlines will join United and JetBlue, who has a similar program — will be an industry shift to keep an eye on.


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