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If you have United MileagePlus miles, you can spend them on airlines other than United Airlines. And you don’t have to solely fly on United Airlines to earn United MileagePlus miles.
United Airlines has an extensive network of partners that includes other airlines, plus hotels, rental car companies and retail outlets that serve as sources to earn and redeem United miles.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
United Star Alliance partners
Like most of the major U.S. airlines in operation, United Airlines is a founding member of the Star Alliance, which is the largest airline alliance in the world.
There are currently about two dozen United Star Alliance partners. Fly with any of them and offer up your United MileagePlus member number during booking to earn or redeem miles for travel. Award tickets on all United partners can be booked on United.com (just as you would book any other United Award tickets), which makes for a fairly easy booking process (no having to wait for transfer delays or sitting on hold on the phone)
You’ll even be able to use your bookings to work toward Star Alliance elite status.
Having so many major airlines in one alliance is convenient for frequent travelers for several reasons. First, it means you can earn miles with one airline and use them for award travel on another. For example, you can earn United MileagePlus miles on a United flight or via other partner flights, then redeem those miles for, say, a flight to Ireland on Aer Lingus or Belgium on Brussels Airlines.
It also means you could save hundreds of miles by booking with airline partners using another airline’s miles. In some cases, for example, a flight on a partner airline might require fewer MileagePlus miles than the airline’s own miles.
And since there are over 35 United Airlines flight partners to choose from (plus plenty of other travel partners), MileagePlus members have access to a wide range of travel options, including flights to nearly 200 countries. Here are the details on United Airlines partners and how to earn or redeem miles for travel with them.
Other United airline partners
Beyond Star Alliance, United also currently has more than a dozen other partner airlines that aren't in an alliance. These are airlines United partners with to increase its list of available destinations, but there may be some restrictions on earning or redeeming miles for every flight (Hawaiian Airlines, for example, offers the ability to earn United miles on interisland flights only, while miles earned on Edelweiss are restricted to specific flight numbers).
So when booking on one of these partner airlines, check the details to see when and where you can use or earn MileagePlus miles.
» Learn more: Plan your next redemption with our airline points tool
United hotel partners
United has also partnered with a number of hotel chains, allowing MileagePlus members to earn miles on qualified stays across more than 15,000 properties worldwide. Search for a stay at any of United’s hotel partners and share your MileagePlus member number during booking to earn points.
And if you are a member of a hotel loyalty program, you may be able to link your MileagePlus account to transfer hotel points into miles. United’s partnering hotel rewards programs include:
Besides earning United miles for hotel stays, you can also redeem your miles for hotel stays. Though, you can typically get far more value out of your points by using them to book flights, so we generally don’t recommend this option.
You can also earn miles when booking through travel partner platforms, including vacation rental site Vrbo, and United’s own hotel booking platform, United Hotels. Earnings rates can vary based on promotions throughout the year, but here’s how many United miles you can typically expect to earn:
United Hotels: 2 award miles per $1 spent with United Hotels.
Vrbo: 3 miles for every $1 spent with Vrbo.
Rocketmiles: Earn 1,000 - 10,000 miles per night for every booking.
PointsHound: Earn up to 10,000 miles per night.
» Learn more: How the Marriott-United status match works
United travel partners
United Airlines partnerships don’t stop with airlines and hotels. You can earn up to 1,250 MileagePlus miles, plus receive additional discounts when booking a rental car with Avis or Budget. You must provide your MileagePlus number upon making your reservation or when you pick up your car rental to earn miles.
And when you book through United Cruises, you’re able to earn and use miles with offers on about two dozen cruise lines including Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Virgin Voyages.
Ways to earn United MileagePlus miles
There are plenty of other ways to earn MileagePlus miles for travel on United or its partners.
Use United credit cards
United offers a variety of co-branded credit cards that offer opportunities to earn United miles through your everyday spending. The cards also have welcome bonuses that offer a quick way to earn a boatload of miles in one go. Use those miles to book free flights on United or its partner airlines.
Annual fee: $525.
Earnings rate: Earn 4 miles on United purchases, 2 miles on dining and all other travel, and 1 mile on all other purchases.
Other benefits: United Club membership, free first and second checked bags, priority check-in, security, boarding and baggage handling, and up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS fee credit.
Intro offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Annual fee: $250.
Earnings rate: Earn 3 miles on United purchases, 2 miles on dining, select streaming services and all other travel, and 1 mile on all other purchases.
Other benefits: Up to $125 annual United purchase credit, two 5,000-mile award flight credits each year, free first and second checked bags, priority boarding, and up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS fee credit.
Intro offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95.
Earnings rate: Earn 2 miles on United purchases, dining, and hotel stays when booked with the hotel, and 1 mile on all other purchases.
Other benefits: 2 United Club one-time passes per year, free first checked bag for you and a companion, priority boarding, and up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS fee credit.
Intro offer: Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Annual fee: $0.
Earnings rate: Earn 2 miles on United purchases, gas stations and on local transit and commuting, and 1 mile on all other purchases.
Other benefits: 25% back on United inflight and Club premium drink purchases.
Other ways to earn United miles through everyday spending
To increase your miles earnings on everyday spending, you can also take advantage of United offers. That includes online shopping at hundreds of retailers via the MileagePlus Shopping portal, dining out when you link a credit card with MileagePlus Dining and in-person shopping when you purchase digital gift cards on the MileagePlusX app.
United partners can help you make the most of non-United spending
Booking on airline partners with United offers MileagePlus members an expanded network of travel options. Not only does it broaden the list of available destinations to which United frequent flyers can travel, but it also helps you earn and save valuable miles with just a bit of savvy booking. Be sure to connect your United account to its other travel partners, including hotels and rental cars, to maximize earning potential and benefits on your trips.
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 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card