Fly the Friendly Skies of United
When United Airlines and Continental Airlines merged operations back in 2010, the two companies also combined their frequent flier programs, United MileagePlus and Continental OnePass, under United's name. Industry analysts believe that the merger of the two programs resulted in one group of somewhere around 100 million members. What many of those members didn't realize at the time is that the terms of service for the newly constructed version of MileagePlus had changed somewhat. Prior to the merger, neither program automatically expired unused miles - unlike American Airlines and Delta, among others. After all the merger dust had settled, more than one MileagePlus member found him or herself faced with a new quandary: how do you keep all those hard-earned miles alive, especially if you don't fly all the time?
That's because once the programs were combined, a new rule gave the mileage in the account a short lifetime, just a mere eighteen months. The claiming rules are different from a lot of other frequent flyer programs, however: if you manage to deposit any miles to your MileagePlus account during that eighteen months, the expiration clock will automatically reset to eighteen months once more. In other words, all you need to do to save your miles is to figure out ways how to make the occasional deposit without ponying up for an airline ticket. Even if you don't plan to fly any time in the eighteen months, there are a lot of different ways to put miles into your account. Here are five of them - and you need not darken the door of your local airport for any of them:
Use Hotel Loyalty Programs
Whether at the airport or the body shop, that car rental joint just might give you miles for your rental. Ask...
Many car rental companies will also deposit miles in your account with each rental, as do airport parking programs (though if you're not flying, you're probably not using airport parking…). Amtrak, for those of you who live near major rail corridors, also awards miles for certain ticket purchases. If you're planning a cruise or other vacation, check with the MileagePlus program to see if your resort or cruise line gives miles. You can earn miles while relaxing!
If you have any questions about any of these methods for earning points, there is plenty of information at the MileagePlus website, where you can also monitor the expiration date of your miles. By the way, if you don't see a any way to save expiring miles or if you don't think you have enough to buy a flight, why not donate them to charity? Or, you could always transfer them to me...