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 (or for a limited time, 90,000+).
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.
At MileCards.com we think 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.
‘Ultimate Rewards’ points instantly transfer 1:1 (see how) into your United MileagePlus® account at any time with no fee. You can also transfer your points into Southwest Rapid Rewards and 10 other airline and hotel programs. No other personal card that earns United miles has more flexibility, 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: 50-55,000 miles. Limited time offer through September 2, 2014. Start with 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months the account is open. And get 5,000 more miles if you add an authorized user to your card with in the first 3 months.
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. In addition to being able to transfer 1:1 into your United account with no fees for the transfer, it 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. And you can get an extra 5,000 points – for a total of 45,000 if you add an authorized user to your card.
That could be 90,000 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…
So, you have the potential to earn 150,000+ 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 and take advantage of the bonus.
Your credit score generally drops about 5 points with a new card application, a very small amount, but often recovers that and more within a year as you’re showing you are responsibly handling additional credit. When it comes to approvals and borrowing there aren’t a lot of benefits to keeping your score much above about 720, so if your score is well above that there’s no award for having a perfect 800+ score. You should feel comfortable applying unless you plan to take out a mortgage or large loan shortly, and even then small credit inquiries are the last thing lenders consider.
Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.
"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."