Do United Airlines miles expire? No, here’s what you need to know

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United Airlines miles used to expire 18 months after the last activity date on your account. But when United announced it was ditching it’s award chart in favor of dynamic pricing they also announced that United miles will no longer expire.

That’s good news if you like to use airline credit cards or rewards credit cards to earn United Airlines miles, because you could earn the bonus with a card like the United℠ Business Card and use the miles anytime in the future.

United Airlines miles do not expire

United followed Delta’s lead to join the ranks of airline loyalty programs with miles that never expire. Here’s a look at airline mileage expiration policies:

  • Air Canada: 12 months without activity
  • Alaska Airlines: 24 months without activity
  • American Airlines: 18 months without activity
  • British Airways: 36 months without activity
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 36 months after earning
  • Delta Miles: Never expire
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 18 months without activity
  • JetBlue: Never expire
  • Singapore Airlines: 36 months after earning
  • Southwest Airlines: Never expire
  • Spirit Airlines: 3 months without earning
  • United Airlines: Never expire

Use United Miles for award flights

Once you’ve setup a United Airlines account you’re ready to starting collecting United Airlines miles and putting them to good use. Now that there is no longer a United Airlines award chart the price of awards will vary based on a variety of factors, but this isn’t the end of the world. We’ve already started seeing cheaper United flights than before with one-way domestic awards dipping below 5,000 miles on some routes.

Also, United has eliminated close-in award booking fees and instead is charging 1,500 to 3,500 miles more for flights booked within 30 days of departure.

If you’re ready to get serious about United miles the fastest way to earn them is by opening a United Airlines credit card:

  • United℠ Explorer Card – Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • United℠ Business Card – Earn up to 150,000 bonus miles: 75,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open and an additional 75,000 miles after you spend $20,000 total in the first 6 months.
  • United Club℠ Infinite Card – Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
  • United Club Business Card – Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months account opening

The information for the United Club Business card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

These cards have great perks like free checked bags and free lounge passes or unlimited lounge access (with the club cards). Plus, if you have a United Airlines credit card you will have access to more available award seats. This perk alone is a good enough reason to keep one of these cards open year after year, if you don’t have United Airlines elite status (which has the same benefit).

You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United at a 1:1 ratio with these cards:

Bottom line

United Airlines miles never expire, so you can freely earn miles and redeem the miles at anytime. You no longer have to worry about having qualifying activity every 18 months in order to keep your miles from expiring.

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Jason Stauffer was a writer for Million Mile Secrets where he covered points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. His work has appeared in The Points Guy and NextAdvisor.

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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