The United elite program is very similar to the American Airlines elite program except for one major difference, United requires its members to spend $3,000 on United airfare per calendar year.  United is a member of the Star Alliance and redeemable miles can be used for award flights on partner airlines.

Elite Miles

  • Costs: similar to American Airlines, United requires 25,000 elite miles which are earned by miles flown.  Unfortunately, similar to Delta, United requires members seeking elite status to spend over $3,000 on United airfare per calendar year.

United elite

  • Benefits: the benefits are listed below.  It’s important to note that the complimentary upgrades are more extensive than those offered by American Airlines.  Premier Silver members are eligible for complimentary upgrades on most flights within the United States and from the United States to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

United elite benefits

Earn redeemable miles

  • Pay for United flights.  Non-elite members earn five miles per dollar spent on airfare.
  • Credit card sign up bonuses.  You can receive anywhere between 25,000 and 50,000 miles depending on the current sign-up promotion.
  • United online shopping portal.  The shopping portal allows you to earn additional miles when you shop online.  Simply log into the shopping portal and select the store that you want to shop.  The shopping portal will then take you to that store and will credit your miles a few weeks after the purchase is made.  In addition, the shopping portal will offer bonus mile promotions for Back to School, pre-Black Friday, and other seasonal shopping.
  • United dining program.  After linking your credit card to your dining profile, you’ll receive an additional 3 to 5 miles per dollar spent at a participating restaurant.  Restaurant participation is hit or miss, so definitely check out the list of participating restaurants.  I’ve had good luck in DC since one of my favorite coffee shops participates.
  • Other promotions.

Redeem miles for award flights: United belongs to the Star Alliance so miles can be redeemed on partner airlines.  United publishes separate redemption charts for award flights redeemed on United and its partner airlines, where awards tickets redeemed on partner airlines require either the same number or more miles for the same redemption.  The charts are complicated, so I’ll include a summary of round-trip award flights below:

  • US – Europe (60,000 miles on United and Star Alliance)
  • US – Rio de Janiero (60,000 miles on United and Star Alliance)
  • US – Lima, Peru (40,000 miles on United and Star Alliance)
  • US – Cairo, Egypt (80,000 miles on United and Star Alliance)
  • US – Hong Kong (70,000 miles on United and Star Alliance)

United and Star Alliance award flight flight requirements vary most on business and first class flight redemptions.  (click to enlarge…nobody can read that small text)



Star Alliance