The Ultimate Guide to United Miles: Part 2 – Introduction to United Miles

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The Ultimate Guide to United Miles: Part 2 – Introduction to United Miles

Million Mile SecretsThe Ultimate Guide to United Miles: Part 2 – Introduction to United MilesMillion Mile Secrets Team

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United Airlines miles are among the best to accumulate and redeem for both domestic and international trips.

You can book one-way awards with United miles (though you will not be able to have a stopover).  This is great if you need to mix and match miles for a particular trip.  For example, you can fly to Europe using United miles and fly back home using American Airlines miles.

If you book an international round-trip with United miles, you can add a free stopover or even a free domestic one-way ticket (which I’ll go over later on in the series)!

United has one of the best online award booking websites, as well as great award seat availability.  They charge no fuel surcharges and their taxes and fees are very reasonable, even for international awards!

The Ultimate Guide to United Miles Index

Star Alliance And Other Airline Partners

You can redeem United miles for flights on United Airlines, but you can also redeem miles on other airlines which are part of the Star Alliance and other airlines that have partnered with United.

Use United Miles
You Can Fly on All These Airlines With Your United Miles!

United is a part of the Star Alliance, which is a partnership between 28 current members, including Adria, Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca/TACA, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways.

Together, the Star Alliance flies to 1,329 destinations in 194 countries!  It is pretty tough to find an airport where Star Alliance doesn’t fly!

United Airlines has also partnered with other airlines (outside of the Star Alliance), including Aer Lingus.  This means you can redeem your United miles for travel on even more airlines.

Use United Miles
Other United Airlines Partners

This is a big (no, HUGE) deal, because you can use your United Airlines miles to fly almost anywhere in the world, including places that United Airlines themselves does not fly.

Even better, United Airlines makes it pretty easy to book these partner flights on their website for no booking fee.

Where Can United Airlines Miles Take Me?

Almost anywhere!  Remember, you can use United miles to fly on:

The best way to see where United and their Star Alliance partners fly is to use the Star Alliance online route map.

You could also visit each partner airline’s website separately and see where they fly, but with 27 partners and over 1300 destinations, you may not have the time!

Use Miles To Fly Even Where United Airlines Doesn’t!

1.   Athens, Greece

United Airlines does NOT fly its own planes (often called “United metal”) from the US to Greece.  This does not mean that you can’t use United miles to travel to Greece, because you CAN redeem United Airlines miles to fly on Lufthansa (a Star Alliance partner) from the US to Germany and then connect to a Lufthansa flight from Germany to Athens.

Use United Miles
You can fly Lufthansa with United miles!

United’s website makes finding these award seats rather easy.  We will go over using the United website and other Star Alliance tools to find award seats in later posts!

2.   Montreal, Quebec

United Airlines does fly its own planes directly from the US to Montreal, but since Air Canada is a Star Alliance partner of United, you can also use your United miles to fly on Air Canada.

For example, United Airlines doesn’t fly from Los Angeles to Montreal.  You would have to fly from Los Angeles to Chicago, then connect to another flight to Montreal.

But because Air Canada (a Star Alliance partner) flies from Los Angeles to Montreal directly, you can redeem your United miles to fly on an Air Canada plane from Los Angeles to Montreal.

You would still pay the same number of miles as you would for a ticket with a connection.

Using United’s partners sure opens up many more options!


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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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Hi, I would like to fly in Air India from Newark to New Delhi but put the mileage in United. I think I can do that but will there be any reduction in mileage or full mileage will be given to United frequent flyer account of mine.




I am planning a trip from San Antonio, Texas to Ottawa, Canada at the end of July. I am willing to fly out of or into nearby airports (Austin, Houston, Montreal). I have Chase UR points I could transfer to United to fly on either United or Air Canada. My question is when is the best possible time to search for award seats? I looked at award availability on United today and found that the only option for a Saver Award was from Houston to Montreal and vice versa in the middle of the week. How far in advance is best to search for award availability and are there specific times of day or times of the week that are most advantageous?


I’m new to this travel hacking stuff. I’m debating on the Chase Sapphire OR the United credit card. Which should I get? or can I apply for both at the same time?

Million Mile Secrets

@Chris – I’d get the Sapphire Preferred and after 3 to 4 months get the United card.

Paul & Barbara Becker

Just wanted to express our appreciation for your website and its wealth of extremely useful information. I thought I was an experienced award traveler before I found it. Now I really understand how to deal with United’s program to best advantage. We were but little grateful could we say how much.

Million Mile Secrets

@Paul & Barbara Becker – Thanks for your kind words!

Is Air Canada the only United alliance airline that won’t let award mile users purchase premium economy seats?

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