Best Ways To Get United Miles For Free Travel - Running with Miles
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Best Ways To Get United Miles For Free Travel

Advertiser Disclosure

March 1 was the beginning of the new era of United’s MileagePlus program. It was the day that the earning of miles began to be completely based on the cost of the ticket rather than the distance flown. With this shift in earning of miles, it is time to focus on the ways to earn United miles other than flying. While I have been earning the vast majority of United miles without flying for years, there are many flyers who will need to start looking at other ways to earn miles than just flying.

United miles

The new way to earn United miles by flying is not the best way to do it

Best Ways To Get United Miles

United miles

Find out how to earn miles for free travel on United / Courtesy Markus Mainka / Shutterstock.com

To recap, as of March 1, people who fly United will find their mileage earning to be significantly decreased if they fly cheaper tickets. The business travelers who fly a lot of expensive fares will see their mileage earnings go up but that is not a lot of us in that category.

Even though United has made changes to their award program, United still presents a lot of easy opportunities to fly for nearly free around the world. Award tickets with United Airlines are some of the few that allow you to book travel from Europe without the annoying fuel surcharges that Delta and many AA partners levy. Their range of award partners are large enough that it presents a lot of possibilities to travel anywhere in the world, so the miles are certainly something to collect.

Credit Card Bonuses and Spending

*I do not earn a commission on any of these cards.

Obviously, the best and fastest way to get United miles fast has long been through credit card bonuses. Chase has quite a stable of cards that will earn you both United miles and points that can be converted to United. Here are the cards that present the best ways to earn United miles.

United MileagePlus Explorer Card – application link

Current Offer: The current offer on this card is to receive 50,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year. This offer is targeted so you will need to login after clicking the link to see the offer.

Spending Details: If you spend $25,000 on this card in a calendar year, you will receive a 10,000 mile bonus on top of the earning that the $25,000 brings.

United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card – application link

Current Offer: The current offer on this card is to receive 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

Spending Details: If you spend $25,000 on this card in a calendar year, you will receive a 10,000 mile bonus on top of the earning that the $25,000 brings.

United Club Card – application link

great credit cardCurrent Offer: There is actually not a sign-up bonus for this card so it is not a great card to make an application for. However, you can convert your regular United credit card to a United Club card and, in many cases, get the $395 annual fee waived for the first year. The card has several strong points – Premier Access that allows you priority check-in/boarding, United Club membership, and the all-important 1.5 miles per dollar on all spending.

Reason To Spend: If you are going to get this card to use for the miles, you will need to spend at least $30,000 more on this card than the United MileagePlus Explorer card (for a total of $55,000) to make the extra miles earned be purchased for less than .7 cents a mile. If you do that amount of spending, you will have earned a total of 82,500 United miles. For non-bonus category spending, this is certainly the best card for earning United miles with big spending each year.

Chase Sapphire Preferredapplication link

United milesCurrent Offer: The current offer on this card is to receive 40,000 Ultimate Reward points (transferable to United at 1:1) after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

Spending Details: This card rewards spending on restaurants and travel (which covers just about everything with travel that you could think of) with 2X Ultimate Reward points per $1. On the first Friday of every month, it bumps the earning up to 3X points on restaurant spending (good time to load up on gift cards!)

Chase Ink Plus – application link

United milesCurrent Offer: The current offer on this card is to receive 50,000 Ultimate Reward points (transferable to United at 1:1) after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

Spending Details: This card is a great card for racking up points! It rewards spending at office supply stores, cellular phone, landline, and on cable TV services with 5X points per $1 spent – up to $50,000 in spending per calendar year. In other words, you can earn up to 250,000 points through those bonus categories! It is possible to buy gift cards for many vendors at stores like Office Max, Staples, and Office Depot – including Amazon to give you 5X earning on your Amazon purchases! It also rewards spending at hotels and gas stations with 2X points per $1.

Chase Freedom – application link

United milesCurrent Offer: The current offer on this card is to receive $100 cashback (when combined with an account with a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Bold/Plus can be transferred to United as 10,000 miles) after spending $500 in the first 3 months. There is no annual fee.

Spending Details: This card has rotating category bonuses that pay 5% cashback at a variety of online and local retailers. That 5% is up to a $75 bonus per quarter, but when transferred from an account that has a linked Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold/Plus product, it becomes 7,500 points (transferable to United at 1:1).

Chase Ink Cash – application link

United milesCurrent Offer: The current offer on this card is to receive $200 cashback (when combined with an account with a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Bold/Plus can be transferred to United as 20,000 miles) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. There is no annual fee.

Spending Details: It rewards spending at office supply stores, cellular phone, landline, and on cable TV services with 5X points per $1 spent – up to $25,000 in spending per calendar year. In other words, you can earn up to 125,000 points through those bonus categories! It is possible to buy gift cards for many vendors at stores like Office Max, Staples, and Office Depot – including Amazon to give you 5X earning on your Amazon purchases! It also rewards spending at hotels and gas stations with 2X points per $1 (also up to $25,000 in spending per year).

Summary of Credit Card Bonuses

Just using the sign-up bonus amounts above, it is possible to generate 220,000 United miles. Not only that, but you are able to get all of these bonuses every 24 months as long as you do not hold that particular card when you apply again. This is a very easy, quick way to generate United miles without ever stepping on an airplane.

Shopping Portals

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United Airlines’ MileagePlus Shopping Portal

If you want to generate miles and points, never just buy something online directly from the retailer. United Airlines has their own shopping portal that allows you to first stop there and then click through to your favorite online retailer to generate miles for your account.

If you hold a United MileagePlus credit card, you will actually receive a better rate on the earnings for some bonuses. In some cases, that is an increase of 50% of the miles that can be earned.

Dining Out

United miles

The United Dining Program

United Airlines, like other airlines, has their own dining program. If you are not currently a member of their program, you can sign-up and earn up to 3,000 miles during your sign-up period. After that, all you need to do is to register your credit cards with the program and your miles will post when you eat at the restaurants on the list!

Rocketmiles

Rocketmiles is a hotel booking program that allows you to earn miles on certain hotel bookings for each night you stay. If you are not already signed-up, you can sign-up to earn 3,000 United miles with your first time. After that, you can earn more miles for every night you book through their program.

Summary

If earning United miles is important to you, these are some of the best way to earn United miles for free award travel. Since the actual miles earned by traveling has diminished greatly for the cheaper tickets, these are the good methods to earn miles for your travel.

Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links that will support this site. Thank you for your support.

About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

2 Comments

  • Thank you funny that you are a runner. I got to your blog because I need 5,000 miles to get a free ticket on united to tulsa to run route 66 marathon. Im in pursuit of 50 states (just started the pursuit) but have 21 down by running 48 marathons. Thanks for the advice and happy trails.

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