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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 Sep 6, 22, 1:56 pm
  #586  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: ORD / PHX
Programs: UA LT 1K 3MM (former 12 yr GS), Bonvoy Amb/LT Plat
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You’ll get LT miles for each segment.
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Old Sep 6, 22, 4:14 pm
  #587  
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Originally Posted by UACPAFlier View Post
I booked a flight from BOS-EWR-SFO-PHX

BOS-EWR is one flight number.

EWR-SFO-PHX is one flight number.

Will I get Lifetime miles for EWR-SFO-PHX or will I get only EWR-PHX?
Originally Posted by tcdtcd View Post
You’ll get LT miles for each segment.
Well, going back to the days of "direct" flights, you may really want to keep an eye on what you earn for EWR-SFO-PHX.

David
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Old Sep 9, 22, 1:15 pm
  #588  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: San Francisco
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So the mileage accrued towards your total lifetime flight miles is NOT the same as the reward miles as I understand. Where can you find then the exact amount of flight miles that go towards your lifetime status, my app is showing me award miles which again as I understand is different that accrued miles to lifetime status? Thanks in advance.
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Old Sep 9, 22, 7:11 pm
  #589  
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Originally Posted by nomad420 View Post
Where can you find then the exact amount of flight miles that go towards your lifetime status
Lifetime miles are based on the distance flown (with a 500 mile minimum for elite members). Great Circle Mapper is usually within a mile or two.
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Old Sep 9, 22, 7:21 pm
  #590  
 
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Lifetime miles are based on the distance flown (with a 500 mile minimum for elite members). Great Circle Mapper is usually within a mile or two.
So I guess UA does not actually show you or publish the actual mileage for the distance flown, you need to use other applications such as the one you mentioned. Seems strange but OK.
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Old Sep 9, 22, 8:12 pm
  #591  
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Originally Posted by nomad420 View Post
So I guess UA does not actually show you or publish the actual mileage for the distance flown, you need to use other applications such as the one you mentioned. Seems strange but OK.
As soon as I log in I can see my Lifetime flight miles 1,175,xxx

Last edited by EmailKid; Sep 9, 22 at 8:18 pm
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Old Sep 9, 22, 8:48 pm
  #592  
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Originally Posted by EmailKid View Post
As soon as I log in I can see my Lifetime flight miles 1,175,xxx
That shows the past. The OP is asking about future flights.
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Old Sep 9, 22, 9:08 pm
  #593  
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Originally Posted by nomad420 View Post
So I guess UA does not actually show you or publish the actual mileage for the distance flown, you need to use other applications such as the one you mentioned. Seems strange but OK.
UA did provide the distance in your reservation for many years when status was based on miles / PQMs/ ... but with the change to PQD/PQPs that data gradually disappeared from UA.com. And about 3 years ago was completely gone.

UA does provide a running total but not info for future flights. As mentioned apps like gcmap provide a reasonable estimate and some have tried to crowd source a table, Building a UA city pair BIS table -- but UA does revise the numbers a bit from time to time (for reasons not entirely clear).
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Old Sep 9, 22, 9:42 pm
  #594  
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
That shows the past. The OP is asking about future flights.
Ah, sorry, completely missed that

It did seem too easy to answer .... thanks for setting me straight.
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Old Sep 11, 22, 2:36 pm
  #595  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Originally Posted by EmailKid View Post
As soon as I log in I can see my Lifetime flight miles 1,175,xxx
Yeah realize that but as I approach another mile stone (2 million) I am looking at future flights and just exactly what kind of miles am I generating towards my LT miles. WineCountry provided a nice "historical" back ground on just exactly what happened with this.
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Last edited by nomad420; Sep 11, 22 at 3:12 pm Reason: typo
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Old Sep 12, 22, 12:31 am
  #596  
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Originally Posted by nomad420 View Post
Yeah realize that but as I approach another mile stone (2 million) I am looking at future flights and just exactly what kind of miles am I generating towards my LT miles. WineCountry provided a nice "historical" back ground on just exactly what happened with this.
Spreadsheet can be your friend.

David
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Old Nov 17, 22, 12:01 pm
  #597  
 
Join Date: May 2017
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Second that mhelbrau Now if you can explain how MM status is calculated this hub FF would be interested what appears to be the only substantive benefit left to achieve.
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Old Nov 17, 22, 1:51 pm
  #598  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
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Originally Posted by Markalta View Post
Second that mhelbrau Now if you can explain how MM status is calculated this hub FF would be interested what appears to be the only substantive benefit left to achieve.
No changes to the MM program for '23. 1,000,000 BIS miles in UA and UX metal as United counts them. They no longer tell us in advance how many miles will be counted for each flight (you have to figure that out some other way) but they do add them on to your lifetime count after you have landed. Current BIS miles count nothing outside of your actual flight distance, no cc or fare class add-ons.
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Old Nov 17, 22, 5:30 pm
  #599  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
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Originally Posted by 8MiHi View Post
No changes to the MM program for '23. 1,000,000 BIS miles in UA and UX metal as United counts them. They no longer tell us in advance how many miles will be counted for each flight (you have to figure that out some other way) but they do add them on to your lifetime count after you have landed. Current BIS miles count nothing outside of your actual flight distance, no cc or fare class add-ons.
Yes I miss knowing the BIS miles and guesstimate for my spreadsheet. MM is the last vestige of a true flyer loyalty program. Mine did not come from extra CC spend or bonuses but true butt in the seat. I am dreading the day United decides to try and monetize the benefit...but it will be coming, sadly.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Nov 17, 22 at 8:20 pm Reason: removed response to deleted content
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Old Nov 17, 22, 6:57 pm
  #600  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
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Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
Yes I miss knowing the BIS miles and guesstimate for my spreadsheet. MM is the last vestige of a true flyer loyalty program. Mine did not come from extra CC spend or bonuses but true butt in the seat. I am dreading the day United decides to try and monetize the benefit...but it will be coming, sadly.
I am not so sure they will. UA's MM is already the most difficult to achieve. I could see them adding incentives to get us to spend more. That said putting in Basic Economy is sort of like forcing us to buy E+ anyway, just at a discount to non-elite.
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