Passengers pan United Airlines MILE PLAY promotion

A United Airlines promotion offering MileagePlus® members the ability to “Earn bonus award miles” isn’t winning any points with the carrier’s frequent flyers.

MILE PLAY, which kicked off recently and ends June 5, offers 3,300 bonus miles to frequent flyers who first register for the promotion, then book and take a trip by the deadline.

A Facebook ad for the carrier’s promotion drew the ire of many FB members, including some who felt the offer wasn’t worth the time and effort. One said 6,600 bonus miles for completing two trips in the 44 remaining days of the promotion was a joke.

Others had similar comments. “Pretty pathetic offer,” and “Sad” were among the reactions. Still others felt cheated by previous promotions for which they’d never received the bonus miles.

Of course, every promotion has rules stated in “the fine print,” and some commenters clearly had not read them before posting their vitriol. “I took two trips for 15,000 miles and got nothing,” griped one, who was oblivious to the qualifier that trips taken using accrued frequent flyer miles were not eligible.

The most important rules, which are clearly written in plain English and not legalese, are that the purchaser must register for the promotion first, flights have to be completed by the deadline, each trip must have a fare of at least $275, and an E-Ticket purchase is required. Government fares and flights on award travel tickets do not qualify.

Some disgruntled passengers used the Facebook forum to complain about the condition of airline’s lounges, the difficulty of gaining access to them, and the occasional inability to use the annual passes that come with certain United Airlines’ affinity credit cards.

Even though United earned kudos for its 2020 decision to eliminate change fees – which motivated other major U.S. carriers to follow suit  – it is consistently among the lowest-ranked U.S. airline in just about any survey you want to cite.

In the 2022 SkyTrax World Airline Awards, United (NYSE:UAL) ranked No. 60 among the world’s top 100 airlines behind Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) at No. 24; Southwest (NYSE:LUV) at No. 35, jetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) at No. 41; and Alaska (NYSE:ALK) at No. 59. Of the major U.S. airlines, only Hawaiian (NASDAQ:HA) at No. 65 and American (NASDAQ:AAL) at No. 68, were lower.

Since 2012, United has only climbed as high as No. 53 (2014) and dipped as low as No. 88 (2018) in SkyTrax Awards.

Given how poorly this current promotion is being received on social media (not a single positive comment), United clearly has to do some major rethinking of its promotions and the value they provide.  Otherwise, it seems likely that it will continue to be a cellar-dweller among the nation's airlines.

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