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United Miles

The bankruptcy of United Airlines is raising concern among frequent flyers over the status of their air miles. United has been assuring its frequent flyers it will keep flying and will continue to award/redeem air miles despite the bankruptcy filing. Last week, prior to the Airline Transportation Stabilization Board decision not approve the proposal submitted by United for a $1.8 billion federal loan guarantee, United issued credits for annual fees to the most elite or “1K” cardholders of the “Bank One/United Mileage Plus VISA.” The move, presumably to stem cardholder defections, was unprecedented in the company’s history. In a message Friday to its 42 million frequent flyers, United says it’s “no secret that things have been tough but as a “Mileage Plus” member, you can continue to accrue and redeem miles with confidence.” Last year United redeemed more than 3.5 million “Mileage Plus” awards, representing 8% of total passenger miles flown during the year. There are an estimated 4.1 million cardholders in the “Bank One/United Mileage Plus VISA” program. Best advice: if you have miles, redeem them quickly to get a ticket in-hand before United boosts redemption requirements or in the worst case, United kills the program or does not survive bankruptcy. You might also consider using United miles to purchase award travel on United’s partner airlines or “Star Alliance” members. Partner airlines include: Aeromar, Aloha Airlines, BWIA West Indies Airways, Cayman Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, LAPA, Spanair, and US Airways. Star Alliance members include: Air Canada, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Austrian Airlines, bmi, Lauda Air, Lufthansa, Mexicana, SAS, Singapore Airlines, THAI, Tyrolean Airways, United, and VARIG. For more information visit

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