United Airlines' MileagePlus program offers a wealth of opportunities to make the most of your hard-earned miles. Despite recent changes, including adjustments to award rates, redeeming United miles remains an attractive prospect. This guide will walk you through the six best ways to maximize your United miles, helping you embark on incredible journeys and enjoy valuable rewards.

Redeem United Miles for Flights

United Airlines boasts an extensive network of domestic and international flights, as well as a strong lineup of partner airlines. The airline recently adopted dynamic award pricing, meaning the number of miles needed for a flight can vary widely. 

To determine the cost in miles for a specific route and date, perform a simple search on United's website. Additionally, United introduced "Money + Miles," allowing you to redeem miles at a fixed rate of 1 cent per mile, though this may not offer the best value.

Pro Tip: For an efficient search on United's website, use the "Book with miles" option, and if you have United Premier status or a United credit card, log in for access to additional award inventory.

How to Find United Award Space

Locating available award space with United is relatively straightforward. The airline's website is known for its comprehensive award search engine, which includes both United and Star Alliance partner flights. Most of the time, you won't need to call United to book an award ticket; you can conduct your search online. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Redeeming United MileagePlus Miles

  • Step 1: Log In to Your United MileagePlus Account

Before you can start redeeming your United miles, log in to your United MileagePlus account on the United Airlines website. If you don't have an account, you can easily sign up for one.

  • Step 2: Access the MileagePlus Program

Once you've logged in, navigate to the "MILEAGEPLUS PROGRAM" section on the website. You can typically find this in the main menu.

  • Step 3: Explore Redemption Options

Within the MileagePlus Program section, look for the "Use miles" option. Click on it to explore the various redemption options available to you. These options include award flights, flight upgrades, hotel bookings, shopping, and gift cards.

  • Step 4: Search for Award Flights

If you're interested in booking an award flight, you can initiate your search by selecting the "Flight" option. This will allow you to explore available flights that can be booked with your United miles.

  • Step 5: Choose Money + Miles

When you've found a flight you'd like to book, you'll reach the payment screen. Here, you can choose the "Money + Miles" option as your payment method. This flexible payment option allows you to combine miles and cash to cover the cost of your flight.

  • Step 6: Determine Mileage Usage

Next, you'll have the opportunity to select how many miles you want to use for your booking. The number of miles required may vary depending on factors such as the destination, class of service, and availability.

  • Step 7: Complete the Payment

After specifying the number of miles you'd like to redeem, you can cover the remaining cost of your flight with cash or a credit card. This combination of miles and cash provides you with a convenient and cost-effective way to book your desired flight.

Redeem United Miles on Partner Flights

United Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance, opening the door to over two dozen partner airlines. These partnerships enable you to use your United miles for flights on airlines like Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, and more. 

Importantly, United MileagePlus doesn't impose fuel surcharges on partner award tickets, making it a cost-effective choice. However, premium cabin award rates for long-haul partner flights can be relatively high.

Redeem for Other Travel Options

While flights are the primary focus, you can also use your United miles for other travel-related benefits. These include United Club memberships, hotel stays, inflight Wi-Fi, and even TSA PreCheck. However, it's worth noting that these redemptions often provide a lower value compared to flight redemptions. 

  • Redeem United Miles for Hotels: United offers a hotel booking portal where you can use your miles, but it may not always yield the best value. It's recommended to compare prices and evaluate other loyalty programs for hotel bookings.
  • Transfer United Miles to Marriott Bonvoy: Transferring your United miles to Marriott Bonvoy is possible at a 1:1 ratio. However, this might not be the most efficient use of your miles unless you need a small top-up for a specific high-value Marriott award.
  • Buy Inflight Wi-Fi with United Miles: United lets you purchase inflight Wi-Fi using your miles, but the value may not be optimal. Consider alternative methods for accessing Wi-Fi during your flights.
  • Pay for TSA PreCheck with United Miles: While you can use United miles to cover the TSA PreCheck application fee, it's essential to evaluate whether it's more beneficial to obtain this service through a credit card that offers the fee as a perk.

Redeem United Miles for Merchandise and Gift Cards

United MileagePlus offers a range of options for redeeming miles for merchandise, gift cards, newspapers, and Broadway tickets. However, these redemptions typically provide a lower value compared to travel-related options. It's advisable to explore these choices when you have a specific need or preference for them.

Redeem United Miles for Products: United's online store allows you to redeem miles for various products, including electronics and home goods. While convenient, this option might not offer the best value in terms of miles spent versus the product's market value.

Pay for MileagePlus Gift Cards with United Miles: The MileagePlus app enables you to purchase gift cards using your miles. While it can be a convenient way to earn miles, redeeming miles for gift cards through this app generally results in lower redemption values.

Subscribe to Newspapers and Magazines with United Miles: United allows you to subscribe to newspapers and magazines using your miles. However, this redemption option may provide a relatively low value compared to other uses of your miles.

Donate Your United Miles to Charities: Consider donating your United miles to select charities as a way to contribute to a good cause. This option is suitable for those looking to use their mileage balance for charitable purposes.

Best Uses of United Miles

Despite certain devaluations, United MileagePlus still offers excellent opportunities to maximize the value of your miles.

Here are some notable ways to make the most of your United miles:

Travel from the U.S. to Europe on a United Airlines Flight: Even with the increased award rates to Europe, you can find excellent value by redeeming miles for economy class flights during off-peak periods.

Short-Haul Europe and Domestic Japan Awards: Consider using your United miles for short-haul flights within Europe and domestic Japan, where award rates are often under 10,000 miles.

Low-Cost Domestic Award Tickets on United: United's dynamic pricing introduced affordable award tickets. Keep an eye out for these, as they can offer excellent redemption value.

Free Stopovers with the Excursionist Perk: Booking round-trip or multicity awards with United allows you to take advantage of the Excursionist Perk, which adds a free stopover to select tickets.

Can I Sell United Miles?

If you're considering selling your United miles instead of letting them go to waste, or redeem them for other than flights, there are reliable options available. You can explore selling your United miles through reputable services like The Miles Market. These platforms offer highly competitive rates for your United miles and ensure they find their way to travelers who can make the most of them.

Why Consider Selling Your United Miles?

While earning United miles through credit card spending and other activities can be rewarding, there are situations where you may find it challenging to redeem them, especially if you have a tight schedule or travel restrictions. In such cases, selling your miles can be a practical solution.

How to Sell United Miles with The Miles Market

Selling your United miles with The Miles Market is a straightforward process. You can start by using their user-friendly submission form to provide details about the miles you wish to sell. The Miles Market will then promptly respond to your submission, ensuring a hassle-free experience.

Additional Tips: Using the United Airlines App

If you prefer using your mobile device for travel planning, the United Airlines app offers a user-friendly interface. Simply download the app and log in to your MileagePlus account. While searching for flights, you can check the box that says "redeem with miles" or toggle the "search award travel" option to find available flights that can be booked using your United miles.


United MileagePlus continues to offer valuable opportunities for travelers and loyal customers. While recent changes have affected award rates, this guide has shown that there are still numerous ways to make the most of your United miles. Whether you're planning a trip, looking for merchandise, or considering a charitable donation, your miles can unlock a world of possibilities. Explore your options, find the best redemption values, and enjoy your travels with United Airlines.