This month, we celebrate a momentous milestone in our airline’s history—the 40th anniversary of our MileagePlus® program. Since the program launched on May 6, 1981, more than 100 million MileagePlus members have placed their trust and loyalty in us to take care of them at every step of their travel journey. This anniversary reflects our commitment to you and our ongoing desire to reward and recognize all of our loyal members.
MileagePlus continues to lead the industry, innovating to enhance the travel experience. A few years ago, we announced that your MileagePlus award miles never expire, giving members a lifetime to use miles on flights, experiences, hotels, and more. And perhaps most notably for every single United customer, we were the first U.S. global carrier to eliminate change fees forever.
For our MileagePlus Premier® members, we also launched PlusPoints®, the industry-leading upgrade benefit, giving you the flexibility to upgrade however you choose. With our family of new MileagePlus credit cards, we now have cards and benefits for every type of traveler—including our new fee-free Gateway® card and our just launched Quest® card for more frequent travelers.
Throughout our history, we have always sought to offer more ways to earn and redeem miles to more award destinations than any other U.S. airline. Along with our many program innovations, I am also proud of the work we have done together with our members to contribute to the needs of the communities we serve, including donating 3.4 billion miles to charity organizations since 2003.
Our commitment to making MileagePlus the best airline loyalty program in the world hasn’t gone unnoticed. At the end of last year, MileagePlus was named the Best Overall Frequent-Flyer Program by Global Traveler readers for the 17th consecutive year. Our customers also named us the Best Overall Airline in the World, which is a testament to the incredible work our employees are doing around the globe to keep our customers safe and comfortable, all while ensuring a world-class experience.
As we emerge from the challenges of the pandemic, United is on a mission to be the best airline in the history of aviation, and we couldn’t do that without you. To those in our MileagePlus program, whether you have been with us from the beginning or if you are just starting your United journey, thank you for your loyalty. We look forward to serving and rewarding you for many more years to come.
Vice President, Marketing & Loyalty