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Up to 5,000 United Premier miles fast with your credit card

by on Thu December 27, 2012 • 2 Comments

United’s elite Premier levels of status are among the most valuable among airlines today. And until the merger with Continental you could earn Premier qualifying miles (PQMs) if you applied for the right United credit card – like the old MileagePlus Select, which offered 1 PQM for every dollar spent on, or the Presidential Plus which offered Premier miles based on your level of spending each year. Those cards are no longer open to new applicants.

United Choices premier miles

But United has quietly kept alive another program that lets you earn Premier qualifying miles without flying.

It’s called United Choices, and you are eligible to use it if you have any Chase United credit card.

  • With Choices, you can use some of your Mileage Plus miles to ‘buy’ Premier qualifying miles
  • The price is 10,000 MileagePlus miles to credit 1,000 Premier miles and 1 Premier qualifying segment
  • There is a limit of 5,000 Premier miles and 5 segments you can ‘buy’ this way per year
  • You can only used miles you earned via your Chase United credit card to make this purchase (miles earned via flying don’t get placed in the balance available for ‘Choices’)
  • You *can* use these Premier miles to earn all published status levels, including 1K
  • You have until December 30th and 11:59PM CST to redeem for the following year’s status level. The miles post within 3 business days.
  • This was a benefit of the pre-merger United credit cards, but it is now a benefit of all United credit cards of the combined United, including Chase cards that say Continental on them: ” Continental branded credit cards issued by Chase Bank USA, N.A began participating in the Choices program on January 1, 2012″

How do you find this?

  1. Go to
  2. Select ‘Elevated status’
  3. You’ll be able to select the number of Premier miles you want to trade for miles earned with your United credit card

Is it a good deal?

  • You’re paying 10 ‘regular’ miles to receive 1 elite qualifying mile. Put another way, you’re paying 50,000 miles for something that would take 5,000 miles of flying to earn. 5,000 miles of flying is one roundtrip from the East Coast to West Coast. That would cost you about 12-15 hours of flying, not including time to the airport and layovers, plus about $400 in airfare. 50,000 miles could be used for 2 domestic roundtrip coach tickets, or is enough for one domestic first / business class roundtrip.
  • The other alternative is to ‘buy’ Premier miles for cash using United’s ‘elite maximizer’ option when you book a ticket. That often costs 30 cents per PQM – so 5,000 Premier miles can cost $1,500. Using 50,000 miles for a $1,500 savings is a decent value for your miles.
  • So if you’re strapped for time and really value the next level of Premier status this is the most efficient way to top off your account without flying.

If you want to get yourself set up for next year, get the United Explorer or MileagePlus Club credit cards. The miles you earn with them (including bonus miles) make you eligible for the Choices program.



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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
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Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

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Foreign Transaction Fee Waived


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