It might make sense to transfer your United rewards to your spouse if they need a few extra miles to book an award flight. You’ll get a poor value for your rewards when you transfer, however. If your spouse needs a large number of miles, consider booking the award flight under their name.
Rules for transferring United miles
Transferring United miles is straightforward but expensive: You’ll pay $7.50 per 500 United miles transferred, plus a processing fee of $30 per transaction.
Transfers between 500 and 5,000 miles are allowed in increments of 500. Transfers between 5,000 and 100,000 miles are allowed in increments of 1,000.
Other rules for transferring United miles
You can transfer up to 100,000 miles per calendar year from one account.
Transfers may take up to 48 hours to complete.
Payments are non-refundable.
How to transfer United miles to your spouse or another person
Visit the MileagePlus website and log in to your account.
Scroll down and click Buy or transfer miles.
Scroll down and click Transfer miles to another member.
Select the number of miles you want to transfer. Then enter your recipient’s name, MileagePlus number and email address. Verify the fees you’ll pay, then click Continue to proceed with your transfer.
Should you transfer United miles to another person?
While mile transfers are sometimes useful, you should generally avoid them. Perhaps the best reason you might transfer miles is to help someone if they’re short a few for an award flight.
Why mile transfers are usually a bad deal
A transfer fee of $7.50 per 500 miles works out to a cost of 1.5 cents per mile. According to our current valuations, United miles are generally worth up to 1.4 cents each.
This means a transfer may essentially erase the value of your miles. Normally, 500 miles are worth up to $7. But if you’re paying $7.50 to transfer them, the transaction is already a wash. And that’s not including the processing fee, which puts you further in the red.
For example, check out how much it costs to transfer 1,000 miles:
1,000 United miles are worth around $14. Yet you’re paying $45 to transfer them, which means you’re losing $31 in value.
If your spouse, family member or friend needs a significant number of miles, consider just booking the award flight for them under their name. This way, you’ll avoid losing the value of your miles.
You’ll lose value when transferring United miles. However, you might do it for one key reason: If someone is very close to having enough miles for an award flight. If the gulf is a lot wider, consider booking the award flight for them.
The Citi Prestige® Credit Card is another great choice, offering 5x points on air travel. By transferring points to Star Alliance carriers Avianca, Air Canada or Singapore Airlines, you can book United-operated flights.
If you’re a frequent flyer on the airline, it might make sense to get one of these cards. You might also want a cobranded card for perks like priority boarding and free checked baggage. If those don’t interest you, you might get more out of a general travel card.
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.