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United MileagePlus frequent flyer program

Earn and redeem frequent flyer miles for flights, upgrades and more as a member of the United Airlines MileagePlus loyalty program.

Earning Points Earn more Award Miles
Redeeming Points See how to spend your points

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MileagePlus is one of the longest-running frequent flyer programs in the world, with a rich history dating back to 1981 when it was launched as "MileagePlus".

As a US-based airline, you'll get the most value from this frequent flyer scheme if you regularly fly there. Benefits of joining United MileagePlus include:

  • Earning miles with United Airlines and its airline partners (including Star Alliance members)
  • Spending miles on flights and upgrades
  • Climbing the status tiers to unlock premium service

How do you become a United MileagePlus member?

To sign up to become a MileagePlus member, simply apply for free on the United Airlines website.

Anyone over the age of 18 may join while under 18s can be enrolled by their parents or legal guardians.

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How you can earn United MileagePlus award miles

Flights

You can earn award miles for eligible flights with United, United Express and its airline partners by providing your MileagePlus number when making your reservation.


Your award miles should be deposited into your Mileage Plus account within 48 hours of your flight.

The number of award miles you earn depends on your ticket class, fare, the operating airline and the ticketing airline.

Credit cards

In Australia, only CommBank Awards credit cards allow you to transfer your points to your MileagePlus account. You can transfer 4 Award points for 1 mile.

If you're based in the US, Chase offers several United-branded credit cards that directly earn MileagePlus miles when you spend. There are also MileagePlus credit cards available in select countries throughout Asia and South America, including Japan, Hong Kong and Mexico.

1 - 20 of 30
Name Product Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee Minimum income
St.George Amplify Signature
19.49%
$139 for the first year ($279 thereafter)
150,000 bonus Amplify Points when you spend $12,000 in the first 12 months. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% for 14 months, reverts to 20.74%
$129
$35,000
Save with 0% p.a. interest on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months and earn Velocity Points per $1 spent.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
20.74%
$195
$50,000
Get a $200 statement credit when you spend $200 at Amazon.com.au. Plus 30,000 bonus Membership Rewards.
ANZ Rewards Platinum
20.24%
$0 for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Now offering Cashrewards Max. Get 50,000 bonus Reward Points (worth $220 in eGift cards) when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.74%
$0 for the first year ($129 thereafter)
$35,000
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 28 months (with no BT fee). Plus, $0 annual fee in the first year. Ends on June 30.
American Express Platinum Card
0%
$1,450
$100,000
Up to 200,000 bonus points (150k when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and 50k in year 2). Plus, a $450 Travel Credit each year.
Citi Prestige Card
21.49%
$700
$150,000
Enjoy 200,000 bonus reward Points, unlimited airport lounge access, hotel perks and more.
NAB Rewards Platinum Card
19.99%
$95 for the first year ($195 thereafter)
Collect up to 80,000 bonus NAB Rewards Points (60,000 when you spend $1,000 in the first 60 days and 20,000 after 12 months).
NAB Rewards Signature Card
19.99%
$295
Earn up to 140,000 bonus NAB Rewards Points (100,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days and 40,000 after 12 months).
Suncorp Clear Options Gold Credit Card
20.5%
$120
$30,000
Offers a range of benefits including rewards points, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and a guaranteed pricing scheme.
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Credit Card
20.74%
$129
$35,000
Get 130,000 bonus Suncorp Credit Card Rewards Points and a 0% balance transfer for 14 months.
Citi Rewards Card - Bonus Points Offer
21.49%
$49 for the first year ($149 thereafter)
$35,000
Get up to 175,000 bonus Citi reward Points (100,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days and 75k after 12 months). Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee.
Citi Rewards Card - Velocity Points Offer
21.49%
$0 for the first year ($149 thereafter)
$35,000
Earn 60,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.
ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card
20.24%
$0 for the first year ($375 thereafter)
Now eligible for Cashrewards Max. Enjoy 80,000 bonus Reward Points (worth $350 in eGift cards) when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.
ANZ Rewards Credit Card
20.24%
$80
New Cashrewards Max benefit. Earn up to 1 Reward Point per $1 spent on eligible purchase and enjoy up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
David Jones American Express Platinum Card
20.74%
$295
$65,000
Receive $450 credit when you spend $1,500 outside David Jones within the first 3 months from card approval.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
20.74%
$395
$65,000
Get 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $400 Travel Credit each year.
Westpac Altitude Black
19.99%
$99 for the first year ($250 thereafter)
$75,000
Earn 140,000 bonus Altitude Points when you spend $6,000 in the first 120 days. Plus, save with a reduced first-year annual fee.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card
19.99%
$49 for the first year ($150 thereafter)
$30,000
Get 110,000 bonus Altitude Points (worth $350 cashback) when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee discount.
Westpac Altitude Black - Velocity
19.99%
$300
$75,000
Up to 120,000 bonus Velocity Points (90,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days & 30,000 points after the first spend in year 2).
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Other ways to earn MileagePlus award miles

You can earn award miles for everyday activities via the MileagePlus X app. It’s of most use to those who live in or visit the United States often.

  • Retail and lifestyle. Earn miles as you shop with MileagePlus shopping or dine with partners.
  • Financial partners. You can earn miles when refinancing a loan or opening an account with a United financial partner, although these are generally limited to the US market.
  • Home, auto and energy. If you live in America, you can also clock up some extra miles on money spent at your car dealer or energy provider.

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How much are MileagePlus award miles worth?

The value of your MileagePlus award miles is determined by how you choose to redeem them. The general rule of thumb with reward points is that you’ll get the greatest value by redeeming your points for flights or upgrades rather than on things like shopping.

To calculate the value of your points, estimate the value of your chosen reward, divide it by the number of points needed and multiply it by 1,000.

See our guide to calculating the value of your points.

To see how this looks in practice here are some examples of the value of products you can buy via MileagePlus Awards.

RewardMiles neededReward value in dollarsValue per 1,000 points
Nintendo Switch System with Three Games179,300$469.95$2.62
iPhone 13 Pro366,400$1,700$4.64
Business class flight – Melbourne to Dubai82,500$10,954$132.78

How many MileagePlus award miles do I need for a free flight?

The mainstay of any frequent flyer program is its flight redemption possibilities. With MileagePlus, you may use your award miles on flights with United, United Express and its partners where available.

The most economical flight award is called the “Saver Award”, which can be used for travelling almost anywhere via United, United Express and its airline partners. Saver Awards may not be available on all flights.

“Standard Awards” offer greater availability on United, United Express and Copa Airlines, and are guaranteed to MileagePlus Premier members where seats are available.

American Airlines no longer publishes its award charts so the number of miles you can earn may vary. The airline uses dynamic pricing based on demand. You can expect to spend around 40,000 MileagePlus miles for Economy Class award seats or around 95,000 MileagePlus miles for a Business Class award seat.

Here’s roughly how many miles you might need for the following routes:


Departure cityMiles required for a return United Airlines economy class flight
Los Angeles44,000 Miles
San Francisco44,000 Miles
New York44,000 Miles
Houston44,000 Miles
Vancouver44,000 Miles
Buenos Aires110,000 Miles
Departure cityMiles required for a return United Airlines economy class flight
Los Angeles44,000 Miles
San Francisco44,000 Miles
New York44,000 Miles
Houston44,000 Miles
Vancouver44,000 Miles
Buenos AiresNot Available
Departure cityMiles required for a return United Airlines economy class flight
Los Angeles44,000 Miles
San Francisco44,000 Miles
New York44,000 Miles
Houston44,000 Miles
Vancouver100,000 Miles
Buenos AiresNot Available
Departure cityMiles required for a return United Airlines economy class flight
Los Angeles44,000 Miles
San Francisco44,000 Miles
New York44,000 Miles
Houston44,000 Miles
Vancouver44,000 Miles
Buenos AiresNot Available
Departure cityMiles required for a return United Airlines economy class flight
Los Angeles44,000 Miles
San Francisco44,000 Miles
New York44,000 Miles
Houston44,000 Miles
Vancouver44,000 Miles
Buenos Aires110,000 Miles
Departure cityMiles required for a return United Airlines economy class flight
Los Angeles44,000 Miles
San Francisco44,000 Miles
New York44,000 Miles
Houston44,000 Miles
Vancouver44,000 Miles
Buenos Aires110,000 Miles
Departure cityMiles required for a return United Airlines economy class flight
Los Angeles44,000 Miles
San Francisco44,000 Miles
New York44,000 Miles
Houston44,000 Miles
Vancouver44,000 Miles
Buenos Aires110,000 Miles
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Can you use MileagePlus award miles to upgrade to business class?

Yes, you can spend your MileagePlus award miles to upgrade to the next cabin class. The price varies by route, cabin class and status.

You can use the calculator on the United Airlines site to see how many points you’ll need for your upgrade.

Can you buy extra MileagePlus award miles?

Yes, when you’re booking an award flight and lack the required points, you may buy miles to top up where necessary.

The following conditions apply: Your award flight must require more than 5,000 miles, and you must have at least 50% of the required miles.

You can also purahcase “Personal Miles” outside of when you’re booking at a rate US$35 per 1,000 mile increments (minimum of 2,000 miles per purchase). This purchase is non-refundable and subject to taxes. You can purchase a maximum of 150,000 miles per calendar year.

Other ways to spend MileagePlus award miles

On top of straight-up travel redemptions, you can also use your miles to enhance your travel experience with these options:

  • MileagePlus experiences. From Broadway shows to live NBA games, MileagePlus experiences offer periodic invitations to unique events. Rather than being for sale though, these events are up for bidding and you use your miles to bid for them.
  • Shopping. The MileagePlus store offers a wide range of merchandise covering jewellery, home and living, style and beauty, sports, electronics, family and kids, and much more.
  • Dining. Your miles can be converted into eGift cards and certificates for thousands of restaurants, or be spent at certain Newark, New York and Houston Airport restaurants.
  • Subscriptions. Magazine and newspaper awards let you spend your miles on popular subscriptions.
  • Donate miles. If you’re feeling charitable, you may give your miles away to select American charities. Each minimum donation is 500 miles.

How do United MileagePlus status credits and status tiers work?

As well as offering miles for flights and other activities, MileagePlus offers even more benefits to members who reach higher status levels, with perks ranging from complimentary baggage to flight upgrades and lounge access. Use this guide to learn more about MileagePlus so you make the most of every flight you take.

To advance in Premier status, you have to earn a required number of Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM) or Premier Qualifying Segments (PQS). If you live in the United States, you also have to meet a minimum spend each year, which is quantified in Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQD).

    • PQM are awarded based on the number of paid flight miles travelled and the fare purchased.
    • PQS are awarded based on the number of paid flown segments travelled and the fare purchased.
    • PQD are awarded based on the base fare cost and carrier-imposed surcharges.

The number of PQM and PQS earned per flight depends on the airline, fare class, segment and flight distance.

UAL Silver

Status level: MileagePlus Premier Silver

  • Complimentary Premier upgrades on select United flights
  • Complimentary Premier companion upgrades on select United flights
  • Complimentary Premier upgrades confirmation (before departure) for 24 hours
  • Instant upgrades Economy tickets Y-and-B-class full-fare
  • Bonus award miles accrual is 8x fare
  • Priority award wait listing
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Priority phone line
  • Priority security screening
  • Access to sold-out flights
  • 1 x 23kg bag as complimentary checked baggage allowance
  • Can also enjoy Star Alliance Silver benefits
  • Must be a MileagePlus member, join here for free
  • Must have 8 Premier qualifying flights (PQF) and 3,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP)
  • Or have 3,500 Premier qualifying points (PQP)
UAL Gold

Status level: MileagePlus Premier Gold

  • Complimentary Premier upgrades on select United flights
  • Complimentary Premier companion upgrades on select United flights
  • Complimentary Premier upgrades confirmation (before departure) for 48 hours
  • Instant upgrades Economy tickets Y-and-B-class full-fare
  • Bonus award miles accrual is 8x fare
  • Priority award wait listing
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Priority phone line
  • Priority security screening
  • Access to sold-out flights
  • International lounge access
  • 2 x 32kg bags as complimentary checked baggage allowance
  • Discounted or waived same-day flight changes
  • Can also enjoy Star Alliance Gold benefits
  • Must have 16 Premier qualifying flights (PQF) and 6,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP)
  • Or have 7,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP)

Lifetime status when you reach 1 million miles.

UAL Platinum

Status level: MileagePlus Premier Platinum

  • Complimentary Premier upgrades on select United flights
  • Complimentary Premier companion upgrades on select United flights
  • Complimentary Premier upgrades confirmation (before departure) for 72 hours
  • Instant upgrades Economy tickets Y-and-B-class full-fare
  • Regional Premier upgrades on select United and Copa flights
  • Bonus award miles accrual is 9x fare
  • Priority award wait listing
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Priority phone line
  • Priority security screening
  • International lounge access
  • Access to sold-out flights
  • 3 x 32kgs bags as complimentary checked baggage allowance
  • Discounted or waived same-day flight changes
  • Discounted United Club membership
  • Discounted or waived phone service charges
  • 10% discount on inflight duty free purchases
  • Can also enjoy Star Alliance Gold benefits
  • Must have 24 Premier qualifying flights (PQF) and 9,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP)
  • Or have 10,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP)

Lifetime status when you reach 2 million miles.

UAL Premier 1k

Status level: MileagePlus Premier 1K

  • Complimentary Premier upgrades on select United flights
  • Complimentary Premier companion upgrades on select United flights
  • Complimentary Premier upgrades confirmation (before departure) for 96 hours
  • Instant upgrades Economy tickets Y-and-B-class full-fare, and M-class
  • Regional Premier upgrades on select United and Copa flights
  • Global Premier upgrades on select United Copa, ANA and Lufthansa flights
  • Bonus award miles accrual is 11x fare
  • Priority award wait listing
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Has a dedicated 1K priority phone line
  • Priority security screening
  • International lounge access
  • Access to sold-out flights
  • 3 x 32kgs bags as complimentary checked baggage allowance
  • Discounted or waived same-day flight changes
  • Discounted United Club membership
  • Discounted or waived phone service charges
  • 10% discount on inflight duty free purchases
  • Can also enjoy Star Alliance Gold benefits
  • Must have 36 Premier qualifying flights (PQF) and 13,500 Premier qualifying points (PQP)
  • Or have 15,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP)

Lifetime status when you reach 3 million miles.

Can you transfer MileagePlus award miles?

Yes, you can transfer your MileagePlus award miles from your account to another MileagePlus member. You can transfer between 500 to 100,000 miles with each transfer costing US$7.50 per 500 miles plus a processing fee of US$30 per transaction.

Frequently asked questions

Do MileagePlus award miles expire?

No, United MileagePlus award miles are one of the few that don’t expire. You no longer need to earn or redeem miles at least once every 18 months to register activity on your account.

Does MileagePlus offer family points pooling?

No, not technically. You can transfer award miles to other members but United Airlines doesn’t offer family pooling in the same way other frequent flyer programs do.

How can I claim missing MileagePlus award miles?

The process for reclaiming missing MileagePlus award miles is different depending on which airline you flew with.

For flights with United and United Express:

      • If your miles have not been credited after 5 days, sign in to your MileagePlus account online and fill out the form under “Requesting credit to your MileagePlus account”. New members can also make retroactive mileage requests for United and United Express flights flown up to 6 months before their membership enrolment date. This can be done by contacting the MileagePlus Service Center. A fee of US$50 may apply to unlock retroactive mileage requests.

 

For flights with partner airlines:

      • If miles haven’t been credited after 7 days, you can request a credit by logging in to your MileagePlus account and submitting the “Requesting credit to your MileagePlus account” form.

You’ll need to have copies of your boarding pass in order to successfully redeem the missing miles.

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    ArnielyndaNovember 13, 2016

    If I sign up for United Mileage Plus Frequent Flyer Program and my first flight would be with South African Airways (Star Alliance member), will my mileage be credited?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyNovember 14, 2016Staff

      Hi Arnielynda,

      As long as you quoted your United Mileage Plus frequent flyer number, at the time of booking your flight with South African Airways, the miles should be credited to your account.

      If you have already booked the flight but would still like to claim the miles, you’ll need to complete a credit request following your flight. You can download the request form from the United Mileage Plus website.

      Cheers,
      Sally

  2. Default Gravatar
    AndrewDecember 14, 2015

    I have 17,000 United miles but if I don’t fly United before September 2016 I’ll loose my miles. US citizens can get a credit card and wont loose miles so being an Australian, what can I do to retain my miles if I don’t fly next year?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyDecember 14, 2015Staff

      Hello Andrew,

      Thanks for your question.

      To keep your miles active, you must earn or redeem miles prior to your mileage expiration date. If you’re unable to use your cards for flights before September 2016, you may need to consider redeeming your points for another, smaller reward (such as merchandise or dining experiences), to ensure your account is active before the expiration date.

      See the United Mileage website for more details on how you can redeem your points.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  3. Default Gravatar
    CamillaMarch 16, 2015

    I live in Australia and have just bought 3 United airline flights to USA later this year. Can I join the mileage program to get points on these flights?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyMarch 16, 2015Staff

      Hi Camilla,

      Thanks for your question.

      Yes you can still join the Mileage Program and still get the miles.

      On the United website it states that, “You may receive mileage credit for United-operated flights taken up to 30 days prior to your enrolment date free of charge. No mileage credit will be given for partner flights. You may also receive mileage credit for United-operated flights taken between 31 days and six months prior to enrolment for a $50 USD service fee.”

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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