The Ultimate Guide to United Miles: Part 1 – Earning Lots of United Miles

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Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

United miles are among the best miles to use for international travel.  That’s because United is part of the Star Alliance (a group of 28 airlines) and you can redeem your United miles not only on United, but ALSO on other Star Alliance airlines such as Lufthansa, Thai Airways, etc.

This opens up lots of travel opportunities!

Even better, United does not charge high fuel surcharges or extra fees for using United miles for award travel.  This makes using United miles cheaper than using American Airlines miles for travel to Europe.

That’s because you pay extra fees and surcharges when you redeem American Airlines miles for flights on British Airways to London.   But you don’t pay these extra fees for flights on United’s partner airlines Lufthansa, Swiss, etc. for flights to Europe.

We Used Our United Miles To Fly Business Class To India For Only 60,000 United Miles One-Way

We Used Our United Miles To Fly Business Class To India For Only 60,000 United Miles One-Way

The Ultimate Guide To United Miles Index

You can use your United miles to book award seats on United and on Star Alliance partner airlines such as Lufthansa, Air New Zealand, and Singapore Airlines.

United lets you book one-way award seats so you could fly to one city and leave from another, or fly there using United miles and come home using another airline’s miles.

United has a reasonable award chart:

  • One-way Coach seats for travel in the US starts at 10,000 United miles
  •  Travel to Hawaii starts at 20,000 miles for a one-way in Coach and 40,000 miles for a one-way in Business class
  • A Coach one-way award ticket to Europe starts at 30,000 miles and a Business class one-way award ticket starts at 50,000 miles.
  •  One-way Business class award tickets to India are 60,000 miles

The fastest way to earn a lot of United miles is through credit card signup bonuses.  But before you apply for credit cards, be sure you know the 5 dangers of applying for credit cards.

290,000 United Miles 

You can earn 290,000 United miles with all the possible cards which earn United miles.

Credit Card
Sign-On Bonus
Minimum Spending Required
Annual Fee
Total272,500 United Airlines Miles
United MileagePlus Explorer (personal)30,000 United Airlines miles (Look out for targeted 50,000 mile offers as well)

5,000 additional United Airlines miles by adding an authorized user and make a purchase within the 1st 3 months of opening your account

$50 statement credit after your 1st purchase
$3,000 within 3 months
$95 waived for 1st year
United MileagePlus Explorer (business)50,000 United Airlines miles$2,000 within 3 months$95 waived for 1st year
Chase Sapphire Preferred50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points

5,000 additional Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user who makes a purchase within the 1st 3 months of opening your account
$4,000 in 3 months
$95 waived for 1st year
Chase Ink Plus60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points$5,000 in 3 months$95
Chase Freedom 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150)

$25 (2,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) for adding your 1st authorized user who makes a purchase within this same 3-month period
$500 in 3 months
No annual fee
Chase Ink Cash20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($200)
$3,000 in 3 monthsNo annual fee
United Club (personal)$100 statement credit after your 1st purchase

United Club lounge access
none$450 NOT waived for 1st year
United Club (business)$100 statement credit after your 1st purchase

United Club lounge access
none$450 NOT waived for 1st year
Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX (personal)25,000 Starwood points = 12,500 United Airlines miles, plus 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer in 20,000 point increments$3,000 within 3 months$95 waived for 1st year
Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX (business)25,000 Starwood points = 12,500 United Airlines miles, plus 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer in 20,000 point increments$5,000 within 3 months$95 waived for 1st year

You shouldn’t apply for all the cards at the same time because all but two are from Chase, and not all of them will meet your needs!  And you should not apply for credit cards if you have a big loan in the next 2 years.

Earn United Miles

Chase United MileagePlus Explorer  

Link:  United MileagePlus Explorer (personal)

Link:  United MileagePlus Explorer (business)

Sign-up Bonus:   The United MileagePlus Explorer (personal) and the United MileagePlus Explorer (business) offer 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 within 3 months.

See this post on the different ways folks have been able to get the 50,000 United miles offer after spending $2,000 within 3 months.

Other Perks:  

  • Priority boarding and 1 free checked bag if you book using the card
  • Primary Rental Car Insurance
  • No Foreign Transaction fees
  • 2 free United Club passes every year
  • 10,000 extra United miles if you spend $25,000 in a calendar year.  This means that you earn 1.4 United miles for the 1st $25,000 in spending on the card

If you’re chasing United elite status, you can avoid the Premier Qualifying Dollar spending requirements up to Platinum elite status by spending $25,000 within 1 calendar year on your United card.

Earning United Miles:   The United MileagePlus Explorer card gives you 2 miles for every $1 spent at United.  But, it is NOT the best card to use for non-United spending because you earn only 1 mile per $1 (unless you spend $25,000 within 1 calendar year and earn an extra 10,000 miles).  That said, the card could be worth it for some folks because of the free checked bag, priority boarding etc.

However, the business United Explorer earns 2 points for spending in gas stations, restaurants, and office supply stores.

Your miles won’t expire as long as you have the United card.  If you cancel your card, the miles will expire in 18 months of not earning or using United miles, but it is easy to have some activity in your account.

Ultimate Rewards Points – Direct 1:1 Transfer to United

1.   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:  Chase Sapphire Preferred

Sign-up Bonus:  The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within 3 months.  You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to United in a 1:1 ratio.

Other Perks:

Earning United Miles:  You earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining, so you’re better off putting those expenses on your Sapphire Preferred than on your United credit card.

You can then transfer Ultimate Rewards points to United & earn 2 miles on ALL travel and dining expenses!

2.   Chase Ink Plus (Business)

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

Sign-Up Bonus:   You earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within 3 months.  You can transfer 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points to 60,000 United miles.

Other Perks:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2 free lounge passes each year
  • Can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to many different airlines and hotels

Earning United Miles:   You earn 5X points on office supply stores and telecom (cable, wireless, internet) so you are better off paying for those expenses on your Ink Bold or Ink Plus and then transferring the points to United.

Ultimate Rewards Points – Transfer to United via Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus

Ultimate Rewards points earned from the cards below cannot be directly transferred to United.

But you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned on the cards below to your Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus card and then to United at a 1:1 ratio!

1.   Chase Freedom

Link:  Chase Freedom

Sign-Up Bonus:   Earn 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150 cash back) after spending $500 within 3 months.

Other Perks:

Earning United Miles:   You earn 5X points with select categories (gas, groceries, etc.) each quarter up to a maximum of $1,500 or 7,500 points per quarter.

You can earn 30,000 bonus points if you max out the $1,500 category limit each quarter for $ 6,000 in annual spending!

If you have a Chase checking account, you will earn a 10% annual bonus on all points which you earn with your Chase Freedom card.

2.   Chase Sapphire Visa

Link:  Chase Sapphire Visa

Sign-up Bonus:  The Chase Sapphire Visa has a 10,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $500 within 3 months.

Other Perks:

Earning United Miles: You earn 2X points per $1 only on dining and 1 point per $1 on everything else.

In contrast, the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2X points on both dining AND travel.

3.  Chase Ink Classic

Link:  Chase Ink Classic

Sign-up Bonus:   Earn 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months on the Chase Ink Classic Credit Card.

Other Perks:

  • No annual fee

Earning United Miles:   You earn 5X points on office supply stores and telecom (cable, wireless, internet) and 2X points on hotel and gas subject to a $25,000 annual cap on each category.

You can use the same gift card strategies for the Ink Bold with this card to earn 5X points on most of your purchases.

4.   Chase Ink Cash

Link:  Chase Ink Cash

This card gets you 2X points on dining (not hotels) and gas.

Other Ways to Earn United Miles

1.  Chase United Club Credit Card 

Link:  United Club (personal)

Link:  United Club (business)

Sign-up Bonus:   The United Club (personal) and the United Club (business) get you:

  • United Club lounge access (free wi-fi, snacks & showers)
  • Premier Access (priority boarding, security, etc.)
  • 2 free checked bags
  • Free Hyatt Platinum status (free internet!) as long as you have the card

You may be able to get the card with the 1st year fee waived if you visit a Chase branch.

If you’re chasing United elite status, you can avoid the Premier Qualifying Dollar spending requirements up to Platinum elite status by spending $25,000 within 1 calendar year on your United card.

Earning United Miles:   The United Club card gives you 2 miles for every $1 spent at United.

You also earn 1.5 miles for every $1 spent everywhere else making it a good card to put your daily spending on if your goal is to earn lots of United miles or if you’re a Big Spender.

2.   Starwood Points –  2:1 Transfer to United & 5,000 Transfer Bonus 

AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest 

Link:  Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (personal)

Link:  Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express (business)

Sign-up Bonus:   The Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX (personal) offers 25,000 Starpoints after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and the Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX (business) offer 25,000 Starpoints after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months

But the transfer ratio isn’t great because you get only 1 mile for every 2 Starwood points.  But there is a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer to United.

So you’d get only 15,000 United miles for transferring 25,000 Starwood points (including the 5,000 point bonus).

To be clear – I personally would use my Starwood points for hotel stays or to transfer them to other airlines which have a transfer ratio of 1:1, instead of transferring them to United.

If you do want to use Starwood points for Star Alliance flights, you could transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to US Air (as long as they are in the Star Alliance) or Lufthansa.    25,000 Starwood points would transfer to 30,000 US Air or Lufthansa miles which is a better value than transferring them to United.

Earning United Miles:   The Starwood Preferred Guest card earns Starwood hotel points for every $1 spent at Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) hotels and resorts.

You also earn 1 Starpoint for every $1 spent everywhere else.

You get 5,000 bonus points when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to one of over 30 airline partners.  But I would use the United Club card (which earns 1.5 miles per dollar) as your everyday spending card if you want to maximize your United miles.

Fidelity Brokerage Accounts

Earn up to 50,000 United miles with a $100,000 deposit in your Fidelity Brokerage account.

Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall

After credit card sign-on bonuses, the easiest way to earn lots of miles and points is by clicking through to a mile and point earning portal to buy stuff which you would have otherwise bought.

The Ultimate Rewards portal is a great way to earn extra points which can then be transferred to United.

For example, why not click through the Ultimate Rewards portal for your $100 Kohl’s purchase and earn, say, 10X points or 1,000 points for the same purchase?


United says that your miles expire in 18 months unless you use or spend your United miles:

Mileage accrued shall only be subject to expiration on the last day of the eighteen (18) months after the last account activity in the member’s account.

But you can easily keep your miles active.

Keep Your United Miles Active by Earning Miles:

Keep Your United Miles Active by Redeeming Miles:


  • You can earn lots of United miles for Big Travel with Small Money!
  • The quickest way to earn United miles is to put all your spending on credit cards which earn United miles
  • United miles expire after 18 months unless there is some activity such as flying, renting a car, or even dining out

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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115 responses to “The Ultimate Guide to United Miles: Part 1 – Earning Lots of United Miles

  1. Excellent job on United D!!!
    I live in NJ so United is my number one airline. The one way reward tickets are HUGE and hopefully they never take that away. Star Alliance partners will not always honor low level reward seats even if United shows seats available on their website as I have had problems in the past.
    Just transferred Carlson & Hilton points to United miles even though you did advise me the valuation was not very good.

    I really only use the United credit cards when purchasing their airline tickets for the free checked baggage. Otherwise it’s my Chase Ink Bold card full steam ahead for flexibility. I have both personal and business United credit cards.

    I have a tough decision to make now. Have 30,000 Starwood points and am thinking about transferring them to United miles. However sometimes I have found when United doesn’t have a reward seat available and Chase UR points are extremely high, I have seen a seat available on Starwood’s website so I might hold onto it for an emergency last minute flight. What’s your suggestion?

  2. goals^n^dreams

    love this post so much ^_^ I have saved United points for my future vacation ^_^

  3. Salut from Paris! Thanks to our collected miles from MileagePlus we got a nice set of flights: EWR-FRA-FCO, LHR-MUC-GDN-MUC-EWR. In addition to this we’ll be flying with BA to London from Paris where we just came yesterday on a night train from Rome 🙂

  4. Thanks for the post, I’m pretty new to points/miles and have decided to go with United/Star Alliance as my airline(s) of choice, so I’m excited to start thinking about how to get the most out of it.

    One question though – I was under the impression that Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned using the Chase Sapphire (no fee version) were not eligible to be transferred to miles. I’m pretty sure I read this on a blog somewhere, and I was hoping you might be able to say something about the distinction (if any) between points earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. the Chase Sapphire non-preferred. Thanks!

  5. Ignore my first question (or delete these two posts entirely) – I just never read the entire post that carefully, particularly the part about being able to transfer points from the Chase Sapphire to a card that IS eligible for the transfer to miles. Thanks again.

  6. It says that the Ink Plus and Bold come with Lounge access- is that true? i have never heard that before/

  7. The link to the Chase Freedom says it has a cash back bonus… not a 10,000 points bonus? Did they change that already?

  8. Jana Cornelison

    I must be missing something…you said “One-way Coach seats for travel in the US starts at 10,000 United miles” In all my years as a Mileage Plus member I have not seen this, is it listed in their award chart?

  9. if u live in hawaii, u can also get the 1st hawaiian bank biz card with 10k bonus, primary cdw, $45 annual fee.


  10. Suggesting the SPG cards as a smart way to accrue MileagePlus points is really bad advice. Really bad.

  11. @Cynthia: Freedom is by default a cash back card or the UR those come with Freedom can be redeemed for $0.01 (1 cent) value only. When you have any of the other Premium Cards that accrue UR like (Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold/Plus) then you can combine all the URs and hit it big. They did not change anything recently. It has been the case for a while.

    • @Billy D – I personally wouldn’t transfer 30,000 Starwood points to United miles, but would use the Starwood points for either Starwood hotel stays or transfers to other airlines which have a 1:1 ratio.

      @Robert – Sounds like a great trip!

      @Myron – No worries. It is confusing, but you can transfer points from the Sapphire to either the Ink Bold/Plus or Sapphire Preferred and then to United (or other transfer partners).

      @David T – YOu get 2 free visits in select lounges, but have to pay $27 per visit after that.

      @Jana Cornelison – Flights under 700 miles within the US cost 10,000 miles and is listed on their award chart.

      @webazoid – I wished I lived in Hawaii!

      @Wandering Aramean – I don’t say that it is a “smart” way to earn United miles and list it right at the bottom and wrote that the transfer ratio isn’t great. But if it isn’t clear to you, then it isn’t clear to others, so I’ll update the post to make it clearer that transferring SPG points to United isn’t the best use of SPG points. Thanks for the comment!

  12. I notice lots of flights open for mileage use at the low rate ( for us san/bkk/san) when looking online several months out, with very little mileage in the account, but just after moving mileage from Chase to UA the seats ( business/first) all show full at the low mileage range.

    anyone else notice this?

  13. Including the SPG cards on this cc fest violates, in my book, the “Do No Harm” rule.

    My 2 pennies (all my site can afford lol)

  14. Don’t forget about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Mastercard, in addition to the Visa. Yes, you can get the bonus for both. Apparently, Chase views them as different products.

  15. Dear Daraius and Emily! thanks for another Great post and the puctures are beautiful! )) I have a question: I plan on closing my United Explorer card soon, but think of applying for the business version of it. In what order should I do it? Should I close personal first, or should I apply for Business first and then close personal. Thank you for the input!

  16. Good work. I appreciate having all the information on United miles in 1 post and the warning about transferring SPG to UA. Funny how the blog haters are 2nd rate bloggers who no one reads!

  17. I am wondering, is it OK to get bonus for both Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred?

  18. Does Chase still offer the 10% bonus w/ Freedom and a check account? I thought they got rid of that a while back.

  19. Thanks for the great advice! I’ll transfer 20,000 Starwood points to get the 5,000 bonus to US AIR which is a Star Alliance partner and it will allow me to book reward travel on United. Thanks again!

  20. Great. 5 quadzillion links to get affiliate income for flogging every possible combination of cards that can possibly get UA miles. Must be taking lessons from FTG?

  21. How convenient of you to not mention the 50K of free united miles via Fidelity. I am assuming Fidelity doesn’t pay you for advertising it.

    And very shallow of you to advertise SPG in this link fest, if it is a bad deal, why advertise it? Or are you hoping that a newbie will jump on it?

  22. In an article titled “Earning Lots of United Miles”, no mention of the Fidelity offer? Perhaps you plan an additional article on the subject?

  23. dude, for some reason your cheesy smile cracks me up. lol

  24. Very informative, but what is the fidelity offer people talk about?

  25. CharliesBrowns

    Is this post a joke? lol

    Fidelity doesn’t pay a referral fee FYI

  26. According to your mom in law rule, shouldn’t you be telling people that live near a Chase branch they can get better deals inside the bank? The Explorer bonus is larger (55k) and the club card is waving the annual fee($395). Sure you will lose the large commissions but if you really want to make sure you are letting them know about the best deal I think you are leaving something critical out. Set aside your commissions for your readers… This article might have the most affiliate links in one article I’ve seen in a long time.

  27. Wow thats a lot of United Miles!

  28. Courtney Crook

    Excellent post! I got the signup bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred two years ago (kept the card because it’s cool and no intl. fee), and also got the 50,000 bonus for United Mileage Plus Explorer in January. This means the annual fee will rear it’s ugly head later in the year. So, can I cancel one or both of the cards and get the bonuses again at some point??? I know dealing with Chase can be tricky….thanks!

    • @TravelBloggerBuzz – I get email asking about transferring SPG points to United, so best to address it in the post and explain why it is a bad deal.

      @Ed – If you can’t be without a United card, perhaps best to apply for the business version first.

      @Ray – They are considered different products, but I prefer the Freedom to the Sapphire because you can earn 5x points with the Freedom.

      @Tony – There is a yearly 10% bonus, but the extra points per transaction has been eliminated.

      @Paul – Do you know of an easier way to earn United miles?

      @Ganta – I’m hoping that folks can read the explanation of why it is a bad deal and make an informed decision for themselves.

      @Gary Steiger – FreeFrequentFlyerMiles – Actually, I do have a draft article on Fidelity coming up, but have included it in this post. Thanks for the reminder!

      @SuperKirby – LOL!

      @Jorge – I added it to the post, but you can get up to 50,000 United miles if you deposit $100,000 in a Fidelity account.

      SvenS – Perhaps you missed the link which explains how to get the targeted 50,000 mile offers? I don’t get a commission for the United Club card and for the United business card.

  29. You may address this in a future post. When booking a UA international award ticket, you are allowed 1 layover on a round trip ticket. How long do your connections have to be? Can you book a multi-city itinerary where you spend less than a day in each city?

  30. Hi Darius,

    I just booked an award ticket to India in economy using United, but flying on alliance partners. However, after signing up for the ink card (thanks!!), I will soon have enough miles to upgrade to business.

    I can’t seem to upgrade online. How much will it cost (aside from the 20,0000 extra miles each way) for me to upgrade over the phone?


  31. No didn’t miss it, its about how they might get a targeted offer for the 50k. Im talking about how any one can walk into a Chase branch and sign up for a 55k bonus offer (explorer) or a free first year club card. Its a better offer than what you are promoting.

  32. AA doesn’t charge extra fees either. I got a one-way award ticket from ATL to Madrid with only $5.00 in tax and fee, and also only 20000 miles for off-peak season. It would have costed 30000 miles on United.

    • @AFS – You can have as many layovers as you want as long as they are less than 24 hours on an international trip. You are allowed 1 stopover which can be as long as you want it to be.

      @Paige – I believe you will have to pay the change fee ($150 to $200) to upgrade from coach to business. You also have to find award seats in business class.

      @SvenS – If you clicked on the link it describes the way to get the 50K offer including the branch offer. I edited the description to be clearer. As I said before, I don’t get a commission on the Chase Club card.

      @Al – That’s correct, but many British Airways flights will charge high fuel surcharges and fees when you use your American Airlines miles. I edited the post to be clearer.

  33. I cancelled my personal United Explorer about a month ago as we put everything on a personal Sapphire. I could use the Explorer Business for small work expenses. Is it really a seperate product or will Chase veto the business card since I just had a personal card? If too soon how long to wait as the 50,000 business offer does show up now on my account page. Thanks

  34. I recently flew United (first time ever? first time I can remember…) on points, ATL to DEN to LAX. Biz class. I was truly dismayed at how old and uncomfortable biz class was (and no TV — in the whole section?! Not a single one?) Having always flown biz class on Delta, I was really looking forward to my little bottle of water when I boarded… Nope, United doesn’t do that, and in fact it wasn’t till we were in the air that anything was offered! (I flew home direct on Delta biz class (for $$), and had the usual excellent seat and treatment!) New to points, so I figured since it was easier getting United Points than Skymiles, maybe I’d have to split or transfer my allegiance. Whew! Not gonna happen! Not after having tried them out. I’ll still fly them if I must, but my preference will stay Delta.

  35. What is ” Platinum elite status”? I cannot find this words in UA website. I can only find ” Premier status” and “Premier Platinum”. are they same? I am still at basic member status even though I just earned 10,000 points through 25,000 $ spending last year. I paid the annual fee and still holding Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card now. Do I have to call them to upgrade to Premier Platinum?

    • @gregillinois – The business and personal cards are separate products.

      @Elenor – You raise an interesting point. Service is much better on Delta, but award availability is terrible with Delta and partners. It is the opposite with United – terrible service, but good availability and service on partners is quite nice.

      @Joey – Platinum status and Premier Platinum are the same. You only get Premier Platinum status if you’ve flown a certain number of miles – 75,000 Premier miles for Platinum status.

  36. I am planning to fly from TPE to SFO on a one-way United Airline ticket next July. I know I can add a stopover, like OGG. With this in mind, I have 2 scenarios and would like your comments on both:
    1. Could I do OGG-TPE-SFO? If yes, do I fly from SFO to OGG (in April, 2014), then TPE to SFO (in July 2014)?
    2. If #1 does not work, my other alternative will be TPE-SFO-OGG. The flight from SFO-OGG will probably take place in Dec. 2014, does it mean I cannot book my ticket from TPE-SFO until much later? I plan to book my TPE-SFO ticket next month.

  37. Then, wondering what is this sentence mean: “you can avoid the Premier Qualifying Dollar spending requirements up to Platinum elite status by spending $25,000 within 1 calendar year on your United card.” Aren’t you mean spending $25,000 within 1 calendar year can also be treated as flying a Premier 75,000 miles for Platinum status?

  38. Pingback: Use United Miles | Million Mile Secrets

  39. I got the 50k Chase targeted offer for the United Biz card, I have the explorer card. I just got United Silver Elite Status from my Marriott Platinum status. Great time to be building United miles and getting free Silver Status, I love United and Marriott, will be a great partnership and I get all the benefits from it.

    I highly suggest building status with Hotels, Airlines and rent a car companies if you can. The rewards are very generous since I only travel for vacations, no biz travel. I am a property manager and my spends are heavy when acquiring properties, renovating them and then renting them.

    Curious to know who American or Southwest may partner up with next?

  40. I might be missing something, but I think your math might be wrong when you say “you’d get only 15,000 United miles for transferring 30,000 Starwood points (including the 5,000 point bonus)”

    Wouldn’t you get 15,000 miles without the bonus, plus an extra 5,000 bonus for a total of 20,000 United Miles?

  41. I know I can transfer Ink Classic/Cash points to Ink Bold/Plus, but can I transfer Ink Classic/Cash points to the Sapphire Preferred? Thanks.

  42. @SuperKirby: You sure can!

  43. Pingback: United Award Chart | Million Mile Secrets

  44. Daraius, if I already have the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card, can I also get United MileagePlus Club card? If yes, any current sign-up bonus offers?

    • @Chris – It should be 25,000 Starwood points for 15,000 United miles.

      @Kalboz – You can get the Club card, but the main benefit of the Club card (besides the perk) is the ability to earn 1.5 United miles per $1 spent. There is no sign-up bonus, but you could get the fee waived by asking or stopping in a Chase branch.

  45. @Kalboz, I read many times on FT that people who tried to upgrade from an Explorer to a Club was not allowed because their card hasn’t been 12 months old yet, but instead Chase told them to apply for a new Club card in addition with any bonuses attached to it. But of course i’m no expert so maybe Daraius may know better.

    @Wi Tu Lo, thanks!

  46. Can I transfer Chase Sapphire Preferred points to ANY United ff
    mileage account number. { not primary card holder’s} ???

  47. Also, If you are NOT the primary card holder on an account, can you also
    get a Primary of the same card?

  48. Daraius,

    If I wanted to accumulate lots of United Mileage points, would it be wise to try and apply for multiple cards all at one time… such as the following: United MileagePlus Explorer (personal), United MileagePlus Explorer (business), Chase Ink Plus, Chase Ink Bold.

    Also, I currently carry a Chase Sapphire Signature & AmexGold and have accumulated lots of points. Other than using the points on the Chase or Amex travel sites, are there major airlines or hotels those points can easier be transferred to in the future.


    • @GiGi – You can with a business Chase card. With the personal Chase cards, you are supposed to transfer only to spouse’s/domestic partners. If you’re an authorized user, you can get a card in your name as the primary holder.

      @James B – I wouldn’t apply for all the cards at the same time. Perhaps no more than 1 business and 1 personal card. Do you have the Sapphire Preferred card? If so, you can transfer to different airline and hotels such as Hyatt, United, Southwest etc.

  49. I went to a Chase branch in Oklahoma City today and found out the 50000 sign-up bonus after 2000$ spending for United explorer personal credit card. I think this offer is open for everyone because it is advertised on the pamphlet that bankers normally use to show details to their customers. At first I thought that the pamphlet may haven’t been updated but on the pamphlet says it was issued on July 2013. Unfortunately, I already had the United explorer card but I think this may be useful for anyone who plans to apply for the card but cannot get access to the targeted 50000 sign-up bonus. By the way, for Chase sapphire preferred (at Chase branch) it is 2000$ spending instead of the typical 3000$ to receive 40000 UR points. Also, the United club card the offer is first year annual fee waived.

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  51. What about the Marriott Visa card? You can transfer Marriott points to United at 1:1 plus a 20% miles bonus. Or you can save for the dreams package and transfer 270,000 Marriott points and get 132,000 United miles plus 7 nights at a Marriott.

  52. Didn’t meant to write that Marriott to United was 1:1. But you do get the 20% miles bonus.

  53. Hello, Daraius,

    I recently lost my 70,000+ United miles! Someone hacked into my account and used the miles for a mini iPad (which I was planning to buy a round-trip international flight with value up to $1600!!!) I live in MD, the iPad has been send to GA! Just wondering is anyone had similar experiences? Is there anything I can do to retrieve the miles? Should I call a police? Thank you!

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  55. Hi, I got a silly question, sorry I am new on this. I just got my “united mileage plus explorer” from Chase, I can earn double miles buying airline tickets from United direct but the prices there seem to be like 15% more than Orbitz or similar sites. Should i pay more buying direct from UA (and earn double miles) or use the card and buy from Orbitz. Again sorry, I am complete newbie. Thanks!

    • @Miguel – The price should be around the same, but if they are not, you’r better off paying 15% less via Orbitz! If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred you will get 2x points for all travel and can transfer those points to United.

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  60. @Million Mile Secrets is the Chase Freedom still relatively the same offer? I don’t want to apply for it if the deal isn’t as good 🙁

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  64. Are you allowed to take pictures on the plane? I have been told twice by flight attendants to not shoot pictures of any kind of on planes. They said it was ‘against federal law’ – is that even true?

    • @SV – We only had one issue, when Emily took a picture of the garbage bag which an American Airlines flight attendant had hung on the seat in front of her. There is no law against taking pictures of your travel companions on planes. But you do have to listen to flight attendants, so if they say not to take a picture, you shouldn’t (but complain to the airline later).

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  67. Sorry, I am a bit dense here but how do I transfer or convert the non-United cards miles/points into United miles?

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  70. Hi Daraius,

    Regarding the Chase Freedom card, you wrote, “You can earn 30,000 bonus points if you max out the $1,500 category limit each quarter for $ 6,000 in annual spending!”
    I’d like to find out more about this, but can’t seem to find anything on the Chase website that refers to the bonus points. Is this still valid? Would the points be awarded automatically if the spending is met? Can you refer me to a Chase link for this info? Thank you!!!!

  71. Yes, I have had the Freedom card for years and I know about the need to register for the 5X categories. What I am looking for is information on the 30K bonus points you can earn by maxing out the $1500 category limit each quarter. Where did you find details from Chase about this? Thank you!

  72. Hi Darius, never mind my question above …. I suddenly realized the 30K bonus points you mention are not IN ADDITION to the 5X bonus points, but are the total points you can earn by maxing out all 4 quarters. My mistake was thinking there was an additional 30K points you could earn in addition to the 30K for maxing out. (Sorry)

  73. Hey Darius,

    So I accidently forgot to cancel my United Mileage Plus card and got hit with an annual fee of $95. I will try to see if they can waive it. However, if I cannot waive, do you have any suggestion what I should do? Thanks

  74. Nevermind Darius,

    All I had to do is to close the credit card and they will give me back the credit.

    Thank you so much! Keep up the good work!

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  76. Great post!

    I have signup bonus miles from the old Continental Onepass card years ago. I closed that card around Jan 2012 and later Continental merged with United. I have not used the bonus miles yet. I remember the card term says the bonus miles will expire in certain time after closing card even if I have other qualified earning or using activity for regular miles. Did I get it wrong? Does United treat these bonus miles the same as the miles earned from flying, etc?

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  79. Oh wow….this post is super awesome. I am trying to get enough miles to travel to Dubai by June. I got the 30,000 mile offer and was trying to see how I can get more. Yesterday, I googled “how to earn united miles” and your blog came up. I sent a secure message and they gave me the extra 20,000 miles. Thank you so much for posting this.

    I have a question though. I just got the exploer card (personal) like one month and a half ago. Can I still apply for the explorer card for business. Please let me know. Thanks

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  83. Thanks Daraius. Would you mind doing a post someday on “Best Cards for Travel to Europe”? you might have something like that, so please let me know. I’m trying to read more reviews to see what card will help us get to Europe. There are lots of points and miles available, but the challenge is squeezing out the best deals from those points . . . not paying high fuel surcharges, etc. Thanks again.

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  85. A super fast way to earn miles for me is booking hotel nights through rocket miles. At least 1000 miles per night up to 5000 miles per night, most are 2000-3000 per night. I book hotels not only for myself but anyone I know that is planning on staying in a hotel in the future. Rates are competitive with any other online booking site, usually a few bucks more a night but it is well worth the large quantity of miles. Check it out, I think you get free miles just for signing up, and I rarely get emails from them, if I do it’s usually worth looking at.

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  87. Hi Darius,
    Thanks for the great post as always.
    Quick question, I have some United miles in my United account which I earned by flying on Revenue tickets. I do not have any United credit card. I would like to keep them active/alive.
    Is it possible. let’s say if I want to buy something from Walmart, I login to United shopping portal and click on Walmart but use my Chase Sapphire/Freedom card to purchase item from Walmart site. Will I be able to earn points on my United account?
    Please let me know.

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  90. So how do you spent 4000 in 3 months? do you spend so much money then only you get miles or there is some work around there. Our EMI is deduced from back account. All utilites as well from bank account. how can i earn miles in that case

  91. If you have an active united mileage PERSONAL Regular card, can you apply for the business card and get the 50K promotion?

    Dear website owner, please have courtesy TO REPLY

  92. Hey Guys!

    I just set my first travel goal for next year to Australia. I have plans to go there regardless of whether I can do it with points, so I might as well try to get there on points!

    I read your article on United Miles and the best way to get to Australia. I crunched the numbers and determined that it would cost 40,000 United Miles to get there.
    Last month I applied and received the Chase Freedom and British Airways card. I’m worried about not being approved for another Chase card in order to get to the mileage I need. With the new sign up bonus you told me about, I can get there (but not back) on ONE card!

    However, I’m a student and have a limited credit history (although a good score). Should I go ahead and apply for the card to get the bonus, or find another way around? To put this more generally: how soon is too soon to apply for a new card from the same bank?

  93. Truly enjoying the benefits of United rewards in doing our short term medical/educational/surgical/dental mission trips. 2014,a Costan Rican dentist flew to Switzerland to attend a seminar to improve delivery of dental services to the less unfortunate,and our organization sponsored a mission trip along with high school students to Costa Rica where we did health screening, dental hygiene lectures,and painted a school. All were possible with earned rewards,truly rewarding when we know we served and gave to many people who are needy and poor. 2015, we just got back from a 3 month long mission trip in the Philippines where served over 7,000 hands on patient,and over 10,000 school children received dental hygiene lessons. We did not have enough rewards to cover our mileage but this was an opportunity for us to earn more rewards for the next trip which we aiming to be in Nicaragua . We thank you for your guidance which really help us serve more people!

  94. I think I may have got some things wrong. We weren’t sure of our schedule and everything, but wanted to start getting miles. So I got a Sapphire card. My husband has miles on British Airways from 3-4 trips to France. We decided to go to Israel. We read about the problems with using Bristish Airways on long flights so we chose to get AA miles for the bonus. So we have 5000 so far with me on the card and some for spending money, but haven’t hit the 40,000 bonus point yet. He heads to France again for work on AA. I keep wanting to find out if we have things in the right places, but I am overwhelmed. Should we keep him on AA for his trip and on the bonus for Sapphire or should we be trying to change them for United or some other airline?

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  97. I don’t know if it is because has changed their website, or if it is because I am working on an Apple computer, but there isn’t a drop down box to change default to 50. I would love if it would. I can also tell you I was so happy to find your website. I tried to call United to help me book an award ticket to Copenhagen and the agent would only look at UA and Lufthansa. He had zero creativity to think outside the box. It was so iritating and he wasn’t offering any help. Maybe it’s because they get scored on their talk time. But either way it was crazy. Needless to say I am working on this now alone and with your webiste.
    Thanks again. But if you could look into the drop down situation and let me know if its the Apple, or United?