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Million Mile Secrets reader Teri commented:
We want to visit Italy and France in September 2017 for our 30th anniversary. And because we’ve already saved some United Airlines miles, we plan to fly with United Airlines or a Star Alliance partner.
So, how do we combine the miles & points from these different programs in order to book our award tickets with United Airlines miles? And are there any other cards you’d recommend we get?
Great question, Teri!
One of my favorite things about miles & points is showing others how to get Big Travel. And I especially love that Teri plans to use miles & points to help celebrate an anniversary!
Let’s look at how Teri can use miles & points from various programs to get to Europe with United Airlines. And I’ll make a few suggestions about other cards to consider!
How to Convert Various Miles & Points to United Airlines Miles
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Using points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is straightforward. Because you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to United Airlines to book an award ticket.
If you’re transferring Chase Ultimate points from someone else’s account, they must be a household member AND authorized user on your account.
Capital One Venture
Capital One Venture miles, on the other hand, can NOT be transferred directly to United Airlines miles.
And although Capital One calls them “miles,” they are NOT airline miles. The name is confusing, but how it works is actually very simple.
If Teri wants to use Venture miles during their trip, they’ll have to use them for something other than award flights.
For example, you can use Capital One Venture miles as a statement credit for travel purchases like a hotel stay or rental car. Or even a short flight from Italy to France!
Capital One Venture miles are nice because you can book travel on any site and you don’t have to worry about blackout dates. You just redeem the Venture miles for a statement credit after the purchase.
That said, they’re worth 1 cent per mile. Airline miles can be worth much more! Teri can do the math to figure out the value of the Venture miles they already have.
Using United Airlines Miles to Europe
I’ve written about all the ways to get to Europe using United Airlines miles.
Here’s how many United Airlines miles Teri will need for 1 round-trip United Airlines flight from the US (excluding Hawaii) to Europe:
- 60,000 United Airlines miles in coach
- 115,000 United Airlines miles in Business Class
- 160,000 United Airlines miles in First Class
Coach flights to Europe cost the same amount of miles on partner airlines (like Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, and Air Canada), but you’ll need more miles for Business Class and First Class award flights:
- 140,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip partner flight in Business Class
- 220,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip partner flight in First Class
And the good thing about United Airlines is they do NOT add fuel surcharges to award tickets!
Because they have so many European Star Alliance partners, Teri is likely to have lots of flight options too.
What Other Cards Should Teri Consider?
If you plan to book award flights with United Airlines, it’s nice to have the Chase United Explorer card. Because with the card, there are more United Airlines award seats available for you than for non-cardholders!
You’ll also get your first checked bag free when you use the card to pay for your ticket. Even when using the card to pay for the taxes on United Airlines award tickets.
And if you apply by June 30, 2016, you’ll earn:
- 50,000 United Airlines miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account
- 5,000 United Airlines miles after adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the same timeframe
- $50 statement credit after your first purchase
- 2 United Airlines miles per $1 you spend on United Airlines
- 1 United Airlines mile per $1 you spend on all other purchases
- 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $25,000 on your card each year
- 2 United Club passes per year
- First checked bag free when you use your card to pay for your ticket
- Priority boarding
The $95 annual fee is NOT waived the first year. But there are no foreign transaction fees, which makes it a good card to use abroad.
So this could be a great card if Teri needs more United Airlines miles and is looking for more available award seats. And because 55,000 United Airlines miles is just 5,000 miles shy of a round-trip coach ticket to Europe! 🙂
We don’t earn a commission for this offer, but we’ll always tell you about the best deals!
Teri could also consider another card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points that transfer to United Airlines miles at a 1:1 ratio. This includes the Chase Ink Plus small business card (if they qualify).
It currently has a 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards point sign-up bonus. Meaning they’d essentially have another 60,000 United Airlines miles after meeting the card’s minimum spending requirements!
And because Teri already has the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, they can transfer points from cards like the Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Ink Business Cash Credit Card to United Airlines miles as well.
Just don’t forget about Chase’s new stricter approval rules.
But you can NOT transfer Capital One Venture miles to United Airlines miles. They can only be used as a statement credit (worth 1 cent per mile) toward travel purchases like airline tickets, hotel rooms, or car rentals.
And if Teri is looking for another credit card to earn more United Airlines miles, the Chase United Explorer card would be a great option.
Thanks again for the question, Teri. I hope you tell us about your anniversary trip when you return!