There are many ways to earn thousands of United miles at once. Here’s a rundown of the best earnings opportunities.
Some of the offers below are no longer available and may be out of date.
United MileagePlus is easily one of the most rewarding loyalty programs available, thanks to its elite travel benefits and partners, co-branded credit cards and miles-earning opportunities. You can earn miles by flying with United Airlines and its partner airlines, but you can also boost your miles balance by spending money in the MileagePlus Shopping portal, doing business with United’s retail partners or taking advantage of special promotions.
If you’re eager to travel the world on a budget, it’s smart to look at the different ways you can rack up and redeem United miles. After all, more miles can mean more travel, travel further from home and upgrades to business or first class.
Here are all the best ways to earn more United Airlines miles so you can get to your dream trip even faster.
12 ways to earn United miles
- Sign up for co-branded United Airlines credit cards
- Sign up for cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points
- Sign up for co-branded Marriott credit cards
- Add authorized users to your cards
- Join forces with your spouse
- Download the MileagePlus X app
- Become a MileagePlus Dining member
- Fly with United (or one of its partners)
- Book hotels and rental cars with United Airlines travel partners
- Consider a cruise
- Go shopping in the MileagePlus shopping portal
- Take a vacation (package)
1. Sign up for co-branded United Airlines credit cards
One of the fastest ways to earn United Airlines miles is by spending money with one of the airline’s co-branded credit cards from Chase. Each of these cards dole out a specific number of airline miles after you’re approved and spend a certain amount of money within a particular time frame.
If you meet the minimum requirement, the sign-up bonus should be enough for a round-trip domestic flight at the very least.
United Airlines credit card sign-up bonuses
|Card||Sign-up bonus||Estimated value|
|United℠ Explorer Card||up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 miles after you spend $6,000 total on purchases in the first six months your account is open||$1,064|
|United Gateway℠ Card||20,000 if you spend $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months||$304|
|United℠ Business||75,000 miles if you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first 3 months||$1,140|
|United℠ Explorer Card|
Why should you get this card? With a generous sign-up bonus, the United Explorer Card makes it nearly effortless to earn a free flight quickly. And if you fly United often, you can easily make up the card’s $95 annual fee (waived the first year). Learn more
|More things to know:|
2X miles spent on United purchases, dining (including eligible delivery services) and hotel stays booked directly with the hotel
Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 miles after you spend $6,000 total on purchases in the first six months your account is open
2 one-time passes to the United Club lounge, annually
Up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck every 4 years
25% back on in-flight food, drinks and Wi-Fi purchases
Exclusive amenities and guest privileges through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
First checked bag free (for you and a companion)
Baggage delay insurance
Lost luggage insurance
Car rental insurance
Trip delay reimbursement
Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
2. Sign up for cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Chase offers a handful of rewards cards that let you transfer points to the United MileagePlus program at a 1:1 ratio. You can sign up for these cards instead of (or in addition to) co-branded United Airlines credit cards issued by Chase.
These cards are more flexible than United MileagePlus cards because you can transfer points to United as well as other airline and hotel partners:
|Sign-up bonus||Estimated value (United miles)|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||60,000 points if you spend $4,000 on purchases in your first 3 months||$750 (when redeemed for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal)|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||50,000 points if you spend $4,000 on purchases in your first 3 months||$625 (when redeemed for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal)|
|Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card||100,000 points if you spend $15,000 on purchases in your first 3 months||$1,250 (when redeemed for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal)|
3. Sign up for co-branded Marriott credit cards
Believe it or not, some hotel credit cards are good options for earning miles with United MileagePlus. Marriott, for instance, lets you transfer points from your Marriott Bonvoy account to more than 40 airline partners – United included – at a 3:1 ratio.
What’s more, you’ll snag an extra 5,000 miles for every 60,000 Bonvoy points you convert into United MileagePlus miles, plus a 10% transfer bonus through RewardsPlus, a partnership between the Marriott and United loyalty programs.
Marriott cards you could apply for include:
|Introductory bonus||Estimated value (United miles)|
|Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card||$800|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card||$800|
4. Add authorized users to your cards
Adding an authorized user to your credit card account is another simple way to rack up additional miles. You’ll earn miles on not only your own purchases but also your authorized user’s purchases, which can add up in a big way over time.
But choose wisely: You’ll be responsible for paying off an authorized user’s purchases, too.
5. Join forces with your spouse
Your spouse or partner could apply for their own credit cards and earn their own sign-up bonuses. This is true even if you live at the same address, and you have the same card they’re already eyeing. And don’t worry if you added them as an authorized user on your account – that won’t disqualify them from approval either. Card issuers consider spouses to be individual customers, so getting your partner involved can help you double up on rewards quickly.
One note: If it’s a Chase card they have in mind, make sure they don’t run afoul of the issuer’s 5/24 rule, which prevents applicants from being approved for a Chase card if they’ve opened five or more cards with any issuer in the last 24 months.
6. Download the MileagePlus X app
The MileagePlus X app is a smartphone app that lets consumers earn extra miles on a wide array of purchases. The app works with a broad selection of retailers and restaurants online, but you can also use the app for in-store purchases. Depending on the merchant’s promotion, you can get up to 5 miles for every dollar you spend – or even more during the holidays or back-to-school season. (If you’re the primary cardholder on a United Chase card, you’ll earn a 25% bonus on eGift card purchases.)
Keep in mind the miles you earn with the MileagePlus X app are in addition to the points, miles or cash back from the card you use to pay at checkout. For that reason, it’s smart to download the app and pair it with a card that lets you earn either United Airlines miles or points that can be converted into miles later.
7. Become a MileagePlus Dining member
Like other airline loyalty programs, United MileagePlus has its own dining program that lets you earn miles when you eat at participating restaurants. You’ll score 3,000 bonus miles for your first dine-in visit or takeout order in your first 30 days as a MileagePlus Dining member, too. All you have to do is spend $25 or more, pay with your linked credit or debit card and leave a review of your experience (via the link in your MileagePlus account or benefit confirmation email).
Through Jan. 6, 2022, you’ll also earn an extra 100 bonus miles every time you order online from a participating restaurant or complete a post-dining review within 30 days of your meal. This is an easy way to collect United miles on the spending you already do. Everybody’s gotta eat, right?
8. Fly with United (or one of its partners)
This might sound obvious, but you can earn miles on flights you take with United or any of its airline partners. For eligible flights that allow you earn miles based on fare, United MileagePlus members earn a base of 5X miles, while Premier members get bonuses based on their level of status: Premier Silver (7X miles), Premier Gold (8X miles), Premier Platinum (9X miles) and Premier 1K (11X miles).
Members may also earn award miles based on the flight distance and purchased fare class for certain specialty tickets. Furthermore, you can earn varying rates of United miles when you fly with partner airlines and enter your United MileagePlus loyalty number in your reservation.
9. Book hotels and rental cars with United Airlines travel partners
United Airlines has a wide array of hotel and rental car partners, making it easier to add to your miles stash when you travel. You can earn up to 10,000 miles per night by booking a hotel through Rocketmiles.com, for example, as well as earn United miles for paid stays with big hotel brands such as IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Radisson, Wyndham and The Ritz-Carlton. And when you book a qualifying rental car with United partners Avis and Budget, you earn up to 1,250 miles – and get up to 35% off time and mileage charges while you’re at it.
If you’re going to book a hotel or rental car anyway, you may as well explore these offers to rack up more miles in the process.
10. Consider a cruise
While most people may not associate United Airlines with cruising, the brand does offer its own cruise portal that lets you earn miles for each cruise you book. While offers change frequently, you may be able to earn up to 45,000 bonus miles on cruise vacations with top brands like Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean if you book with United Cruises.
11. Go shopping in the MileagePlus shopping portal
The United MileagePlus Shopping portal makes it easy to earn miles each time you make a purchase with one of 900-plus participating retailers, including popular options like Bergdorf Goodman, Macy’s, Groupon, Home Depot and The Container Store.
While most participating stores offer 1 to 3 miles per dollar, you can occasionally find more lucrative offers. (As of this writing, for example, you can earn 30 miles for every dollar you spend at 1800Flowers.com.) Some MileagePlus Shopping deals offer fixed rewards, such as 1,000 miles for your first HelloFresh order. You’ll also see percent-off deals, free shipping and other savings opportunities in the portal.
12. Take a vacation (package)
Finally, you can earn more United miles when you book a vacation package (with airfare and hotel) through United Vacations. The offers change frequently, but you can find vacations to destinations all over the globe – such as Hawaii, Tahiti and the Caribbean – with special discounts and exclusive perks included.
From credit card sign-up offers to travel-partner bonuses, United MileagePlus offers a fair number of ways to rack up thousands of miles at once. These 12 options are just a sampling of your best opportunities for earning miles with United – there are a plethora of additional options to do so. Do you have a miles-earning tip you want to share? Leave a comment below.
*All information about the United℠ Business Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.