United MileagePlus Frequent Flyer Program

Information verified correct on January 23rd, 2017

Discover how you can earn and redeem frequent flyer miles when you're a member of the the United MileagePlus loyalty program.

MileagePlus is the frequent flyer program of United Airlines. With a history dating back to 1981 (when it was launched as "Mileage Plus") it's one of the longest-running frequent flyer programs in the world and offers an impressive range of options for members to earn and use reward miles.

Tiers for the United Airlines MileagePlus program

The United Airlines MileagePlus program is arranged in a series of four ascending tiers. The tier you are allocated depends on how far you travel with United Airlines or its associated airlines and, if you are a resident of the US, how much money you have spent on air flights. The tiers are;

  • 1. Premier Silver. This first tier is reached when you have flown a minimum of 25,000 premier qualifying miles (PQM) OR 30 premier qualifying air segments (PQS). If you are normally resident in the US, you also need to have spent a minimum of US$2500. This does not apply to Australian residents or citizens that are normally resident in Australia.
  • 2. Premier Gold. The second tier is reached when you have flown a minimum of 50,000 premier qualifying miles (PQM) or 60 premier qualifying segments (PQS). The criterion for US residents includes a minimum of US$5000 spent as well.
  • 3. Premier Platinum. The third tier is reached when you have flown a minimum of 75,000 premier qualifying miles (PQM) or 90 premier qualifying segments (PQS). The criterion for US residents also includes a minimum of US$7500 spent.
  • 4. Premier 1K. The top tier is reached when you have flown a minimum of 100,000 premier qualifying miles (PQM) or 120 premier qualifying segments (PQS), with the criterion for US residents including a minimum of $10,000 spent on flights as well. PMS and PQS need to have been completed using either United Airlines, United Express or Copa Airlines.
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Premier benefits and more

Complimentary Premier upgrades are dependent on availability of space and on specific United, United Express and Copa Airlines flights. Premier members are eligible for these upgrades, as is a companion who is flying on the same reservation as the member. Premier members who are travelling on full-fare economy B- and Y-class fares might be eligible for upgrades when they first purchase their ticket.

Premium priority travel services for Premier members include calling the Premier priority desk to obtain flight reservations and MileagePlus account information. The representative at the Premier priority desk has special training in answering Premier members’ questions. When checking in, Premier members have access to special ticket counter check-in lines. They can also access priority security lines and are the first passengers to board the plane. On arrival, Premier members’ luggage is always handled first, which is a great time saver.

Premier members have instant access to United Standard Awards. When a United seat is up for sale, members can purchase the seat with award miles. They also have the best access to any Saver Awards in United Economy, and Premier Platinum and Premier 1K members have the best possible access to United Business Saver awards, United BusinessFirst and United First on aircraft with two cabins. Premier members might ask to be put on a waiting list if award seating is not available when they book. As award seats do become available, they will be offered first to Premier members depending on Premier status.

Star Alliance Gold or Silver status customers are placed on a priority reservations waitlist when their preferred flight is full and are therefore given priority if a seat becomes available before the departure date. They also get Priority airport standby when on standby for a flight.

Gold status customers get priority airport check-in, priority baggage handling, an extra baggage allowance and priority boarding. There is also airport lounge access for Gold status customers and one travel companion.

The MileagePlus Million Miler program rewards members for exceptionally long-term loyalty to United. The Million Miler program grants Premier status for life to those members who qualify, even if they do not fly so much in the future. A million miler will enjoy a lifetime of Premier Gold status, a two-million miler will enjoy a lifetime of Premier Platinum status, a three-million miler will enjoy a lifetime of Premier 1K, and a four-million miler a lifetime of Global Services.

Earning miles with United MileagePlus

United or United Express

When you purchase an eligible fare and take a flight that is operated by United Airlines or its regional partners, you can earn miles that are placed into your MileagePlus account. These can then be used for award travel and credit toward Premier qualification. You can also earn MileagePlus miles on all United and United Express flights that qualify. The miles earned will be based on the class of fare you have purchased.

Premier members earn on United and United Express flights no less than 500 award miles and 500 Premier qualifying miles. Any Premier qualifying miles earned on United and United Express go toward MileagePlus Premier status. It’s not difficult to earn miles for a flight as long as you show your MileagePlus number when making a reservation and ensure that it is on your boarding pass when you check in. The miles you earn will be added to your account 48 hours after completion of your travel.

Airline partners

Through the use of United’s partners you can earn and use MileagePlus miles on more than 35 airlines globally. This includes the Star Alliance member airlines. A United Club member and customers with tickets that qualify can also access eligible airport lounges worldwide.

Eligible lounges include Aegean, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Turkish Airlines, American Airlines, Thai Airways, South African Airlines, Egyptair and Singapore Airlines. These airlines are just some of the airlines that make up Star Alliance. Aer Lingus, German Wings and Jet Airways are non-Star Alliance airlines that United has a partnership with and shares mutual benefits for customers.


Wherever you travel, United MileagePlus offers a method of earning award miles for hotel stays. You can earn miles by booking a room at any of more than 15,000 hotels globally or by making a hotel reservation with one of United’s partners. The hotels that United is partnered with include the Best Western group, Comfort Inns, Econo Lodges and the Rodeway Inn. Current featured partners are Marriott Hotels and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.

Car rentals

You can earn miles with United’s car rental partners as long as you provide your MileagePlus number while making your reservation. When making a reservation with Hertz you can gain 75 award miles daily on all paid rentals that qualify and 50 extra award miles are available daily for members of MileagePlus Premier. Also, when making a booking through United you are able to obtain 150 bonus award miles. You can earn 500 award miles for 600 Hertz Gold Plus Reward points that are transferred into miles.

Rail services

United has partnered with US rail company Amtrak. You can earn award miles on business- or coach-class fares for each segment on Amtrak when you fly United and a connection is made at Newark Liberty International Airport and is to or from New Haven Rail Station, CT; Wilmington Rail Station, DE; Philadelphia 30th Street Station, PA; or Stamford Rail Station, CT. You can also earn 500 award miles for every business-class sector or 750 award miles for every first-class sector on Acela Express trains running between Penn Station in New York and Boston's Route 128 Station, MA; Boston's Back Bay Station, MA; Boston's South Station, MA; and Washington DC.

Cruise and vacation partners

Taking a cruise is a new way to earn award miles. United Cruises lets you earn up to 20,000 award miles, enjoy savings of up to 75 percent and be offered the best rates on some of the best cruises available. If you choose to book with your Mileage Plus Visa credit card, you can then double the miles you can earn.

Credit card partners

United offers United MileagePlus cards worldwide. These cards provide mileage credits and a range of travel benefits. In the US, 30,000 bonus miles are earned with the United MileagePlus Explorer card if you spend $1,000 in the first three months. You can also earn 5000 bonus miles if you add a user to your account and purchase a flight with your card in your first three months as a card member. Once you have spent at least $25,000 in a year, an extra 10,000 bonus miles will be earned. Card members can also check in their first piece of baggage at no cost and enjoy priority boarding privileges. There is no foreign transaction fee attached to any purchases and card members can visit the United Club twice a year.

Retail, lifestyle and more

If you are in possession of a MileagePlus Explorer Card, you can build up mileage by purchasing leading brands such as Sears, Sephora, Godiva and WSJ Wine.

At Chic Outlet Shopping Villages, which are found in Paris, London, Madrid and other locations, you can get 60 per cent off leading luxury brands as well as tax-free shopping throughout the year. Mileage Plus members can earn one mile after spending one euro or one pound in any of the boutiques found in the Villages.

With MileagePlus Dining, five award miles may be earned for each dollar spent at your favourite clubs, bars and restaurants. The use of MileagePlus Fitness allows you to get fit and at the same time earn 2,000 award miles. You have the choice of 10,000 gyms throughout the US.

If you join American Cellars Wine Club offered by Vinesse, you can soon earn 5,000 bonus award miles once you have paid for and received two wine shipments. You can also earn five miles for every $1 spent on any other orders.

Financial partners

United has financial partners as well. With Fidelity Investments you can earn up to 50,000 award miles when you open an account for the first time or you add additional cash to an existing account. You can also earn award miles for each dollar borrowed when you take out a personal loan with Prosper.

Home, auto and energy

If you sign up to DIRECTV you can not only watch great entertainment but you can also earn 25,000 bonus award miles.

You can earn more miles if you change your electricity provider to Reliant. With MileagePlus, the Reliant Secure 24 plan offers residents in Texas low electricity prices and the chance to earn miles. You can earn 15,000 bonus award miles when you initially sign up and for a 24-month period you can earn 500 bonus miles each month.

Business products and services

Signing up with the MileagePlus Small Business Network means your small business can earn award miles. If you activate your free 12-month Businessworld membership with Regus, you are eligible to earn seven award miles for every dollar spent on new Virtual Office sales. You can also earn five award miles for every dollar spent on new Office sales.

Buy, transfer or donate miles

You can buy extra miles when you want them so that you get nearer to your next travel award. You can also give miles to any of the members of your family or even friends as a present. It’s also possible to transfer miles from one Mileage Plus account to another person to help them get a reasonable start on their personal award travel or even change hotel program points to MileagePlus award miles.

How to redeem award miles

Air travel

The MileagePlus program offers many different choices for the booking of air travel. You can upgrade to a premium cabin and you can add miles to your account. Any miles you have saved can be used to fly or even upgrade with airline partners such as Star Alliance members. When travelling using an award ticket you can select the award type and whatever class of service suits your requirements. All United awards are for one-way travel, so you can travel on a Saver Award in one direction and a Standard Award can be used for the return.

Shop, bid and more

  • 1. MileagePlus Headliners. You can use your miles to bid on many different activities, including holidays and sports packages. There are special offers for Premier members and MileagePlus credit card members who can use miles for sports, theatre and concert tickets at ScoreBig.com. Miles can also be used to purchase seats at Broadway shows.
  • 2. Shopping and digital media. MileagePlus awards can be used to purchase just about anything, from housewares and electronics to jewellery and watches. MileagePlus digital media awards allow you to shop at the MileagePlus Digital Media Store. Using Rewards Pay, you can use your miles to play online games, rent textbooks, play music or even learn a new language.
  • 3.Dining MileagePlus members can exchange miles for $50 Lettuce Entertain You Gift Cards. These can be used in more than 80 restaurants across the country. MileagePlus members can use miles to obtain restaurant dining certificates via Restaurant.com. Miles can be used for a $25 certificate, or four $25 certificates. Each certificate can be used to get discounts at numerous restaurants across the country.
  • 4. Everyday activities MileagePlus hotel and car awards can be used for both hotel rooms and car rentals. You can book rooms at well-known resorts and hotels throughout the world. You can also choose from a number of different car rental options.

MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

MileagePlus members can also use miles to ask for an upgrade to United First, United Business, United BusinessFirst or United Global FirstSM on the majority of paid tickets on flights operated by United. Upgrades to a premium cabin on flights operated by Copa are also possible.

About United and its history

United Airlines is one of the most comprehensive global route networks in the U.S. It operates an average of 5,431 flights per day to more than 360 airports across six continents. In 2012, it carried the most passenger traffic in the world. It began trading publicly on October 1, 2010 and aims to deliver leading customer service to its passengers, as well as provide meaningful profitability to its shareholders.

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6 Responses to United MileagePlus Frequent Flyer Program

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    Arnielynda | November 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?

      Sally | November 14, 2016

      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.



    Default Gravatar
    Andrew | December 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?

      Sally | December 14, 2015

      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.



    Default Gravatar
    Camilla | March 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?

      Shirley | March 16, 2015

      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.”


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