How to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines

Jan 21, 2020

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Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable in the miles and points world. You can cash them out and deposit the money into your bank account, redeem them toward paid airfare and hotel stays or use them to reserve free cruises and rental cars. Or, you can convert them to airline miles and hotel points by transferring them to over a dozen Chase travel partners.

This final method is the most intriguing — and potentially the most valuable. It’s critical to know how the transfer process works if you want to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value, like booking Polaris business-class seats or using your miles on partners like Lufthansa.

Let’s take a look at how to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines, from opening a United Airlines account to flying around the world in a lie-flat seat for practically free.

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In This Post

Before you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United, you’ll need to complete a few basic steps. If you’re brand new, start with our beginner’s guide to points, miles and credit cards.

Open a United Airlines account

To transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines, you must have a United MileagePlus frequent flyer number. You’ll receive this number upon enrolling in the program, and the process takes just a few minutes. Head to the United Airlines website and click “Sign In” at the top right corner. At the bottom of the menu, you’ll see an option to enroll. Or, just click this link.

After clicking to enroll, you’ll be asked to fill out some personal information and contact information, and you’ll need to provide security information including five security questions before your registration is complete. Note your loyalty number, as you’ll need it later.

Open a Chase account

If you’ve not yet set up online access for your Chase account, we’ll do it now. Head to the Chase website and look for the “Not enrolled? Sign-up now” link at the right of the page.

You’ll need to specify what type of account you’re setting up (personal or business), and be ready with your card number and Social Security number.

Transfer Chase points to the right card

Log into your Chase account and click on the “Go to Ultimate Rewards” link at the top right. Or, head straight to the Chase Ultimate Rewards site. If you’ve got more than one card, choose the card with which you intend to redeem points. You can only transfer points to United Airlines with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.

In this case, I need to transfer Ultimate Rewards points between accounts. I’ll take the points I’ve accrued from my Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) and Chase Freedom Unlimited and move them to my Chase Sapphire Preferred. At the top of the Ultimate Rewards landing page is a menu with a “Combine Points” option. The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

From there, select the card you want to move points from in the left column, and your qualifying Ultimate Rewards earning card you want to move points to in the other.

Follow the simple prompts to move points to your Ultimate Rewards earning card. All your points are now eligible to be transferred to United Airlines.

Read this before you transfer points

Chase transfer partners are unbelievably valuable, but there are some important things to keep in mind before you click that final “Submit” button:

  • Transfers are a one-way street — once you deposit your Chase points into an airline or hotel account, you can’t transfer them back
  • You can only transfer to an airline/hotel account belonging to you or one additional household member who is listed as an authorized user on your card account
  • You can also combine Chase Ultimate Rewards points between your account and that of one member of your household (or, in the case of small business cards, to one household member or an owner of the company). Read our post on how to transfer Ultimate Rewards points between accounts

Related: Sweet spots: The best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Transfer Chase points to United Airlines

Let’s head back to the Ultimate Rewards landing page. Click the “Earn/Use” drop-down menu and select “Transfer to Travel Partners.”

Scroll down the list of Chase transfer partners until you find United MileagePlus. Click “Transfer Points” to link your United Airlines loyalty account.

You’ll need to enter your name and loyalty number.

Enter the number of points you want to transfer, in increments of 1,000, and click “Continue.”

You’ll then be taken to a page where you will review and confirm your transfer. Once you reach the confirmation page, your points should successfully appear in your United account as United Airlines miles. They’re ready to use — immediately. Based on our tests, Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers to United Airlines are instantaneous.

Related: How long do Chase Ultimate Rewards take to transfer?

What you need to know about United miles

You’ve got United Airlines miles! Now for the fun part.

The United award chart is gone (though its partner award chart remains mostly intact), so it’s more difficult to know for certain what value you can receive from your miles. According to TPG’s monthly valuations, United Airlines miles are worth an average of 1.3 cents each. They can be worth much, much more if you know how to maximize redemptions with United MileagePlus.

For example, you could fly to Europe for 80,000 United miles in business class on Turkish Airlines. I did just this a few years ago, and the lie-flat seat was fantastic.

Related: The best ways to get to Europe with points and miles

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

United is a part of Star Alliance, so you can use its miles to fly on any of its airline partners:

United has other partners that are not part of Star Alliance:

United miles can take you just about anywhere on Earth. Booking your trip with United miles is a great way to avoid fuel surcharges on award travel; United never passes along exorbitant surcharges. And its award search tool lets you see a large number of partner flights (many more than most airline search functions offer).

Related: How to earn miles with the United Airlines MileagePlus program

How to use United miles

Sign into and type your travel details into its search box. Be sure to check the box that says “Book with miles” above your origin and destination. If your travel dates are flexible, check the “Calendar shop” box to see availability two months at a time.

From here you can see which dates have availability for both economy and premium seats. Economy seats are represented by a solid line, and premium seats are represented by a dotted line.

For the dates that are blank, seats may be available, but you’ll pay a high price in points. However, anyone holding an eligible United credit card such as the United Explorer Card or United Business Card will actually unlock expanded award availability when signed into their account. United opens up more award seats to its cardmembers, so these are fantastic credit cards to hold.

Related: The 9 best credit cards for flying United

Once you select a date, you’ll see the following, with separate columns for each available cabin. In this case, there’s only economy, first saver (usually a fair price), and first everyday (extremely expensive, only appealing to desperate).

You can sort the results based on class of service, number of stops, miles, departure/arrival times and price. Click “Details” on any flight to see the specifics of your flight, including the aircraft, connection info and flight duration.

Once you’ve found the flight(s) and class of service you want, click “Select” under the price. At this point you’ll be asked to sign-in if you haven’t already. Then just fill out your personal info and secure your award flight. If you have a United credit card that comes with a free checked bag, you’ll want to use it to pay the taxes and fees on your ticket. Otherwise, consider using one of the best credit cards for airfare purchases.

Related: How to avoid checked baggage fees on major domestic airlines

How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Want to know how to earn Chase points in a hurry? You’ve got options, but the most effective by far is through opening the best Chase credit cards and earning their welcome bonuses:

You can also rack up Chase points with the following no-annual-fee cards (but remember, you’ll need one of the cards above if you want to transfer them to Chase travel partners):

  • Chase Freedom Flex: Earn a $200 cash bonus (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: Earn a $200 cash bonus (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
  • Ink Business Cash Credit Card: Earn a $750 cash back bonus (75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $7,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
  • Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card: Earn a $750 cash bonus (75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Related: The power of the Chase Trifecta: Sapphire Reserve, Ink Preferred and Freedom Unlimited

Bottom line

United miles are easy to use. They’re effortless to earn, too, because you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United at a 1:1 ratio. I’ve transferred hundreds of thousands of Chase points to United Airlines over the years. There’s nothing better than receiving unbelievable value while having unforgettable experiences.

Featured photo by Joseph Hostetler/The Points Guy.

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