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How are "lifetime miles" calculated for MileagePlus?

Old Nov 16, 15, 12:28 am
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Million Miler Program
Mileage accrual for Million Miler qualification is based on the flight distance of United- and United Express-operated flights.
With United's change to PQPs and PQFs, UA no longer provides information on flight / "BIS" mile
United no longer shows the BIS mileage. For now, the app is showing segment miles during booking -- but united.com is not.
Presently using UA's timetable to research the flight, the flight miles are provided

Alternatively, you can use third-party tools like, gcmap to get a number. It may differ from UA's number by a few miles
Building a UA city pair BIS table
And finally, you can trust UA to track your miles (There have been very, very few instances of issues and less recently)
  • For elites, there is 500 lifetime mile minimum for UA/UX flights. (still true in 2020 and PQP/PQF era)
  • There is no elite bonus or class of service bonus.
  • BIS miles = PQMs for 100% fares
  • Bus operated land connections booked as UA flight numbers earn lifetime miles
  • No partner flights earn UA lifetime miles.
  • Flight number / codeshare / ticket stock does not matter -- as long as it is a United-operated flight that is being credited to UA MP program.
  • No credit card activity earns UA lifetime miles
  • Only paid flights (including BULK / most consolidator tickets), no credit for award flights
  • There is no method for purchasing lifetime miles
  • Basic Economy segments are non-mileage earning and do not earn lifetime miles In the second iteration of BE (2018Q4), LT mileage earning appears to have been restored (100% 50% of BIS)
  • Lapchild tickets are non-mileage earning including lifetime miles
There was a complicated adjustment of lifetime miles at the time of the UA/CO merger due to the different programs & earning rules, including that CO granted lifetime miles for partner flights, PQM bonuses, and some credit card activity. But the above are the present rules.

Post-merge, COPA flights also accumulated UA lifetime miles, that ceased in July 2015 when COPA left MileagePlus.

What if I use miles to purchase the trip? Does that earn Lifetime Miles?
Depends
If you are using just UA miles and only paying cash for the taxes, as an award trip, it does not qualify for Lifetime miles
However
If you are using points from a credit card to purchase a ticket on their site, then the trip qualifies
If you are booking an economy ticket but using miles to upgrade, then the trip qualifies
If you are using the Money+Miles payment option, then the trip qualifies (regardless of the amount paid by miles)
If you are purchasing with a Chase creditcard and then using miles as a statement credit, then the trip qualifies
What about purchasing with "Money+Miles"?
100% Lifetime Miles earning
see What is the "Book with Money and Miles" option ?
Related Threads
MileagePlus Million Mile (and Beyond) Flyer Benefits [2014 forward]
Million Miler companion benefit
Building a UA city pair BIS table[

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How are "lifetime miles" calculated for MileagePlus?

Old May 29, 22, 4:46 pm
  #541  
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Originally Posted by akhibhag View Post
thank you for the clarification. I will hit 1MM next week, with literally 100 miles to spare using the 500 mi min BIS. So just wanted to be sure.
Congrats. I'm getting closer. I believe one of the crew usually congratulate you on the flight you cross 1MM. Hopefully it is mainline.
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Old May 29, 22, 4:55 pm
  #542  
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Originally Posted by CApreppie View Post
...I believe one of the crew usually congratulate you on the flight you cross 1MM. .....
Not something to count on unless you make a point of raising it. Higher MM thresholds make get more attention but has has mentioned not a certainty.
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Old May 29, 22, 5:15 pm
  #543  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
What is the reported lifetime miles in the account?

The thread's wiki states
No sure of the source of that statement

You were able to associate a MP account with the LapChild ticket? This suggests you can not
There may be a difference between international and domestic.
Still at 0 miles in her account.

When I booked the ticket I was able to input her MP number. Also, I have her as a saved traveler in my account, and I have her MP number included in there.

That said, it's possible that it disappeared somewhere along the way.
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Old May 30, 22, 3:30 am
  #544  
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When I was a UA Reservations Sales Representative (RSR) way back in 1985-87, a lap child cost 10% of an adult fare and was listed in the passenger name record (PNR) as "PLUS INF" (plus infant) after the first name of another passenger.

So there was no way for the baby to accrue miles unless in his or her own seat under his or her own name.

Even if lap children are now listed by name for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) purposes, I don't know whether UA has enabled lifetime mileage accrual on such extraordinarily discounted fares.

I highly suspect not.
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Old May 30, 22, 4:20 am
  #545  
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Originally Posted by SPN Lifer View Post
When I was a UA Reservations Sales Representative (RSR) way back in 1985-87, a lap child cost 10% of an adult fare and was listed in the passenger name record (PNR) as "PLUS INF" (plus infant) after the first name of another passenger.

So there was no way for the baby to accrue miles unless in his or her own seat under his or her own name.

Even if lap children are now listed by name for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) purposes, I don't know whether UA has enabled lifetime mileage accrual on such extraordinarily discounted fares.

I highly suspect not.
I applied M+ account numebers when both of my kids were born, and they never received miles for being lapchildren when they flew. Both of them have graduated from college now, so the period I am refering to is bettween 1996 and 2002 prior to two PMUA bankruptcies and merger with CO.
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Old Jun 8, 22, 6:53 pm
  #546  
 
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MileagePlus lifetime miles

The way I earn lifetime miles with United is a bit intransparent. In particular, I have two questions:

1. Is there anywhere I can see how many lifetime miles I earned for a specific flight?

2. Is it true that I won't earn lifetime miles on Star Alliance flights, only on United or United-Express operated flights?
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Old Jun 8, 22, 6:59 pm
  #547  
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Originally Posted by stefang View Post
1. Is there anywhere I can see how many lifetime miles I earned for a specific flight?
2. Is it true that I won't earn lifetime miles on Star Alliance flights, only on United or United-Express operated flights?
  1. It's based on distance, with a 500-mile minimum for Premier members. You can use Great Circle Mapper to determine flight distance.
  2. Yes, it's true.
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Old Jun 8, 22, 7:20 pm
  #548  
 
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Originally Posted by stefang View Post
The way I earn lifetime miles with United is a bit intransparent. In particular, I have two questions:

1. Is there anywhere I can see how many lifetime miles I earned for a specific flight?

2. Is it true that I won't earn lifetime miles on Star Alliance flights, only on United or United-Express operated flights?
1. Gcmap is a good suggestion that will get you to very close to the exact number for each flight (except: those under 500 miles if you are a Premier member). Another way would be to write down your current posted lifetime number from your UA account, after the posting of your next flight, write down the updated number, the difference will be the number earned for the particular flight. Repeat.

2. Only United and United Express flights. Also, award flights, even on United/United Express would not earn anything.
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Old Jun 8, 22, 7:31 pm
  #549  
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Originally Posted by stefang View Post
The way I earn lifetime miles with United is a bit intransparent....
UA is very transparent on how Lifetime miles are earned

It is the distance flown (with a 500 mile minimum for elites) on paid UA and United express operated flights. No other flights. This is a United Airline Lifetime measure.
You are correct, UA has recently stopped reporting the flight miles for each segment but there is a running total in your account. As other have mentioned gcmap is a reasonable proxy.

The wiki of this thread restates the same guidelines with further details
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 8, 22 at 7:53 pm Reason: referencing wiki
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Old Jul 15, 22, 6:37 am
  #550  
 
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Does trip on miles count?

Hi all,

First, I apologize if this is the wrong place for this question. I was quite active on FT for a few years perhaps 10 years ago, but haven't kept up.

I'm very close to hitting 1M BIS miles for the million mile status, currently at 978,986. I have a trip to Denmark coming in October, and am getting ready to book it. I haven't checked the mileage for that trip, but think it should get me pretty close. Am I remembering correctly that segments on Star Alliance partner airlines don't count toward MM status?

Now on to my main question: if I use miles to pay for the flights, will the miles of those flights still count toward million mile status?

Thanks a million, for the help! (sorry, couldn't resist)
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Old Jul 15, 22, 7:08 am
  #551  
 
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Originally Posted by theise View Post
Hi all,

First, I apologize if this is the wrong place for this question. I was quite active on FT for a few years perhaps 10 years ago, but haven't kept up.

I'm very close to hitting 1M BIS miles for the million mile status, currently at 978,986. I have a trip to Denmark coming in October, and am getting ready to book it. I haven't checked the mileage for that trip, but think it should get me pretty close. Am I remembering correctly that segments on Star Alliance partner airlines don't count toward MM status?

Now on to my main question: if I use miles to pay for the flights, will the miles of those flights still count toward million mile status?

Thanks a million, for the help! (sorry, couldn't resist)
Only UA and UEX paid flights excluding mileage tickets count towards MM.

You are almost there. Just plan a memorable flight to achieve the milestone.
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Old Jul 15, 22, 7:18 am
  #552  
 
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You can use miles and money, paying for part of the flight with miles, and the miles count.
still United and United express only.
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Old Jul 15, 22, 7:30 am
  #553  
 
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Originally Posted by trm2 View Post
You can use miles and money, paying for part of the flight with miles, and the miles count.
still United and United express only.
Okay, that seems to be a bit different from what Kmxu posted. That poster said mileage tickets are excluded, but you're saying they're not?
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Old Jul 15, 22, 8:16 am
  #554  
 
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Originally Posted by theise View Post
Okay, that seems to be a bit different from what Kmxu posted. That poster said mileage tickets are excluded, but you're saying they're not?
I guess that @trm2 might refer to miles and copay upgrade to a business class ticket from a paid economy/premium economy ticket. United does allow one to purchase miles using cash when buying a mileage ticket and you have insufficient amount of miles. This is treated as a mileage ticket and therefore not be counted toward MM status. I am not aware of any other purchase of UA tickets paid partially with miles and cash.
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Old Jul 15, 22, 8:33 am
  #555  
 
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Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
I guess that @trm2 might refer to miles and copay upgrade to a business class ticket from a paid economy/premium economy ticket. United does allow one to purchase miles using cash when buying a mileage ticket and you have insufficient amount of miles. This is treated as a mileage ticket and therefore not be counted toward MM status. I am not aware of any other purchase of UA tickets paid partially with miles and cash.
Oh, that makes sense, thanks!

Separately, can anyone point me to the proper thread (or FAQ) on upgrading international economy tickets with miles, please?
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