United MileagePlus is my go-to search engine for Star Alliance award space (just as British Airways Executive Club is my go to engine for oneworld award space).
I like how MileagePlus can show a calendar of availability, and has some nice ways of sorting and refining results, as well as showing some options I would never have even thought of booking!
I don’t redeem many United miles (Singapore Airlines Krisflyer and Avianca LifeMiles are my primary Star Alliance redemption programs), but I use the United search engine all the time to see what is available.
Something else I like about the United search engine is that you don’t need to login to view search results, like you do with Krisflyer and Lifemiles.
Well Matthew over at Live and Let’s Fly has picked up that United has just added a login requirement to view search results on MileagePlus. I tried it myself and sure enough, while you can enter your search terms without a login:
You are then prompted to enter your MileagePlus membership number and password to see the search results properly:
Now, theoretically you can sort of see the results if you have very good eyesight through the heavily shaded blue login in prompt, but there’s a potential workaround — for some. If you click the “X” in the upper right, you’ll get to your results without having to enter your credentials:
This option doesn’t seem to show up for everyone, on all devices, but neither does the box prompting a log-in, which is interesting.
After clicking out of the window (or logging in) the results are shown properly:
Matthew has suggested a few reasons for this change, one of which is to dissuade people (like me!) who use the engine just to search with no intention of booking anything through United.
He’s also suggested United may be improving their big data analytics, so will be capturing what people are searching for, even where they don’t book anything.
I guess this is a fair enough change as many programs do not allow you to see search results unless you log in.
This isn’t a huge change, and one that is fair enough for United to make. I’ll probably still use the United search engine before deciding which program to redeem miles in, depending on the results that it shows up.
What’s your theory as to why United would make this change?