United Removes “Explore the World” Promo Miles

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Update: Shortly after I wrote this (and went to sleep) United did send out an email giving people a head’s up about what was happening, so that is a good move to at least make sure folks are aware of what happened. However, the email makes it clear that only flights purchased after a certain date will count, when folks were getting bonus miles for flights purchased at any time previously (and clearly unintentionally). So, many folks will likely receive fewer miles in the end than they received initially.

File this under the “I spoke too soon” category. Tonight I was checking my United MileagePlus balance and it didn’t look right. It looked low – about 25,000 miles low to be exact. I spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out what happened, and then I realized that 25,000 miles is the same number that I earned from the “Explore the Wold” promotion that I was targeted for a few months ago. Uh-oh.

I then headed straight to Flyertalk, and sure enough there is an official message from United Insider that states the following:

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to give you a quick heads up that, although some of you have seen miles post from our “Map of Dreams” offer, we accidentally began crediting these a bit earlier than planned and have subsequently found that many did not post correctly. To fix this, later tonight, we will be removing any bonus miles that were credited and will re-qualify all customers after the promotion completes on July 15th. We will post the correct number of bonus miles by July 28. This update process will only impact bonus miles that are part of the offer. It will not affect base miles, PQM and PQS.

I haven’t been having the best of days (see tomorrow morning post for details on that excitement), so pardon me for being a little more annoyed than normal at this, but come on now. You give miles and then you take them away? What if someone was planning on booking a trip with those tomorrow or something similar? I have no issues with not being awarded miles until the officially announced time, but to give, and then unexpectedly take them away? Yuck. It also was very confusing for me trying to figure out what happened. An email might have been helpful, since not everyone would know to beeline it to Flyertalk or Milepoint. That said, I am glad at least there was an official announcement for those who did make their way to a message board.

I don’t have any immediate plans for these miles, so other than 10 minutes of confusion, it is no skin off my back. Hopefully they will return all 25,000 miles by July 28th. While I truly do appreciate bonuses and promotions, United has had a recent history of poorly handing some promotions (ahem, Months of Miles). Maybe next time everything will go smoothly……… Regardless, if you find yourself unexpectedly missing some Untied miles, this may be the reason why.

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  1. […] I admitted yesterday that I might have been more annoyed than normal at United removing bonus miles awarded early/incorrectly from a promotion due to the crummy day I was having.  However, in hindsight, I think I actually was less annoyed than I normally would have been.  Judging by the growing Flyertalk thread on the topic, others seem to agree. […]


  1. Thanks for the post. I noticed I was massing 25,000 miles from my account but couldn’t find out for the life of me where they came from or went. Luckily I didn’t “need” them anytime soon, but you’re right, an email would have been nice.

  2. Regardless of the ethicality of what they did, they are emailing out this notice, but when you are sending it to millions of people, it takes some time. It would’ve made sense to send email that and once they are all sent remove the miles.

  3. This is just a stupid move from a PR perspective (but the new United couldn’t care less about that).

    When a business makes a mistake the smart thing is to own the mistake. Yes, they are technically correct, but the mistake had been known for weeks (if not months) now. So what United says is that United’s IT department is incompetent twice – once for programing the promo wrong to begin with and second time in taking so long to fix it.

  4. My 25K miles are also gone. While I understand why they did this it could have been handled better. There is no transaction in my account showing the miles leaving the account. Poor audit trail which will only cause people confusion later.

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