A Complete Guide to United Airlines MileagePlus Program – 2022

Travel2 years ago
Airplane taxing to a run way

If you often take flights with United Airlines for your business trips or vacations, you may have wondered about joining the Frequent Flyer United Airlines scheme.

In the article below, we will break down everything you need to know about the Frequent Flyer United Airlines Program called Mileage Plus. We will detail the membership levels, the number of miles you can earn, how you can earn them, and how you can spend them!


What is the United MileagePlus Program?

United MileagePlus is a membership program for frequent flyers on United Airlines and their partner airlines. Members can earn miles while they travel, which they will be able to increase up to the point that they can redeem free flights with United Airlines.

The membership offers an array of rewards including upgrades, and complimentary checked bags. This is a great way for frequent flyers to easily nab some benefits (according to their membership status) and build up towards earning a free flight to a variety of national and international destinations.

There are four different levels of elite membership that you access as you build up your miles to unlock access to further perks and benefits. These range from free checked bags to same-day flight changes with no added fee!

The huge reach of United Airlines means that you could end up earning a free flight to a variety of dream destinations through United or one of its over 35 partner airlines. In the meantime, your flying experience will be enhanced with various membership benefits along the way.


How much does it cost to join United MileagePlus?

You can join the Frequent Flyer United MileagePlus Membership for free. It is a practical choice to sign up, whether you are a frequent flyer or if you travel only a few times a year. With a wide variety of ways to earn miles, you should be able to build a sizable number for flights to a variety of destinations.

People who travel often for business will earn more miles and get access to benefits quicker.

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What are the membership Levels for United MileagePlus?

Below are the membership levels of the MileagePlus United Airlines program, the rate of miles earned to the dollar, and the complementary benefits you will enjoy as a member.


Beginner Level Membership

You will earn 5 miles per $1 you spend with United Airlines.

Silver Elite Level

You will gain 7 miles for each dollar you spend, have 1 bag checked for free and have free same-day flight changes within the same class.

Gold Elite Level

Eight (8) miles are added to your total for each dollar you spend. You get 3 complimentary checked bags and free same-day flight change within the same level fare.

Platinum Elite Level

Earn 9 miles for each $1 spent on your flights, 3 complimentary checked bags and free same-day flight changes within the same level fare.

Platinum 1K Level

Eleven (11) miles per dollar spent is added to your total miles earned. You get 3 complimentary checked bags and free same-day flight changes within the same level fare.


How can you Earn Miles for your United MileagePlus Membership?


Earn while you fly.

As a member of United MileagePlus, each time you take an eligible flight with United or United Express, you will be earning miles in your membership account. The number of miles you earn on each flight depends upon variables such as the operating airlines, the type of ticket you purchased, the ticketing airline, and your level of membership.

As well as gaining mileage points as you take your flights, there are also a host of various daily activities which will allow you to top up your total. These include:


United Credit Cards

If you signup for a United Credit Card, you will be able to earn points with each transaction and gain up to 1,000 bonus miles as soon as you sign up. The different levels of credit cards will also unlock various perks as you travel. Here is a breakdown of the cards available.


United Gateway Card

  • No annual fee for card.
  • Earn double the miles on purchases from United and Partners using the card.
  • 25% discount on in-flight purchases while on a United Airlines flight.
  • 20,000 miles bonus if you use the card to spend $1,000 in the first three months.


United Explorer Card

  • $95 annual fee (waived for the first year).
  • Earn double the miles on your purchases with United and Partners using the card and 1 mile for every other dollar you spend.
  • 60,000 miles bonus when you spend $3,000 using the card within three months of your opening the account.
  • An extra 10,000 miles bonus if you spend $6,000 within the first six months of your account opening.
  • 25% discount on your in-flight purchases.
  • Free checking on your first bag when you fly United.


United Quest Card

  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Earn 80,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first three months of opening your account.
  • $125 in United Airlines Statement Credits.
  • Fee credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck.
  • Priority boarding.
  • Free bags checked for first and second class.
  • 3 miles for each dollar spent with United Airlines, 2 miles for purchases with partners, and 1 mile per dollar on your other purchases.


United Club Infinite Card

  • $525 Annual Fee.
  • Earn 120,000 miles when you spend $6,000 using the card within the first three months.
  • Complimentary membership in United Club Airport Lounges.
  • Free checked bags for first and second class.
  • Credit for TSA Precheck and Global Entry.
  • 4 miles per dollar you spend on United Airlines purchases, 2 miles per dollar spend with United Partners and 1 mile per dollar spent elsewhere.
  • 25% statement credit on your inflight United Airlines purchases.


Shopping Online

United partners with a wide variety of retail businesses and service providers and will reward its members for spending their dollars with these companies. At the time of writing, partners were as diverse as Norton 360 (earn up to 10,000 miles), Teleflora (earn 20 miles per $1 spent), and SimpliSafe Home Security (earn up to 7,000 miles when you signup.)


Dining Out

You can also gain some miles if you signup for MileagePlus Dining and visit participating restaurants and diners. All you need to do is link your credit card to your membership account and you will begin to earn miles the next time you dine and pay with your card at a restaurant United partner with.

You will also get some bonus miles as a new member, with 1,500 free miles the first time you dine at a partner restaurant, and 500 further miles for the next three times you do so.

MileagePlus Dining has three levels of membership which you qualify for according to the number of relevant transactions you make and whether you agree to receive emails from the program.

Basic Members will earn 1 mile for every $2 they spend as they have chosen not to receive emails.

Select Members can gain 3 miles for each dollar they spend and receive membership emails.

VIP Members receive 5 miles per dollar spent as they have made 11 transactions in that year at qualifying restaurants.


Go on a Cruise!

MileagePlus United Airlines members will earn up to 250,000 miles if they book a cruise with United Cruises. And while Premier Elite members are aboard, they will enjoy a host of benefits such as up to $250 to spend and complimentary wine. So, you can take one vacation while earning miles to go on your next!

There are also opportunities for you to gain more miles by buying eGift Cards through United for a wide range of big brand retail names and taking out insurance, or mortgage with one of United Partners.


Buy Miles

You can also buy miles for yourself or as a gift for $35 per 1,000 miles. You can buy miles for clients, customers, and employees to incentivize and reward.


Use the MileagePlus App

Download the app from Google Play or the App Store and then look for offers on your purchases. You can earn as much as 12 miles per dollar spent and gain a further 25% if you also own a United Credit Card.


How much are United MileagePlus Air Miles Worth?

According to Time.com, each air mile you accrue averages out at a value of 1.6 cents each. This may not seem like very much, but if you travel a lot for business this will soon build up and it will not cost you anything extra to do so. Besides, you will probably be more interested in the number of miles and where it can take you rather than the monetary value of each mile you earn.


What are the Pros and Cons of United MileagePlus Membership?


  • Free to join.
  • The miles you earn will never expire.
  • United offers a wide range of National and International Flight destinations.
  • There is a wide range of partners in retail, hospitality, and services where you can also earn air miles.
  • Some great perks include free checked bags and no fees for flight changes on the same day for medium and high-level elite members.
  • United Airlines is part of the Star Alliance Partnership, meaning that there is a very wide range of destinations and flights you will be able to redeem your miles against.


  • Dollar value per mile is quite low, but if you are a frequent flyer and take many flights with United Airlines, you will build up a sizable number of miles quickly.
  • You will not gain any access to benefits until you get past the lower tier membership.
  • United Credit Cards are a terrific way to earn miles, but make sure you do not fall into the trap of adding miles by making purchases you wouldn't otherwise make.


How do you join United Airlines MileagePlus Program?

You can join the MileagePlus United Program very easily online at this link. The process is quick, simple, and free. So, if you are a frequent or even occasional flyer with United Airlines, you can only really benefit from joining this scheme.