Main Frequent Flyers Programs United Airlines - Mileage Plus

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

Program overview 

MileagePlus is a loyalty program of United Airlines, one of the biggest airlines in the world with more than 120 international destinations. MileagePlus is also one of the easiest frequent flyer programs to use. No requirements to join for checking availability, plus, miles never expire. 


Star Alliance

Program website 

Approximate miles value

1.2 cents per point 

Miles validity 

Never expire 

Program accrual

United tickets - based on the fare

Partners - based on the flight distance and purchased fare class

Limit on amount of miles you can purchase 

Up to 50% of the award miles required for that award

Waitlist option

No for award reservations, only for upgrade

Courtesy Hold for award reservation

Not allowed 

Do you need to open an account to check availability?


Stopover option 

One free stopover on round trips and opens jaw

Family account


Upgrade option

Yes, you can check upgrade availability online

Online booking

You can book all flights online

Airline partners 

Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian, EVA air, LOT Polish Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Aer Lingus, Air Dolomiti, Hawaiian Airlines

Credit card partners

Chase (1:1 ratio, instant transfer)

Hotel partners 

IHG Rewards (5:1 ratio, 6 weeks transfer), Marriott Bonvoy (3:1.1 ratio, 3 days transfer), Hilton Honors Rewards (10:1 ratio, 30 days transfer), World of Hyatt (2.5:1 ratio, 6-8 weeks transfer), Wyndham Rewards (5:1 ratio, 6-8 weeks transfer), Choice Privileges Rewards (5:1 ratio, 2 days transfer), Radisson Rewards (10:1 ratio, 4-6 weeks transfer), Accor Live Limitless (2:1 ratio, 4-6 weeks transfer)

Co-Branded credit card in the US 

Chase United Gateway Card, Chase United Explorer Card, Chase United Quest Card, Chase United Club Infinite Card

Point/Miles Conversion Chart


  • No fuel surcharges on award flights 
  • Miles never expire 
  • More than 35 partner airlines 
  • Mixed class awards are allowed in one ticket
  • 24 hours courtesy cancellation for award tickets
  • One of the best and easiest sites to search for awards
  • Easy upgrade availability check online
  • Great website and relatively good customer service 


  • Only one credit card partner (Chase Ultimate Rewards and Chase United co-branded cards)
  • Rewards require higher mileage than other Star Alliance members
  • It’s more difficult to earn status with United MileagePlus than with Star Alliance airlines. There is a minimum spending requirement for status. It is also required to use the app for online check-in for international destinations
  • United Elite members do not have access to the lounges when travelling domestically while Elite members of other Star Alliance airlines do

Excellent for  

  • One way flights to Europe for 60,000 - 70,000, in Business Class. 
  • Short domestic flights within the US for 5,000 in Economy. 
  • Redeem for Lufthansa flights without having to pay high fuel surcharges.

Insider Tips

  • London, Brussels and Amsterdam offer the best availability when connecting in Europe for saver awards.
  • If the schedule you booked is not optimal, check closer to departure as more availability opens within a few days before departure.  Mileage Plus makes last-minute changes quite easy
  • When booking Eco and Premium Eco on United Airlines operated flights, advance seat assignments are free. Almost all other Star Alliance partners charge for them now.
  • When upgrading on United Airlines operated flights, it sometimes costs less to buy a more expensive economy ticket and pay lower co-pay instead of buying the least expensive ticket with the higher co-pay. Compare first!
  • When upgrading Lufthansa operated flights, consider buying E class Premium Eco tickets instead of B/Y economy class tickets. E-class Premium Eco tickets are actually cheaper than B/Y Eco tickets and you need fewer miles to upgrade
  • Even with United Gold status, no airport lounge access is allowed while on domestic trips. Gold members of other Star Alliance programs are allowed airport lounge access on US domestic flights.
  • When you have a multi-leg itinerary, try pricing it all together rather than by segment to take advantage of the stopover perk which requires less miles than pricing as separate one ways.

Do you use this program? Share your experience and tips in the comments below. Your thoughts would be very valuable to us!



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