United, the second-biggest United States airline by capacity, started testing a web portal on Thursday that lets clients use award miles to get to the Internet on their portable PCs, tablets and cell phones, making it the first U.S. carrier with the feature, a representative said.

It hopes to roll out the portal to most U.S. local flights by mid-2016 and to complete installations on international flights by mid-summer. Regional jets that United contracts for its United Express brand will get the portal later.

The move mirrors a continuous push in the carrier industry to treat frequent-flier miles like a coin. Explorers as of now can redeem miles on U.S. carriers for lodging rooms, theater tickets, merchandise such as cameras and even identity theft checking. This likewise denotes United's most recent move to win over clients since Oscar Munoz took over as chief executive of parent United Continental Holdings Inc. in September.

Munoz has requested input from explorers on the most proficient method to enhance the airline, ranked the lowest in consumer satisfaction of the biggest North American carriers, as indicated by J.D. Power's 2015 ranking. The group overseeing the offer of additional services such as Wi-Fi that is currently focused on enhancing travelers' experience more than expanding income, United's Vice President of eCommerce and Merchandising Scott Wilson said in an interview.

Wilson said there must be some dollar or mileage cost in light of the fact that web speeds could slow if every client attempted to get to the Internet. For now, existing contracts keep United from revealing the speediest satellite-based Wi-Fi on all flights.

Wilson said the miles required for Wi-Fi would vary with supply and demand. United's partner Deutsche Lufthansa AG charges long-haul clients 3,500 miles or 9 euros for 60 minutes of Internet access, according to its website.

Munoz, who is on leave until 2016 after a heart attack, has said that implementing the 2010 merger of United and Continental was rocky for clients and employees.