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Like most of the major U.S. airlines in operation today, United Airlines is part of an airline alliance — Star Alliance, to be precise. That’s convenient for frequent travelers for several reasons. First of all, 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 dedicated 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.
United Star Alliance partners
There are currently 25 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. You’ll even be able to work toward Star Alliance elite status.
Other partner airlines of United
Beyond Star Alliance, United also currently has 16 other partner airlines that aren't in an alliance. These are airlines United partners with to increase their list of available destinations, but there may be some restrictions on earning or redeeming miles for every flight (Hawaiian Airlines, for example, only offers the ability to earn United miles on inter-island flights 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 and properties, allowing MileagePlus members to earn miles on qualified stays. 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:
You can also earn miles when booking through partner platforms like United Hotels and Vrbo and when booking one of United’s Villas of Distinction.
» Learn more: How the Marriott-United status match works
Other United travel partners
United Airlines partnerships don’t stop with airlines and hotels. You can earn MileagePlus miles and benefit from savings when booking a rental car with Avis or Budget.
And through United Cruises, you’re able to earn and use miles with offers on more than 25 cruise lines.
Earn United MileagePlus miles
There are plenty of other ways to earn MileagePlus miles for travel on United or its partners.
United offers a variety of co-branded credit cards with various welcome bonuses that offer the quickest way to earn miles for award travel on United or partner airlines.
United Quest℠ Card: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
United℠ Explorer Card: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
United Gateway℠ Card: Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
United Club℠ Infinite Card: Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
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.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
The bottom line
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 look into United’s other travel partners, from hotels to 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 2022, 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
IHG® One Rewards
- Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
- Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
- Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.
World of Hyatt
- Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
- Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
- Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.
Alaska Mileage Plan
- Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
- Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
- You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend