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United MileagePlus

Overall Score 3.5-stars (3.74)
No. of Daily Flights More than 2,000
Geographic Coverage 5.0-stars
Ease of Earning Free Flight 4.0-stars
Free Flight Options 3.0-stars
Additional Benefits 4.5-stars
Airline Quality 2.5-stars
About these ratings

Program Review

The United MileagePlus program is best for travelers based in major American cities like Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, Houston, New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. United operates several thousand domestic flights each day and services primary business and leisure destinations in Europe, Mexico and Asia. When you become a MileagePlus member, you can earn and use miles on United and its 35-plus airline partners like Singapore Airlines, ANA or Copa Airlines through the Star Alliance network. As a MileagePlus member, you'll accrue Premier Qualifying Miles (PQMs), Premier Qualifying Segments (PQSs) and Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQDs) each time you fly. Earn enough PQMs or PQSs and you'll reach Premier status — MileagePlus membership levels for which you'll receive additional benefits. You can also earn miles on qualifying cruise vacations, car rentals and train fares, as well as on shopping and dining. And since United partners with more than 80 hotel brands, you can earn rewards when you stay at properties worldwide. Choose to use one of four MileagePlus credit cards from Chase Visa and you'll earn miles on flights and everyday purchases.

Note: United has announced major changes to the MileagePlus program beginning on March 1, 2015. MileagePlus members will earn miles on dollars spent on United, United Express, and certain partner airline tickets, rather than on distance flown. For more information, see How to Earn and Use Points.

Pros & Cons

United and its partner airlines fly to more than 1,100 destinations worldwide
You can earn and redeem miles on more than 35 participating airlines 
Rewards can be used for flights, hotels, train fares and more
  • United and its partner airlines fly to more than 1,100 destinations worldwide
  • You can earn and redeem miles on more than 35 participating airlines 
  • Rewards can be used for flights, hotels, train fares and more
- The program rules are complex
- The number of seats available for award travel is limited
- Miles expire after 18 months of account inactivity
  • The program rules are complex
  • The number of seats available for award travel is limited
  • Miles expire after 18 months of account inactivity

Points

You'll earn miles every time you fly on United or one of its more than 35 airline partners, including all members of the Star Alliance network. Miles can be used to cover the cost of future airfare on United or its partner airlines. You'll accrue Premier Qualifying Miles, Premier Qualifying Segments and Premier Qualifying Dollars, which count toward MileagePlus Premier status. When you purchase flights and everyday items using one of the MileagePlus credit cards from Chase Visa, you'll earn additional miles.

Can Points Expire? YES

Can Earn Points On...

  • Credit Card
  • Air Travel
  • Hotel Stays

Can Use Points On...

  • Booking Flights
  • Cabin Upgrades
  • Hotel Stays
How to Earn and Use Points»

Membership Levels

The United MileagePlus program offers basic membership and Premier membership. Premier is divided into four main levels: Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum and Premier 1K. MileagePlus also offers an invitation-only Global Services program for its most loyal customers.

Note: The requirements for MileagePlus status will not be affected by the changes United will implement in 2015 (see How to Earn and Use Points for more information). 

How Membership Works»

The Fine Print

  • The number of miles you earn on partner airlines is determined by each airline and may differ from your earnings on United.
  • Saver Awards and Standard Awards for free flights are available in limited quantities.
  • If your account is inactive for 18 months, you will forfeit your remaining miles and your account will be canceled.
  • In order for your companion to qualify for a complimentary upgrade, he or she must be on the same flight reservation as you.
  • As a Premier Gold, Platinum, 1K or Global Services member, you can access United Club airport lounges when flying on United or Star Alliance international flights only, not when flying on United or Star Alliance domestic flights.
  • Complimentary upgrades expire at the end of the qualifying year and you cannot use them on award travel.
  • If you are a Premier member and have one of several select MileagePlus credit cards from Chase Visa, you are eligible for complimentary premier upgrades on award travel. 

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