How Much Are United Airlines Miles Worth?

ByGrace Pilling
Reviewed byBrett Holzhauer, CPFC

Updated: April 22, 2024

ByGrace Pilling
Reviewed byBrett Holzhauer, CPFC

Updated: April 22, 2024

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

Based on MoneyGeek’s study, the average value of United MileagePlus miles is between 1.2 and 1.6 cents. That said, how much United miles are worth may change based on how you choose to redeem them.

There are plenty of opportunities to earn and maximize United MileagePlus miles, including flying with United Airlines or its partners, using a co-branded credit card, shopping online via the MileagePlus Shopping portal and purchasing miles.

After racking up United MileagePlus miles, you can redeem them for award flights, flight upgrades, hotel accommodations, car rentals, cruises, United Club membership and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Each United MileagePlus mile is worth an average of 1.2 to 1.6 cents. However, their value will depend on how you redeem your miles.
  • You can earn United miles by signing up for a MileagePlus frequent flyer account at no cost.
  • Qualifying for MileagePlus Premier status grants you access to seat upgrades, mileage bonuses, complimentary checked bags and free access to Economy Plus seating.

How Much Are United Miles Worth?

The average value of United Miles falls between 1.2 and 1.6 cents. This can be used as a baseline to determine whether you are getting a good deal for your redemption.

Recently, United stopped publishing an award chart, so there’s no set amount of miles needed for a given flight anymore. United now uses a dynamic pricing model, meaning seat prices change based on demand.

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To calculate the value of United MileagePlus miles, you need to subtract the taxes and fees from the cash price of your ticket and divide the difference by the number of miles required for the flight.

Ticket Cost (less taxes and fees) / Equivalent Points = Miles Value

How United Miles Compares to Other Airlines

Check out how United miles stack up against other major U.S. airlines by browsing through the table below.

United Airlines vs. Other Frequent Flyer Programs
Value per Mile

United Airlines MileagePlus

1.2 to 1.6 cents

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

1.2 to 1.8 cents

Air Canada Aeroplan

1.5 to 1.9 cents

Air France / KLM Flying Blue

1.2 to 1.4 cents

American Airlines AAdvantage

1.5 to 1.7 cents

British Airways Avios

0.8 to 1.5 cents

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

1.4 to 1.5 cents

Emirates Skywards

1 to 1.4 cents

How to Earn and Maximize Miles From United Airlines

There are various ways to earn United MileagePlus miles, from flying with United or its partner airlines to using the right credit card or booking rooms at certain hotels. United Mileage Plus miles never expire, so you can focus on earning miles without worrying about when you should redeem them.

Sign Up for United MileagePlus®

United MileagePlus is United Airlines' frequent flyer program. It's known for its top-notch economy award availability, a wide range of award destinations and multiple ways to earn and use miles. United MileagePlus is free to join; you only need to sign up for a MileagePlus frequent flyer account to start earning miles.

Joining United MileagePlus can help you earn miles for every dollar you spend in certain categories. Additionally, you get to enjoy various benefits, including:

  • Award availability: You don't have to worry about blackout dates when booking an award flight.

  • Extensive flight network: You can use your United MileagePlus miles to book online with United Airlines' 25 Star Alliance partners and fly to around 1,300 destinations.

  • Miles expiration: United MileagePlus miles don't expire, meaning you can take your time planning when to use your hard-earned miles.

Earning Miles Using United Airlines Co-Branded Credit Cards

Getting a United Airlines co-branded credit card may be one of the best ways to earn United MileagePlus miles. MoneyGeek discovered that the United Club℠ Infinite Card offers the highest mileage rewards per dollar spent (1X-4X miles on eligible purchases). Cardholders can further maximize these benefits by earning the 100,000-mile welcome bonus after spending $5,000 within the first three months.

Buying Airline Tickets From United Airlines Partner Airlines

An easy way to earn United MileagePlus miles is by flying with United Airlines or its partners. United has 39 partner airlines, 25 of which are part of Star Alliance. These include but are not limited to:

  • Air Canada
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • Lufthansa Airlines
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Swiss Airlines
  • Thai Airways

Earn Miles Through United Airlines Partners and Affiliates

While flying with United Airlines or its airline partners and using co-branded credit cards are the primary methods to rack up United MileagePlus® miles, there are other ways to earn miles through United's non-flight-related partners. For instance, you can earn United miles by booking a stay at one of United's hotel partners.

  • MileagePlus Dining and MileagePlus® Shopping. Link your credit card with MileagePlus Dining and earn up to 5X miles per dollar spent when you use it at a participating restaurant. You can also rack up miles by shopping online using the MileagePlus Shopping portal.

  • United Hotel Partners. Earn miles by booking a stay directly with United's hotel partners, including Courtyard by Marriott, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Grand Hyatt, Hotel Indigo, Golden Circle and more. Making a hotel reservation using United's partner booking services can also help you earn additional miles.

  • United Vacations and Cruises. Booking vacation packages through United Vacations can earn you miles. You'll rack up extra miles if you pay using the United Explorer Card. Traveling by sea can also earn you miles if you book a cruise through United Cruises.

  • Rocket Mortgage. Earn 25,000 miles when you purchase or refinance a home with Rocket Mortgage. To earn the miles, call the dedicated benefit contact number or use the dedicated benefit website.

  • Lifelock by Norton. Depending on your plan, you can earn up to 10,000 United miles when you sign up for identity theft protection from LifeLock with Norton.

  • eGift Cards. You earn miles when you purchase egift cards from over 270 egift card merchants using your credit card.

Buying Miles From United Airlines

Although you can purchase miles on the MileagePlus website, it is generally not a good idea as they are quite expensive. In most cases, buying miles only makes sense if you need to top up your MileagePlus account to book an award flight.

The Best Cards To Earn United Airlines Miles

If you fly United Airlines often, these cards are the best for earning miles and enjoying relevant perks. Find the best card for you based on your needs and lifestyle.

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Are you looking for travel rewards beyond United Airlines miles? We’ve ranked the Best Airline Credit Cards and the Best Travel Cards to help you find the best card for your airline, hotel and other travel expenses.

How to Redeem MileagePlus Miles

United MileagePlus miles can be used to book free or discounted flights with United Airlines and its 35 airline partners. To redeem your United miles, you need to visit United's website and choose your origin, destination and flight dates to see how much an award ticket will cost in miles.

Because United discontinued its published award chart, there's no longer a set amount of miles required for each flight. It's advisable to compare the cost of a flight in cash and in miles before booking.

Alternatively, your United MileagePlus miles are redeemable for other purposes. These include hotel stays, car rentals, flight upgrades, gift cards and more.

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    Hotel accommodations

    You can use your MileagePlus miles to book stays at brand-name hotels and resorts through United Hotels and United Vacations.

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    Car rentals

    Redeem your miles by booking an Avis or Budget rental car using the MileagePlus Car Awards booking portal.

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    Flight upgrades

    Use your United miles to upgrade your seat to business or first class.

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    Your miles can be redeemed for cruises to various destinations.

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    Use your United miles to shop for a wide range of products, from electronics to jewelry.

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    You can usually redeem your United miles for concert tickets, theater events and live sports.

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    Use your United miles to donate to a cause that speaks to you.

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    United Club membership

    You can use your miles to purchase a United Club membership and access airport lounges while waiting for your flight.

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As airline tickets have shot up in price in recent years, the argument of sacrificing some value of your airlines for saving money has become tricky.

You shouldn't redeem your miles for a poor value, but it's better to have cash in your pocket rather than nitpicking over maximizing the value of your miles.

Brett Holzhauer, contributing expert for MoneyGeek

How to Get United MileagePlus Premier Status

If you want to enjoy an enhanced travel experience and take advantage of more travel benefits, you'll need to qualify for United MileagePlus Premier.

You can achieve Premier status by combining Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF) and Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) or by accumulating a higher quantity of PQP.

  • Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF): These are accrued based on the number of flight segments flown. Note that basic economy and award tickets don't earn PQFs. 

  • Premier Qualifying Points (PQP): You earn PQPs for the base fare, carrier-imposed surcharge of flight purchases, seating purchases, paid upgrades and flights ticketed and operated by Star Alliance partners.

Depending on your Premier status, you can access mileage bonuses, priority check-in, seat upgrades, complimentary checked baggage, free access to Economy Plus seating and more.

There are four levels of Premier status, and each comes with varying requirements.

Premier Silver

You need to earn 12 PQFs and 4,000 PQPs or 5,500 PQPs to reach this level. Its benefits include 7X miles on each flight, complimentary access to Economy Plus at check-in and complimentary checked baggage.

Premier Gold

Achieving this level requires 24 PQFs and 8,000 PQPs or 10,000 PQPs. With Premier Gold, you get two complimentary checked bags, complimentary access to Economy Plus at booking, Star Alliance Gold status and 8X miles on each flight.

Premier Platinum

This level gives you 40 PlusPoints, complimentary access to Economy Plus for you and eight companions, three complimentary checked baggage and 9X miles on every flight. You may qualify for this level by accruing 26 PQFs and 12,000 PQPs or 15,000 PQPs.

Premier 1K

For the highest Premier status, you need 54 PQFs and 18,000 PQPs or 24,000 PQPs to achieve this level. Its top benefits include 280 PlusPoints, pre-boarding, one free snack and drink in Economy and 11X miles earned for every flight.

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MoneyGeek determined the value of United MileagePlus miles by collecting and analyzing data on various flights. Then, we divided the cost of each booking by its cost in rewards to determine the cash value of a mile for a given flight. That said, these valuations may change or fluctuate based on United Airlines’ policies.

FAQ About United Airlines Miles

We answered some common questions about United MileagePlus miles to help you better understand how to earn and use them.

Can I use my MileagePlus miles for someone else?
Can I use my MileagePlus miles to buy something else?
Can I convert my United MileagePlus miles to dollars?
How much is 10,000 MileagePlus miles worth?
How much is 15,000 MileagePlus miles worth?
How much is 20,000 MileagePlus miles worth?
How much is 30,000 MileagePlus miles worth?
Can I transfer my MileagePlus miles to a different rewards program?

About Grace Pilling

Grace Pilling headshot

Grace Pilling was the Senior Content Manager for Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. She previously led personal finance teams at Bankrate, and MoneyUnder30.

Pilling has a bachelor's degree in English from Western Sydney University and a diploma in book editing, proofreading and publishing. She is focused on empowering readers to make informed financial choices that support their best lives, not a company’s bottom line.

*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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