PIN Number Must Change to Password at

I f you have managed to log into your MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program account at the official Internet web site of United Airlines using your personal identification number recently, note that those days are almost over, as you will soon be required to use a more secure password.

PIN Number Must Change to Password at

“Brian you should also do a write up about United they use the 4 digit pin for login”, Pete — who is a reader of The Gate — posted in the Comments area of this article warning about the security of accounts in the Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program, as some have been accessed and even sold by thieves. “Like Hilton it can’t be disabled. It also has to be provided to the customer service personnel when calling them. I believe the only way to get these companies to change sometimes is to put public pressure on them.”

I followed his advice and wrote and posted this article pertaining to why United Airlines should switch from using a personal identification number to a password in order to improve the security and protection of MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program accounts — and the airline has apparently listened.

Unlike the personal identification number — which only contained four numeric digits — the new password requires meeting the following criteria, as it:

  • Must be at least eight characters in length, with a maximum of 32 characters
  • Must include at least one letter and one number
  • Can contain standard special characters — such as !, &, and +
  • Must be case-sensitive
  • Cannot include your e-mail address or MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program number

Official Notice From United Airlines

This is the text in verbatim which was sent to me via e-mail message from United Airlines earlier today…

To better protect your United MileagePlus® account, we’ll soon no longer allow you to use your PIN to sign in. Instead you’ll need to have security questions and a strong password.

If you haven’t done so already, please sign in to your account today. You’ll be asked to complete these steps:

  1. Validate your email address
  2. Choose and answer new security questions
  3. Update your password

For now, you will still need your PIN when you call the United® Customer Contact Center, so don’t lose track of that just yet.

Thank you for being a MileagePlus member and for taking the time to update your account.

…and after I changed my personal identification number to a more secure password, I attempted to log into my account with my former personal identification number and saw the following message:

Change from personal identification number to password

Source: United Airlines. Click on the above image for a larger version.


It is about time that United Airlines followed the lead of other frequent travel loyalty programs — such as the SkyMiles program of Delta Air Lines, where using a personal identification number to access an account was no longer possible effective as of Wednesday, October 29, 2014 — to switch from a personal information number to a more secure password.

I suppose this change is better late than never  — unless your MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program account was already compromised before the change occurred…

…but the time has been long overdue to allay the concerns of its members pertaining to the security of their MileagePlus miles; and that will soon be finalized.

Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

5 thoughts on “PIN Number Must Change to Password at”

  1. Colleen says:

    For your next mission, may I suggest targeting the companies who make you answer security questions such as “your favorite singer”. I can’t think of a single reason my favorite anything will be the same in one year as today. Food, country, city, cuisine, whatever.

    * rant over *

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I had never thought of that, Colleen; and like you, I despise questions such as that. They really can be irritating. Good rant!

      Never mind that you cannot think of a single reason your favorite anything will be the same in one year — I cannot stand when I am given multiple questions for security purposes and none of the choices accurately describe or fit my criteria as a response; and then I am required to remember how in the world I responded when I need to answer those questions…

  2. Dave says:

    Will there ever be a way to use a username to log in? I hate having to try and memorize or track down my frequent flyer numbers So frustrating

  3. Sammy Young says:

    It’s just PIN, PIN Number is redundant, just like the ATM Machine it’s used in.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I usually eschew redundancy such as that, Sammy Young; and yet here I go committing that very act.

      PIN was only used in the headline to shorten it; but as you can see in the article, I do not use the abbreviation except in the subhead. I typically do not like using abbreviations.

      Thank you for pointing that out, as you are indeed correct.

      Hmm…I wonder if I should have a pizza pie for dinner…

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