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United Airlines New Mileage Pooling Feature Hits Technical Snag Shortly After Going Live

United Airlines New Mileage Pooling Feature Hits Technical Snag Shortly After Going Live

a row of seats in an airplane

For once, we aren’t talking about a technical fault with one of United’s airplanes but instead an issue with the carrier’s IT systems that marred the announcement of an impressive new mileage pooling feature just hours after it was launched.

On Thursday, United Airlines announced that it had become the first carrier in the U.S. to allow up to five family members to pool their frequent flyer miles, allowing families to potentially reach their mileage goals faster.

The MileagePlus miles pooling feature allows a lead family member aged 18 years or older to become the pool leader. The pool leader then invites up to four family members, including minors, to join the pool.

Pool members get to choose how many miles they contribute to the pool, and putting miles into the pool won’t affect an individual’s Premier status. Pooled miles can then be used to book award flights or offset the cost of a full-fare ticket.

However, only the person who travels on a ticket purchased with pooled miles will earn Premier Qualifying Points, not the person who contributed the miles used to purchase the ticket.

It’s also not possible to pool Premier Qualifying Points, PQP, Premier Qualifying Flights PlusPoints, or TravelBank cash.  

When United made the announcement on Thursday, the feature was meant to be available immediately, but after just a few hours, frequent flyers trying to access the pools feature were being met with an ominous ‘Page Not Found’ warning on the United website.

Fear not, however. Rather than having a change of heart and suddenly withdrawing the feature, a spokesperson for the Chicago-based carrier told us that they had encountered an unexpected technical issue overnight.

The airline said that it hopes to bring its mileage pooling feature back online soon, although the spokesperson was unable to provide an estimate of how long it will take to fix the IT outage.

The miles pooling announcement was meant to be some welcome good news for United after a torrid few weeks caused by a slew of technical mishaps with its aircraft.

Last week, United CEO Scott Kirby even wrote to frequent flyers to reassure them that it was still safe to fly with the accident prone carrier.

“Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, our airline has experienced a number of incidents that are reminders of the importance of safety,” Kirby wrote. “While they’re all unrelated, I want you to know that these incidents have our attention and have sharpened our focus”.

Kirby promised to implement any learnings from the recent spate of accidents which would be in addition to changes that were already in the pipeline.

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