Readers Prefer American Miles Over United Miles 2-to-1

The extra 1000 miles from with your first hotel booking didn’t draw all that many clicks. Data is interesting to me in its own way, and I’m fortunate to be able to look and see what people click on and learn about my readers as a group that way.

When I wrote that the CardMatch tool was offering some people 100,000 Membership Rewards points as a signup bonus offer on the Platinum Card, that was quickly clicked on over 3000 times.

The MobileSuites app, which will let you order room service or your car up from valet using your phone at most chain hotels in the U.S., was clicked on about 1000 times. Of course, they were sponsoring a giveaway of hotel points.

What’s interesting about the Kaligo post is that there were separate links for earning 1000 bonus American miles and for earning 1000 bonus United miles. And I was able to see their relative popularity.

Here’s a report on clicks of the United offer — 145 over a couple of days.

And here’s a report on clicks of the American offer — 314 clicks over a couple of days.

More than twice as many clicks of the American offer as of the United one.

On the one hand, it is a very small sample size compared to the number of readers on the site. On the other hand, it’s interesting that those considering pursuing a bonus offer chose American over United two-to-one.

Personally I value American miles slightly more than United miles as well.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I find the title slightly misleading. I don’t think the data suggests a 2-to-1 valuation. Without assuming anything else (e.g. about the distribution of valuations), it only means that more people prefer American miles over United miles. It does not say anything about by how much.

  2. This blog is biased toward AA flyers – you fly it more often and thus write about it often. At the moment it’s the most gamer friendly airline.

    You’d probably get a same bias to Hyatt over Starwood. Doesn’t mean anything more than the bias of your readers.

  3. I think United will feel the effects of their devaluation much more than Delta. I have cancelled my United credit cards and I no longer choose to earn United miles as my first choice through portals & rental cars etc. Occasionally I will still fly them if I have to but they much closer to Delta now. And it’s not that difficult to leave them because the in flight experience has not been that good for a while. MileagePlus was the one thing keeping me loyal. Anyway time will tell…

  4. I guarantee part of the discrepancy is attributable to the position of the links. The AA link appears first.

  5. This doesn’t really surprise me, even as a person who flies way more UA than the competition, primarily because of location (SFO). In many ways the AA miles are the more valuable currency these days. They have cheaper redemptions on a very strong network of partners. UA has good partners in theory until you realize that some of the best are virtually impossible to redeem on (i.e. SQ) and if you can they cost 50-100% more in miles than what AA would charge.

  6. I’m sure everyone has their own reasons for the decision between the two. Mine is pretty simple… because I’ve about maxed out cc bonuses on both airlines I have to look at which points are harder for me to earn. Because of the UA transfer availability from UR, and how easily I can rack up huge amounts of UR points, AA is more difficult to earn miles on for me right now. I’d rather convert UR to UA than SPG to AA, so I look for other ways to build up my AA balance.

    That’s just me though, as a non-elite and non-revenue flyer who earns all my points/miles from spend and bonuses. Obviously others have different reasoning.

  7. Come on, Gary, you’ve been writing this blog for 10+ years and obviously you have the quality to back it up. I know blogs depend on pages views but I’m still surprised that you used a misleading / clickbait-y title.

    Of course your readers favored the AA link more then the UA link. You are a top tier AA elite and your blog favors AA. Hell, that’s part of the reason many of us AA flyers read it. I bet if you pull your readers you’re gonna find that more of your readers are AA elites.

  8. There is absolutely no way AA miles are more worth than UA miles other than if you exclusively fly to Asia on Cathay.

    Sure, it’s a lot harder earning United miles these days, but to me they are the most valuable currency out there and I never have enough United miles while my AA account always has a very healthy balance. I recently left United and think the airline is appalling, but saying that AA miles are worth more, is not credible.

    Here’s why

    1) United actually has availability on longhaul flights in the premium cabin

    2) United does not charge fuel surcharges at all. If you’re going to Europe you can always find award space with United or partners. Finding award space on AA metal is virtually impossible, I have NEVER been able to find saver awards on AA metal in the premium cabin on long haul. That leaves also hard to find BA and if you can find it, it will in most cases be an awful routing and you will be charged 500 dollars EACH WAY in fuel surcharges. If you are lucky enough to find AA premium redemption, the majority of their fleet is ancient and doesn’t have lie flat.

    3) United charges 70K miles one way for partner redemption in business, AA charges 50K for now, but you can bet that it will increase later this year. So the question is at the current level you have to take the 500 dollars in fuel surcharges in to the equation, is it worth the 500 dollars extra vs. paying nothing on UA and partners.

    In conclusion, AA has a better proposition for everyone less than GS, but their miles are not more valuable.

  9. Meaningless “poll” without taking into account how many positive stories and negative stories the site has done on each airline. If I had to bet, AA got better coverage on this site than UA 😉

    Do a similar “poll” between Hyatt or SPG vs. any other hotelchain and it would be even more lopsided…

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