United MileagePlus

#4 in Best Airline Rewards Programs

Overview

The United MileagePlus program is best for travelers based in major American cities and those who travel to destinations in Europe, the Middle EastAustralia, Latin America 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 and Lufthansa, many of which are part of 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 PQDs and PQMs or PQSs and you'll reach Premier status – MileagePlus membership levels for which you'll receive extra benefits. Additionally, you can earn miles on qualifying cruise vacations, car rentals and train fares, as well as on shopping, dining and other services. And since United partners with major hotel brands, including MarriottHyatt and IHG, you can earn rewards when you stay at properties worldwide. You may also redeem miles for flights, hotel stays, cruises, magazine subscriptions, destination experiences (think: sporting events and theater performances) and more. Choose to use one of four United MileagePlus credit cards from Chase Visa and you'll earn miles on flights and everyday purchases.

Pros & Cons

  • United and its 35-plus partner airlines fly to more than 600 destinations worldwide

  • Miles never expire 

  • Award miles can be used for flights, shopping, hotel stays, car rentals and more

  • The number of seats available for award travel is limited

  • Earning elite status requires flying and spending a lot

  • United is no longer publishing award charts for travel in mid-November onward

Rankings

United MileagePlus is ranked No. 4 in the Best Airline Rewards Programs. U.S. News evaluated 9 frequent flyer programs offered by airlines based in the United States across several indicators of excellence. Read more about how we rank rewards.

United MileagePlus is ranked as:

3.94

Scorecard

  • 5.0Network Coverage »
  • 3.0Ease of Earning Free Flight »
  • 3.0Award Flight Availability »
  • 5.0Additional Benefits »
  • 4.2Airline Quality »
  • > 2,000No. of Daily Flights »

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.

  • Points Do Not Expire

Can Earn Points On:

  • Air Travel

  • Hotel Stays

  • Credit Card

Can Use Points On:

  • Booking Flights

  • Cabin Upgrades

  • Hotel Stays

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 the invitation-only United Global Services program for its most loyal customers.

See details about 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.
  • To transfer miles to another account, you'll be charged $7.50 per 500 miles, plus a $30 processing fee. Up to 100,000 miles can be transferred from one account to another.
  • Award travel with United and Star Alliance partners must be booked through United by phone (for a fee) or online.
  • A companion for lifetime Premier status is defined as a spouse, significant other or any individual living at the same home address as the MileagePlus member.

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