MileagePlus X: A simple way to earn free #UA787 flights – Photo: JL Johnson
Let’s get something out of the way. I am not a United fan. In fact, I have said numerous times that all things equal, I’d rather fly Spirit. Why do I bring this up? Because after using United’s MileagePlus X App for a year, I’m starting to come around. And that, my friends, is a pretty big deal. Opinions formed from years of disappointment and failures at all levels don’t change overnight. TheyÂ certainly don’t change as the result of side-project ancillary revenue apps. But here I am, about to tell you why you should be a MileagePlus X user too.
The United MileagePlus X concept is simple: Use the app to buy gift cards for everyday purchases at thousands of retailers and get United miles as a kickback. Earnings per dollar spent at merchants vary widely, typically between one and five miles. Earnings are dependent upon on the merchant and the time of year. For example, the standard for Amazon seems to be one mile per dollar, but I have seen up to three. The norm for Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic is five, but for a while during back-to-school season earnings jumped to ten miles per dollar.
This arrangement is win/win/win. United gets a slice of the transaction (yay ancillary revenue!), the retailer gets a sale they may have otherwise lost, and the consumer gets miles. The concept United is using is far from theÂ typical dining or shopping programs offered by nearly every other airline. When I think of the words “innovative” and “pioneer” United does not come to mind. But both apply in the context of MileagePlus X.
An American Boeing 787-8 (N812AN) at LAX; the 787-9 is a stretched version of the -8
This story has been updatedÂ to include new information about the availability of premium economy and anticipated dates for domestic operations.
American Airlines today announced new details and routes for its newest addition to the fleet, theÂ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (789), which isÂ set toÂ arriveÂ in the lastÂ quarter of this year. While American already operates 17 BoeingÂ 787-8s (788s), four of the stretchedÂ -9s, with new business class seats and a cabin configuration to include a new Premium Economy section, will be delivered by the end of December 2016, with a total of 22 on order.
The 789s will initially be based out of American’s home base, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW), and on November 4 will commence service to Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) and Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU).
AirlineReporter has received exclusive details on the inauguralÂ route the 789 will actually fly…
United employees get excited for their newest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
What makes the 27th delivery of a Boeing 787 to an airline special? Its employees.
Recently, United took delivery of a 787-9 Dreamliner and invited 200 employees along, to celebrate their dedication and hard work. Team leaders, around the world, were asked to select top performers and they were invited to fly to Seattle, attend a VIP dinner, and take a Dreamliner delivery flight back to home-base in Chicago.
The United 787, sitting at Boeing Field
The road to… well… unite United has not been easy and there is still a lot of work ahead. With new leadership, there is renewed hope for bringing everyone together for the purpose of making the airline stronger. From what I saw during the delivery flight, the airline seems to be on the right path. I have become optimistic about their future.
To the moon! Or maybe just to Jersey.
Letâ€™s start out with the obvious: itâ€™s been a rough few yearsÂ for United Airlines. Amidst a choppy merger, a CEO ouster scandal (then the new replacement CEO having health issues), and an awful economic climate for the industry during most of theÂ decade, the Chicago-based airlineâ€™s public perception took a big hit. It has become pretty clear that majorÂ change is needed to win over the hearts and minds of the American flying public.
Over the past year, United has unveiled a number of updates, including the return of free snacks in economy, beerÂ and wine in long-haul international economy, the continued rollout of WiFi, increased direct-to-device streaming entertainment, refreshed menus in premium cabins, and improved United Clubs. Some updates have gone into effect already, while others will be rolled out gradually during this year.
p.s. BusinessFirst – Photo: United
One major structural change in 2015 was Unitedâ€™s withdrawal from JFK Airport, which had previously served as the New York terminus of the flagship domestic Premier Service (p.s.) routes from San Francisco and Los Angeles. As of October 2014, those flights now land at Unitedâ€™s massive and ever-expanding hub at Newark Liberty International (EWR). On the other coast, United has also been investing in its Terminal 3 hub at SFO.
Other airlines have been upping their transcontinental game, with American flying three-class A321Ts, JetBlue expanding its ever-popular Mint service, and Delta offering its Delta One long-haul product between JFK and LAX/SFO.
Over the course of a few trips between San Francisco and New York on the p.s. route, I had a great chance to test drive some of the latest changes at United. Read on as I share some of my insights from putting the new United through its paces.
A United 737-900ER flying the friendly skies – Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter
“Thanks, United” – it’s not a phrase you hear very often these days, but I want to give some credit where credit is due. Just a few weeks ago, after finding a great fare, my wife and I decided to take a long weekend trip to Cancun at the end of February. We were looking forward to sitting on the beach, soaking up some winter sun, and enjoying drinks at one of Cancun’s many all-inclusive resorts. Â Well, a lot has happened since then.
Areas affected by Zika virus – Image: CDC
First, the Zika virus became big news. In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last few weeks, Zika has been spreading like wildfire throughout South America and has recently been making inroads into Mexico and the Caribbean. On the surface, Zika doesn’t sound soÂ bad – it typically hasÂ mild flu-like symptoms and tends to clear up pretty quickly. However, doctorsÂ have recently noticed a scary trend, wherein babies born to women who contracted Zika duringÂ pregnancy exhibit alarmingly high rates of Â birth defects. This led the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to issue an unprecedented travel warning, recommending that pregnant women avoid travel to all affected areas. Concerning, but still not worth canceling a trip over, given that neither of us were pregnant.