How to use United miles? - Frequent Flyer Miles FAQ


ADVERTISING DISCLOSURE: is an independent, advertising-supported web site. receives compensation from most credit card issuers whose offers appear on our site. Compensation from our advertising partners impacts how and where their products appear on our site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within review lists. has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace.

Credit Card Applications » Questions » FAQs » Frequent Flyer Miles » How to use United miles?

How to use United miles?

Answered on | Updated on May 5th, 2017
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

If you are a MileagePlus member or have United Credit card

Once you’ve accumulated a bunch of United miles you may want to redeem them for air travel. However, you should first of all understand how many United miles you will need for an award ticket.

Domestic travel awards start from 12,500 miles one-way in economy class. So, you will need at least 25k miles for a round-trip ticket. If you want to get an award ticket to Europe, that’ll cost you 30,000 miles one-way in economy class, and the round-trip award travel will cost 60k miles. Once you are sure you have enough miles, you can log in to your MileagePlus account to book an award flight. Note that when you use miles to book a flight, you will need to pay some fees and taxes that are not covered with United miles.

Air travel is not the only way you can use United miles. There are other travel redemption options like hotel awards, card awards, cruise awards. If you have a United credit card you can use miles to reimburse the card’s annual membership fee and for airfare statement credit.

If you are not a member of the United loyalty program but have a miles rewards card

Things are much easier for those who have a regular travel rewards credit card that allows earning miles but not tied to any airline and United in particular. A good example of such card can be the Discover it® Miles card. You just use such a card to buy an airline ticket and then apply your miles to that purchase. That’s it, no additional fees or taxes. The redemption ratio is usually 100 miles = $1.

With travel rewards credit cards, you will always know how many miles you’ll need when you know the cost of the airline ticket. And if you are short of miles, that is not a problem, in most cases you will be able to redeem miles for a part of the airfare.

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer(s). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer(s), and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer(s). Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate information, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for the terms & conditions.
All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.
  • Larry Angle

    I flew United often and their card brought me a lot of benefits. When I changed my work I had to cancel United card and apply to the simple cash back card, as an airline card is useful only when you buy airline tickets.

  • David Shreve

    united explorer card was a good card till they took away the miles you flew with them. plus, getting to choose your seat then getting bumped to a bad seat with a “Im sorry” after nine years I gave them up. some good service, but more bad.

Get the latest news, articles and expert advice delivered to your inbox. It's FREE.
Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
Excellent/Good Credit
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Excellent Credit
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases.
Good, Excellent Credit
See Rates & Fees

Other Questions in
Frequent Flyer Miles

You've successfully subscribed!

Please specify the following:All these fields are optional

Your Credit History
Themes you are interested in:

By providing this information you help us make our news letters more useful and informative. Thank you!