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How to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines

Feb. 27, 2022
12 min read
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Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable transferrable points 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. But, you can also transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to select airline and hotel partners.

This final method is the most intriguing — and usually 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.

So, today let's look at how to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines. By doing so, you can book Polaris business-class seats or use your miles to fly on partners like Lufthansa. But, before you transfer, you'll need to complete a few basic steps. In this guide, we'll walk you through all the steps from opening a United account to redeeming United miles for a flight.

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Open a United Airlines MileagePlus account

To transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines, you must have a United MileagePlus frequent flyer number. Upon enrolling in the program, you'll receive this number. 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 enrollment option. Or, click this link.

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After clicking to enroll, you'll need to fill out some personal information and contact information. You'll also need to provide security information (including five security questions) before your registration is complete. Retain your loyalty number, as you'll need it later.

Related: 30 ways to earn miles with the United MileagePlus program

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.

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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.

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Related: Which Chase card should I use to consolidate my Ultimate Rewards points?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Related: How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

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 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: From international business class to domestic hops: 6 of the best Chase Ultimate Rewards sweet spots

Transfer Chase points to United Airlines

After returning to the home screen, you will want to select the right-facing arrow next to where you see your current Ultimate Rewards points balance. If you hold a United credit card issued by Chase, you'll also see your current MileagePlus mileage balance.

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You will now find yourself on the Ultimate Rewards homepage. Click the "Earn/Use" drop-down menu and select "Transfer to Travel Partners."

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

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You'll need to enter your name and MileagePlus number.

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Then, enter the number of points you want to transfer, in increments of 1,000, and click "Continue."

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On the next page, you can review and then confirm your transfer. Once you reach the confirmation page, your points should successfully appear in your United account as United Airlines miles. 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

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 1.11 cents each. United has devalued its miles during the pandemic, but it's still possible to get excellent value if you know how to maximize redemptions with United MileagePlus.

For example, United recently released business saver space from Newark (EWR) to Cape Town (CPT) for 70,000 miles in Polaris business class on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.

United Boeing 787-9 Polaris business class (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

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

  • Aegean Airlines.
  • Air Canada.
  • Air China.
  • Air India.
  • Air New Zealand.
  • ANA.
  • Asiana.
  • Austrian.
  • Avianca.
  • Brussels Airlines.
  • Copa Airlines.
  • Croatia Airlines.
  • EgyptAir.
  • Ethiopian Airlines.
  • EVA Airways.
  • LOT Polish Airlines.
  • Lufthansa.
  • SAS.
  • Shenzhen Airlines.
  • Singapore Airlines.
  • South African Airways.
  • SWISS.
  • TAP Portugal.
  • THAI.
  • Turkish Airlines.

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

  • Aer Lingus.
  • AeroMar.
  • Air Dolomiti.
  • Airlink.
  • Azul.
  • Boutique Air.
  • Cape Air.
  • Edelweiss.
  • Eurowings.
  • Eurowings Discover.
  • Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Olympic Air.
  • Silver Airways.
  • Vistara.

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 since 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: The best websites for searching Star Alliance award availability

Keeping track of transfer partners can feel like waiting in airport security. Fast-track your way to smarter points transfers with the free TPG App!

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 "Flexible dates" box to see availability during the month that you've selected.

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From here, you can see the availability in the cabin that you selected on the previous page. In this case, I selected "Economy" on the previous page, so all of these fares are for economy bookings.

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Keep in mind that if you hold a United Chase co-branded credit card or have United Premier status, you will likely find more award space thanks to having access to the XN fare class.

Related: The best credit cards for United Airlines flyers

You'll see the following once you select a date, with separate columns for each available cabin. In this case, there are options in economy, business/first (mixed cabin) and business/first.

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You can sort the results based on the 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.

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In this case, you can choose between three different fares. For 22,500 miles, you can reserve economy class on both segments; for 40,000 miles, you can reserve economy class on the first segment and first class on the second segment; and for 73,800 miles, you can reserve first class on both segments.

Once you've found the flight(s) and class of service you want, select the fare that you'd like to reserve. At this point, you'll need to sign in if you haven't already. Then fill out your 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 $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • Ink Business Cash Credit Card: Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.
  • Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card: Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.

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

Bottom line

United miles are easy to use. And they're also easy to earn since you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United at a 1:1 ratio. If you need to earn more United miles after transferring from Chase, you can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to United at a 30:11 ratio. This is just one of the perks of Marriott and United's RewardsPlus partnership.

Additional reporting by Kyle Olsen.

Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.