United’s new option to ‘pool’ airline miles can’t currently be accessed

(NEXSTAR) – United Airlines is now allowing passengers to “pool” and share their frequent-flyer points with family and friends — but the webpage where users are invited to begin the process is currently down, and won’t be available to access for another few days, according to United.

On Thursday, the carrier touted its new MileagePlus miles-pooling program as “a new way for MileagePlus members to contribute and combine their miles into a joint account.” A press release indicated the option was available as of Thursday, but the provided links to the pooling program webpage, or its terms and conditions, were redirecting back to United’s homepage on Friday.

A spokesperson for United’s media department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A member of the carrier’s customer service team, however, confirmed the webpage was down.

When asked for a time frame as to when customers could access the webpage, the team member indicated it would be back online within 48–72 hours from Friday morning.

There is no option to begin the pooling process via telephone via the customer service team, the representative said.

As of Friday, the original “rules” webpage for United’s longtime MileagePlus program also made no mention of pooling or sharing miles.

As described by United, the program — when available — will allow a “pool leader” to choose up to four other people to set up a joint account in its MileagePlus program. The group leader must be over 18, but there is no minimum age for others, so parents can sign up kids. Everyone in the pool must have their own United frequent-flyer account.

JetBlue AirwaysSpirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines already offer pooling, with the rules varying a bit from one to another. But United Airlines will be the first major carrier to operate a similar program.

Frequent-flyer programs remain popular despite complaints that the value of miles and points decline over time because airlines raise the requirements for redeeming them for flights or other items.

The programs are valuable to the airlines by increasing customer loyalty and giving consumers a reason to get an airline-branded credit card. United’s credit cards are issued by Chase.

United points are in the middle of the pack for value among programs at U.S. and international airlines, according to a recent analysis by the consumer site NerdWallet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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