How We Got Free DIRECTV and WiFi on United

Sep 19, 2014

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This morning I tweeted out my shock and excitement that my United operated flight had not just DIRECTV, but also WiFi.  Having both options is a first for me on United since that airline has lagged behind the pack when it comes to inflight internet, especially on their Boeing aircraft.  The real kicker was that both the TV and the internet worked.  I’m either going to win big in Vegas this weekend with all this luck, or I just used it all up before we even touched down.

In my world it is news when a United plane has both TV and WiFi, but the real point of the post was how we got both on-board TV and internet for free, and it wasn’t by sitting in first class.

We got the on-board goodies free thanks to a $25 credit that came with redeeming 20,000 FlexPerks points for this flight via the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature®.  I outlined that process in this post, but the gist is that flights up to $400 dollars can be obtained for 20,000 FlexPerks points.  This United ticket cost $382 and the price was covered by my FlexPerks points, plus since the ticket was purchased in the eyes of United I am also earning redeemable and elite qualifying miles.

Many in the miles and points world already know about using FlexPerks points for flights, but it is easy to forget about the $25 airline allowance that comes with each airline award ticket paid for with FlexPerks.  Qualified purchases are “any purchases made with your FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card that post to your account under the airline carrier providing your award travel flight between the dates of your award travel flight”.

I’m betting some have purchased airline gift cards with that $25, but we opted to “live it up” on the plane by binging with both internet and tv!  You could also use the credit toward on-board snacks, drinks, or toward checked bags.

For those curious on pricing, the on-board internet went for $2 per hour per person for full access.  If you just wanted email and mobile app access it was $1 per hour.  You can even pause your use if you needed to stop for a while to eat or take break.  I would have happily paid $4 for two hours of internet even without any airline credit, but getting it for free as part of my FlexPerks rewards redemption was obviously even better.


When you are flying on a flight purchased with FlexPerks points be sure to bring along your FlexPerks credit card so you can get the max value out of your redemptions by enjoying some in-flight productivity…or Fashion Police re-runs.

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