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United Airlines miles are easy to earn with credit cards and flying. And they’re super flexible, because you can redeem them for award seats on United Airlines, Star Alliance partners like Singapore Airlines and Air Canada, and other partner airlines, like Aer Lingus.
You don’t even need to fly United Airlines to earn United Airlines miles! Instead, you can transfer flexible points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, or earn them directly with United Airlines-branded credit cards.
I’ve previously covered United Airlines miles, but lots has changed in the past few years. So it’s time for an update!
I’ll give you a quick overview of United Airlines miles, and explain how to earn and use their miles for award travel.
All-New Ultimate Guide to United Airlines Miles Series Index
- Part 1 – Introduction
- Part 2 – Step-By-Step Guide to Opening an Account
- Part 3 – Navigating the Award Chart
- Part 4 – How to Search for and Book Award Seats Online
- Part 5 – How to Unlock More Available Award Seats
- Part 6 – Make the Most of the Excursionist Perk (Free One-Way!)
- Part 7 – Converting Flexible Points to United Airlines Miles
- Part 8 – Pitfalls of the Program
Introduction to United Airlines Miles
Because United Airlines is part of Star Alliance, the largest global airline alliance, you can book award travel on any Star Alliance partner airline:
- Adria Airways
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Asiana Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- EVA Air
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- TAP Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
You can also book award travel on airlines outside Star Alliance, including:
The best thing about United Airlines is they don’t charge fuel surcharges on any airline! This can save you hundreds of dollars compared to other frequent flyer programs, like Delta or Air Canada Aeroplan.
Earning United Airlines Miles
It’s easy to earn United Airlines miles by flying on United Airlines or their partner airlines, or through sign-up bonuses and spending on credit cards.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points convert instantly to United Airlines miles at a 1:1 ratio. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the no longer available Chase Ink Plus & Ink Bold.
And if you have one of the cards mentioned above, you can combine points from the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, or Ink Business Cash Credit Card and move them to United Airlines at the same ratio.
Or you can earn United Airlines miles directly from these credit cards:
- United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
- United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card
- United MileagePlus® Club Card
- United MileagePlus® Club Business Card
Using United Airlines Miles
You can redeem United Airlines miles for one-way or round-trip award travel. You can also visit multiple cities on a single ticket using the Excursionist Perk, which I’ll review in a later post.
Unfortunately, United Airlines charges a fee to book award seats within 21 days of departure. If you don’t have elite status with United Airlines, you’ll pay $75 per ticket if booked under 21 days.
However, this fee is reduced or entirely removed depending on your elite status, and there’s even a trick to avoid it entirely!
Best Uses for United Airlines Miles
There several sweet spots on the United Airlines award chart, which I’ll explain in more detail later. But here are a few examples:
- 80,000 United Airlines miles one-way in Business Class from the mainland US, Alaska, or Canada to Africa on South African Airways or other partners
- 80,000 United Airlines miles one-way in Business Class from the mainland US, Alaska, or Canada to Australia and New Zealand on United Airlines
- 8,000 United Airlines miles one-way in coach for short non-stop flights outside the US and Canada under 800 miles
Considering you won’t pay fuel surcharges, you can often get incredible value using United Airlines miles for award seats on United Airlines and partner airlines.
United Airlines miles are easy to earn and redeem! You can use them for award travel with no fuel surcharges all around the world.
You can earn United Airlines miles by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points, from cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred. Or earn them directly from cards like the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card.
In the next post, I’ll explain how to open a United Airlines account for free online. Stay tuned!