If you’re looking forward to traveling again once the coronavirus pandemic is over, United should be one of the top airlines you consider. As you fly with United, you can earn United MileagePlus miles to use on future trips.
Many people forget one incredibly valuable benefit of earning United miles — you can redeem them with the vast network of Star Alliance and United partner airlines. This guide will introduce you to United’s partners and show you how to earn and use United miles through them.
United Airlines partners
United Airlines is a founding member of the Star Alliance, which unites its 26 member airlines to make it easier for passengers to book and connect flights to anywhere in the world. On top of the Star Alliance, United partners independently with 12 additional airlines, giving you even more options to use your MileagePlus miles.
United Star Alliance partners
Air New Zealand
All Nippon Airways (ANA)
LOT Polish Airlines
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
South African Airways
Swiss International Airlines
TAP Air Portugal
Thai Airways International
Non-Alliance United Airlines partners
Earning miles on partner flights
You can easily earn United miles when you fly with one of United’s airline partners, whether through the Star Alliance or an independent partnership. Just add your MileagePlus number when you purchase your tickets.
The number of miles you earn will differ based on how you booked your partner flight. If you bought your tickets from United, you’ll earn miles based on the fare and your MileagePlus status level. When you book a flight through a partner airline, you’ll earn miles according to the distance of your flight and your fare class.
Other United Airlines partners
You can also use your miles with several United Airlines hotel partners as well as rental car companies and other everyday shopping and rewards program partners.
IHG Rewards Club
World of Hyatt
Choice Privileges Rewards
Rental car partners
Thrifty Car Rental
Shopping and everyday spending partners
Timeshifter — The Jet Lag App
Opinion Miles Club
National Foundation for Cancer Research
Mobil Guam and Saipan
How to redeem United miles on partner flights
United makes it easy to redeem your miles with United Airlines mileage partners. Simply search for flights on United’s website by indicating that you want to search for award travel and entering your travel dates. You can see all of the award seats available with United, its Star Alliance partners and other partner airlines. You can then book your flight using your United MileagePlus miles.
Best cards that earn United miles
Using a credit card is a great way to earn United miles. You can choose from either United’s co-branded credit cards or a few travel credit cards that transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to United MileagePlus. Many of these credit cards also offer new card member bonuses to help you earn rewards quickly if you meet the minimum spending requirements.
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the best cards for earning United miles:
Card name Rewards rate New cardmember offer Annual fee
UnitedSM Explorer Card 2X miles on hotels, restaurants and directly purchased United tickets; 1 mile per dollar on other purchases. 60,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months. $95 ($0 first year)
United Club Infinite Card 4X miles on United purchases; 2X miles on all other travel and on dining; 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. 100,000 miles if you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months $525
United Business Card 2X miles on local transit and commuting, at gas stations, restaurants and office supply stores and on United purchases; 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases Limited Time Offer: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. $99 ($0 first year)
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 2x points on travel and dining and 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 2022). Also, earn 2x points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services. 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months $95
Chase Sapphire Reserve 3x points on travel and dining and 10x points on Lyft purchases (through March 2022); 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Plus, 5x points on grocery purchases up to $1,500 through June 3, 2020. 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months $550
UnitedSM Explorer Card
This card offers a generous sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening your account. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months. The Explorer Card comes with no annual fee for the first year ($95 after that) and includes great perks like a free checked bag for yourself and an up to $100 credit every four years to cover the cost of a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application.
United ClubSM Infinite Card
This premium airline credit card includes membership in the United Club, which gets you access to United’s exclusive line of airport lounges. Though the card charges a $525 annual fee, it offers a whopping 100,000-point sign-up bonus if you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, as well as an impressive rewards rate on travel purchases both with United and outside the airline.
UnitedSM Business Card
If you’re a small business owner, you can earn a Limited Time Offer of 75,000 bonus miles after $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening with the United Business Card. You’ll also get 2 miles per dollar on United purchases and transit and at gas stations, restaurants and office supply stores, as well as 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio to United MileagePlus, making the Chase Sapphire Preferred a great option for earning United Miles. There’s no limit to the number of points you can earn through card spend and the new card member bonus alone earns you 60,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great choice if you’re looking for a taste of luxury travel: You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months and comes with several great perks like a $300 annual travel credit and global lounge access through Priority Pass Select.
How to maximize United miles
Your United miles will go furthest when you book United flights directly through United. Partner flights usually require more miles for the same leg as a United-operated flight in all classes, so consider United first to get the best value for your miles.
You can also take advantage of United’s Excursionist Perk, which can give you a free one-way ticket when you book a multi-city itinerary as long as your trip meets the qualifications.
The information about the United Explorer Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.