Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Among the mile programs of the big global U.S. carriers, United Airlines Mileage Plus is our favorite for earning and using miles via credit cards. Here are 5 reasons why…
1. Better reward availability
Independent studies show that United has the best mile reward availability among the global U.S. based carriers. You can find a seat at the lowest mileage requirement about 70% of the time on the dates you want. No airline is perfect, and certain destinations at certain times of the year (read: Hawaii during Christmas) will be challenging, but United is consistent.
2. A dead simple award search tool
Even if reward seats are available, they’re of no use to you if you can’t find them. We get frustrated with the online award search tools offered by most airlines. You have to fumble with a login, don’t get to see most partner choices, and be patient as they run very slowly. United has one of the easiest and most transparent websites for award seat searches.
Trust us, it’s the best in the business. You don’t have to log in to use it, it shows nearly all available partners, and has an accurate calendar that shows availability over several months.
3. More partners than any other
United is the world’s largest airline. That in itself gives you lots of options. But you also get to use your miles for travel on all of their Star Alliance partners. These include Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1 , bmi, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines , EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, THAI, Turkish Airlines, and US Airways. This maximizes the chances there will be a flight with award seats available when and where you want to travel.
4. A generous reward rule
United charges no fee for changing the dates on a reward ticket as many times as you want up to 21 days prior to departure. The only catch is you must keep the origin and destination the same. This is great for times you can’t get the precise date you want upfront, but want to lock in something ‘good enough.’ If you see seats open up on the date you really want — regardless of the route to get there — you can change it for free up to 21 days in advance.
5. A powerful credit card for earning miles
While the base United Explorer credit card offers helpful perks like no checked bag fee, if you want to maximize mile earning potential we recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It earns double points on all travel and dining purchases with no caps, and points instantly transfer 1:1 into United miles. And it has a generous sign on bonus. You can read the pros and cons of each card here (or just apply for both).
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