United PerksPlus is a free, company-focused program that gives extra miles to business owners and their workers. Here’s how it works and how you can use it to earn double or even triple points.
United is often criticized for being the last of the major airlines to change.
For instance, it followed Delta’s lead with dynamic pricing based on the number of seats available, and it followed American Airlines with minimum spending requirements to get elite status.
It is all the more surprising that United has such a business-friendly program to stack up more frequent flyer miles in ways beyond what its competitors offer. United PerksPlus is a free, company-focused program that gives extra miles to business owners and their workers.
PerksPlus points run parallel to personal frequent flyer miles. Savvy business leaders can double or even triple their redeemable points with some strategic planning and the right credit card. Here’s how you can do it, too.
See related: Which United Airlines credit card should you choose?
How to get started with United PerksPlus
Tailored to travel-heavy, small-to-mid-sized businesses, the United PerksPlus program is designed for business leaders, in-house travel managers and solo entrepreneurs who are planning their own travel. It is set up for you to use for a business trip as simply as you would for a personal one.
There are two tiers to the program: The basic PerksPlus and the advanced PerksPlus Navigator.
For PerksPlus, your U.S.-based company must spend at least $5,000 on United, United Express, Lufthansa Group or ANA airline tickets within the first three months, and thereafter a minimum of $25,000 every 12 months to keep membership.
Caribbean, Central American and Latin American businesses have a much longer threshold: $3,000 in the first 12 months and an annual target of $10,000 (Caribbean and Central America) or $15,000 (Latin America), respectively.
Like competitive business airlines programs, taxes and fees don’t count toward your total. Unlike others, qualifying flights can be done with one employee or across several people.
On the other hand, PerksPlus Navigator requires a minimum $400,000 of current flight revenue to join. The benefits include 15% more points per flight and more flexible point rewards.
Starting with PerksPlus requires answering a few basic questions about your business, including company size, number of employees and total travelers. United will give a quick confirmation email and provide you with a business frequent flyer ID that can be added to you or your employees’ info the next time you book.
How does United PerksPlus work?
United gives one PerksPlus point per $1 spent, and points, in turn, can be used to buy more flights or earn rewards. The points given can multiply based on two criteria: fare class and hub location.
When it comes to the fare class, the more exclusive the ticket, the more points you get. Discounted fares give 1 point per $1, business fares offer 2 points and last minute and premium fares max out at 3 points per $1.
Furthermore, coming from a non-United hub will double your points earned. For instance, a U.S.-departing business flight from United’s hubs in Chicago, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco or Washington, D.C., will get the usual 2 points per $1, but taking off from Atlanta (a major Delta hub) will get you 4 points per $1.
The same rules apply to United’s international hubs, multiplying your points as high as 12 per $1.
How to rack up United PerksPlus points
Your strategy begins with how you purchase the business ticket. Getting a premium flight from a non-hub like Philadelphia will net you 6 PerksPlus points per $1.
Remember, you still get your personal miles and, with the United Club℠ Infinite Card from Chase, you can net an additional 4 miles per $1.
The ultimate coup, though, is redeeming the PerksPlus points back into your frequent flyer points. In a move completely unique to United, 2 PerksPlus points can be turned into 1 frequent flyer mile.
This can add up quickly, as $5,000 worth of premium flights can translate into 30,000 PerksPlus points or 15,000 frequent flyer miles. This would be in addition to the frequent flyer miles you would have already earned from the basic flight purchase and using a United credit card.
The direct United PerksPlus redemptions vary from OK to ridiculously good – United Gold status for 120,000 points requires tens of thousands of dollars spent on flights.
The $25,000 U.S. and Canada threshold is a pretty rich investment, too, so more modest companies may want to look at Delta SkyBonus ($5,000 annual minimum) or American Airlines’ Business Extra (no annual minimum).
If your business qualifies, you should take advantage of the program’s unique points-to-miles option, especially since the conversion is free.
See related: 12 ways to earn more United miles
Is United PerksPlus worth it?
United PerksPlus is worth joining if your business is United-loyal and consistently does travel numbers that match the minimum threshold.