December 20, 2011 by Anil Polat Air, Money, Travel Unravel
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Thank you, thank you, thank you! One of my goals for 2012 is to get control of my frequent flyer accounts, and this post is going to be so helpful! Don’t be surprised if I get in touch with other questions.
You’re very welcome JoAnna, thank you for giving me a good question to expand upon. Feel free to get in touch with other questions and happy mile earning (and New Year!)
So … if I want to fly on Continental, I just give them my United frequent flyer number and, because they are both part of the Star Alliance, my miles on Continental just filter into my United account?
Exactly. Just make it clear to the clerk that you’ll be using your United number (usually they ask but just in case).
Thanks so much! Another question: I recently signed up with Air Canada’s Aeroplan rewards program (not a credit card, though they do offer those as well) so does this mean I am automatically part of United Mileage Plus or do I need to do something to ensure this?
Nope, you’ve got to sign up for United Mileage Plus separately. Now, whenever you fly Air Canada (or any other Star Alliance member) be sure to give them the United Mileage Plus number so all of the points accumulate in that account. Then you can use them later on for Air Canada, for example. It doesn’t always work the other way around and why the United account is the best one for Star Alliance flights
This is very helpful! Sadly, I only fly once or twice a year though (due to limited vacation time )so miles accumulate very slowly for me. Is is still worth it for me to look into something like United Mileage Plus Credit (I say that one as Air Canada is included and I live in Canada)? I know some credit cards also help you earn extra miles, but as a single gal with no dependents and on a modest income, I also don’t spend a lot of money (on things like gas, groceries, etc.) to accumulate miles quickly that way either. Thanks for your help!
Hi Dana, I definitely think an account is worth opening up, even if you don’t fly all that often. Actually, especially since you don’t fly too often, the United Mileage Plus can help keep your miles in one place (via Air Canada and others) so what you do have accumulates in one account.
You can get a boost without credit cards this way:
and if you want to do a little credit card hacking for some big bonus mileage, here’s a few of the best latest deals I’ve selected:
Also, with United, you only need to use the account once every 18 months to keep your miles from expiring. So, while it may take you longer to accumulate a free flight (less for an upgrade 😉 chances are you’ll get there eventually without losing any of those hard-earned miles.
Anil, I have some historical Air Canada miles (about 35,000 for flights longer than 12 months ago). I want to transfer these to United so that I have all the miles in one place. Is that possible? Thanks in advance!
Have they already been credited to your Air Canada account?
Yes, they have – they date back a couple of years when I was travelling regularly on Air Canada. Now I don’t, so they won’t be augmented either. TC
Call Mileage Plus for the final word but you can likely use those Air Canada miles as United Mileage Plus miles without needing to transfer them:
I just got a new Citi credit card with the AAdvantage mileage plan two days before they went bankrupt…I was definitely pooping my pants, but let’s hope they keep their word about offering miles.
I’m guessing they will since it’s more likely to keep people around in the long term. I hope – at least for our miles 😉
This is so incredibly helpful! Thank you so much! I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the frequent flier miles game for ages now, but I get it!
My pleasure and glad to help There are quite a few benefits to be had but the airlines like to complicate things a bit I think just for that reason 😉
Nice post Anil! I centralized all of my miles on United a few years ago and have racked up many a mile since! I try and fly Star Alliance whenever I can which isn’t too hard since NYC is a hub for Continental and US Airways. I also get miles from shopping and dining as well.
Thanks Aaron. The addition (or ingestion) of Continental really adding a strong set of routes for Star Alliance. Glad to hear you’re racking up even more miles now