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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 PQMs, PQSs and PQDs, 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.

Earning Points

The number of miles you earn on United flights are based on the fare class and ticket fare you purchase. Basic members earn five times the fare on flights, while Premier members can earn between seven and 11 times the fare price depending on status. Specialty tickets (including group, tour and unpublished tickets), as well as those tickets issued by partner airlines, are eligible to earn award miles based on distance flown in addition to the purchased fare class. When it comes to earning PQMs, which count toward MileagePlus Premier status, the fare class determines the number of PQMs you'll receive. You'll earn 100 percent of PQMs when you fly on economy, 150 percent of PQMs on Economy Plus, 200 percent of PQMs for discounted business- and first-class fares and 300 percent of PQMs for full-priced business- and first-class fares. In addition, PQSs (the flight legs between stopovers or plane changes) also count toward Premier status. You'll earn one PQS for each leg of your economy-class flight and one-and-a-half PQSs for each flight leg in higher fare classes. In addition to PQMs and PQSs, travelers in the United States must collect PQDs to qualify for Premier status. You'll earn PQDs for the price of the base airfare and airline-imposed surcharges and fees. Certain discount fares do not count toward your PQD total, including basic economy fares, which prohibit members from earning PQDs, PQMs or PQSs on flights in order to fly for a cheaper price. On United partner airlines, the number of MileagePlus miles, PQMs, PQSs and PQDs you earn varies by carrier. You can also earn miles on Amtrak fares, shopping and dining purchases, car rentals, vacation packages, LifeLock memberships and stays at major hotel brands, such as IHGHyatt and Marriott. Travelers with a United MileagePlus credit card from Chase Visa will earn additional miles on flights and everyday purchases.

Using Points

You can use your miles to book reward travel on United or any of its partner carriers. On United or Copa Airlines, you'll reserve your seat by redeeming miles as Saver or Everyday Awards. Saver Awards are available in limited quantities and start at 7,000 miles for a one-way economy-class ticket. Additional seats are available when you use Everyday Awards. The number of miles needed for Everyday Awards varies by route and demand, but a one-way economy-class ticket can range anywhere from 14,000 to 120,000 miles. Miles can also be used to upgrade on United and participating partners. Below you'll find the minimum number of miles needed (as of July 2018) to cover a round-trip flight on six of United's most popular routes:

Route Lowest calculated round-trip cost (in points)
Newark, New Jersey - Boston 20,000
Las Vegas - Los Angeles 25,000
Washington - Los Angeles 25,000
Newark, New Jersey - Las Vegas 30,000
Houston - Las Vegas 25,000
Houston - Washington, D.C. 25,000

The calculated costs shown above are based on booking searches conducted by U.S. News in July 2018. We analyzed 12 of each airline's highly trafficked routes within three round-trip mileage categories: short domestic, medium domestic and long for three different round-trip dates between July and September. 

Thanks to United's partnerships, you can also use your miles for car rentals, magazine subscriptions, cruises, shopping, dining and more. Additionally, members can use miles to cover TSA Precheck application fees and to pay for experiences like sporting events and theater tickets. United also has partnerships with hotel brands like IHG, Hyatt and Marriott, so you can redeem miles for hotel stays worldwide.

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