United To Change Frequent-Flier Rules

United Airlines is changing its frequent-flier program to provide extra rewards for big-ticket travelers but additional restrictions on people redeeming mileage awards.

Starting in January 1998, travelers using a so-called saver award - which provides a domestic round-trip ticket for 25,000 frequent-flier miles - must reserve 14 days in advance and stay over a Saturday night. Currently, there are no such restrictions except for holiday blackout periods.

If passengers cannot book their domestic round-trip tickets ahead but still want to redeem a mileage award, they must use 40,000 miles for the trip.

By using a standard-award ticket, a traveler faces fewer restrictions and has a much better chance of getting on the requested flight, a UAL Corp. spokeswoman said.

Also in 1998, passengers paying full fare will receive higher priority in obtaining upgrades.

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