What Are The Best Ways To Maximize Expiring United Miles?

Jun 15, 2014

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

I was recently tweeted a great “newbie question of the week” by TPG reader @Mommalogues:

“@thepointsguy My 18,000+ United MileagePlus miles will expire on July 31st. Can I trade them for American AAdvantage miles?”

The answer to your question is yes, you can trade your expiring MileagePlus miles for American AAdvantage miles through points/miles exchange and clearing house points.com but at a terrible ratio. Points.com will let you transfer your hard-earned miles and points between programs, but the commissions they charge are so high that they effectively eviscerate the value of those points and miles. You’d probably get more from your MileagePlus miles by exchanging them for magazines.

I’d suggest that you use your miles with United, rather than allowing them to expire. Even though the airline just had a big devaluation in February, and announced changes to how miles are earned just this past week, you can still find some decent awards for United flights. Unlike many airline loyalty programs, United MileagePlus allows one-way awards, so I’d recommend trying for a one-way, 12,500-mile Economy Saver award.

united_mileage_plus_3p_c_r

Another option would be to reset the clock on when your miles expire. United gives its MileagePlus members 18 months to keep their miles active, meaning that any account activity (including earning or redemption) will reset that 18 months. This includes signing up for the MileagePlus Dining Program and buying as little as a soda, or doing some online shopping at the United MileagePlus mall. Keep in mind, though, that these partner activities can take between a few days to a couple of weeks to post, so don’t wait until the last minute. Since United and Chase Ultimate Rewards are transfer partners, a more immediate way to reset your expiration date is to make a 1:1 transfer of as few as 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points to your MileagePlus account. Finally, any activity on United branded credit card will also keep your miles from expiring.

If you want to build up a stash of American AAdvantage miles, I’d suggest making that a separate part of your points and miles strategy. To help you along, check out our Hot Deals page for a great 100,000-mile Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard offer going on right now.

I hope this answered your question, Mommalougues. Please let me know if any of you have others by messaging me on Facebook, tweeting me @thepointsguy, or emailing me at info@thepointsguy.com.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
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  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.