Best Ways to Earn United Airlines MileagePlus Miles


Flying on United and Partners

United rewards customers based on a combination of the price of their flight and status at the following rates: Member (5x), Silver (7x), Gold (8x), Platinum (9x), and 1k (11x).

Partner Airlines: Full List of Earn Rates.

Business Owners: If you have more than 5 employees and spend $25,000 per year on United and Star Alliance partners for yourself and employees, you can earn additional points via United’s PerksPlus program. This program allows the flyer to enjoy their regular points plus additional points for the business. United does award 2x points if you are flying in or out of a non-United hub city (their hubs are Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Newark   (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), Washington Dulles (IAD), Tokyo-Narita (NRT) and Guam (GUM)). 


Transfer Partners

The only 1 to 1 transfer partner for United is Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can also transfer from Marriott at a 3 (Marriott) to 1.1 United point transfer ratio. You can also get an additional 5,000 airline points bonus if you transfer in increments of 60,000 Marriott points. (e.g., 60,000 Marriott points become 27,000 United points, whereas if you only transfer 59,000 Marriott points, you would only get 21,633 airline points).

Other Ratios: Hertz (6 to 5), Hilton (10 to 1), Hyatt (5 to 2), IHG (5 to 1), and Wyndham (6 to 1).


Credit Cards

I recommend keeping one United credit card because it helps you avoid basic economy and gets you better award space than non-card holders.

United Explorer

Personal Application Link (Target: 60,000; Current: 40,000) (subject to 5/24)

Business Application Link (Target: 70,000; Current: 75,000) (subject to 5/24)

Annual Fee: $95 (waived for the first year for both cards)

Personal Earning: 2x for United, dining, and hotels; and 1x everywhere else.

Business Earning: 2x for United, restaurants, gas, and office supplies stores; 1x everywhere else.

Benefits:

  • Free first checked bag. 
  • Priority boarding
  • 2 United Club passes each anniversary
  • $100 global entry credit
  • 25% off in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transactions
  • Primary rental car insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • 12-hour trip delay insurance
  • 120-day purchase protection.

United Elite Members: If you are a United Elite member and have this card, you can get upgrades on award flights. If you are an Elite member and don’t have this card, you can only get upgraded on cash flights and not award flights. 


Chase United Club

Application Link (Target: 70,000; Current: 50,000) (subject to 5/24)

Annual Fee: $450

Earning: 2x for United and 1.5x everywhere else.

Benefits: United Club membership (can bring in travel companions) plus other Star Alliance Lounges, Hertz President’s Club Status, Free first and second checked bag (when using card to pay for flight), priority boarding, no close-in award booking fees, Hyatt Discoverist status (benefit ending 12/31/2018), priority check-in, no foreign transactions, primary rental car insurance, 10,000 bonus points if you spend $25,000 per year, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation insurance, 12 hour trip delay insurance, 120 purchase protection, 90 day price protection,  and, 90 day return protection.

Note: Authorized users do not get United Club membership, unlike the Citi American Airlines card, where all authorized users get Admirals Club memberships. However, you do get access to other Star Alliance Airline’s Business Class lounge. Visit this website and choose “Paid Membership Card,” Select “United Club,” and the airport you want lounge access at.


Other Ways

United MileagePlus X Mobile App (buy gift cards and get points), Hotel Partners, Rental Cars, Dining, Online Shopping (chrome extension), Cruises, and Other Partners

Hotel Portals: RocketMiles and Kaligo (you forgo hotel points and elite benefits for airline points).

Gas: United partnered with BP to offer either: 1 United point per dollar spent buying gas at BP with a non-linked card; 2 points per dollar when buying regular or midgrade with linked debit/credit card; or 3 points per dollar when buying premium gas with linked card.