United Airlines Mileage Plus

Here's the 411 on United's Frequent Flyer Program

Businessman gazing out of window aboard flight
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The United Mileage Plus airline reward/loyalty program is popular among both business and leisure travelers. With solid perks for elite members and a simple and inexpensive reward redemption process, United Mileage Plus is a competitive and versatile loyalty program.  If you fly a lot for business, you can really hit the jackpot with frequent flyer miles, since your company paid for the flights and you get the rewards.

If you gain elite status from all that flying for work, you get all kinds of extra perks, like complimentary access to Economy Plus, instant cabin upgrades, priority boarding, priority check-in, priority security screening, priority baggage handling, mileage bonuses, lounge access on international flights, complimentary checked baggage, and discounted or waived changes on same-day flights.

Pros and Cons

The good news is that United is a  member of the Star Alliance of 28 airline partners, and you can get and spend miles on any of those partner airlines. You can get complimentary upgrades to First Class when they're available, a major bonus on cross-country or international flights. You can use accrued miles for free segments or full trips based on current plan rules. But changing any part of your ticket results in fees, which vary depending on what your status level is, how many days remain before the flight, and what you want to change.

The lower your status, the higher your fees, which apply to each ticket.

How to Sign Up

Signing up for United Mileage Saver is easy. Fill in your personal information and create a username and password on the United Airlines website. United Mileage Plus will send you a welcome email explaining the program in detail.

How to Earn Points

Travel on United, United Express, or any of United's 28 airline partners (Star Alliance members) earns you points. Miles earned with Star Alliance partners might vary in how they are accrued. Partner airlines will also accept your Mileage Plus frequent flyer number.

United Mileage Plus miles can also be earned through a number of credit card partners. The main credit card partner is Chase, which offers Visa and MasterCard. Rules vary with special promotions, but each dollar spent with a credit card partner will generally earn one United Mileage Plus mile.

How to Redeem Points

Cashing in your miles for flights is easy. From the "Redeem Miles" tab on the website, plug in your travel dates and hit "Search." Many domestic trips will set you back 25,000 miles, round trip, with Saver Rewards. You can book many short-haul domestic round trips for 20,000 miles with Saver. As of Nov. 1, 2017, United is offering a new plan, called Everyday Rewards. The number of miles you'll need for these rewards varies with each flight, depending on the actual cost of those flights. Everyday Rewards will also reduce the number of miles needed for short-haul flights within regions outside the United States, like flights between cities in Europe.