United Airlines Million-Mile Trip Report: Introduction and Background

Last month, I (finally) crossed one million lifetime miles in United’s MileagePlus program. It’s been a long time coming, quite honestly, as I’m certain that I crossed the actual flown amount on United metal years ago.

a screenshot of a computer

My United lifetime balance

As did most members, I received a nice bump in lifetime miles when Continental OnePass merged with United MileagePlus, but those approximately 100k “extra†miles were far fewer than what I’ve actually flown on United if I were to consider my award travel, as well as cockpit jumpseat and non-rev flights when I worked for United in the 1990s. And I never flew a single mile on Continental before they merged.

While I have overcome the “need†for annual Premier 1K status and my overall fear of flying in coach, I still wanted to make my million-mile trip special. And so, my planning for it started a trip or two back.

Earlier in September, I flew a deliberate mileage run to position myself to roll over a million miles in style. It wasn’t a run that I’d normally take, coming in at 4.99 cents-per-elite-mile, but it allowed me to book a trip that would have me rolling over a million miles on my favorite aircraft – a Boeing 747.

a plane on the runway

My 747 to Seoul

And even better, my million-mile trip was to a city that I wanted to visit for a long time having only previously connected through its airport – Seoul. To be honest, it was also the easiest destination for which to use two United Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs) confirmable at booking. (If you’re curious, the SFO-ICN-SFO flights are usually wide open for GPU use.)

My trip was hugely satisfying and I’ll be posting my review of each United flight (with rather exceptional crews), my stay at the Conrad Seoul (an incredible property) and the ghetto Asiana Business Class lounge in Seoul (different from the one I had visited previously), in the days to come.

Until then, here are a few images from my trip.

a map of the world with a plane pointing to the distance

Only a couple of hours to go!

a high angle view of a city

View from my Conrad Seoul room

a path with a fence and a pond

Serenity in Seoul

a group of tall buildings

Stable Seoul Structure?

Oh, and I received a fantastic “Congrats!†from United’s social media team after landing in San Francisco off of my million-mile flight. 😉

a group of people sitting at a table with their hands up

United’s million-mile congrats

[Edited to add:] And part two is now available to read, which is a review of my United flight in BusinessFirst from San Francisco to Seoul.

– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.


United’s Social Media Team Wows With a Fantastic Million-Mile Congrats

Flight Review: United Airlines BusinessFirst, San Francisco to Seoul

Confessions of an Elite Status Junkie: Part One

Flight Review: Asiana Airlines Business Class, Seoul to Los Angeles

Lounge Review: Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge in Seoul

Buh-Bye Upgrade Phobia: Rediscovering the Joy of Coach Travel

Random Notes From My United Mileage Run on Saturday

United Lifetime Miles Have Been Updated


  1. I have 800k united miles but with no status, Well actually i have silver status valid perhaps until Jan 2014. I got it thru marriot platinum challenge. I accepted the challenge over a month ago but never have signed up for the silver until last week. I am not staying at any marriots

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