Your ultimate guide to United Airlines partners
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Many of the world’s major airlines have partnerships with other airlines, hotel groups and rental car companies. These partnerships open up more flight destinations and give loyalty program members more ways to earn and redeem their airline miles.
Chances are, your airline of choice may have more partners than you think. In the case of United Airlines, you can earn and redeem your MileagePlus miles on many different airlines and transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus, the United MileagePlus program has special partnerships with several companies that offer increased mileage earning.
In this article, I’ll give you an overview of all of United’s partners you should know about if you’re a United loyalist. Review these partners closely — you never know where you might be leaving points on the table.
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United’s Star Alliance airline partners
United is a founding member of Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world. United frequent flyers can earn and redeem miles on all of these partners, opening them up to a huge route network that spans all inhabited continents and nearly all major cities across the globe.
Here’s a list of all of United’s Star Alliance partners:
- Aegean Airlines.
- Air Canada.
- Air China.
- Air India.
- Air New Zealand.
- Brussels Airlines.
- Copa Airlines.
- Croatia Airlines.
- Ethiopian Airlines.
- EVA Airways.
- LOT Polish Airlines.
- Shenzhen Airlines.
- Singapore Airlines.
- South African Airways.
- TAP Portugal.
- Turkish Airlines.
United’s non-alliance airline partners
United also maintains a handful of non-alliance partnerships with various airlines. These partnerships let United customers gain access to even more cities around the world. You can earn and redeem miles with these partners in most cases, though some may have restrictions.
For example, you can only earn and redeem United miles on intra-island Hawaiian Airlines flights. Hawaiian Airlines flights from the mainland U.S. are not eligible to earn United miles and cannot be booked with United miles. But, when you book United flights from the continental U.S. to Hawaii on miles, an inter-island flight on Hawaiian Airlines could be “free” thanks to United’s excursionist perk.
Here’s a look at all of United’s non-alliance airline partners:
- Aer Lingus.
- Air Dolomiti.
- Boutique Air.
- Cape Air.
- Eurowings Discover.
- Hawaiian Airlines.
- Olympic Air.
- Silver Airways.
Earning United miles with partners
From airlines to car rental companies, United has a ton of different partners that you can earn and redeem miles with. Here’s a quick overview:
Earning miles with United airline partners
You can earn United miles when you add your MileagePlus number to flights operated by any one of United’s various partners. You’ll earn miles based on how much you spend if United issues your ticket (booked through United.com) and distance flown if a partner tickets your flight.
The number of miles you’ll earn on partner tickets depends on the airline you’re flying, the fare class you’re booked in and your United Premier status level. For example, a Lufthansa flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Frankfurt (FRA) booked in N fare premium economy would earn 5,806 miles as N fares earn 100% mileage flown. This is because the flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) is 5,806 miles.
Each United Premier status level gets its own mileage bonus on partner flights. Silver, Gold, Platinum and 1K elites earn 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% bonus miles on partner tickets, respectively. So if you’re a Premier 1K member, you’d earn 11,612 United miles on the LAX-FRA ticket mentioned earlier.
You can also earn Premier qualifying points (PQPs) and Premier qualifying flights (PQFs) from United’s partners. However, note that some fare classes may be ineligible for mileage credit. Furthermore, United has limited the PQPs you can earn on a given flight.
You can view the earning rates for all of United’s airline partners on United’s website. Review these pages closely — sometimes, airlines restrict mileage earning to specific routes and fare classes.
United has partnerships with most major hotel chains. Some earn a set number of United miles per stay, while others earn miles based on how much you spend at a given hotel. Many hotel loyalty programs also let you transfer your hotel points to United, though that usually isn’t the best use of points.
Here’s a high-level look at all of United’s hotel partnerships:
|ALL – Accor Live Limitless||Transfer Accor Live Limitless points to United miles at a 2:1 ratio.|
|Choice||Transfer Choice points to United miles at a 5:1 ratio.
Earn 250 total miles per eligible stay at any participating hotel.
|Hilton||Transfer Hilton Honors points to United at a 10:1 ratio.|
|Hyatt||Transfer World of Hyatt points to United miles at a 2.5:1 ratio. Plus, receive a 5,000-mile bonus when you convert 50,000 points into 20,000 miles.
Earn 500 United miles per eligible stay at any participating hotel.
|InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG)||Transfer IHG points to United miles at a 5:1 ratio.
Earn 2 United miles per dollar at IHG properties in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean — and at all Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels worldwide.
Earn 1 United mile per dollar at Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.
|Marriott||Transfer Marriott miles to United miles at a 3 to 1.1 ratio. You’ll also earn a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer to an airline.
Earn 2 miles per dollar you spend on all qualifying charges at JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, EDITION, Marriott Hotels, Sheraton, Marriott Vacation Club, Delta Hotels by Marriott, Le Meridien, Westin, Autograph Collection Hotels, Design Hotels TM, Renaissance Hotels, Tribute Portfolio and Gaylord Hotels.
Earn 1 mile per dollar you spend on room rate only at Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, SpringHill Suites, Protea Hotels, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Aloft Hotels, Moxy Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Element by Westin.
|Marriott Vacation Club||Transfer Vacation Club points to United miles at a 1:16 ratio.|
|Radisson||Transfer Radisson Rewards points to United miles at a 10:1 ratio.|
|Shangri-La||Transfer Golden Circle points to United miles at a 1:1 ratio.
Earn 500 United miles per eligible stay at any participating hotel.
|Wyndham||Transfer Wyndham points to United miles at a 5:1 ratio.
Wyndham Gold and Blue members earn 1 United per dollar spent; Wyndham Platinum and Diamond members earn 2 miles per dollar spent.
Hotel booking websites:
|United Hotels||2 United miles per dollar spent|
|Rocketmiles||1,000 to 10,000 miles per night|
|PointsHound||Up to 10,000 miles per night|
Rental car partners
Rental cars are an important part of many trips, especially if you plan on traveling outside of big cities. You can earn United miles as follows when you rent with Avis and Budget:
- MileagePlus members earn 500 United miles on every rental.
- MileagePlus credit cardholders earn 750 United miles on every rental.
- Premier Silver and Premier Gold members earn 1,000 United miles on every rental.
- Premier Platinum and Premier 1K members earn 1,250 United miles on every rental.
To earn miles, provide your MileagePlus membership number when you rent. However, know that you may need to pay a frequent traveler program surcharge if you decide to earn United miles on your rental.
United flyers can also take advantage of discounts up to 35% with Avis and Budget using their respective discount numbers. However, our tests only found 5-8% discounts when using these codes.
Earning miles with United credit cards
United Airlines has an exclusive partnership with Chase to issue credit cards in the U.S. Each of these cards offers various perks, points earning rates and sign-up bonuses. Plus, you can use these cards to earn United miles on everyday purchases.
Here’s an overview of the currently available United personal cards and their bonuses:
- United Gateway Card: Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
- United Explorer Card: Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 miles after you spend $6,000 total on purchases in the first six months your account is open.
- United Quest Card: Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
- United Club Infinite Card: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Of these cards, the United Explorer Card is one of the most popular. This card has a relatively low annual fee of $95 (waived for the first year) and earns 2 United miles per dollar on hotel stays when booked with the hotel, United purchases and dining. It includes two one-time United Club passes per year, a free first checked bag and priority boarding on United flights.
More frequent United flyers may opt for the higher-end United Club Infinite Card. This card has a higher $525 annual fee but includes a full United Club membership and Premier Access on all United flights. Even better, you’ll earn 4 miles per dollar spent on United purchases, 2 miles per dollar spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else.
The United Gateway Card, on the other hand, earns 2 miles per dollar spent on United purchases, gas stations, local transit and commuting and 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else. The card has no annual fee, so it can be a good option for infrequent travelers.
United also has two business credit cards:
- United Business Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
- United Club Business Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
The United Business Card lets you earn United miles on all your business spending, making it a great option for business owners who are also United loyalists. This card earns 2 miles per dollar spent on United purchases, dining, gas stations, office supply stores, local transit and commuting. The United Club Business Card‘s finest feature is that it provides United Club membership at an annual fee of $450 per year.
Related: Best business credit cards
Transferring miles from Chase Ultimate Rewards
One of our favorite ways to earn United miles is through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to United at a 1:1 ratio, meaning that 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points are equal to 10,000 United miles.
In many cases, earning United miles through Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards is more lucrative than spending on one of the United cards we mentioned earlier. While you don’t get airline-specific benefits like checked bags, you can earn more miles on everyday purchases. And you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to other airlines if you find a better mileage deal.
Chase has a suite of Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards — here’s a look at our favorites:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel purchased through Chase, 3 points per dollar spent on dining, online grocery purchases and select streaming services, 2 points per dollar spent on other travel purchases and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, earn 10 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 10 points per dollar spent on Chase Dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5 points per dollar spent on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 points per dollar spent on other travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. Plus, earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on select business purchases (up to $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year) and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
Shopping and everyday partners
United has a suite of other mileage earning partners that you can use to earn United miles on your daily purchases. Here’s a quick overview of United’s various everyday partners:
|Timeshifter||Earn 500 miles when you purchase an annual subscription or 200 miles when purchasing a round-trip plan.|
|Opinion Miles Club||Earn at least 300 United miles for joining and completing your first survey.|
|LifeLock||Earn up to 13,000 United miles with a new LifeLock subscription.|
|Mercedes-Benz||Earn up to 35,000 United miles when purchasing or leasing select Mercedes-Benz models.|
|United Cruises||Earn up to 45,000 United miles per cruise booked through United Cruises.|
|MileagePlus Dining||Earn up to 5 United miles per dollar spent at participating restaurants.|
|MileagePlus Shopping||Earn United miles when shopping at qualifying merchants like Apple, Macy’s, Levi’s and more.|
|MileagePlus X||Earn United miles when you purchase gift cards through the MileagePlus X app.|
|NRG||Earn 12,500 United miles after two months of active service, plus up to 3 United miles for every dollar you spend on the supply portion of your electric and natural gas bills each month.|
|Quicken Loans||Earn 25,000 United miles for closing or refinancing a home loan through Quicken Loans.|
|Reliant||Earn 15,000 United miles at sign-up and 500 bonus miles each month for 24 months.|
|SimpliSafe||Earn 7,000 United miles when you order any new SimpliSafe home security system.|
|Home Chef||Earn 5,000 miles on your first five boxes from Home Chef (1,000 miles each).|
|Vinesse Wines||Earn up to 6,500 miles and receive six wines for just $6.99 per bottle plus one 1 cent shipping. (Only available to Chase cardholders and Premier members.)|
|Audience Rewards||Earn at least 100 miles per Broadway ticket, with bonus offers of up to 2,000 miles per ticket.|
|MyPoints||Earn up to 1,500 miles when you join MyPoints and shop online.|
|VisaCentral||Earn 1,000 MileagePlus miles for visa and passport services and 500 miles for Australian ETA and U.S. ESTA services.|
|ThanksAgain||Earn 100 bonus miles when you enroll and earn 1 additional mile for every dollar spent at participating retailers.|
|National Foundation for Cancer Research||Earn 250 miles on a $25 donation (tax-deductible).|
|Rocket Mortgage||Earn 25,000 miles for closing or refinancing a home loan through Rocket Mortgage.|
|California Casualty Auto and Home Insurance||Earn up to 20,000 miles with California Casualty Auto and Home Insurance.|
|Sixt mydriver||Earn up to 3 miles per dollar spent.|
|Guaranteed Rate||Earn 35,000 miles after closing your home purchase loan or refinancing with Guaranteed Rate.|
Redeeming miles on partner flights
United recently switched to dynamic award pricing for all partner award tickets. The price of most partner awards went up by at least 10% in early 2020, making United miles significantly less valuable for partner awards. Regardless, it’s good to have the option to redeem miles on these flights if you have miles available to you.
That said, United generally prices award space on its planes lower than flights operated by partners. Unfortunately, United charges additional miles if you connect from a United flight to a partner flight.
For example, you could book a flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Oslo, Norway (OSL) via Zurich (ZRH) for 33,000 United miles one-way in economy class. In this example itinerary, United operates the SFO to ZRH segment and Swiss operates the ZRH to OSL segment. United would charge 30,000 miles for just the SFO to ZRH flight, so you are paying an extra 3,000 miles for the inter-Europe flight.
Still, this means that you can leverage United’s partner flight network to fly to destinations not served by United for not too many additional miles. Essentially, you can fly to just about anywhere in the world using your United miles.
You can find award space for virtually all United partners on the United website. This includes non-alliance partners like Aer Lingus and Hawaiian Airlines, as well as all of the carrier’s Star Alliance partners. United’s website is often considered the best Star Alliance search tool.
Reciprocal elite status benefits
All United Premier elites get reciprocal benefits on all Star Alliance carriers. United Premier Silver members are eligible for Star Alliance Silver status, while United Premier Gold and above are eligible for the more lucrative Star Alliance Gold status. These benefits can make your flight experience easier when flying on partner carriers.
To take advantage of your Star Alliance benefits when flying partners, just add your United MileagePlus number to a partner booking. Here’s a look at both Star Alliance Silver and Star Alliance Gold benefits:
Star Alliance Silver
Star Alliance Silver status is pretty bare bones. It includes very minimal benefits that, while helpful, won’t drastically change your airport experience.
These benefits include:
- Priority wait-listing: If your desired class of service isn’t available at the time of booking, your status gives you higher priority on the waitlist. This does not apply to award tickets.
- Priority airport standby: Your status gives you higher priority on the standby list for your preferred flight, except when you are traveling on an award ticket. This can be helpful if you want to fly on an earlier flight.
Star Alliance Gold
Things get more interesting with Star Alliance Gold status. These members are eligible for more tangible benefits like lounge access and priority security.
Here’s a look at the full suite of Star Alliance Gold benefits:
- Gold Track security: You can use dedicated Gold Track security lanes before Star Alliance flights.
- Extra baggage allowance: You can take an extra 44 pounds of checked baggage on partner flights. Plus, most Star Alliance airlines let you check an additional piece of baggage for free. Note that select Basic Economy fares are exempt from this benefit.
- Priority boarding: You’ll board before other travelers on all Star Alliance flights, even when flying in economy class.
- Priority baggage handling: Your checked baggage will be among the first off the plane when you land.
- Airport lounge access: You can access Star Alliance partner lounges when flying any Star Alliance partner. Note that United elites cannot access United Clubs unless flying on an international flight.
- Priority airport check-in: You can use priority check-in desks when flying Star Alliance partner carriers.
United has a slew of different partners, making it one of the easiest airlines with which to earn miles. We highly recommend starting with a Chase Ultimate Rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card if you’re just beginning your mileage journey. After all, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United (and other programs).
When it comes to redeeming miles, you’ll get the best deals by redeeming United miles for flights operated by United. However, you can still leverage the airline’s vast partner network to redeem miles if United doesn’t serve your destination of choice.
Additional reporting by Kyle Olsen.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
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