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United begins letting friends and family pool their frequent flyer miles

Passengers check in for United Airlines flights at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, December 13, 2022.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Here’s a friendship test: would you share your frequent flyer miles with your friends? United Airlines I bet customers will be open to it.

The airline on Thursday began allowing members of its MileagePlus loyalty program to pool their frequent flyer miles and tap that pool for travel on United.

A “pool manager” can invite up to four other family members or friends to participate in the joint account. The leader must be at least 18 years old, but pool members can be any age, so families can use their children’s miles to purchase tickets.

Customers will still maintain their own MileagePlus account and can decide how much they want to contribute to the pool. These miles can be redeemed for flights and other products on the United website or app.

Individuals can decide how much to contribute to the pool, and there is a commitment: “Once those miles are in the pool…they stay in the pool,” said Luc Bondar, chief operating officer of the program. United MileagePlus loyalty.

United is not the first airline to offer frequent flyer point pooling. JetBlue Airways allows up to seven customers to pool frequent flyer miles, while Border Airlines allows up to eight people to pool miles. Airlines also usually allow their customers to transfer miles to others, but this often comes with a fee.

“The strategy for pooling miles is to attract less frequent to moderately frequent travelers and involve them and their family members in the program,” said Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst and founder of the consultancy Atmosphere Research Group. “By allowing family members to pool their reward points, it increases brand preference within the family… just like with toothpaste.”

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