Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

How to earn United MileagePlus miles

Earn bonus miles in a diverse number of ways.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked

Our pick for earning United miles: United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card logo

40,000-mile

Signup bonus after spending $2,000 in first 3 months

  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • Get 2x miles at restaurants, hotels and on United Airlines
  • $0 intro annual fee, then $95
See offer
The United Airlines MileagePlus loyalty program offers many ways to earn miles. Spend on dining, travel, shopping and more to earn airfare and other credit card perks.

Eleven ways to earn MileagePlus miles

Earn miles with credit cards

Spending with cobranded or partnered credit cards is one of the fastest ways to earn miles, even when you’re not spending on your next flight.

If you prefer a straightforward earning method, you have several cobranded Chase credit cards to help you earn additional MileagePlus miles and other travel benefits. Miles earned using a United card will post directly to your account as you make purchases. Plus, these cobranded cards can also help you earn status levels faster than you would otherwise.

If you want some extra reward flexibility, you can pick up one of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards credit cards, such as the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can transfer Ultimate Reward points you earn to your MileagePlus account at a 1:1 ratio. Because these Chase cards have more bonus categories, they might just give you higher mileage gains than cobranded cards, depending on your spending habits.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
$0
Get 5% back on purchases made through the Chase Travel Portal, making this a strong travel card as well as a solid everyday rewards card.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See terms
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
United℠ Explorer Card
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Back to top

Flying with United Airlines

Flying with United Airlines is the next best method to build your miles and you can easily combine this with a cobranded card to earn even more miles. The number of miles you earn on United flights depends on the fare and your membership level.

MileagePlus statusBase miles earnedPremier miles earnedTotal award miles earned
Base5x fare5x fare
Premier Silver5x fare2x fare7x fare
Premier Gold5x fare3x fare8x fare
Premier Platinum5x fare4x fare9x fare
Premier 1K5x fare6x fare11x fare

Data obtained July 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

In addition to the rates above, certain specialty tickets are offered through United reward miles based on distance traveled and fare class. Here are the bonuses possible on speciality tickets for flights booked on or after January 1, 2020.

Eligible fare classes on special ticketsBase award miles earned based on distanceFare class bonus
J, C, D, Z, P100%50%
Y, B, M, O, A, R100%0%
E, U, H, Q, V, W75%0%
S, T50%0%
L, K, G25%0%

Data obtained July 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Flying with United partners

When booking with a United partner, the miles you earn depend on how you booked your flight. If you booked your partnered flight through United, you’ll earn miles at the same rate as if you were flying with United, including the bonuses earned from Premier status.

If you instead book through the partnered airline, you’ll be subject to different mileage earning rates. These differ from airline to airline, though all are based on a combination of flight distance and fare class. Here’s an example of Aegean Air’s mileage chart.

ClassPurchased fareAward mile bonus (including fare class bonus)
BusinessC, D, Z, A125%
Full-fare EconomyY, B100%
EconomyM, G, O100%
Discount EconomyS, Q, K, J75%
Deep discount EconomyL, W, H, E50%
Deep discount EconomyU, T, P25%
No mileage creditF, I, N, R, V, X0%
Back to top

MileagePlus Dining

You can earn earn miles with the MileagePlus Dining
program
by making purchases at participating restaurants.

Generally, the miles you can earn for dining vary by restaurant. However, the program offers a nice 30-day introductory bonus to help get you started. After linking your credit card or debit card to your account, you can earn 1,000-mile bonus for spending $25 or more on your first participating restaurant visit. If you’re a MileagePlus Premier member or MileagePlus cardholder, you’ll also earn an additional 500 miles and limited-time VIP status. Finally, you’ll also earn 500 bonus miles for each of your next three visits when you spend $25 or more.

MileagePlus Shopping

Similar to the United MileagePlus Dining program, you can earn additional bonus miles simply for shopping at eligible retailers through the MileagePlus Shopping portal. You’ll need to use your linked card on your purchases to earn your points.

Earning rates vary from store to store and tend to fluctuate regularly. If you don’t see a good deal in a given month, try checking back the following month – odds are you’ll have a new selection available.

United is currently offering two bonuses for new MileagePlus Shopping members. United MileagePlus members will earn 500 bonus miles after they spend $125 within two weeks of signing up. Meanwhile, MileagePlus credit card holders will earn 1,000 bonus miles after spending $150 within two weeks of signing up.

Partnered hotels

United has partnered with dozens and dozens of hotels, allowing you to earn MileagePlus miles simply for booking a night’s stay. Your exact rewards will differ depending on the exact hotel, but here’s a rough guide to what you can expect based on participating hotel chains.

Participating hotelPotential earnings
Marriott BonvoyEarn between 1x and 2x miles per dollar depending on the hotel
Convert Marriott Bonvoy points into MileagePlus miles; 3 points equals 1.1 miles
Le Club AccorHotelsConvert Rewards points into MileagePlus miles; 2,000 points equals 1,000 miles
Hilton HonorsConvert points into miles; 10,000 points equals 1,000 miles
IHG Rewards ClubEarn between 1x and 2x miles per dollar spent depending on hotel
Convert points into miles; 5 points equals 1 mile
Radisson RewardsEarn between 250 and 500 miles per stay depending on hotel
Convert points into miles at varying rates
World of HyattEarn 500 miles per stay
Convert points into miles; 2.5 points equals 1 mile
Choice PrivilegesEarn 250 miles per stay
Convert points into miles; 5,000 points equals 1,000 mile
Wyndham RewardsEarn between 1x and 2x miles for every dollar depending on Wyndham Reward level
Convert points into mile at varying rates
Golden CircleEarn 500 miles per stay
Convert points to miles; 1 point equals 1 mile

Data obtained July 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Back to top

Car rentals and ground transportation

Earn up to 2,750 miles by renting a Hertz car through United.com. You can also convert your Hertz Gold Plus Reward points into MileagePlus miles at a ratio of 600 points to 500 miles. Other ground transportation partners include:

Car rental partnerCar rental partner
Dollar50x miles per day on one- to four-day rentals
500x miles per rental on qualifying rentals of five or more days
Thrifty50x miles per day on one- to four-day rentals
500x miles per rental on qualifying rentals of five or more days
GroundLink200x miles per ride
SuperShuttle50x miles per direction to and from the airport
ExecuCar150x miles per direction to and from the airport
Carmel50x miles within New York or 100x miles outside of New York on each trip booked and completed
2x miles per dollar on each trip booked and completed
AmtrakMiles vary on class and segment

Data obtained March 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Back to top

United Cruises

United cardmembers who book a cruise through the United Cruise program can earn bonus miles and a bonus rate to their standard miles earned through a cobranded credit card. Bonuses vary based on each cruise, so checking out United’s cruise award chart is the best method of figuring out the miles you can earn.

Home services

If you choose NRG for your home electric needs, you can earn a bonus of 12,500 miles after your first two months of service along with 3x miles for every dollar spent on the supply portion of your bill. This opportunity is only available for residents of Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Residents in Texas can find similar miles opportunities when signing up with Reliant’s Reliant Secure 24 plan. Texans can earn a 15,000-mile enrollment bonus and 500 additional miles each month for the following 24 months.

Some of your other home and auto earning partners include:

Auto partnerPotential earnings
California Casualty7,500 miles after four months of continuous coverage
5,000x miles after your first and second policy renewals
2,500x miles after your third policy renewal

Data obtained March 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Back to top

Financial services

United has also partnered with several financial services to help you earn miles.

Financial serviceEarnings
Quicken Loans25,000 miles for closing or refinancing a home loan
LendingClub1x miles for every dollar you borrow with a personal loan
LifeLockUp to 13,000 miles when you enroll in LifeLock

Data obtained March 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Miscellaneous partners

United’s partnerships extend to a variety of companies that don’t fit in other categories, each with their own potential for bonus mileage.

PartnerPotential earnings
FTD30x miles on flowers and gifts
1800Flowers.com30x miles on flowers and gifts
TelefloraUp to 750 bonus miles
Harry & David30x miles on eligible purchases
Shari’s Berries20x miles on eligible purchases
Personal Creations20x miles on eligible purchases
Travelex2x miles when exchanging over $500
1x miles when exchanging under $500
BP Driver Rewards3x miles for every gallon of gas
200 bonus miles after making your first purchase with a debit or credit card linked to your BP Driver Rewards account
Opinion Miles Club300 miles for joining and completing the first survey
Vinesse Wines5,000 miles when you join American Cellars Wine Club
5x miles on eligible purchases
MyPoints1,500 miles when you join and shop online
VisaCentral1,000 miles for visa and passport services
500 miles for Australian ETA and US ESTA services
Thanks Again100 miles when you enroll
1x miles at participating retailers
National Foundation for Cancer Research10x miles on contributions to the organization
IT&E3x miles on mobile or Internet services

Data obtained March 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Back to top

Buy MileagePlus miles

MileagePlus miles can be purchased directly through the MileagePlus site starting at $35 per 1,000 miles. There’s a minimum purchase of 2,000 miles.

Bottom line

With a seemingly endless way of earning miles, you can gain significant rewards with United’s MileagePlus program, especially if you pair it up with a credit card that can also help you earn bonus miles. Once you’ve amassed some points, compare your best redemption options to squeeze the most out of your hard-earned miles.

Back to top

Frequently asked questions

Images: Shutterstock

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site