In case you don’t want to stockpile miles for a transatlantic flight, there’s a new way to put your airline currency to use. United Airlines is now letting passengers pay for in-flight Wi-Fi with their MileagePlus awards at a rate that will fluctuate with supply and demand. The new payment system will be available on domestic flights in early 2016, and it’ll gradually roll out across United’s international fleet by next summer.
But don’t get too excited. According to Routehappy’s 2015 study on in-flight Wi-Fi, United only offers Internet services on 20 percent of its flights, ranking dead last in its overall Wi-Fi availability compared to all other legacy carriers. (Virgin America takes the cake with a full fleet of Wi-Fi equipped planes.)
Not flying United? It’s always a good idea to book your Gogo In-Flight Wi-Fi ahead of your flight to save money (a one-hour pass booked in advance is just $5, compared to $12 on the plane). And if you’re starting to feel the holiday spirit, consider this alternate use of your miles: the Make-A-Wish foundation accepts mileage donations from all major airlines and uses them to fund 50,000 bucket list trips a year.