Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

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Caduceus
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Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by Caduceus » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:00 am

I have plenty of United miles, and I would like to use it to buy a ticket for my friend. We don't share similar last names. Can this be done and will there be an additional cost? Will he have any problems using the ticket if I issue a rewards ticket in his name? This will be for an international flight on United.

JerLon
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by JerLon » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:01 am

Yes, you can book award tickets for someone other than yourself.

TravelGeek
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:08 am

You are allowed to do that. No fees. Make sure there is no perception of bartering. E.g., make sure your friend doesn’t accidentally mention to the checkin agent that s/he treated you to a nice steak dinner at an expensive restaurant as a thank you for the ticket.

RudyS
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by RudyS » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:22 pm

But, the recipient will have to show proof of identity/. Be sure to check with the airline as to just what will be required.

Invest4lt
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by Invest4lt » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:31 pm

Yes, as indicated above by others this is fine. Be sure to get your friend’s frequent flyer number and attach it to the reservation. Unless you travel on the same itinerary your friend’s ticket will not inherit your status.

SRenaeP
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by SRenaeP » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:03 am

You need to ensure the name on the ticket matches your friend's passport. Some airlines also require you to enter passport number, expiration date, etc. If your friend has Global Entry or PreCheck, you want to enter their KTN as well.

dbr
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by dbr » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:31 am

It is a really good idea to do this together. That way the friend can ensure the ticket is exactly what is wanted and that the data is correct. Putting in incorrect names such as nicknames or incomplete names can create a major snafu that is hard to impossible to correct. Booking for the wrong day is also an error that can be costly to change, even with miles. The friend should ensure that they get a confirmation with an issued ticket number at their own point of contact information and that they can sign online and see the trip.

TravelGeek
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by TravelGeek » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:34 am

RudyS wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:22 pm
But, the recipient will have to show proof of identity/. Be sure to check with the airline as to just what will be required.
Not sure what you mean by that. I have bought tickets for friends and family with miles from my accounts (various airlines), and they were able to check in online or at a kiosk without issues. Of course anyone (other than minors) will have to show a government issued photo ID at TSA checkpoints,

dbr
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by dbr » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:39 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:34 am
RudyS wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:22 pm
But, the recipient will have to show proof of identity/. Be sure to check with the airline as to just what will be required.
Not sure what you mean by that. I have bought tickets for friends and family with miles from my accounts (various airlines), and they were able to check in online or at a kiosk without issues. Of course anyone (other than minors) will have to show a government issued photo ID at TSA checkpoints,
Presumably that is what was meant. Also, as you know, to check in for an international flight the passenger does have to show valid travel documents including a passport. In the later case the airline is not responsible for telling anyone correctly what documents are required but does have the authority to prevent flying without what they deem adequate documents.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:40 am

I have done this in the past on a couple of different airlines without issue.
If you haven't booked a reward ticket in a while note that there is always a fee now when doing so - although it is pretty minimum. Putting the ticket in someone else's name doesn't add an additional fee - but there is "a" fee.

dbr
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by dbr » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:44 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:40 am
I have done this in the past on a couple of different airlines without issue.
If you haven't booked a reward ticket in a while note that there is always a fee now when doing so - although it is pretty minimum. Putting the ticket in someone else's name doesn't add an additional fee - but there is "a" fee.
I can't remember there not being a larger or smaller fee on mileage tickets. Sometimes it is completely negligible but there are also some instances of egregious fees such as flights through London. It is worth checking on the cost to cancel and redeposit miles or to change the reservation. Some airlines, such as Delta, don't allow changes once within 72 hours of departure.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:49 am

dbr wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:44 am
DaftInvestor wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:40 am
I have done this in the past on a couple of different airlines without issue.
If you haven't booked a reward ticket in a while note that there is always a fee now when doing so - although it is pretty minimum. Putting the ticket in someone else's name doesn't add an additional fee - but there is "a" fee.
I can't remember there not being a larger or smaller fee on mileage tickets. Sometimes it is completely negligible but there are also some instances of egregious fees such as flights through London. It is worth checking on the cost to cancel and redeposit miles or to change the reservation. Some airlines, such as Delta, don't allow changes once within 72 hours of departure.
Here is the list of United reward ticket booking fees:
https://www.united.com/web/en-US/conten ... eting.aspx

Seems it is now reward-tier dependent.

TravelGeek
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by TravelGeek » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:14 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:49 am

Here is the list of United reward ticket booking fees:
https://www.united.com/web/en-US/conten ... eting.aspx

Seems it is now reward-tier dependent.
There is generally no airline fee if you book the ticket online and at least 21 days in advance. If for some reason you cannot book the ticket online due to a system limitation, you can ask for a fee waiver when making the reservation on the phone.

They also collect security and other government taxes, which very much depend on the destination/routing. This is independent of any loyalty status and charged to all travelers. Premium cabin seats can trigger higher taxes in some cases (travel to/from UK/LHR comes to mind).

RudyS
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by RudyS » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:38 am

dbr wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:39 am
TravelGeek wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:34 am
RudyS wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:22 pm
But, the recipient will have to show proof of identity/. Be sure to check with the airline as to just what will be required.
Not sure what you mean by that. I have bought tickets for friends and family with miles from my accounts (various airlines), and they were able to check in online or at a kiosk without issues. Of course anyone (other than minors) will have to show a government issued photo ID at TSA checkpoints,
Presumably that is what was meant. Also, as you know, to check in for an international flight the passenger does have to show valid travel documents including a passport. In the later case the airline is not responsible for telling anyone correctly what documents are required but does have the authority to prevent flying without what they deem adequate documents.
What I was referring to is described in the linked article below. This is however old news. My thought/suggestion was to verify current requirements.
https://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/09/ ... eck-in-id/

TravelGeek
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by TravelGeek » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:08 am

RudyS wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:38 am
What I was referring to is described in the linked article below. This is however old news. My thought/suggestion was to verify current requirements.
https://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/09/ ... eck-in-id/
Ah, but that talks about showing the credit card used to book the award, not the travelers' (or booker's?) ID.

I have had that happen for revenue tickets booked for my wife from my account on United (solo tickets; I wasn't on the reservation), but it was years ago. The reservation would show a red warning message that the original credit card would be required for checkin. That obviously would be a problem if I wasn't going to be around at checkin time, but the workaround was to show the card to an airport agent ahead of travel. Back then we lived close to SFO and were traveling regularly, so on one of our trips I just had them remove the "check credit card" flag for a future solo-trip. All that said, I have not had this issue with United in several years. Other international airlines are known for wanting to see the credit card used for a booking independent of who is traveling. E.g., Singapore Airlines wanted to see my card for my booking at checkin. I was lucky at the time that I actually carried the specific card with me.

I haven't tried it, but you might be able to ensure the traveler has the credit card by using their credit card for the fees/taxes instead of your own.

More on the United situation here: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united- ... umber.html

dbr
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Re: Can I use United airline miles to buy a ticket for my friend?

Post by dbr » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:09 pm

RudyS wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:38 am
dbr wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:39 am
TravelGeek wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:34 am
RudyS wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:22 pm
But, the recipient will have to show proof of identity/. Be sure to check with the airline as to just what will be required.
Not sure what you mean by that. I have bought tickets for friends and family with miles from my accounts (various airlines), and they were able to check in online or at a kiosk without issues. Of course anyone (other than minors) will have to show a government issued photo ID at TSA checkpoints,
Presumably that is what was meant. Also, as you know, to check in for an international flight the passenger does have to show valid travel documents including a passport. In the later case the airline is not responsible for telling anyone correctly what documents are required but does have the authority to prevent flying without what they deem adequate documents.
What I was referring to is described in the linked article below. This is however old news. My thought/suggestion was to verify current requirements.
https://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/09/ ... eck-in-id/
Right there is that and also the minor tempest over Real ID drivers licenses in some states

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