Florida "hacker" wins 1,000,000 airline miles

Jordan Wiens is boasting that he earned 1,000,000 airline miles without ever leaving the ground.

Wiens, a Melbourne computer security analyst, says United Airlines awarded him the seven-figure bounty for locating a bug in its website.

United issued an unusual call to ethical hackers a few months ago. The carrier said the so-called “bug bounty” is a first for the airline industry.

“If you think you have discovered a potential security bug that affects our websites, apps and/or online portals, please let us know,” the site reads. “If the submission meets our requirements, we’ll gladly reward you for your time and effort."

The maximum payout is 1,000,000 miles.

ABOUT THE BUG BOUNTY: http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/Contact/bugbounty.aspx

Wiens says he poked through United’s online systems for about six hours recently to find a flaw. He says he thought the vulnerability was important, but not worthy of so many miles.

“I did not expect to qualify for a full million,” he said.

Wiens posted a picture on Twitter showing two deposits from United that arrived on Friday. One deposit was 999,999 plus another for one mile. Together, it’s a huge 1,000,000 mile windfall.

What flaw did Wiens discover? He can’t say.

One million miles will travel quite far. Based on our read of the United Airlines MileagePlus award chart, it’s enough for:

40 round trips in the U.S. and Canada (except Hawaii)
16 round trips to Europe
12 round trips to Australia

20 round trips in the U.S. and Canada (except Hawaii)
8 round trips to Europe
7 round trips to Australia

Wiens said he plans to use the miles for coach class trips for his family, though he is considering one splurge in the ‘premium’ cabin.

“I have been telling the wife for awhile that I am going to take her to Hawaii,” he said. But that’s probably not going to cut it anymore. “She’s like, ‘you’ve got to do better than Hawaii.’”

Wiens said 'bug bounties' are common in the tech world. He saluted a mainstream company like United for hosting the ongoing contest.

“I have to give kudos to United for doing it,” he said.