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How to pool or combine United miles to book award flights?

Updated: Mar 28, 2024. Tim Das.
How to pool or combine United miles to book award flights? - Cover Image
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United has recently rolled out a new feature allowing MileagePlus members to pool or combine their miles for award flight bookings. This process, known as pooling miles, enables the merging of miles from different accounts for use on a single booking.

How does pooling United Miles work?

Pooling miles enables MileagePlus members to consolidate their miles into one shared pool. The pooled miles can then be used to book award flights.

The following steps are required to create and manage a mile pool:

  • Initiating a mile pool is completely free, and any MileagePlus member who is 18 years or older can set up a mile pool and act as the pool leader.
  • The pool leader can invite other MileagePlus members to join their pool. These can be family members (including children), friends, or a combination of both, provided they are also MileagePlus members.
  • Each mile pool can accommodate up to five members.
  • All members of the mile pool can contribute their MileagePlus miles.
  • The responsibility of managing the mile pool falls on the pool leader, who also has the authority to permit other members to redeem miles.
  • Members can only belong to one mile pool at a time. Once they leave a mile pool, they forfeit access to any pooled miles.

To use pooled miles for booking flights, must be the pool leader or have redemption privilege. If you have been granted this permission, log into your MileagePlus account on or through the United app. Search for an award ticket as you usually would, and select your mile pool account when you reach the payment page.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of United’s pooling miles benefit?

You have control over your contribution.

When joining a mileage pool, you determine how many miles you wish to contribute. There’s no upper limit on contributions made to an active mileage pool.

Unlike some other family miles pooling program, the pool leader of a United miles pool doesn’t have unlimited access to all miles in your account.

It’s a one-way street.

Miles can be withdrawn from the pool within 24 hours of being transferred. After this period, the transfer cannot be reversed.

If your travel plans change or are cancelled, you won’t be able to retrieve your miles directly. The pool leader, however, has the ability to book an award flight on your behalf or grant you permission to use the miles pool.

Joining a mileage pool with individuals you don’t know or trust is not advisable.

There is a 90-day cooling-off period.

Members can leave a mile pool at any time. However, any miles contributed by a member who leaves are forfeited and remain with the pool for use by remaining members.

New members cannot join the pool until 90 days have passed since a member left, and those who leave cannot join another mile pool for 90 days. If a pool leader decides to leave, the entire group is dissolved and all remaining miles are evenly distributed among the remaining members.

Who can redeem pooled miles?

The concept of redemption privileges exists within United’s mileage pooling system. These privileges can be given to any member by the pool leader, granting them permission to redeem miles from the pooled account.


Currently, pooled miles can exclusively be used for booking United or United Express award tickets. They cannot be used for flights with partner airlines, upgrades, seat assignments, in-flight purchases such as food or Wi-Fi access.

This poses significant limitations for United members outside of the US.

The benefits of pooling miles.

Pooling miles offers several advantages depending on individual circumstances.

Multiple accounts lacking sufficient miles for individual redemption.

United awards mileage points to individuals flying with them or their partner airlines, regardless of who paid for or booked tickets.

This often results in small amounts of unutilized mileage points spread across various accounts, which aren’t enough for individual redemptions. Pooling these scattered points into one shared account increases the opportunities for redemption.

Get that card for your other half.

The reality of modern loyalty programs is that almost every one earns more points and miles with credit cards than actually flying with an airline or staying with a hotel.

The ability to pool miles opens up an exciting opportunity to encourage other family members to get a card as well. Whether it’s for joining bonus, or for everyday spends, having multiple cards means more miles every month.

With the ability to pool miles, you can then combine the miles from all members and use them for family trips or for any that dream international trip in business class.

Single PNR booking.

At times, each family member could have enough miles to book their own award tickets. However, that would also mean each member would be flying on a different PNR.

The ability to pool miles can help book the entire trip for your family on a single PNR, completely online. This can be very convenient and save you from a lot of hassle in case of cancellations or overbooked flights.

Simplified group trip planning with friends.

When travelling with friends, each individual usually covers their own travel and accommodation costs. However, it typically falls on one person to handle all the bookings.

If all members of the group are planning to redeem miles for flights, pooling makes it much easier for that one person to book all the tickets.

You just need to create a pool with the person booking as the leader. Each member can then contribute the exact number of miles required for the ticket to the pool.

Better value for miles.

Pooling miles can enhance the value of your miles in two ways.

Firstly, although United miles do not expire, they do get devalued. Therefore, using your miles as soon as possible theoretically provides greater value. Pooling miles can expedite this process.

Secondly, United miles tend to provide greater value when used to book premium cabins such as business class instead of economy. Pooling miles allows you to accumulate enough for these higher-value bookings faster.


You can now pool your United miles from multiple accounts to book award tickets. The pooled miles can exclusively be used for booking United and United Express flights as of now. Hopefully, this changes soon.

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