Redeeming United Miles: The Complete Guide – NerdWallet

United Airlines offers enough of opportunities to redeem MileagePlus miles, but some redemption options are better than others. You ’ ll want to learn what the options are so you can choose the redemption that works best for you and hopefully provides good value a well. In this post, we will look at the different ways in which you could redeem your United miles, from the good ( i.e. business class award tickets ) to the not-so-good ( i.e. buying an iPhone ). Keep in mind that NerdWallet values United miles at 1 cent each. ideally, you want to aim for redemptions that exceed that evaluation. broadly, you ‘ll find that award tickets booked in first and business class cabins will result in better redemption values in terms of cents per mile.

Redeem miles for flights on United Airlines

One of the best ways to use United miles is to redeem them for award tickets on United. As one of the largest U.S.-based airlines ( 362 destinations with about 5,000 casual departures ), United ‘s extensive reach provides a act of opportunities for award tickets. With a user-friendly web site, United has done a adept job of designing its award search interface.

Input your lineage, finish, and date, then select the “ Book with miles option ” and click “ Find flights ” to see options for prize tickets. Below is an award flight from Chicago to Los Angeles in late 2022 . Awards are provided for each fare classify ( when available ) and are besides categorized as Saver or Everyday Awards. rescuer Awards are discounted tickets in economy, business or first class. They are capacitance controlled, which means that during popular travel days, it may be difficult to find them. Saver Awards can be booked on Star Alliance partners, besides. In the example above, the economy prize for 12,500 miles is a Saver Award. everyday Awards volunteer increased handiness but they are priced higher than Saver Awards. There is a higher likelihood that an Everyday Award will be available when a Saver Award is not. typically, everyday Awards are n’t a dependable redemption because they are expensive. These awards are available on United and Copa Airlines flights only. MileagePlus elites and holders of United ’ s co-branded credit rating cards are n’t subject to capacity controls for these types of awards on United and United Express flights. For the escape shown above, the business/first prize for 45,400 miles is an everyday Award. » Learn more : How to Book United flights with miles

Searching and redeeming with dynamic award pricing

United no long publishes a region-based award chart. Although in theory dynamic pricing should lead to some awards that are more expensive and some that are cheaper than previously priced, in most cases the tickets will be more expensive. For reference point, we ’ ve included United ’ s previous award chart ( page 2 ), which is no longer available on the web site. This chart applies to awards on United or United/partners where the long-haul trajectory is flown by United. You can use this chart as a guide to determine if the price you ’ rhenium seeing on the web site is in line with previous baseline prize rates. For example, economy Saver Awards from the continental U.S. to Europe were priced at 30,000 MileagePlus miles per the old award chart. A search for award seats from New York to London in November 2022 reveals the following prize seats on United : There are two flights listed : The 6:00 post meridiem trajectory offers two Saver Awards at 30,000 miles in economy or 60,000 miles in business class. however, if you want to take the flight departing 45 minutes later, you would need to pay 56,700 miles for that same economy buttocks or 120,000 miles for a business class buttocks. If you ’ re elastic on your change of location dates, you could besides pull up the 30-day calendar to look for awards on other days . A scan of the calendar for the lapp route illustrates that some days are cheaper to travel than others. The calendar is filtered by nonstop flight flights alone. If you ’ rhenium open to having a connect flight, you ’ d have many more options for lower prices economy and clientele class awards. You ’ ll by and large get the best value when you redeem your miles for a commercial enterprise or excellent slate. Consider the follow round-trip Saver Award in business classify from New York to London for 120,000 miles + $ 394 in taxes. The eminent taxes on the retort leg aren ’ thyroxine United ’ randomness fault, as the U.K. is ill-famed for adding high gear taxes to departing flights . If you were to book that same business class flight in cash, you would pay $ 6,888. note that the taxes are slightly higher on the flight paid in cash vs. the flight paid in miles . By using miles, you would extract a rate of 5.4 cents per mile — multiple times our valuation of 1 penny. Although not everyone is willing to spend over $ 6,888 on a round-trip clientele class flight to London, this example is meant to illustrate the potential value of redeeming miles for agio cabin awards.

Redeeming for United award deals

United publishes flight award deals to versatile destinations for adenine low as 9,700 miles. These are separate from Saver or Everyday Awards and are probably your best bet at finding award handiness at prices that are below the old award chart. A good room to search for prize handiness is to sort the list of flights from low to high. Select the flight you ’ ra interest in, and on the take after results page, choose the 30-day calendar to see if other dates are priced at the low mileage level. For case, tickets from Washington, D.C., to Columbia, South Carolina were listed for a low as 9,700 miles for travel on Sept. 8, 2022 . When you hover over the flight and snap on it, , you will see a weeklong calendar across the top, along with tickets priced at the advertise degree of 9,700 miles . You can besides choose the “ View 30 sidereal day calendar ” if you ’ rhenium concern in seeing other dates . The calendar shows awards for 9,700 miles available throughout the calendar month. then if you ’ re seeing an award that is n’t on the date you want, it might be worth digging in a little deeper and checking alternative dates for that lapp route pricing.

Buy a United flight with Money + Miles

United ‘s Money + Miles payment method acting gives travelers the choice to pay for just a part of any domestic fare with miles, covering the remainder of the do with cash. Using this joyride at checkout means you can choose the phone number of miles you ‘d like to put toward your flight while earning miles on the part of the fare paid in cash, excluding taxes and fees.

Use miles for flights on Star Alliance and other partner airlines

United is a establish extremity of Star Alliance, which boasts 26 members. due to United ’ mho participation in Star Alliance and its partnerships with 14 extra airlines, United hasaccess to a comprehensive examination external road network ; you can earn and redeem United MileagePlus miles 37 airlines. Award tickets on all partners can be booked on United.com ( precisely like United Award tickets ), which makes booking travel convenient. here ’ s a list of all 39 airlines with award tickets that can be booked using United miles :

Partner airlines

  • Aegean Airlines ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Air Canada ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Air China ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Air India ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Air New Zealand ( Star Alliance ) .
  • ANA ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Asiana Airlines ( Star Alliance ) .
  • austrian ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Avianca & Avianca Brasil ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Brussels Airlines ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Copa Airlines ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Croatia Airlines ( Star Alliance ) .
  • EGYPTAIR ( Star Alliance ) .
  • ethiopian Airlines ( Star Alliance ) .
  • EVA Air ( Star Alliance ) .
  • LOT Polish Airlines ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Lufthansa ( Star Alliance ) .
  • scandinavian Airlines ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Shenzhen Airlines ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Singapore Airlines ( Star Alliance ) .
  • south african Airways ( Star Alliance ) .
  • SWISS ( Star Alliance ) .
  • TAP Air Portugal ( Star Alliance ) .
  • THAI ( Star Alliance ) .
  • turkish Airlines ( Star Alliance ) .
  • Aer Lingus ( Partner ) .
  • Aeromar ( Partner ) .
  • Air Dolomiti ( Partner ) .
  • Airlink ( Partner ) .
  • Azul ( Partner ) .
  • Boutique Air ( Partner ) .
  • Cape Air ( Partner ) .
  • Edelweiss ( Partner ) .
  • Eurowings ( Partner ) .
  • Eurowings Discover ( Partner ) .
  • hawaiian Airlines ( Partner ) .
  • Olympic Air ( Partner ) .
  • Silver Airways ( Partner ) .
  • Vistara ( Partner ) .

Because United removed its partner award chart in April 2020, you can no longer see the baseline monetary value of prize flights between certain regions. This makes it more unmanageable to decide what ’ s a fair price. For reference, we ’ ve provided United ’ mho Star Alliance/partner award chart ( page 3 ), which is no longer on the web site. Given the 10 % increase in award rates on Star Alliance/partner flights, you could use this graph to gauge what the newfangled prices will be. » Learn more : sweetness spots to get the most value from your United miles

Redeem miles for United upgrades

United offers four types of upgrade awards. Complimentary Premier and PlusPoints upgrades are free and do n’t require that you use MileagePlus miles, so we ’ ll attend specifically at the two forms of upgrades you can use your miles on . » Learn more : United launches PlusPoints system for upgrades

MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

These upgrade awards are available on pay tickets on United and United Express flights. The upgrade price can be a combination of miles and cash depending on your menu class and cabin. For exercise, if you ’ ve purchased a ticket in do class O for a flight from the mainland U.S. to Europe, it will cost 15,000 miles to upgrade from United Premium Plus to Polaris business . You can play around with the lineage and address regions to see what the upgrade cost will be for a specific fledge. If you ’ ra hoping to use miles to upgrade your ticket, you may want to check United ’ second promote prize price when you ’ re determining what fare class to leverage. broadly, the more expensive the fare class, the cheaper the ascent will be and vice versa.

Star Alliance Upgrade Awards

similar to MileagePlus Upgrades, you could besides use your miles to upgrade pay up tickets on Star Alliance and partner airlines . Fare classes C and D ( business classify ) and Y and B ( economy class ) are eligible for upgrades. Additional fare classes may be permitted depending on the airline. Check with United about ascent eligibility. presently, you can upgrade tickets on the following collaborator airlines : » Learn more : 4 things the United Airlines MileagePlus program gets right

Spend miles on flight and airport benefits

You could use your miles on a diverseness of flight and airport benefits.

United Club membership

There are more than 45 United Club locations in airports globally. If you do n’t already have a lounge membership or you plainly love United Clubs, a membership could be a bang-up choice. An annual subscription to United ’ second Club lounges costs $ 650 or 85,000 miles, resulting in a rate of precisely under 0.8 penny per mile .

Inflight Wi-Fi subscription

You could besides purchase a package for inflight Wi-Fi starting at $ 49 or 7,500 miles, resulting in a fiddling less than a 0.7 cent per mile respect .

TSA PreCheck

TSA PreCheck helps expedite your time at the airport as you pass through a delegate TSA PreCheck line on your way to security screen. additionally, when you ’ re walking through security, you don ’ t need to remove your shoes, laptop, liquids, belt or fall jacket. A TSA PreCheck membership is valid for five years. If you already have Global Entry, you do n’t need to besides purchase TSA PreCheck as the benefits overlap. besides, many premium travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer a affirmation citation when you use the circuit board to pay for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. If you don ’ thyroxine already have reimbursement through a citation wag, and you ’ re considering a TSA Precheck subscription, you could use 11,000 United miles to pay for the $ 85 application tip. Using your miles would result in fair under a 0.8 cent per mile redemption.

Airport dining

You can use United miles to pay your bill at choice restaurants at Newark and Houston-Intercontinental Airport. You ’ ll want to scan your boarding pass to start your order ; when you ’ re ready to check out, you ’ ll be able to select miles or cash to pay for your total bill. Based on screen shots from the United web site, you ’ ll arrive just under 0.7 penny per nautical mile in value.

Other ways to use United miles

In addition to flying and upgrade, there are numerous ways to use your United miles. Although you ‘ll generally get the most value out of redeeming your miles on premium cabin award tickets on long-haul flights, it ‘s full to know that other methods of redeeming miles exist.

Newspaper and magazine subscriptions

You could use your United miles to pay for a magazine or newspaper subscription. A glance at current subscriptions shows the following option for the Financial Times : A 24-week subscription to the eEdition of the Financial Times costs $ 49 or 1,960 miles, reflecting a redemption respect of 2.5 cents per mile. surprisingly, this is actually a pretty good rate considering that NerdWallet values United miles at 1 cent each.

Car rentals

Your miles could be used to reserve a car lease. To illustrate, a two-day weekend rental in December 2022 costs 20,100 miles . The car wasn ’ triiodothyronine bookable with cash on the United web site, so we went over to Avis to compare. If you pay in promote, it would only cost you $ 114 to rent the car, resulting in a value of 0.6 penny per nautical mile, which is way below the 1 penny per mile evaluation.

Use United miles for hotels

You could besides redeem your MileagePlus miles for hotel stays. For exercise, a two-night stay in Scottsdale in December 2022 will cost 44,410 United miles ( with a cash price of $ 285 ). If you used miles for this stay, you ’ vitamin d make good under a 0.6 penny per sea mile redemption, which is a little weak .

Shopping and gift cards

United besides allows you to use your miles to pay for on-line purchases, including Apple products. Although you probably won ’ thymine educe a solid value from your miles if you use them to pay for on-line purchases or give cards, if you don ’ thyroxine expect to use your miles for travel, it ‘s beneficial to know you have other options. Whether it is through Apple, the MileagePlus X app or United ’ s giving card portal vein, you ’ rhenium looking at a value of lone 0.3 penny per mile.

The rest of the rest

  • Experiences : bid on unique experiences or leverage tickets to events. Value varies based on the cash price of the tag or auction experience .
  • Make a contribution : Browse through United ’ s contribution search web site for a tilt of stream campaigns .
  • transfer United miles to person else : This is normally a frightful value. not alone will you have to pay a fee for the cost of the miles, but you will besides have to pay a serve charge. For model, a transfer of 10,000 miles would end up costing you $ 180 .
  • Credit circuit board statements : United credit poster holders can use miles for airfare argument credits or to offset the cost of United tickets purchased at united.com. generally, these uses result in poor values .
  • Cruises : You could spend your miles to pay for a cruise. United frequently runs promotions through its cruise web site for discounted options .

frequently asked questions How do I redeem miles on United ? The simplest way to redeem United miles is to use them for award flights on United and its partner airlines. You will need to log in to your United MileagePlus account to search for available flights. early ways to use United miles include : flight upgrades, hotel bookings, shopping and give cards . How many miles are needed for a free flight on United ? United has removed its award chart in favor of active price, so the price of an award ticket fluctuates based on the date of travel and the airline. To see a list of the lowest prize fares, check out United ’ mho flight award deals to assorted destinations for ampere moo as 9,700 miles . Do United miles die ? United miles no longer expire, so you don ’ t have to worry about losing your hard-earned miles . Can I ledger a United flight for person else ? You can use your United MileagePlus miles to koran an award escape for anyone. The booking summons is the lapp as if you were purchasing the award for yourself, but you will need to know the traveler ’ sulfur details ( i, inaugural and last name, date of parentage and other relevant details depending on the origin/destination ) . What are United miles worth ? NerdWallet values United miles at 1 penny each, which means that 10,000 United miles are deserving $ 100 . Can you transfer United miles ? Yes, United miles can be transferred to others, however not only will you pay to do the transmit, but you ’ ll have to pay a process fee adenine well. United charges $ 7.50 per 500 miles transferred plus a $ 30 serve tip. so, if you wanted to transfer 50,000 miles, you would have to pay $ 105. How do I redeem miles on United ? The simplest way to redeem United miles is to use them for award flights on United and its partner airlines. You will need to log in to your United MileagePlus bill to search for available flights. early ways to use United miles include : escape upgrades, hotel bookings, shop and endowment cards. How many miles are needed for a rid flight on United ? United has removed its award graph in favor of active pricing, so the price of an award ticket fluctuates based on the date of travel and the airline. To see a list of the lowest prize fares, check out United ’ s flight award deals to versatile destinations for a low as 9,700 miles. Do United miles run out ? United miles no longer expire, so you don ’ t have to worry about losing your hard-earned miles. Can I book a United escape for person else ? You can use your United MileagePlus miles to book an award flight for anyone. The book procedure is the lapp as if you were purchasing the prize for yourself, but you will need to know the traveler ’ sulfur details ( i, first and last list, date of give birth and early relevant details depending on the origin/destination ). What are United miles worth ? NerdWallet values United miles at 1 penny each, which means that 10,000 United miles are worth $ 100. Can you transfer United miles ? Yes, United miles can be transferred to others, however not alone will you pay to do the transfer, but you ’ ll have to pay a process fee arsenic well. United charges $ 7.50 per 500 miles transferred plus a $ 30 action tip. so, if you wanted to transfer 50,000 miles, you would have to pay $ 105.

Final thoughts on redeeming United miles

United offers plenty of opportunities to use your miles. Although the airline unpublished its award chart and increased the price of many partner awards by 10 %, you could still extract some decent measure from your miles, specially if you redeem for bounty cabin awards. If you ’ vitamin d prefer to use your miles on non-flying-related activities, United besides offers plenty of redemption options through respective partnerships. amazingly, using miles for newspaper subscriptions results in a decent redemption. On the other handwriting, denounce credits, gift card purchases and hotel awards reflected some of the weakest uses of United miles. Regardless of which option you chose, there is no such thing as the arrant redemption. Miles are meant to be used and not hoarded, so pick whichever redemption suits your needs.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what ’ s crucial to you. here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for :

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