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How to Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points for United Airlines Award Tickets

How to Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points for United Airlines Award Tickets

Million Mile SecretsHow to Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points for United Airlines Award TicketsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Did you know you can use American Express Membership Rewards points for flights on United Airlines?

That’s because American Express has 3 transfer partners that also partner with United Airlines.  And transferring your American Express Membership Rewards points to these airlines can be a better deal than using United Airlines miles!

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
You Don’t Need United Airlines Miles to Get Where You’re Going on United Airlines!

I’ll show you how to use your American Express Membership Rewards points for United Airlines flights!

Use AMEX Points for United Airlines Flights With Star Alliance Partners

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to lots of different partner airlines.  But United Airlines is NOT one of them.

While you can use your American Express Membership Rewards points to buy United Airlines tickets through the AMEX Travel Portal, this isn’t a great use of your points.  Because you’ll only get a value of 1 cent per point.

It’s better to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to one of United Airlines’ Star Alliance partners, like Air Canada, ANA, or Singapore Airlines.  Then use that airline’s miles to book a United Airlines award ticket.

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Singapore Airlines Miles Can Take You to More Places Than You Might Think

Note:   If you have The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, you’ll get 50% of your points back (equivalent to 2 cents per point) when you use Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline through the AMEX Travel Portal.  And 2 cents per point for Business Class and First Class tickets on ANY airline booked through the AMEX Travel Portal.

So you may save points by booking with this method.  Do the math!

Use Singapore Airlines for Travel Within the US (Including Hawaii)

Singapore Airlines charges the same number of miles for domestic coach tickets as United Airlines.  But there are fantastic deals if you’re booking other classes and routes!

Depending on the class you fly, it can be an even BETTER deal than using United Airlines miles in certain areas.  For example:

  • US to Europe in coach – 55,000 Singapore Airlines miles round-trip (5,000 miles less than United Airlines!)
  • Domestic US Business Class – 40,000 Singapore Airlines miles round-trip (10,000 miles less than United Airlines!)
  • US to Hawaii in Business Class – 60,000 Singapore Airlines miles round-trip (20,000 miles less than United Airlines!)
AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Get to Hawaii for 20,000 Fewer Miles Than United Airlines When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to Singapore Airlines

Take a look at the Singapore Airlines award chart to find the best deals.

Here’s how to use AMEX Membership Rewards points for United Airlines flights with Singapore Airlines miles!

Step 1.   Enter Your Travel Details Into United Airlines

You can NOT search for award seats on partner airlines on the Singapore Airlines website.  So you’ll have to look on the United Airlines website instead.

Enter your travel information, and click “Search“.

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Step 1 – Type Your Travel Details

You do not need to log-in to search for award flights with United Airlines.

Step 2.   Find “Saver Award” Seats

You can only book “Saver” level awards when you book flights on partner airlines using Singapore Airlines miles.  If you find those, you should be able to book them with Singapore Airlines!

Write down the travel information on these “Saver Award” flights.  You’ll need it for the next step!

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Step 2 – Locate “Saver Award” Seats

Step 3.   Call Singapore Airlines

Once you find flights that fit with your travel plans, call Singapore Airlines at 800-742-3333 Tell them the flights you want to book, and make sure the agent can see them!

Once you transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to an airline, you can NOT transfer them back.  So you want to make sure the Singapore Airlines agent can book the flight you want before you transfer your points.

Transfer your points, and once they deposit to your Singapore Airlines account, call back and book your seat!

Note:   It can take up to 7 days for your American Express Membership Rewards points to post to your account.  Though it usually takes less than 24 hours.  There is some risk that your award seat may be gone by the time your points transfer!

Singapore Airlines does have fuel surcharges.  But NOT when you book seats on United Airlines!  You can expect to pay the same taxes and fees as an award flight booked directly with United Airlines.

Use ANA for International Travel

You should only transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to ANA if you’re planning to book a round-trip ticket.  Because ANA does NOT allow you to book one-ways.

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
You Might Not Think ANA Miles Jive With Your Travel Goals – But It Could Actually Be the Perfect Fit!

However, ANA does allow 1 free stopover and 2 open-jaws on each round-trip ticket.

You can book incredible deals with ANA miles!  For example:

  • US to Southern South America in coach – 55,000 ANA miles round-trip (5,000 miles less than United Airlines!)
  • US to ANYWHERE in Africa in coach – 65,000 ANA miles round-trip (15,000 miles less than United Airlines!)
  • US to Europe in . Class – 88,000 ANA miles round-trip (27,000 miles less than United Airlines!)

You can look at ANA’s award chart here.

Here’s how to book United Airlines seats with ANA miles!

Step 1.   Log-In to ANA

Navigate to the ANA website and sign-in to your ANA account (or create an account if you haven’t yet.  It’s free to join!)

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Step 1 – Sign-In to ANA

Step 2.   Enter Your Travel Information

Input your travel details.  Check “Compare Seat Availability +/- 3 Days” to see more dates at once.

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Step 2 – Tell ANA Where You Want to Go

If you want to take advantage of the free stopover or open-jaws, you’ll want to click “Multiple Cities/Mixed Classes

Step 3.   Find Available Dates

Choose the dates you want.

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Step 3 – Select Dates

Step 4.   Choose Your Flights

Choose a United Airlines operated (or any other) flight.

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Step 4 – Pick the Flights That Suit You

When you find what you want, you’re ready to transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to ANA and book your flight!

ANA DOES pass along fuel surcharges, depending on the airline partner you fly with.  Fortunately, when you use ANA miles to fly United Airlines, they do NOT charge you.

Use Air Canada for Free Stopovers

Air Canada Aeroplan doesn’t really have sweet-spot deals on its award chart like Singapore Airlines and ANA.

But it does give you 1 free stopover and 1 open jaw on each round-trip ticket!  This makes this an incredibly valuable transfer partner!

That means you can have 3 destinations for the price of 1 award ticket!

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Fly to London and Back – Or Stop in Barbados for a While! It Costs the Same Amount of Air Canada Miles

You can look at the Air Canada partner award chart here.

Here’s how to book United Airlines seats with Air Canada!

Step 1.   Log-In to Air Canada Aeroplan

Sign-in to your Air Canada Aeroplan account (or register if you haven’t already.  It’s free to join!).

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Step 1 – Sign-In to Air Canada Aeroplan

Step 2.   Click “Travel”

Under the “Use Your Miles” menu, select “Travel“.

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Step 2 – Select “Travel”

Step 3.   Enter Your Travel Information

Enter your travel details, and check the “My Dates Are Flexible” box to see more dates.

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Step 3 – Tell Air Canada Where You Want to Go

Step 4.   Choose Your Flights

Find United Airlines flights and select the ones you want!

AMEX Points For United Airlines Flights
Step 4 – Choose the Flights You Want

That’s it!  If you see flights you’d like, transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan, and book your flights.

Air Canada DOES charge fuel surcharges for long-haul flights on their own planes.  But when you use your Air Canada miles to fly United Airlines, there are none!

Which Credit Cards Earn Points That Transfer to These United Airlines Partners?

Here are the credit cards which earn American Express Membership Rewards points!

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Premier Rewards Gold Card From American ExpressThe Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-BenzThe Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN
AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express


The information for the AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.


Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

Bottom Line

United Airlines is NOT a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.  But you can still use AMEX Membership Rewards points for seats on United Airlines!

You can transfer your points to 3 other Star Alliance airlines:

  • Singapore Airlines
  • ANA
  • Air Canada

You can then book an award seat on partner United Airlines.  Sometimes you’ll even get more value from your awards by booking United Airlines flights with partner airline miles instead of United Airlines miles!

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

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  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
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Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Quick question if you don't mind, I am on the ANA website and have chosen United flights but it is still showing up with a fee. It is showing a CAD 394.28 for a fee. I don't want to transfer my Amex points to ANA until I am certain that we will use the flights. But you absolutely can't beat Houston to Frankfurt for 55,000 miles roundtrip. Thank you

I tried booking through Singapore Airlines, however, even though the flight is available through United Airlines, they said they were not able to book LAX to ITO. They only have international routes. So I don't see how it's possible to use Amex Membership Rewards Points for United Airlines.

I thought this was a great strategy and accumulated massive amounts of points with AMEX MR that cannot be used for business class travel on United Airlines. UA has pretty much eliminated saver availability on business class flights. I now realize that I would have been better off with the Chase Ink card, which can transfer points to UA, and here's why... If you book with UA directly, you can book any date with saver economy, but using the business class point redemption, and you get #1 on the wait list for business class at the airport. If you don't clear the WL, you can get the point difference refunded. ***I AM TOLD YOU CANNOT DO THIS WITH AC/SQ/NH*** This basically makes AMEX points completely useless for business class travel on United :/

I already have a United ticket (international) that I booked a few months ago for travel in April 2018. Can I use my American Express points to upgrade to business class? If so, how?

Thank you for such an informative and useful article! It has been tough going since AmEx discontinued its "partnership" with United and several other airlines. Quick but important question -- what is the best way to book a ONE-WAY flight on United Airlines from Shanghai, China to SFO? You suggest ANA for round trip fares, but for the one way, would Air Canada/aeroplan be the best place to transfer my Amex membership rewards points, and book the United flight? Thanks so much for your help.

Incredibly well written and informative article that presents the easy-to-understand approach to maximizing AMEX points on United Airlines points.

Is UA the best to get from U.S. to Asia?

The best rewards to get to Asia depends on your destination. Asia is big! You can use this website for a quick answer to the best miles & points to use:

http://www.awardhacker.com/

It only works for simple routes, but you can get an idea of some solid options.

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