Small Business Network Launched; Earn 1,000 Bonus MileagePlus Miles

Could the launch of the MileagePlus Small Business Network mean more award travel for you? Photograph by FlyerTalk member foppishbum. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by foppishbum.


United Airlines announced the launch of the MileagePlus Small Business Network, the first frequent travel loyalty program in the United States which enables businesses to earn and redeem frequent flier program miles, and — once enrolled — participating companies can obtain 1,000 bonus MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles for conducting transactions with 19 participating vendor firms which earn at least 100 miles.
This means that the small business will have its own MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program account to which anyone in the company can earn miles and from which anyone in the company can use miles — in accordance with the policies of both the small business and the MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program, of course.
Additionally, companies will also be able to purchase, transfer or gift their miles or donate their MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles to a charity partner of MileagePlus — and “fee waived transfers” are “coming soon.” The details about those complimentary transfers are not available at this time, but it would be nice if small businesses were able to transfer their MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles to deserving employees as a reward without having to incur fees, for example.
Sounds great if you have a small business, right? Not so fast, say FlyerTalk members. Number 39f of the official terms and conditions clearly states that “Small Business Network members are not eligible to accrue mileage for flight activity.”
FlyerTalk member magemarq is “concerned about the links to Hertz and Avis. Now instead of me earning miles on my rental, my employer will? Hope this doesn’t lead to companies earning air miles for my travel instead of me.
The problem with the bonus offer is that you must earn the 100 miles by August 17, 2013 to receive the 1,000 bonus MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles. This is not necessarily an easy task if your business does not patronize the partner vendors; yet it should be a cinch if your business does purchase products and services from them. For example, you must spend $50.00 at the official Internet web site of Home Depot or $100.00 at the official Internet web sites of either Staples, Dell, Apple or Canon — although you can mix and match as needed.
FlyerTalk member pcoll52 posts that “one can get the same points just using the Shopping Mall, and has way more choices of vendors.”
Perhaps I am just not understanding why FlyerTalk members are negative about this new program. If you own or run a small business, I see it as another option which does not negate the existing options, as you now have the following:

Individual MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program account. You have your own MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program account with which to earn and redeem MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles.

United PerksPlus for small businesses. This is a complimentary corporate program designed to reward small and mid-sized enterprises for air travel on United Airlines and United Express by awarding points based on the type of business travel tickets purchased and depositing them into United PerksPlus account of the company on a monthly basis. Corporations are then able to redeem PerksPlus points on a variety of rewards offered via the United PerksPlus program. If your company joins now, there is a limited-time bonus of 5,000 PerksPlus points simply for enrollment.

MileagePlus Small Business Network. On purchases meant to be used for the business, the company earns its own MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles which it can use to save on business expenses such as air travel, shopping or dining without having to use the MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles of an individual member.

While it is not exactly the best loyalty program I have ever seen, joining the MileagePlus Small Business Network seems to be a “no-brainer” in my opinion. You have nothing to lose and some nice little perks to gain for your company on purchase transactions it would have executed anyway without affecting your earnings and usage of both your individual MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program account and the United PerksPlus account of your company.
Am I wrong?!?

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