How Do I Use United Miles

Emily Thomas

If you find yourself wondering how to make the most of your United Miles, look no further! This article is here to guide you through the process of utilizing your United Miles and maximizing their value. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or new to the world of airline rewards, we’ll provide you with tips and tricks to help you navigate the United MileagePlus program and make your next trip an unforgettable adventure. So, let’s get started on unlocking the full potential of your United Miles!

Table of Contents

Booking Flights with United Miles

How Do I Use United Miles

Checking Award Availability

When booking flights with United Miles, the first step is to check the award availability. You can do this by visiting the United Airlines website and logging into your MileagePlus account. The website will provide you with a calendar view that shows which dates have award seats available. This is especially helpful if you have flexibility in your travel dates.

Choosing Your Travel Dates

Once you have checked the award availability, it’s time to choose your travel dates. Consider factors such as the time of year, weather conditions, and any specific events or festivals happening at your desired destination. It’s worth noting that some dates may have higher demand, making it harder to find award availability, so flexibility is key.

Selecting Your Cabin Class

United Miles can be used to book flights in different cabin classes, including Economy, Business, and First Class. Depending on your preferences and the number of miles you have, you can choose the cabin class that suits your needs. Keep in mind that upgrading to a higher cabin class may require additional miles.

Searching for Partner Airlines

In addition to United Airlines, you can also use your United Miles to book flights with partner airlines. These include airlines such as Lufthansa, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines, among others. To search for partner airline availability, you can use the United Airlines website or contact the MileagePlus service center for assistance.

Booking Online or Over the Phone

Once you have found the availability and selected your desired travel dates and cabin class, you can proceed to book your flight. United Airlines allows you to book flights using your United Miles either online or over the phone. Online booking is convenient and can be done through the United Airlines website. If you prefer personalized assistance, you can call the MileagePlus service center and a representative will help you with the booking process.

Understanding Award Booking Fees

When booking flights with United Miles, it’s important to understand the award booking fees. These fees can vary depending on various factors, such as the type of award, the number of miles used, and the class of service. Make sure to review the terms and conditions and any applicable fees before finalizing your booking to avoid any surprises.

Upgrading Flights with United Miles

Eligibility for Upgrades

United MileagePlus members have the option to upgrade their flights using their United Miles. However, not all flights are eligible for upgrades. Upgrades are typically available for flights operated by United Airlines and select partner airlines. It’s important to check the eligibility requirements and availability before considering an upgrade.

Check Upgrade Inventory

Before requesting an upgrade, you should check the upgrade inventory. This will give you an idea of the chances of securing an upgrade on your desired flight. The United Airlines website provides a tool called “Expert Mode” that allows you to access upgrade availability. This can be accessed by selecting the “Advanced Search” option when searching for flights.

Requesting an Upgrade

To request an upgrade using your United Miles, you can do so online or by calling the MileagePlus service center. Keep in mind that upgrades are subject to availability and there may be certain restrictions or limitations. It’s advisable to request an upgrade as early as possible to increase your chances of securing the upgrade.

Upgrade Types and Costs

United offers different types of upgrades, including Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades. Each upgrade type has its own cost in terms of miles and eligibility requirements. The number of miles required for an upgrade may vary depending on factors such as the flight distance and cabin class. It’s recommended to review the upgrade types and costs before proceeding with the upgrade request.

Redeeming United Miles for Hotel Stays

Booking Hotels with MileagePlus

In addition to flights, United Miles can also be redeemed for hotel stays. Through the MileagePlus program, you can search for and book hotels using your miles. The MileagePlus website provides a user-friendly interface where you can enter your destination, travel dates, and preferences to find available hotels.

Searching for Partner Hotels

If you have a preferred hotel chain or would like more options, you can also search for partner hotels. United has partnered with various hotel chains worldwide, allowing you to redeem your miles for stays with these partners. The MileagePlus website will provide you with a list of partner hotels available for redemption.

Comparing Cash vs. Miles Options

When redeeming United Miles for hotel stays, you should consider whether using your miles is the most cost-effective option. The MileagePlus website will display the number of miles required for the booking, as well as the cash price for the same stay. Compare these options to determine if using your miles offers a better value.

Utilizing United MileagePlus Hotel Partners

United MileagePlus members can also take advantage of hotel partnerships to maximize the value of their miles. By booking directly with partner hotels, you can earn additional miles and enjoy exclusive benefits such as room upgrades or complimentary breakfast. Check the MileagePlus website for a list of hotel partners and their respective benefits.

Using United Miles for Car Rentals

Booking Car Rentals with MileagePlus

If you prefer to have a rental car at your destination, you can also use your United Miles to book car rentals. The MileagePlus program offers the option to redeem miles for car rentals from various rental car companies. Simply enter your destination, travel dates, and preferences to find available car rental options.

Searching for Car Rental Partners

United has partnered with several car rental companies, giving MileagePlus members the flexibility to choose from different providers. Whether you prefer a specific car rental brand or are looking for the best rates, the MileagePlus website will provide you with a list of car rental partner options to choose from.

Understanding MileagePlus Car Rental Benefits

When booking car rentals with your United Miles, you may also be eligible for certain benefits or discounts. These can include perks such as bonus miles, free upgrades, or exclusive rates. Review the terms and conditions for each car rental partner to understand the benefits associated with your booking.

Comparing Cash vs. Miles Options

Similar to hotel bookings, it’s important to compare the cash price of car rentals with the number of miles required for redemption. The MileagePlus website will display both options, allowing you to evaluate which option provides the best value. Consider factors such as the length of the rental and any additional fees when making your decision.

Earning and Redeeming United Miles with Non-Airline Partners

United MileagePlus Shopping

One way to earn United Miles is through United MileagePlus Shopping. This online shopping portal allows you to earn miles for purchases made at various retailers. Simply log in to your MileagePlus account, browse the participating retailers, and start earning miles for your purchases.

United MileagePlus Dining

United MileagePlus Dining is another program that allows you to earn miles. By registering your credit or debit card with the program, you can earn miles for dining at participating restaurants. Simply use your registered card when paying at these restaurants to earn miles automatically.

United MileagePlus Cruises

If you enjoy cruising, United MileagePlus offers the opportunity to earn miles when booking cruises. The MileagePlus Cruises website features a wide range of cruise options from different cruise lines. By booking through the website, you can earn bonus miles for your cruise vacation.

Transfer Partners for United Miles

In addition to earning miles through United Airlines and its partners, you can also transfer miles from select transfer partners. This allows you to consolidate your miles from various loyalty programs into your MileagePlus account. The transfer partners vary by region, and the MileagePlus website provides a list of eligible transfer partners and the transfer ratios.

Maximizing United MileagePlus Credit Card Rewards

Using a United MileagePlus credit card can greatly accelerate your mileage earning potential. These credit cards offer additional perks such as bonus miles on eligible purchases, priority boarding, and access to United Club lounges. Consider applying for a United MileagePlus credit card to maximize your mileage earnings.

Managing United Miles and MileagePlus Account

Signing up for MileagePlus

If you’re not already a member of United MileagePlus, signing up is easy and free. Visit the United Airlines website and create a MileagePlus account to start earning and redeeming miles. The account will also provide access to various features and benefits of the program.

Earning United Miles

There are multiple ways to earn United Miles, including flights with United Airlines and partner airlines, through partner hotels and car rental bookings, and through non-airline partners such as shopping and dining programs. Make sure to provide your MileagePlus number whenever making a qualifying purchase or booking to ensure you earn your miles.

Tracking MileagePlus Account Activity

It’s important to regularly track your MileagePlus account activity to stay updated on your mileage balance and any recent transactions. The MileagePlus website provides a dashboard where you can view your account activity, including miles earned, miles redeemed, and any bonus promotions.

Setting MileagePlus Account Preferences

Customizing your MileagePlus account preferences can enhance your overall experience with the program. From email preferences to notification settings, you can tailor your account to your liking. The MileagePlus website allows you to easily access and update your account preferences.

Redeeming Expiring United Miles

United Miles typically have an expiration period, so it’s important to keep track of any expiring miles. If you have miles that are approaching their expiration date, consider redeeming them for flights, hotels, car rentals, or other eligible rewards to ensure you get the most value from your miles.

Understanding United MileagePlus Program Rules

How Do I Use United Miles

Elite Status Levels and Benefits

United MileagePlus offers elite status levels that provide additional benefits to members. These levels include Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, and Premier 1K. Benefits can include priority check-in, complimentary upgrades, access to United Club lounges, and more, depending on the level attained.

Award Chart and Mileage Requirements

To help you understand how many miles are required for a specific flight, United Airlines provides an award chart. This chart outlines the mileage requirements for flights within different regions and cabin classes. Consult the award chart on the MileagePlus website to determine the number of miles needed for your desired flight.

Stopovers and Open-Jaws

United MileagePlus allows for stopovers and open-jaws on certain award tickets. A stopover is a layover longer than 24 hours, allowing you to explore an additional destination during your trip. An open-jaw refers to flying into one destination and departing from another. Take advantage of these options to maximize your travel experience.

Change and Cancellation Policies

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the change and cancellation policies of United MileagePlus. Changes and cancellations can incur fees and mileage refund penalties, depending on the type of award and the time of the change or cancellation. Review the program’s policies to understand the potential fees and limitations.

Surcharges and Taxes on Award Tickets

When redeeming United Miles for flights, it’s important to note that surcharges and taxes may apply. These additional fees can vary depending on the destination and the specific airline. Review the breakdown of fees before booking your award ticket to ensure you are aware of all associated costs.

Maximizing Value and Benefits of United Miles

Utilizing United Excursionist Perk

The United Excursionist Perk is a unique feature that allows you to add a free one-way flight to your itinerary. This feature can be used when booking certain multi-city itineraries and can provide additional value to your mileage redemption. Familiarize yourself with the rules and restrictions of the Excursionist Perk to maximize its benefits.

Finding Saver Award Availability

United Airlines offers a tiered award system, with Saver Awards being the most cost-effective option. Saver Awards require fewer miles and are subject to availability. When searching for flights, make sure to select the “Saver Award” option to find the best value for your miles.

Taking Advantage of Off-Peak Travel

Off-peak travel periods can offer lower mileage redemption rates and increased award availability. These periods typically coincide with less popular travel seasons. By planning your travel during off-peak times, you can stretch your miles further and potentially enjoy a less crowded travel experience.

Booking Multi-City Itineraries

The ability to book multi-city itineraries can be a valuable feature when using United Miles. This allows you to visit multiple destinations within a single booking, providing flexibility and convenience. Plan your itinerary carefully to maximize your travel experience and take advantage of the Excursionist Perk when applicable.

Using United MileagePlus Explorer Card Benefits

If you hold a United MileagePlus Explorer Card, you can enjoy additional benefits such as free checked bags, priority boarding, and access to expanded award availability. Make sure to take advantage of these cardholder benefits when booking flights to enhance your overall travel experience.

Planning Award Travel with United Miles

Creating a Travel Bucket List

Before redeeming your United Miles, take some time to create a travel bucket list. This will help you prioritize your travel goals and determine the destinations you want to visit first. Consider factors such as scenery, cultural experiences, and personal interests when compiling your list.

Researching Destinations and Routes

Once you have a travel bucket list, research the destinations and possible routes. United Airlines has an extensive network and partners with various airlines, allowing you to reach a wide range of destinations. Consider factors such as flight availability, stopovers, and layovers when planning your award travel.

Saving and Earning More United Miles

To ensure you have enough miles for your desired award travel, it’s important to save and earn more United Miles. This can be done through various methods, such as utilizing United MileagePlus credit cards, earning miles through partner programs, and taking advantage of bonus promotions. Set a savings goal and strategize how to achieve it.

Booking in Advance or Last Minute

When planning award travel, it’s advisable to book as far in advance as possible. This allows you to secure the desired flights and ensure availability. However, last-minute bookings can also offer opportunities, especially if there is unsold inventory. Keep an eye out for last-minute deals and availability for a spontaneous getaway.

Utilizing Waitlist and Onboard Upgrade Options

If the flights you want are not initially available, consider utilizing the waitlist option. This allows you to be notified if seats become available. Additionally, some flights may offer onboard upgrade options, allowing you to upgrade your cabin class using your miles at the gate. Explore these options to increase your chances of securing your desired flight.

Tips and Tricks for Using United Miles

Flexible Travel Date Searches

When searching for award flights, utilize the flexible travel date option. This will allow you to view a range of dates and find the most cost-effective options in terms of miles. Being flexible with your travel dates can greatly increase the chances of finding award availability.

Searching Segment by Segment

If you are having difficulty finding award availability for a specific route, try searching segment by segment. This means searching for each individual leg of your journey separately. By piecing together each segment, you may be able to find award availability that may not have shown up in a full itinerary search.

Mixing and Matching Airlines

Don’t limit yourself to only United Airlines flights. Consider mixing and matching airlines to find the best award availability and routing options. United Airlines has a vast network of partner airlines, allowing you to explore various options and potentially find better availability or more convenient connections.

Utilizing United Excursionist Perk

As mentioned earlier, the United Excursionist Perk can add significant value to your award travel. Take the time to understand the rules and restrictions of the Excursionist Perk and look for opportunities to incorporate it into your multi-city itineraries. This can provide extra destinations and flights at no additional mileage cost.

Avoiding Close-In Booking Fees

United Airlines imposes close-in booking fees when award tickets are booked within a certain timeframe before the departure date. To avoid these fees, try to book your award tickets well in advance. By planning ahead and securing your flights, you can save on unnecessary fees and maximize the value of your miles.

In conclusion, booking flights with United Miles offers a great way to maximize the value of your mileage balance. Whether you’re looking to explore new destinations, enjoy a higher cabin class, or enhance your travel experience with hotel stays and car rentals, United MileagePlus provides a range of options and benefits. By understanding the program rules, utilizing partnership opportunities, and implementing tips and tricks, you can make the most of your United Miles and create unforgettable travel experiences.