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.
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 Specialty tickets (including group, tour and unpublished tickets), as well as those tickets issued by partner airlines, are eligible to earn award miles based on distance flown in addition to the purchased fare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 50% of PQMs when you fly on basic economy, 100% of PQMs when you fly on economy, 150% of PQMs on Economy Plus, 200% of PQMs for discounted business- and first-class fares and 300% of PQMs for full-priced business- and first-class fares. Additionally, PQSs (the flight legs between stopovers or plane changes) also count toward Premier status. You'll earn 0.5 PQSs for each leg of your basic economy flight, one PQS for each leg of your economy-class flight and 1.5 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. Free travel and MileagePlus award travel does not count toward your Premier qualifying credits total. 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 IHG, Hyatt and Marriott. Travelers with a United MileagePlus credit card from Chase Visa will earn additional miles on flights and everyday purchases.
You can use your miles to book reward travel on United or any of its partner carriers. On United, United Express or Copa Airlines flights, you'll reserve your seat by redeeming miles as Everyday Awards. Saver Awards are also available and can come in handy when your travel dates are flexible. For flights on or after Nov. 15, 2019, passengers can mix and match Saver and Everyday awards based on their needs. After this date, United will introduce a broader range of award prices and will no longer publish an award chart with set amounts of miles needed for each leg. 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 2019) 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||21,000|
|Washington - Los Angeles||25,000|
|Newark, New Jersey - Las Vegas||25,000|
|Houston - Las Vegas||27,500|
|Houston - Washington, D.C.||25,000|
The calculated costs shown above are based on booking searches conducted by U.S. News in July 2019. 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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Delta SkyMiles ...
The Delta SkyMiles program is convenient for frequent flyers based in United States cities like Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Seattle, and for passengers who often travel to and from New York City. Delta Air Lines operates more than 15,000 flights each day to 1,000-plus destinations across more than 50 countries. By becoming a SkyMiles member, you'll earn miles based on the amount you pay for your flight with Delta, Delta Connection or Delta Shuttle; you can also earn miles for flying with any of Delta's multiple partner airlines, including KLM, Air France and Virgin Atlantic, among others. Those miles can be redeemed for free air travel on any participating airline or cashed in for cabin upgrades, unique experiences (such as concert tickets) or items for sale at the SkyMiles Marketplace. When you fly with Delta, you will also earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) and Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs), which will help you gain access to a variety of perks through the Delta SkyMiles Medallion elite membership program. You can also earn miles on everyday purchases if you've signed up for a Delta SkyMiles credit card by American Express.
FRONTIER Miles ...
The FRONTIER Miles program caters to travelers who fly frequently within the United States. Frontier Airlines services major domestic airports – like those in Denver, Atlanta and Chicago – as well as smaller destinations like Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Fargo, North Dakota; and Missoula, Montana. Frontier also offers flights to various destinations throughout Mexico and Puerto Rico. The FRONTIER Miles program awards miles based on the airport-to-airport air mileage distance flown. Miles earned can be used for free flights, car rentals and magazine subscriptions. FRONTIER Miles members can also earn miles when staying at certain hotels, purchasing services through partner merchants and charging everyday expenses to the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard credit card by Barclays.
The American Airlines AAdvantage program benefits travelers based in cities throughout the United States, such as New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and Dallas, who fly to destinations around the world. As an AAdvantage member, you'll earn miles and Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) for every American Airlines, American Eagle and codeshare flight operated by other airlines like Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines. You'll also earn award miles and EQDs for flights on affiliated partner carriers through American Airlines' extensive oneworld frequent flyer network, which includes Qantas Airways, British Airways and Qatar Airways. Additionally, members will accrue Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) to apply toward achieving elite status. What's more, you can collect miles for everyday purchases if you use any of the Citi / AAdvantage credit cards or AAdvantage Aviator Mastercards. And thanks to American Airlines' relationship with numerous car rental companies, hotel brands and cruise lines, you can also earn AAdvantage miles on a variety of travel expenses.