70,000+ United bonus miles with credit card strategy
If you’re new to earning United miles with credit cards, you can build up your United MileagePlus® account balance quickly with bonus mile offers. If you get approved for multiple credit cards you may earn 70,000+ miles. It starts with applying for both the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
But first, here’s some background…
You can apply for multiple credit cards to get the bonus mile offers. Just note you can only get one bonus offer per individual card with Chase, the exclusive provider of credit cards that earn United miles (i.e. only one United Explorer bonus in your history). There are no explicit limits on the number of cards you can hold with them, but you may sometimes be asked to reduce the credit line on one card to support a new one.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is among the best credit cards for everyday spending to earn United miles. A lot of people don’t know it, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns points you can transfer 1:1 into United miles. It offers 2x points on all travel and dining purchases, including things like taxis and parking — something no United credit card currently being marketed does not. It earns ‘Ultimate Rewards’ points which you can instantly transfer 1:1 into your United MileagePlus® account at any time with no fee. No other United credit card currently accepting new applications has higher day to day earning power because of the 2x bonus, so keep this at the front of your wallet.
Here’s our strategy for racking up United miles quickly…..
- Apply for the United Mileage Plus Explorer Card (30,000 – 35,000 miles) . You earn 30,000 bonus mies after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months your account is open. You also get 5,000 bonus miles after you add an authorized user to your account and make a purchase with your Card during the first 3 months as a Cardmember. If you spend $25,000 in any one year, you can earn another 10,000 miles. You might also be able to find a better intro offer for 50,000 miles by walking into your local Chase branch to apply. There is also sometimes a targeted offer for 50,000 miles that is discussed at this link.
- Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (40,000 points). The sign on bonus here is 40,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. This card lets you transfer points 1:1 into your United MileagePlus account, and earns 2x points on all dining and travel purchases. You can apply right away too, just make sure you’ll be able to get the $3,000 in spending within 3 months to earn the bonus.
That could be 70,000 or more United miles over a few months. Both cards waive their annual fees the first year.
The Sapphire Preferred® Card can be the better one all around for earning via spending — the 2x bonus on dining/travel is strong and the points can be used on airlines besides United. But if you’re not an elite flyer, you’ll probably want to keep the United Explorer for the free checked bag and priority boarding it offers. 2 flights a year with a checked bag more than pay for the annual fee.
To double your rewards, consider having your spouse apply for the credit cards as well if he/she does a fair amount of independent spending.
For aggressive bonus mile seekers who have small businesses, you can also earn more United credit card miles with these offers…
- Apply for the Ink Bold® Business Card from Chase (50,000 points). This is a credit card designed for small business owners and like the Sapphire Preferred® Card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points you can transfer to United. Consider that many small business owners are not incorporated and have little/no revenue . Some even do it before having the business up and running to place start up expenses in one place. Your personal credit history is what is used to determine eligibility for the card, so this is an option to earn more miles after finishing the above. Learn more about applying for business credit cards here – ‘Business Credit Cards for One.’
- Apply for a United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card. The rule on ‘one bonus per credit card’ doesn’t apply to having a bonus from both the consumer and business version of the cards. So, you can apply for the business version of the United Explorer even if you have the consumer card.
- Apply for an Ink Plus® Business Card from Chase (50,000 points). It has the same features and intro offer as the Ink Bold, but instead of being a charge card you have to pay the balance in full each month, it’s a credit card that lets you carry a balance. But remember, we don’t recommend using mile credit cards unless you plan to pay the balance in full each month, as interest charge can offset the value you earn from points. People have had luck getting both the Ink Bold and Ink Plus from Chase by saying they prefer a charge card for some expenses, and the flexibility of a credit card (the Ink Plus) for others.
So, you have the potential to earn almost 200,000 United miles over the course of a year if you apply for all of the credit cards — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, United MileagePlus® Explorer Card, the Ink Bold® Business Card, Ink Plus®, and the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card, and transfer them into your United MileagePlus® account.
And you’ll end up with cards you’ll want to keep. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card should be ‘go to’ for a lot of spending, and the United Explorer’s bag fee savings are likely to add up.
Also note if you have an older United credit card like the United Select Visa, you can retain that card and its features — they won’t cancel that account if you apply online for a new United card.