United Continental has announced several new options for both MileagePlus and OnePass frequent flyer programme members to earn and redeem miles, as well as new ways to access personalised offers and give the gift of travel to non-profit organisations in their communities. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

MileagePlus is offering members the opportunities to share up to 10 million MileagePlus miles with their favourite charities during the 2011 holiday season, along with access to a range of discounts and offers when they check in at airports using either Facebook or Foursquare, as well as bonus miles for shopping and the ability to redeem miles for stays at luxury resorts.

United is encouraging both MileagePlus and OnePass members to vote online for the charities that they would like to see share in a 10 million mile contribution from the MileagePlus programme. Charitable organisations around the world - including more than 45 in the United States and 21 international organisations, including the American Red Cross, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Conservation International - will receive a portion of the 10 million mile grant, based on their percentage of votes. Each organisation will receive at least 25,000 miles. United is also encouraging its frequent flyers to spread the word, particularly via their Facebook and Twitter profiles, about the holiday miles donations. MileagePlus will announce the results in mid-January 2012.

MileagePlus members also have a new way to use their social networks to receive special offers from more than 10,000 restaurants participating in the MileagePlus Dining network, as well as hundreds of merchants at United's hub airports in Denver, Houston, New York/Newark and San Francisco. MileagePlus will add more offers over the coming months. To receive special offers, members share their location via Facebook and Foursquare as they visit participating airports, and receive 50 award miles with each daily check in.

The programme has also announced new options for members to earn and redeem their miles, with the addition of two new partners that join the 100+ other companies in the MileagePlus loyalty network. Gilt Groupe (which includes the Gilt, Gilt City, and Jetsetter brands) offers members 1,500 award miles when they sign up for luxury shopping, local deals and premium travel options. In addition, members earn 5 miles for every US$1 spent with Gilt Groupe during the first six months of membership.

The Exclusive Resorts club offers members the option to redeem miles for luxury holiday experiences around the world. Members who join Exclusive Resorts have the opportunity to upgrade their MileagePlus tier (for example from Premier to Premier Executive) by joining the Exclusive Resorts club.

At the same time, ezRez and MileagePlus have partnered to allow members to use their miles to pay for products and services on the internet. Upon launch, MileagePlus will enable members to use miles to pay for products and services with selected online merchants, who will then deliver their goods directly to the member, and the member's MileagePlus account will be debited with the appropriate number of miles.