Redeem United Airlines miles for best value

Partner airlines and no fuel charges mean your miles go farther.

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Get the most value out of your United MileagePlus miles by booking flights. A variety of Star Alliance flight partners and no fuel surcharges passed on to award tickets means you can get more for your miles when you get the right deals.

But there are other miles redemption options as well, including hotel stays, car rentals, cruises, merchandise, experiences and gift cards.

United miles redemption options

Once you earn enough United miles, you can redeem for any of the following:

  • United flights. This is by far the most valuable redemption option, which can be worth up to 1.5 cents per mile.
  • Star Allilance flights. Booking flights on Star Alliance partner airlines also comes with high redemption value per mile.
  • Seat upgrades. This may seem like a good redemption option, but typically you would get slightly lower value for your miles.
  • Hotel stays. United has its own hotel booking portal powered by Hotels.com where you can book with your miles. This comes with a low redemption value of around 0.6 cents per mile.
  • Car rentals. Powered by Rentalcars.com, United’s platform lets you book car rentals with miles from companies like Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty. But this option comes with even lower redemption value of around 0.4 cents per mile.
  • Book cruises. Book cruises with miles from the United website for cruise companies like Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celeribity Cruises and Princess Cruises. The redemption rate here is around 0.9 cents per mile.
  • Merchandise. You can get an iPhone with a value of around 0.75 cents per mile. Other items may come with even lower redemption value of around 0.4 cents per mile.
  • Gift cards. Redeem your miles for gift cards for a variety of stores, including Walmart, Home Depot, eBay, Starbucks, Uber, iTunes, Nike and more. Download the United MileagePlus X mobile app to buy and use your gift cards.
  • Experiences. Use your miles for a variety of experiences, such as suit-level seats for select sporting events, private golf lessons, trip for two to the Olympic games and more.

How to redeem miles for maximum value

Get the most bang for your buck by using reward miles to book flights. Based on United’s fare and award charts, miles are worth around 0.1 to 1.4 cents upon redemption, though the exact value depends on how they are redeemed. To get a higher value, skip on poorer redemption options, such as merchandise.

Cash in your miles with these better redemption options:

United Airlines transfer partners

MileagePlus members can earn and redeem miles on Star Alliance partner flights in addition to United flights. The miles needed to book flights depend on the seating class, destination and flight type.

Awards chart

Here are a few examples of how many miles you’ll need to travel to your desired destination from the US.

DestinationClassMiles needed
Domestic USEconomy

First class

  • One-way Saver Award: 10,000 for itineraries of 700 miles or less; 12,500 for greater than 700 miles
  • One-way Everyday Award: 32,500
  • One-way Saver Award: 25,000
  • One-way Everyday Award: 50,000
HawaiiEconomy

First class

  • One-way Saver Award: 22,500
  • One-way Everyday Award: 45,000
  • One-way Saver Award: 40,000
  • One-way Everyday Award: 90,0000
Central AmericaEconomy

First and business class

  • One-way Saver Award: 17,500
  • One-way Everyday Award: 40,000
  • One-way Saver Award: 30,000
  • One-way Everyday Award: 70,000
EuropeEconomy

First and business class

Partner first and business class

  • One-way Saver Award: 30,000
  • One-way Everyday Award: 70,000
  • One-way Saver Award: 60,000
  • One-way Everyday Award: 155,000
  • One-way Saver Award: 70,000

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

These values come from United’s awards chart calculator. Some flights may require additional miles depending on certain conditions.

How do I redeem miles on United for a flight?

You can manage and redeem your miles through the main United website.

  1. Go to the United website and select MileagePlus from the menu.
  2. Select Use award miles.
  3. Click Book award travel.
  4. Put in your trip details and click Search.
  5. Choose your flight by clicking Select next to the itinerary you want.
  6. Enter your MileagePlus number and password and click Sign in.
  7. Finalize your flight information and book your trip.

How to earn United MileagePlus miles

There are many ways to earn miles on your MileagePlus account. Here’s how:

  • Fly United Airlines
  • Fly United partner airlines
  • Use a United Airlines cobranded credit card.
  • Dine at participating restaurants
  • Shop at participating retailers
  • Use the MileagePlus X mobile app
  • Stay at partner hotels
  • Rent a car from partner companies
  • Book cruises through the United Cruise program
  • Use select home services and financial services

Our pick for a United credit card

United℠ Explorer Card

  • $0 first-year intro annual fee, then $95.
  • Signup bonus: 60,000 miles after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • 2x miles on United purchases, hotel stays and restaurant purchases.
  • Credit every four years for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • 25% back as statement credit on United inflight purchases. Plus, priority boarding and your first checked bag free on United-operated flights.
  • 2 United Club one-time passes each card anniversary.
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See Rates & Fees

Compare United cards

United’s cobranded cards have intro bonuses and can help jump-start your MileagePlus reward earnings with additional earnings on United products. The United cards can also help you reach your next status tier faster, letting you earn bonus rates on eligible purchases.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
United℠ Explorer Card
60,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
United℠ Business Card
100,000 miles once after spending $10,000 in your first 3 months
2x miles on United, transit and rideshares, and at gas stations, office supply stores and restaurants, and 1x miles on all other purchases
$99
Earn 100,000 miles once after spending $10,000 in your first 3 months.
United MileagePlus® Club card
50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases
$450
50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
United℠ TravelBank Card
$150 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
2% back on United and 1.5% on all other purchases
$0
Earn $150 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

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Bottom line

The MileagePlus program is great for domestic and international travelers who want to redeem points by booking flights through United Airlines or partner airlines. It might take a little planning and research to find the best flight for the highest redemption value, but it can be worth it.

Frequently asked questions

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