If you have wanted to earn elite status in the MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program of United Airlines while simultaneously giving miles as a gift to that someone special, you are in luck.
All you have to do is purchase those MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles — up to one million Recognition Miles, as they are called — and you can earn up to Platinum elite status, as shown in the following chart:
Yes, that is correct: spend only $37,625.00 by purchasing one million MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles and you can earn Platinum elite status, along with membership with access to United Club airport lounges for one year — or, if elite status does not appeal to you, you can save 25 percent on your purchase of one million MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles by spending only $28,625.00, which will save you a cool $9,000.00.
Where is my checkbook — or better yet, where is my credit card?
Yes — if you have a credit card which earns frequent flier loyalty program miles and elite status, you must be salivating right about now, figuring out how you can really cash in on this deal. Oh, and let us not forget the eternal gratitude bestowed upon you by the grateful recipient of those purchased miles — whether it be a close friend, family member or faithful hard-working employee.
How can you go wrong?
Oh, yeah, right — $37,625.00. That is a lot of money. For some people, that is an annual salary — but hey, you can drown your sorrows in the comfort of a United Club.
Additionally, if you are not a resident of the United States, you may still purchase Recognition Miles — but then foreign transaction fees may be incurred by the issuing bank of the credit card used, as the purchase will be in the currency of United States dollars.
What’s that? What if you already have Premier elite status at the time of purchase? Well, you must either choose the discount, or assign the Premier elite status to another MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program member.
Once your purchase is confirmed, these miles will be kept in a holding account separate from your personal MileagePlus account and accessible only through the Recognition Miles Internet web site. You can give a minimum of 2,000 miles and a maximum of 100,000 miles per calendar year to each account recipient. Within those limits, you can give miles in any increment as many times as you like — and you can give these miles any time you want. All you need is the MileagePlus number for the recipient — then simply click on the Manage Miles link and enter the account number and number of miles you want to give. For example, you can give 2,500 miles each quarter to select employees to recognize them for achieving quarterly goals.
Miles purchased through MileagePlus Recognition Miles must be deposited into a MileagePlus account within 12 months from date of purchase or they will expire — and once they are deposited into a MileagePlus account, they are subject to the terms and conditions of the MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program. No refund will be given. Other terms and conditions apply.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a way to buy yourself elite status while rewarding people who are special to you with MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles. This program is really not designed for individuals, although you could participate if you want; rather, it is meant to be more like an incentive program.
Let us say that you own a business with 500 employees, and you give a holiday gift to them every year. It will cost you $75.25 per person to give them 2,000 MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles. They would not be able to do much with them, but that is 3.7625 cents per mile, and you get Platinum elite status and United Club access for a year. Not too shabby for you if your employees appreciate the gift, which I cannot guarantee that all of them would since there is not much you can do with 2,000 MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles — and I can think of better ways to spend $75.25 for a gift for each employee…
…or let us use a more meaningful gift: let us say that you own a business where five of your sales personnel significantly exceeded their sales quotas for the year. Reward each of them with two business class round-trip award tickets to Europe. It will cost you $7,525.00 per person — but if each of them brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars of sales above their quota, this would be a nice perk for them while you get Platinum elite status and United Club access for a year…
…but then again, if you own or run a company with millions in dollars in sales, chances are you do not need elite status and access to airport lounges in the first place. In this case, you can choose to save $9,000.00 on your purchase. That is not a bad option.
I suppose that all I am attempting to point out here is that while I certainly would not exactly jump at the opportunity to take advantage of this offer, there are situations and examples where this offer would indeed be worth it.
However, you might argue that this is yet another way to simply purchase elite status without flying as a passenger on United Airlines — ultimately reducing the availability of upgrades for elite members who earned it the “hard” way and further encouraging crowding in the United Club airport lounges.
What do you think of this program with the ability to purchase United Airlines MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles and gift them in exchange for elite status — and, for that purchase of one million miles, access to United Club airport lounges for one year?