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United Airlines Partners: How to Maximize Your United Miles

United Airlines Partners: How to Maximize Your United Miles

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United Airlines is a widely regarded commercial airline because of its large flight pattern network, and its large list of airline partners. Because United Airlines is part of Star Alliance, you can redeem your United MileagePlus miles with over 20 different airlines.

For those who don’t fly often, there are several ways to earn United miles to make your next flight potentially free. And for the regular flyer, you can utilize your consistent business with United to earn Star Alliance elite status to ensure additional benefits for yourself across the alliance.

We will highlight United’s airline partners, the Star Alliance elite status and how you can earn more United miles with your everyday expenses.

United Airlines partners

As you earn United miles, you can redeem them through the United website for flights with following Star Alliance airlines:

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

Having such a wide array of partners is extremely helpful if you are a global traveler. And because Star Alliance is the largest airline alliance, United miles are extremely valuable for global travelers.

If you regularly travel and earn United status, you will also enjoy additional benefits (listed below) when flying with Star Alliance partners.

Star Alliance elite status

Star Alliance elite status is a great extension to the United MileagePlus® elite program. This allows you to have similar benefits when you fly with Star Alliance partners.

To earn Star Alliance elite status, you must earn elite status with one of its many partners. By earning elite status with your preferred airline, you automatically earn the respective status within Star Alliance. Here are the statuses of the participating airlines, and its correlating Star Alliance elite status level.

AirlineFrequent flyer program statusStar Alliance elite status equivalent
Aegean AirlinesMiles+bonus Silver

Miles+bonus Gold
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Air CanadaAltitude Prestige 25k and Altitude Elite 35k

Altitude Elite 50k, Altitude Elite 75k and Altitude Super Elite 100k
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Air ChinaPhoenixMiles Silver

PhoenixMiles Gold and PhoenixMiles Platinum
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Air IndiaSilverEdge Club

GoldenEdge Club and The Maharajah Club
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Air New ZealandAirpoints Silver

Airpoints Gold and Airpoints Elite
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
ANABronze

Platinum, Super Flyers and Diamond
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Asiana AirlinesAsiana Club Gold

Asiana Club Diamond, Asiana Club Diamond Plus and Asiana Club Platinum
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Austrian AirlinesFrequent traveler

Senator and HON Circle
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
AviancaLifemiles Silver

Lifemiles Gold and Diamond
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Brussels AirlinesFrequent traveler

Senator and HON Circle
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Copa AirlinesSilver

Gold, Platinum and Presidential Platinum
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Croatia AirlinesFrequent traveler

Senator and HON Circle
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
EgyptairEgyptair Plus Silver

Egyptair Plus Gold, Egyptair Plus Elite and Egyptair Plus Platinum
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Ethiopian AirlinesShebaMiles Silver

ShebaMiles Gold and ShebaMiles Platinum
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
EVA AirInfinity MileageLands Silver

Infinity MileageLands Gold and Infinity MileageLands Platinum
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
LOT Polish AirlinesFrequent traveler

Senator and HON Circle
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Scandinavian AirlinesEuroBonus Silver

EuroBonus Gold, EuroBonus Diamond and EuroBonus Pandion
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Shenzhen AirlinesPhoenixMiles Silver

PhoenixMiles Gold and PhoenixMiles Platinum
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Singapore AirlinesKrisFlyer Elite Silver

KrisFlyer Elite Gold, PPS Club, Solitaire PPS Club and Solitaire PPS Club Life
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
South African AirwaysSilver

Gold, Platinum and Lifetime Platinum
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
SWISSFrequent traveler

Senator and HON Circle
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
TAP Air PortugalTAP Miles&Go Silver

TAP Miles&Go Gold
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Thai AirwaysRoyal Orchid Plus Silver

Royal Orchid Plus Gold and Royal Orchid Plus Platinum
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
Turkish AirwaysClassic Plus

Elite and Elite Plus
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold
United AirlinesPremier Silver

Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, Premier 1K and Global Services
Star Alliance Silver

Star Alliance Gold

Depending on what United MileagePlus status level you have, you will qualify for one of the two Star Alliance elite status levels.

Star Alliance elite status comes with the following features:

Star Alliance statusBenefits
Star Alliance SilverPriority reservations waitlist
Priority airport standby
Star Alliance GoldPriority reservations waitlist
Priority airport standby
Lounge access
Priority baggage handling
Extra baggage allowance
Priority check-in
Priority boarding

Earn United miles by using a travel rewards credit card

It can be challenging to select the best United Airlines credit card as the airline offers as a variety of cards that earn United miles. Generally, it is best to select a card that aligns with your spending, budget and how often you fly, and the card doesn’t necessarily have to be specifically co-branded with the airline.

Based on our research of cards available through CompareCards, as well as top cards offered by major issuers, here are a few of the best credit cards to earn United miles with.

CardBest for ...Sign-up bonusAnnual fee
United℠ Explorer CardMost United flyers40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
United℠ Explorer Business CardSmall business ownersFor small business owners: Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases.$95
United Club℠ Infinite CardFlyers who want United Club Access$0 intro annual fee, then $525$0 intro annual fee, then $525
United℠ TravelBank CardNo annual fee$150 in TravelBank cash after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open$0
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardTransferable milesEarn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.$95
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit CardSmall business owners who want transerable milesEarn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.$95

Each of these credit cards earn United miles either directly or points that can be redeemed for United flights through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards® program. Note that each card will reward you differently based on different spending categories, and come with unique benefits such as airport lounge access and travel insurance.

  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.

  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Highlights
  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

See additional details for Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

More Info

Earn United miles from hotel stays

Hotel stays can also earn United miles as United partners with several hotel chains. You can do this by selecting your preferred brand as your earning preference.

For example, if you book a room at a Marriott hotel, you can select to earn United miles rather than Marriott Bonvoy points. This is an effective strategy for those deeply committed to earning points with one specific brand. If you choose to do this with United, you will earn the following rewards for each hotel brand:

Hotel brandEarnings
Marriott brands:
JW Marriott®, The Ritz Carlton®, St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W Hotels®, EDITION®, Marriott Hotels®, Sheraton, Marriott Vacation Club®, Delta Hotels by MarriottTM, Le Meridien, Westin®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Design HotelsTM, Renaissance® Hotels, Tribute Portfolio and Gaylord Hotels®
2 MileagePlus miles per $1 spent
Marriott brands:
Courtyard by Marriott®, Four Points by Sheraton, AC Hotels by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Protea Hotels®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, Aloft® Hotels, Moxy Hotels, Marriott® Executive Apartments®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott® and Elements® by Westin
1 MileagePlus mile per $1 spent
IHG brands:
Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express® and Hotel Indigo®
2 MileagePlus miles per $1 spent
IHG brands:
Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®
1 MileagePlus mile per $1 spent
World of Hyatt brands:
Park Hyatt®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt®, Andaz®, Hyatt Centric®, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt™, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House®, Hyatt Ziva™ and Hyatt Zilara™
500 MileagePlus miles per stay
Choice Privileges brands:
Comfort Inn®, Comfort Suites®, Quality®, Sleep Inn®, Clarion®, Cambria Suites®, Mainstay Suites®, Suburban Extended Stay Hotels®, Econo Lodge®, Rodeway Inn®, and Ascend Hotel Collection™
250 MileagePlus miles per stay
Golden Circle brands:
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Traders Hotel, or Kerry Hotels
500 MileagePlus miles per stay

This may not be the best strategy, however, as the hotel points you could earn may be worth more than United miles.

Earn United miles from shopping online

Another way to earn United miles is by using a shopping portal. United Airlines has its own shopping portal, United MileagePlus Shopping, where you can earn United miles by simply using a different link to make purchases.

You can earn additional miles with your purchases from large retailers such as:

  • Staples
  • Petco
  • Wine.com
  • Home Depot
  • Apple
  • Nike
  • Lululemon
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • Macy’s

Using a shopping portal like United MileagePlus Shopping is a very simple way to earn miles with very little effort. It’s also an easy way to ensure that your United miles don’t expire.


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