CHICAGO, May 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced the launch of the MileagePlus Small Business Network, the first U.S. travel loyalty program that enables businesses to earn and redeem miles.
Participating businesses earn award miles by purchasing goods and services from more than a dozen of the program's vendor partners, including leading providers of printing, shipping, credit card payment processing, office supplies and computing services.
United also today launched a bonus offer through which companies can obtain 1,000 bonus miles for enrolling in the MileagePlus Small Business Network and conducting transactions that earn at least 100 miles. A list of participating vendor firms is available at http://smallbusiness.unitedmileageplus.com/.
Businesses may use their earned miles to purchase travel awards and upgrades, bid for experiences through the MileagePlus Headliners auction program and shop for merchandise, newspaper and magazine subscriptions and dining awards. Companies can also buy, transfer or gift their miles or donate miles to a MileagePlus charity partner.
"Small businesses are a valued customer segment, and this unique program provides them more of what they need to operate efficiently," said Praveen Sharma, United's vice president of loyalty. "Our new Small Business Network offers great value to businesses of all sizes, from those just starting out to those that are well established."
MileagePlus is United's award-winning loyalty program, offering its members the industry's broadest range of accrual and redemption benefits. According to IdeaWorksCompany's annual Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey published this month, MileagePlus offers the most saver-style award seat availability among U.S. global airlines. Members earn award miles by flying United, United Express, Star Alliance airlines or other airline partners, and by purchasing products or services from a wide variety of partners worldwide. Members then may use those award miles for travel, hotel stays and car rentals, in addition to everyday purchases and activities. In the past year, United has introduced new programs enabling MileagePlus members to redeem miles for sports and entertainment experiences otherwise not available for purchase. The company also launched its MileagePlus Digital Media Store, another first in the airline industry, giving members the opportunity to use miles for music tracks, albums and movies.
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,446 flights a day to more than 370 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is investing in upgrading its onboard products and now offers more flat-bed seats in its premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any airline in North America. In 2013, United became the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi on long-haul overseas routes. The airline also features DIRECTV® on 200 aircraft, offering customers more live television access than any other airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has made large-scale investments in its fleet. In 2013, United will continue to modernize its fleet by taking delivery of more than two dozen new Boeing aircraft. The company expanded its industry-leading global route network in 2012, launching nine new international and 18 new domestic routes. Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel for 2012, and readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United's MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for nine consecutive years. According to the 4th annual Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey published by IdeaWorksCompany in May 2013, United has the most saver-style award-seat availability among the largest U.S. global airlines. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 194 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.