What’s the Value of United Miles?

Mar 24, 2022

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The United MileagePlus program is one of the largest, and most complicated, airline rewards systems in the world. Learning how to navigate it starts with knowing how much its currency — miles — are worth.

Here’s the short answer: The value of United MileagePlus miles is roughly 1 cent each. You can get more or less value from each mile depending on when and how you use them, but this is a good estimate for comparing your own redemptions.

Key takeaways:

  • United miles are worth about 1 cent each.

  • This is lower than most airline miles.

  • Booking business class fares can yield higher value.

  • The timeframe of booking won't impact the value of your miles for most main cabin fares.

What does this value mean?

We estimate that each United mile is worth 1 cent, but this is a baseline value, not a maximized value based on comparing real-world cash and award fares in main cabin. You can get considerably more bang from your miles by researching carefully, targeting partner airlines, leveraging the Excursionist Perk and booking business class (see below). You can also get considerably less value by using your United miles carelessly. Just like real money, there are better and worse ways to use award miles.

How do United miles compare with other airlines?

United falls near the middle of the airline pack with its mile value.

Program

Mile value

1.1 cents.

1.2 cents.

1.3 cents.

1 cent.

1 cent.

1 cent.

1 cent.

1 cent.

What’s the value when using United miles for business class tickets?

For our main valuation, we only compare main cabin fares. Yet United miles can also be used to book premium cabin travel — often for significantly higher value.

Main cabin value (cents)

Business class value (cents)

United MileagePlus miles

1 cent.

2.4 cents.

Does this mean you should always use United miles to book business class tickets, to get the maximum value? Not necessarily. The cash prices for these tickets can cost literally tens of thousands of dollars, so while you might get the most raw value by using the miles in this way, that doesn’t necessarily mean it's the best course of action.

Award tickets in business class can cost at least double what economy award tickets cost, so if you’re flying in business class often, you’ll need an ongoing way to replenish your United miles balance.

Convert United Airlines miles to dollars

With the calculator below, you can quickly figure out how much your Delta miles are worth based on our estimated value, netting you a clearer dollar value of United Miles.

When is the best time to use United miles?

We compared the value when booking at three different time frames:

  • 180 days before departure.

  • 15 days before departure.

  • Peak holiday travel (Dec. 22-29).

United mile value by booking time frame and cabin

There’s not a huge difference, except the relatively low values when booking business class travel during the holidays. This is mostly good news, as it means you don’t have to worry too much about the time frame when using United miles.

Can United miles be used on other airlines?

Yes, United miles can be used to book flights on United, of course. They can also be used to book flights on dozens of partner airlines (through the United search tool, not by transferring to partners), upgrade to premium cabin seats and even upgrade Star Alliance partner flights.

You can also use these miles for unusual purchases such as magazine subscriptions and rental cars, but in general these redemption options don’t offer great value.

How did we determine the United miles value?

We collected hundreds of data points comparing the cash value with award (mile) value for the same routes and dates. That is, we compared the cost of a given ticket in either cash or miles, across many tickets.

This method differs from others in that it looks at actual redemptions rather than hypothetical, maximized redemptions. The advantage of this approach is that it provides a real-world indication of how much these miles are worth, on average. That said, it doesn’t take into account the upper range of potential values.

Wondering what you can do with those miles? Check out our guide to booking award flights with United.

Frequently asked questions
How much are 10,000 United miles worth?

According to NerdWallet’s analysis, 10,000 United miles are worth about $100.

How much are 25,000 United miles worth?

According to NerdWallet’s analysis, 25,000 United miles are worth about $250.

How much are 50,000 United miles worth?

According to NerdWallet’s analysis, 50,000 United miles are worth about $500.

How much are 80,000 United miles worth?

According to NerdWallet’s analysis, 80,000 United miles are worth about $800.

How much are 100,000 United miles worth?

According to NerdWallet’s analysis, 100,000 United miles are worth about $1,000.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

partner programs

IHG® Rewards Program

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on Alaska's website

Alaska Mileage Plan
Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
IHG® Rewards Program

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on IHG One Rewards’ website

World of Hyatt

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With the World of Hyatt loyalty program, enjoy a world of rewards designed to revolve around you.

on Hyatt's website

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on Hyatt's website

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Alaska Mileage Plan

Mileage Plan is Alaska's loyalty program for anyone who loves to travel and is free to join!

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Highlights:
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  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend
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  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend

on Alaska's website

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