The Ultimate Guide to United Miles: Part 2 – Introduction to United Miles

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United Airlines miles are among the best to accumulate and redeem for both domestic and international trips.

You can book one-way awards with United miles (though you will not be able to have a stopover).  This is great if you need to mix and match miles for a particular trip.  For example, you can fly to Europe using United miles and fly back home using American Airlines miles.

If you book an international round-trip with United miles, you can add a free stopover or even a free domestic one-way ticket (which I’ll go over later on in the series)!

United has one of the best online award booking websites, as well as great award seat availability.  They charge no fuel surcharges and their taxes and fees are very reasonable, even for international awards!

The Ultimate Guide to United Miles Index

Star Alliance And Other Airline Partners

You can redeem United miles for flights on United Airlines, but you can also redeem miles on other airlines which are part of the Star Alliance and other airlines that have partnered with United.

Use United Miles

You Can Fly on All These Airlines With Your United Miles!

United is a part of the Star Alliance, which is a partnership between 28 current members, including Adria, Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca/TACA, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways.

Together, the Star Alliance flies to 1,329 destinations in 194 countries!  It is pretty tough to find an airport where Star Alliance doesn’t fly!

United Airlines has also partnered with other airlines (outside of the Star Alliance), including Aer Lingus.  This means you can redeem your United miles for travel on even more airlines.

Use United Miles

Other United Airlines Partners

This is a big (no, HUGE) deal, because you can use your United Airlines miles to fly almost anywhere in the world, including places that United Airlines themselves does not fly.

Even better, United Airlines makes it pretty easy to book these partner flights on their website for no booking fee.

Where Can United Airlines Miles Take Me?

Almost anywhere!  Remember, you can use United miles to fly on:

The best way to see where United and their Star Alliance partners fly is to use the Star Alliance online route map.

You could also visit each partner airline’s website separately and see where they fly, but with 27 partners and over 1300 destinations, you may not have the time!

Use Miles To Fly Even Where United Airlines Doesn’t!

1.   Athens, Greece

United Airlines does NOT fly its own planes (often called “United metal”) from the US to Greece.  This does not mean that you can’t use United miles to travel to Greece, because you CAN redeem United Airlines miles to fly on Lufthansa (a Star Alliance partner) from the US to Germany and then connect to a Lufthansa flight from Germany to Athens.

Use United Miles

You can fly Lufthansa with United miles!

United’s website makes finding these award seats rather easy.  We will go over using the United website and other Star Alliance tools to find award seats in later posts!

2.   Montreal, Quebec

United Airlines does fly its own planes directly from the US to Montreal, but since Air Canada is a Star Alliance partner of United, you can also use your United miles to fly on Air Canada.

For example, United Airlines doesn’t fly from Los Angeles to Montreal.  You would have to fly from Los Angeles to Chicago, then connect to another flight to Montreal.

But because Air Canada (a Star Alliance partner) flies from Los Angeles to Montreal directly, you can redeem your United miles to fly on an Air Canada plane from Los Angeles to Montreal.

You would still pay the same number of miles as you would for a ticket with a connection.

Using United’s partners sure opens up many more options!


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44 responses to “The Ultimate Guide to United Miles: Part 2 – Introduction to United Miles

  1. Can u use ua pts for Hawaiian airlines?

  2. Been a regular on this website.. I have read few more websites for FF and points. I would like to know if you can share some insights for SQ / Emirates FF for a Australian resident!

  3. can Hawaiian Airlines awards be booked on Can availability be checked?

  4. Nice post. My question with the partner airlines is, can you *combine* the points.

    Say you have 50,000 United points and 50,000 Lufthansa points.

    Can you combine these into 100,000 United points and book a RT business class ticket to Europe on the United website?

  5. Hey D,

    Just wondering if I am able to redeem MY United miles to get both my parents international flights from Korea to US?


  6. I smell another zillion-part series coming. And it’s just what we need – a review of how to use United miles – it’s never been done before in the blogosphere!

    Nice how you started off the series with what matters – how to get people to sign up for credit cards in which you get affiliate income…

  7. Thanks Daraius! Contrary to Paul’s comment, I actually do need a good lesson in how to spend United miles. Thanks to you, I got the large United MileagePlus CC signup and plan to push my newly earned UR from the recent Chase Ink Bold Business bonus over to my United account. I can’t wait to see some of the good redemptions out there. I need to review your Lufthansa post to see if there are any good United tips in there. Otherwise, I hope to see some tips in forthcoming posts. Good job.

  8. I am surprised that I don’t see any affiliate links for more credit cards. I guess the first got him enough chase referrals for the first part of the month. I am sure there will be another one towards the end of the month. I wonder if D will put a bunch of arrows as to how to apply for every member of the star alliance’s credit card that gives affiliate income to D. What a joke.

  9. Robert Hanson

    Hey Paul, lighten up…

    Some people reading this blog have just entered the Travel Game, and haven’t had a chance to read the previous posts others have done about using UA miles.

    In my case, even though I am Lifetime Gold with AA, I have never paid much attention to UA. But due to my recent acquisition of a Chase UA cc, with the 50K points Daraius taught me how to qualify for, plus my soon to be transferred 50K UR points, I now need to know how the UA program works.

    I’m sure there are lots of posts about this around the various travel blogs, this and that, here and there. But due to the extensive and detailed multi-part series Daraius is famous for, I’m sure I will soon have everything I need to know about the best possible way to use my new UA miles to my best advantage. Best of all, it will be all in one place with no need to go scouring the internet for it.

    I would like to point out that each post that Daraius puts up here comes with a handy descriptive title. So you can just read that title, and if you are sure you know everything about that topic, you can move on to something else without wasting your time. 😀

  10. @Paul

    Its not like they do not disclose they make commission on some links.

    My experience Daraius always points out the best deal regardless of which one he gets commissions for. Cut the guy a break, he is writing to help his readers out! If I had a blog and spent all the time writing it, I would not find anything wrong with making a little money from someone using a link they were going to use anyway.

    I may know how to redeem united miles as I have researched it quite a bit, but I always find a small detail I didn’t know when someone else gives a nice summary. There is a lot of information out there… keep up the good work!

  11. Looks like Paul had his first beer….congratulations! In the future, though, please refrain from getting drunk and criticizing people who provide a free service you actively seek-out. Again, congratulations on your first drink.

    @Daraius….I’m a new person at the hobby (since February of this year) and always try to point converts to your blog. Your knowledge and wit definitely set you apart, so keep up the good work.

  12. Agenda Guy's Mom

    @ Agenda Guy, I told you to clean your room and take out the garbage. Wait till your Dad gets home, your gonna get it!

  13. goals^n^dreams

    Darius: you said we can book “round trip” or “one way ticket” with United. Why dont we just book “round trip” with United? I think it is easier to book round trip in one airline. If we book one way ticket, we need to look for another ticket from another airlines. We will spend more time to look for another airlines. So why dont we just book round trip with United?

  14. goals^n^dreams

    oh I forgot, do you know what is the difference between First Class and Business Class? I am newbie about this ^_^ Thanks!

  15. With 100K united mileage, I got return fare from Seattle to Mumbai. (Mumbai to Seattle is in business class).

  16. Love this info – thank you! Planning on a trip using United miles from Seoul to SE Asia in less than a month, and would love to see more info about stopovers, and domestic one-ways you mention above.

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  21. I need advice. I want to use United miles for award travel from San Francisco to Melbourne Australia one way, then return from Auckland New Zealand back to San Francisco. Leaving late Nov. 2014, returning around Dec.21st,2014. How likely is United to offer award travel in the high season? And is it possible to try to book award travel directly with Air New Zealand for the return 330 days before the flight? I was told by one United rep that business class tickets are rarely offered on these routes. Any suggestions on how I can score business seats for this itinerary?? Please advise!

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  38. Is Air Canada the only United alliance airline that won’t let award mile users purchase premium economy seats?

  39. Paul & Barbara Becker

    Just wanted to express our appreciation for your website and its wealth of extremely useful information. I thought I was an experienced award traveler before I found it. Now I really understand how to deal with United’s program to best advantage. We were but little grateful could we say how much.

  40. Hi,

    I’m new to this travel hacking stuff. I’m debating on the Chase Sapphire OR the United credit card. Which should I get? or can I apply for both at the same time?

  41. Hi,

    I am planning a trip from San Antonio, Texas to Ottawa, Canada at the end of July. I am willing to fly out of or into nearby airports (Austin, Houston, Montreal). I have Chase UR points I could transfer to United to fly on either United or Air Canada. My question is when is the best possible time to search for award seats? I looked at award availability on United today and found that the only option for a Saver Award was from Houston to Montreal and vice versa in the middle of the week. How far in advance is best to search for award availability and are there specific times of day or times of the week that are most advantageous?

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