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How are "lifetime miles" calculated for MileagePlus?

Old Nov 16, 2015, 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 Jan 4, 2021, 11:27 pm
  #1  
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How are "lifetime miles" calculated for MileagePlus?

I'm tabulating my MM miles for the first time and I am noticing a discrepancy between my calculation and UA's stated number by about 1,000 miles. I am 99.99% sure I didn't miss anything, and I double and triple checked my calculations.
Not a big deal since it's only 1,000 miles but I am curious if there's a way to see activity from more than 2 years ago?

Last edited by kevflyer; Jan 4, 2021 at 11:50 pm
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 12:05 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by kevflyer
I'm tabulating my MM miles for the first time and I am noticing a discrepancy between my calculation and UA's stated number by about 1,000 miles. I am 99.99% sure I didn't miss anything, and I double and triple checked my calculations. ..
Are you numbers higher or lower than UA?
Did you take in account the 500 mile minimums?
Where are you get the miles for each segments?
Did you take any direct flights?
Originally Posted by kevflyer
Not a big deal since it's only 1,000 miles but I am curious if there's a way to see activity from more than 2 years ago?
Assuming you have not captured your yearend flight data on a regular basis, if you have your credit card records you can recontrust flight history from that with some effort
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 12:10 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by kevflyer
I'm tabulating my MM miles for the first time and I am noticing a discrepancy between my calculation and UA's stated number by about 1,000 miles. I am 99.99% sure I didn't miss anything, and I double and triple checked my calculations.
Not a big deal since it's only 1,000 miles but I am curious if there's a way to see activity from more than 2 years ago?
Check some of the flights based on point-to-point values from gcmap.com to confirm the accuracy of your mileage data. Also look for any flipped digits and do a few cross checks such as summing by month or year or long trip to make sure that your data are correct.

David
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 12:18 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Are you numbers higher or lower than UA?
Lower
Did you take in account the 500 mile minimums?
Yes
Where are you get the miles for each segments?
Yes anything from last 2 years I can get them from UA website, and the rest I reconstructed from old emails I saved.
Did you take any direct flights?
Yes. Accounted for those as well.
Assuming you have not captured your yearend flight data on a regular basis, if you have your credit card records you can recontrust flight history from that with some effort
Indeed I haven't. It'd be quite an undertaking to pull CC records from like the last 6-10 years and not worth digging up for so little miles. Also I don't think there's a need to because I have all the records in email, even back to pmUA days.

Originally Posted by DELee
Check some of the flights based on point-to-point values from gcmap.com to confirm the accuracy of your mileage data. Also look for any flipped digits and do a few cross checks such as summing by month or year or long trip to make sure that your data are correct.

David
I'll run my numbers again. Thanks.
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 12:25 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by kevflyer
Indeed I haven't. It'd be quite an undertaking to pull CC records from like the last 6-10 years and not worth digging up for so little miles. Also I don't think there's a need to because I have all the records in email, even back to pmUA days.

I'll run my numbers again. Thanks.
The only other thought is perhaps you also have some IRROPS flights where your purchase says one thing and the trip you took differ. Or you (or UA) are missing two short segments somewhere.

And, yes, this is a bit of a laborious labor of 1MM love. Good luck.

David
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 12:29 am
  #6  
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With your numbers being lower, I would trust UA's numbers and just start a refresh .
Then check more frequently -- at least once a year your number vs UA's number.
gcmap numbers are good estimates but not the numbers UA uses, see the thread's wiki for help on this

Also watch out for SDC / irrops changes where you may not have an email history

The reality unless you do something within a 6 or12 months of the flights, correcting the UA data isn't going to happen
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 12:36 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by kevflyer
I'm tabulating my MM miles for the first time and I am noticing a discrepancy between my calculation and UA's stated number by about 1,000 miles. I am 99.99% sure I didn't miss anything, and I double and triple checked my calculations.
Not a big deal since it's only 1,000 miles but I am curious if there's a way to see activity from more than 2 years ago?
Also, how close are you to 1MM?

David
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 1:15 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
With your numbers being lower, I would trust UA's numbers and just start a refresh .
Then check more frequently -- at least once a year your number vs UA's number.
gcmap numbers are good estimates but not the numbers UA uses, see the thread's wiki for help on this

Also watch out for SDC / irrops changes where you may not have an email history

The reality unless you do something within a 6 or12 months of the flights, correcting the UA data isn't going to happen
I flew very little UA prior to couple years ago so I remembered almost everything. The only thing I could think of was when I was rerouted during an IRROPS and flew standby for 1 segment, somehow my BP wasn't scanned so UA thought I was a no-show and cancelled my entire ticket (after I didn't board for my original, later flight). But it was quickly fixed after a phone call and I completed the rest of my trip with no issues. I don't think that incident contributed to this discrepancy.

Originally Posted by DELee
Also, how close are you to 1MM?

David
Not even remotely close, since I just got started with heavy flying in 2019 and then Covid hit.
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 2:33 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by kevflyer
I'm tabulating my MM miles for the first time and I am noticing a discrepancy between my calculation and UA's stated number by about 1,000 miles. I am 99.99% sure I didn't miss anything, and I double and triple checked my calculations.
Not a big deal since it's only 1,000 miles but I am curious if there's a way to see activity from more than 2 years ago?
That's like a 2 hour flight...
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 2:57 am
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Originally Posted by lsquare
That's like a 2 hour flight...
True but makes you wonder what else could be missed, and right on cue I found 2 trips I booked with Expedia back in 2015 so now the difference is up by another 2000 miles and also found stub from one trip that had an IRROPS that made it longer as well. I think I'm about 3500 miles off now.
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 3:12 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by kevflyer
True but makes you wonder what else could be missed, and right on cue I found 2 trips I booked with Expedia back in 2015 so now the difference is up by another 2000 miles and also found stub from one trip that had an IRROPS that made it longer as well. I think I'm about 3500 miles off now.
That's up to you. At least you're not that guy who was complaining about the actual SFO-HKG distance.
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 3:19 am
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Originally Posted by lsquare
That's up to you. At least you're not that guy who was complaining about the actual SFO-HKG distance.
Haha isn't that only like 14 miles? I wouldn't get upset over that, unless I've flown that route like thousands of times, then it's a tangible difference.
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 3:23 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by kevflyer
Haha isn't that only like 14 miles? I wouldn't get upset over that, unless I've flown that route like thousands of times, then it's a tangible difference.
I don't remember, but the number was ridiculously small. Then there was a discussion of adding the distance climbed to the total...So it's up to you. If I were you, I would look deeper into the issue.
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 4:37 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by kevflyer
Haha isn't that only like 14 miles? I wouldn't get upset over that, unless I've flown that route like thousands of times, then it's a tangible difference.
This is the route I primarily fly (6-7 RT per year pre-COVID-19). But I ain't complaining. Before PQP, even with that difference, I still need an extra TCON RT to re-qualify 1K. Having that extra would not make my re-qualification easier. Beside - FWIW, if UA has not cancelled GUM-HKG, I would bank more BIS than arguing that 14 miles anyway.

Also - as a matter of fact, a person who has flown this route for thousands of times will never complain, given that that person should be close to a 7MM LT GS.
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Old Jan 5, 2021, 12:20 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung
This is the route I primarily fly (6-7 RT per year pre-COVID-19). But I ain't complaining. Before PQP, even with that difference, I still need an extra TCON RT to re-qualify 1K. Having that extra would not make my re-qualification easier. Beside - FWIW, if UA has not cancelled GUM-HKG, I would bank more BIS than arguing that 14 miles anyway.

Also - as a matter of fact, a person who has flown this route for thousands of times will never complain, given that that person should be close to a 7MM LT GS.
Very good point that I overlooked. No one would be complaining as a 7MM LT GS.

GUM-HKG was a good way to rack up more miles for sure. Also (somewhat) easy CPU, though in domestic F 737. I hope that route returns one day.
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