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The trick to using airline miles for Big Travel with Small Money is learning how you can redeem them for partner award flights to your desired travel destination.
Million Mile Secrets reader Connie commented:
How do I use United Airlines miles for award flights on Star Alliance partner airlines?
Excellent question! You can use United Airlines miles to book award flights on wonderful airlines, like Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines. This flexibility dramatically increases your flight options when looking to save on airfare! And United Airlines NEVER adds fuel surcharges to award tickets, even on partner airlines.
4 Quick Steps to Search and Book Partner Award Seats With United Airlines Miles
Link: United Airlines Website
You can use United Airlines miles to book award flights on these Star Alliance partner airlines:
- Adria Airways
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Asiana Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- EVA Air
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- TAP Portugal
- Thai Airways
- Turkish Airlines
And you can also redeem United Airlines miles on these non-alliance partners:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Dolomiti
- Boutique Air
- Cape Air
- Hawaiian Airlines (inter-island flights only)
- Juneyao Air
- Olympic Air
- Silver Airways
I’ve used United Airlines miles to book Business Class award flights to New Zealand on Air New Zealand. And team member Scott has used United Airlines miles for award flights on Brussels Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, and TAP Portugal to take multiple trips to Europe!
To book a partner award flight, you’ll follow the same steps as if you were searching for a flight directly on United Airlines.
Step 1. Go to the United Airlines Website
First visit the United Airlines website to start your search. You do NOT need to have an account to search for award seats.
Step 2. Enter Your Travel Details
On the search engine, enter:
- Whether it’s a one-way, round-trip, or multi-city trip
- Origin and destination
- Departure and return dates
- Number of passengers
- Class of service
- Select “Search for award travel”
In this example, I’m searching for a sample award flight from Los Angeles to Singapore.
Step 3. View Award Flight Options
Next, you can sort through the search results and view flight options on partner airlines.
You’ll notice underneath flights on partner airlines, it will say “Operated by“. If you don’t see this it means the itinerary includes only United Airlines flights.
If there are multiple partner airlines for your award flight, you can click “Details” to expand and see which airline you’ll fly on each leg.
Once you find an award flight that meets your travel preferences, just click “Select” below the award flight cost. You can check our Ultimate Guide to United Airlines Miles series to learn more about award flight pricing and make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Step 4. Log-In and Book Your Award Flights
After you select your flights, it’s time to book!
If you haven’t already done so, log into your United Airlines account to book your trip.
At the time of booking, you’ll be given a summary of the total award flight cost, including the number of miles and any taxes & fees.
Note: If you don’t have enough United Airlines miles in your account, you won’t be able to proceed past this step. But remember, you can instantly transfer flexible points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to United Airlines if you need to top-off your account.
You can use United Airlines miles to book award flights on more than 2 dozen partner airlines! For example, you can travel to Europe by redeeming miles on partner airlines like Austrian Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, and several others. Or travel to New Zealand by booking a partner award on Air New Zealand!
It’s extremely easy to search and book partner award flights directly on the United Airlines website. Just search for award flights on your desired travel route and the website will do the rest. The award flight search results will show you all flight options, including itineraries on partner airlines. Then, it’s up to you to select a flight and book!
Have you used United Airlines miles to book a partner award ticket? Let me know in the comments below!