United Airlines is launching 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.
"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, in a release. "Our new Small Business Network offers great value to businesses of all sizes, from those just starting out to those that are well established."
United also is launching 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 here.
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.
MileagePlus is United's 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.