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Co-branded credit cards, like the Mileage Plus card, often come with promo or limited time bonus offers. And since these offers are limited in time, you need to make sure your application gets approved while an offer is active.

As an alternative, you can consider getting a regular credit card that will allow you to earn miles on all your purchases. For example, you may like the Discover it® Miles credit card. All your everyday purchases will earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent. What is more, Discover will match all the miles you've earned at the end of your first year (if you are a new cardmember). For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. Earned miles can be redeemed with any airline, including United Airlines.