Category Archives: United Airlines

Exchange Gift Cards for United Miles + 40% Bonus

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I am guessing that we’ve all received gift cards for stores that we do not shop at and would love a way to get rid of them.

There are sites that you can sell the gift cards to (ex.Plastic Jungle) that pay you a percentage of their value. From what I could tell, Plastic Jungle pays back 75% + of face value on your gift cards.

Another option is to exchange your unused gift cards for airline miles.

a hammock from a tree on a beach

By using the United MileagePlus Gift Card Exchange you can turn your gift cards into miles.
I received an e-mail last night from United about a bonus offer for the GC exchange. 
For a limited time you can earn 40% more award miles when you exchange your gift cards.

Some of the Rules:

  • Must be a US resident to participate
  • Your MileagePlus account has to  open for at least 30 days and have a positive account balance
  • Gift cards must have at least $25 balance to do the exchange 
  • You’ll see the number of miles you will receive for your gift cards before deciding to exchange them. 
  • You don’t need to mail in your gift cards. The exchange will be done electronically.
  • All gift card exchanges are final
How to exchange the gift cards:
  • Log in with your United account info
  • Select the merchant for the gift card you are looking to sell (over 100 to choose from)
  • Enter your gift card info and they will convert the value into award miles
  • Receive your miles within 5 business days
Examples of minimum award miles you could earn:
  • $25 gift card= 940 miles
  • $50 gift card= 1,870 miles
  • $100 gift card= 3,730 miles

*The estimated miles earned include the limited time bonus.

In my opinion, exchanging your gift cards for miles is more or less another way of buying miles. 
I’m not really interested in buying miles and never have done so. However, if you have gift cards collecting dust this might not be a bad way to get a decent return for them.

To exchange your unwanted gift cards for United miles Click HERE

Chicago O’Hare 5K Runway Run- I’m Going!

a logo with a plane and a road

I’ve already done two 5K runway runs this year and tomorrow my third one is coming up at LaGuardia Airport (LGA).

My brother mentioned the idea of taking a quick trip to Chicago to run in the O’Hare 5K On The Runway about two weeks ago. He saw a post about it on Milepoint (a frequent flier site we are both members of).

Kim and I went to Chicago a few years back and had a great time. We’ve wanted to go back but this will be a quick visit with my brother. (I’ll definitely miss Kim and Lucas while I’m away!)
We leave from New York for Chicago early in the evening on October 18 and head back home in the afternoon on October 20. We’ll have a little over a day and a half in Chicago and plan to make good use of our time!

Trip Planning:
To make this brief trip happen our goal was to keep the trip costs as low as possible. We looked at quite a few options for our flight and hotel. It seemed like we took more time planning the trip than the time we will be away!

  • The Flight: After going back and forth with a variety of options, we ended up booking our flight with Delta using miles. We each used 25K Delta SkyMiles and paid $5 tax to fly JFK-ORD roundtrip.
  • The Hotel: The debate was staying at an airport hotel vs. staying downtown. Each option had it’s pros and cons but due to the 5K starting so early on Saturday morning, the airport won. The decision became even easier thanks to the Radisson 1 for 1 promotion Stay 1 Night, Get 1 Night. We each booked one night at the Radisson Hotel O’Hare which cost $98. (We found a code which brought the price down from the original price of $135) With the 1 for 1 promotion we will each earn a free night at any Radisson Blu or Radisson hotel in the US, Canada or Caribbean. 

The Runway Run
The Chicago Department of Aviation and United Airlines are hosting the O’Hare 5K on the Runway and Community Day.

A little about the runway run (from the race website):

The event will be a one-of-a kind opportunity to experience the runway like few people do and share in a Community Day after the race filled with fun for the whole family, entertainment and food. The course will feature the display of a United Airlines aircraft. The Day s festivities will begin with a brief program to start the race. Following the conclusion of the race, a portion of the course will be open to the community for viewing and photo opportunities in front of the United aircraft.

Some Details:

  • The race benefits Wounded Warrior Project
  • Walk & Photo-op on the Runway
  • Strollers are allowed on the course
  • Free entry to Community Day
  • Entry includes a T-shirt
  • Free parking

The run takes places on October 20 at 8:00am
Find out more and sign up for the O’Hare 5K on the Runway HERE

Earn Up to 4,000 United Miles with NetFlix

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Over the years Kim and I have each signed up for Netflix just to earn the airline miles signup bonus. In fact, the last time I signed up I didn’t even watch one movie and was totally fine with that. The bonus is usually 2,500- 3,000 miles which is a pretty good deal for $7.99 (the lowest priced Netflix subscription).

Here is a very nice deal that I received an e-mailed about a couple of weeks back. I meant to write about it but it slipped my mind….

Sign up for Netflix and earn up to 4,000 bonus miles:

  • Earn 2,000 miles when you become a paying member of Netflix
  • Earn another 2,000 miles when paying with your MileagePlus credit card

If you wanted to buy 2,000 miles from United it would cost $75.25. So for $7.99 you can get up to 4,000 miles plus watch all of the movies you like with Netflix for one month.

Open to new Netflix members only (I’ve heard of people getting multiple bonuses)
Allow 8-10 weeks for mileage bonus to post
Membership is month to month and can be cancelled at any time

Sign up for the United Netflix offer HERE

United MileagePlus Shopping- Half-A-Million Miles Sweepstakes

a woman pointing at a sign
Cartera Commerce is sponsoring a United MileagePlus sweepstakes and giving away half a million miles!
The Prize: 20 Grand Prizes of 25,000 United MileagePlus Miles. Approximate value $875.
Some Rules:
Open to legal residents of the 50 United States & D.C.
Must be at least 18 years old at time of entry
Must be a MileagePlus member at time of entry
Register for the sweepstakes HERE.
To gain additional entries:
  • Shop online through the MileagePlus Shopping site or Shopping Assistant and earn one entry per transaction (Max 2 entries/ day)
  • Sign up for the newsletter to earn one entry. (Must stayed signed up through 9/30/12)
  •  Log-in and view the special offers on the sign up page every day and receive one entry per day

 .Enter by 9/30/12

With A Little Perseverace, We Booked Our Next Flight

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I’ve been looking around for flights for our next trip a few weeks now.
I decided that we would use miles again and was leaning toward heading to Europe. About a week ago I started thinking about Asia. I tossed the idea out there to Kim to see if she would consider it. We haven’t been to the region in a few years and it’s been way too long!
I did some searching on American Airlines and United and didn’t find any flights worth considering so I turned my focus back on Europe.
When I got home late Saturday night from a barbecue I had an e-mail from my friend Dennis- the Lufthansa Flyer. The subject of the e-mail was Singapore Glitch… Hmmm, interesting…
I read the e-mail and found out that Singapore Airlines was doing system upgrades all night and Saver Elite Awards were open to bookings on Star Alliance carriers. This was big news considering these awards are usually blocked out to Star Alliance partners, only being available to their own frequent flyer program.
I started dreaming of heading off to Asia in business class instead of going to Europe. Nothing against Europe, I do love it but I’ve been there around 15 times! I ended up spending the next 2.5 hours searching for flights to various places on a few select dates. I came up empty handed. (Asides from that, I am not sure that I would’ve woken Kim up at 2:30AM to see if she wanted to go to Asia.)
The next morning I mentioned the possibility of going to Asia to Kim and she was all for it. Even though the Singapore Air bookings were supposed to stop at 10:30AM I decided to look for some flights again. Once again I didn’t find anything.
I decided to try one last time to find flights for us. What do you know, I found a couple of great options! I went ahead and made the reservation for Kim, Lucas ( traveling as a lap baby) and myself. I was eagerly awaiting the confirmation- I instantly received an e-mail that United was processing the reservation. I had read on Flyertalk and Milepoint that many people were getting ticketed in 5 minutes. I went out for a jog and came back a little over an hour later and I still did not have my flight ticketed. I started to think that this trip was not going to happen so I decided to call United to see what was going on…
Here is a rundown of calls I made to United:
  1. The customer service agent told me that Singapore Air was not giving United the seats so my flight was not happening. When I started questioning her she got very nasty and annoyed. Since I wasn’t getting any answers that made sense from her, I asked for a supervisor. I was told to hold and she then proceeded to hang up on me.
  2. The CSA told me that my flight to Singapore was not available anymore and offered to try to find me a flight for the following day. After a brief hold she said that I had the flight and would receive an e-mail confirmation. I wasn’t confident that I would be ticketed for the flight and waited for the confirmation email.
  3. An hour or so later I still did not have an e-mail regarding the changes to my flight. I decided to call United for a third time. This was the best call yet. The CSA told me that I was flying from NYC-Cairo. (Cairo was supposed to be where I was connecting through). I explained the situation and she told me no, the only thing she had was NYC-Cairo. After asking some questions and telling her about the previous calls, she told me that she saw the Singapore flight but it was not available and I am not getting it. I then asked for a supervisor and she clearly told me not to hang up. I was placed on hold until hanging up 45 minutes later.
  4. This call was made from my cell phone while on hold with call #4. This CSA was very nice and saw availability for my original itinerary. He was working on helping me out and I was placed on hold. Then with my luck, the call dropped! Not his fault, blame AT&T!
  5. On my final call the CSA transferred me to the international desk where I got really great service.The CSA answered the phone and greeted me with his first & last name, a first during my evening of calls. He saw my flights immediately but did not understand why I wasn’t ticketed within 5 minutes. After two holds of 5-10 minutes each, I had my flights and my UA online account changed to say ticketed!
Good thing that I did not give up. If I had listened to the first few CSAs I would still be looking for a flight for my end of summer trip. 
Thanks to a little perseverance, we are flying to Singapore for 120,000 miles + tax. The flights were valued at a little under $14,000 (not that we would EVER pay that kind of $ for a flight). 
Next up is working on the itinerary and booking a couple of cheap flights around SE Asia. I have a good idea of where we should be going and will write about it after the final decisions have been made.

United Airlines: The Outperform Recognition Program- Nominate an Employee and You Can Win

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It’s always nice to give and receive recognition for doing a great job. United Airlines is looking for help from it’s customers to reward employees that give excellent customer service.
The Outperform Recognition Program is pretty neat because it promotes recognizing UA employees that are great with customer service and also gives you the chance at winning airline tickets or award miles. 

To nominate employees, you use the United mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

Here is the way it works: 

  • When you receive excellent customer service, you can nominate an eligible United employee in the Outperform Recognition Program 
  • You can nominate up to five employees per nomination period through the United app
  • If the employee that you nominated is a winner in the random drawing, then you win too.

Signing up seems easy enough:
  1. Once you open the United app, select MORE from the main screen
  2. You will then see a list of Travel Services. The fourth option on the list should be Outperform Recognition. Select it.
  3. You will then be asked to fill in your information- name, flight confirmation, MileagePlus Account & e-mail
  4. Scroll down a drop more and you will then enter the United employees information- name, last 4 digits of employee number and a story about the great service you received in 120 characters of less
a screenshot of a travel service
Step 2
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Step 3
a blue and yellow application form
Step 4

There will be a random drawing which will select 16 winning nominations. Each employee and the customer that nominated them will be winners.

The Prizes:

Drawing order MileagePlus member prizes Employee prizes
Grand prize Two roundtrip tickets for United First travel in the U.S. mainland or international travel in United Economy $50,000
1st prize 75,000 award miles $25,000
2nd prize 50,000 award miles $10,000
3rd prize (3) 20,000 award miles $5,000
4th prize (10) 10,000 award miles $2,500
  • Open to legal residents of countries served by United who are MileagePlus members (there is a lengthy list of countries not eligible)
  • Must be 18 years of age by May 31, 2012
  • Sweepstakes period ends September 30, 2012

Find out all of the details about The Outperform Recognition Program HERE