As I’ve mentioned previously, I collect all kinds of airline memorabilia that I’ve come across over the years. On the back of one of my old 1982 ticket jackets is a chart of Mileage Plus awards that I’ve posted below. Keep in mind United wasn’t flying internationally at this point, so no, you could not get a free First Class round-trip to Tokyo for just 50,000 miles.
What I don’t recall was the earning structure and any bonus mile opportunities, aside from the 1,000 mile head-start this ad claims to give. I didn’t join until 1988, but United did have the Premier levels rolled out when I had joined. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the Premier Executive level required 75,000 miles back then, and I’m not sure the 1K level had even been introduced.
It’s kind of amazing how much the programs have evolved over a relatively short amount of time!