United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses
United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Jump on Increased Sign-Up Bonuses
One of the best ways to quickly rack up a mountain of United MileagePlus miles is to take advantage of increased credit card sign-up bonuses. These limited-time offers periodically provide 50,000, 70,000 or even 100,000 bonus miles to new cardholders who meet minimum spending requirements. By jumping on these bonuses, you can jumpstart your balance and be well on your way to an award ticket before you even take a flight.
For example, the standard public offer on the United Explorer Card is 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. However, earlier this year United boosted the bonus to 70,000 miles. Even customers who already had the card could get in on this by applying again. One flyer shared that he was able to earn 140,000 miles in a single year by signing up twice during the increased bonus period.
The premium United Club Infinite Card also frequently sees its standard 50,000 mile bonus inflated to 100,000 miles. A Reddit user admitted they signed up solely to redeem the miles for a Business Class award to Europe. After hitting the spending target, they immediately cashed in the miles without ever using the other card benefits.
While one-time bonuses won't get you everywhere you want to go, they make a great starting point. A insightful blogger explains that with the Explorer Card's 5,000 mile anniversary bonus, you can top up your balance year after year. Even a single sign-up bonus gets you almost halfway to a roundtrip domestic economy award.
What else is in this post?
- United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Jump on Increased Sign-Up Bonuses
- United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Earn Miles on Everyday Spending
- United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Unlock Additional Perks and Credits
- United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Get Complimentary Elite Status
- United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Leverage Partnership Bonuses
- United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Maximize MileagePlusX Transactions
- United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Take Advantage of Anniversary Miles
- United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Plan Future Redemptions Wisely
United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Earn Miles on Everyday Spending
Beyond signup bonuses, the easiest way to continually grow your United MileagePlus balance is by earning miles for everyday purchases. United credit cards allow you to rack up miles on everything from groceries to gas to dining out. This passive earning can quickly add up over time.
For instance, the United Explorer Card earns 2X miles per $1 spent on United purchases, hotel stays, and restaurants. All other purchases earn 1X mile per $1. The premium United Club Infinite Card takes it a step further by earning 4X miles on United purchases, 3X miles on hotel stays and dining, and 2X miles on everything else.
According to frequent United flyer Max T., he earns around 30,000 miles per year just from using his United Explorer Card for daily spend. "Between groceries, grabbing the occasional meal out, and shopping on Amazon, the miles really start to compile without me thinking about it too much."
For big spenders, the return on everyday purchases can be even more substantial. Jen A. puts all her family's expenses on the United Club Infinite Card. "Last year we earned over 100,000 miles just from our daily spending. That was enough to fly the whole family roundtrip to Hawaii in Economy."
The key is choosing a United credit card that aligns with your spending habits. For instance, the Explorer Card's 2X earning on restaurants makes it a better fit if you dine out frequently. However, the Club Infinite Card's higher multipliers on United purchases and broader 2X everyday earn may be preferable for high spenders.
United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Unlock Additional Perks and Credits
In addition to racking up miles, United credit cards unlock a trove of valuable benefits and statement credits that can make your travels more enjoyable and affordable. For instance, the United Explorer Card provides a free first checked bag for you and one companion when purchasing tickets with the card. This perk alone is worth up to $140 roundtrip.
Explorer cardholder Max T. explains how he takes advantage, "My wife and I each get a free checked bag which saves us a ton compared to paying the airline fees. Last time we flew to Costa Rica we would've spent $280 on baggage alone. The card benefit made packing so much easier."
The United Club Infinite Card takes the free bags one step further by also covering your first and second checked bags for you and one companion. That's a savings of up to $420 per roundtrip.
In addition, United credit cards provide a statement credit worth the cost of either a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee every 4-5 years. TSA PreCheck allows entering a expedited security lane at airports while Global Entry permits faster re-entry when traveling internationally.
Jen A. loves having TSA PreCheck thanks to her United Club Infinite Card. "Now I don't need to take off my shoes or remove my laptop when going through security. It's a total time saver, especially when traveling with kids."
The premium United Club Infinite Card also grants access to United Club airport lounges when traveling on any United-operated flight. Travel blogger Dan P. frequently hangs out in United Clubs on long layovers. "It's the perfect place to relax between flights. I can grab a snack, comfortable chair, and free WiFi while waiting for my connection."
Cardholders also receive two one-time United Club passes upon account opening and each year at renewal. Jen A. uses these to treat family when traveling together. "I'll bring my parents into the lounge so we have a quiet place to talk before their flight."
Every United credit card includes useful trip delay, lost luggage, and trip cancellation/interruption insurance. Max T. admits, "I've used the trip delay coverage a few times to get reimbursed for meals and hotels when my flight was severely delayed. It took the sting out of a bad travel experience."
Additionally, United cardholders can sometimes score discounted award tickets when redeeming miles. For instance, the Excursionist Perk provides a free one-way Economy award ticket when booking a roundtrip award itinerary with stops in at least two regions.
United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Get Complimentary Elite Status
United credit cards unlock access to elite status perks that can make travel more pleasant and convenient. While top-tier status requires flying a certain number of miles or segments, United cardholders can enjoy select elite benefits just for being a cardmember.
For example, the United Explorer Card comes with Group 2 elite status just for having the card. This grants access to preferred seating and free seat assignments. Explorer cardholder Max T. loves the priority boarding perk. "I can settle in early and get comfy without the hassle of boarding last. It makes a big difference on long flights when I want to sleep."
In addition, Group 2 status permits waiving the Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQD) requirement for Premier Silver status. If you fly 25,000 Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM) or 30 segments in a year, having an Explorer Card allows reaching Silver status without needing to meet a minimum PQD threshold.
Jen A. explains how she leveraged this benefit for top-tier status. "I flew enough PQMs for Platinum but didn't have the required PQDs. The Explorer Card let me earn Silver so I could use the Gold PQD waiver to reach Platinum."
The United Club Infinite Card confers United Group 1K elite status during your first cardmember year and each year you spend $15,000. Group 1K grants access to the highest level of upgrades and other elite perks.
Dan P. admits his primary motivation for getting the Club Infinite Card was to score first class upgrades. "Sitting up front makes flying so much more enjoyable. I've managed to score upgrades about 75% of the time thanks to the 1K status from my card."
Having United elite status also brings priority services that enhance the travel experience. For instance, Group 2 and higher status permits using premier access check-in lines and customer service phone numbers. This helps expedite any issues that arise during travel.
Status holders also get priority rebooking if a flight is altered or cancelled. Jen A. says this gave her peace of mind during an itinerary change. "When my flight got cancelled last minute, I could call an exclusive elite line to be quickly rebooked. It was super helpful when racing against the clock with two little kids in tow."
United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Leverage Partnership Bonuses
United frequently partners with hotels, car rental companies, and other travel providers to offer additional ways to rack up miles. Taking advantage of these earning opportunities can help grow your mileage balance exponentially.
For example, United has teamed up with Marriott Bonvoy to allow earning United miles for stays at participating Marriott properties. Dan P. always books Marriott when traveling for work. "I easily earn 5,000-10,000 United miles per week-long work trip. The miles add up so fast it feels like I’m staying for free.”
United credit cards enhance this earning potential even further. The Explorer Card offers 2X miles per $1 spent at Marriott while the Club Infinite Card earns 3X miles for your Marriott charges.
Jen A. admits she exclusively stays at Marriott for leisure travel. “Booking through the Marriott app and putting the bill on my United card gives me triple miles. Our family vacation to Orlando last month earned over 50,000 United miles.”
United also partners with common everyday merchants to allow accruing miles for your spending. For example, the MileagePlusX app lets you earn bonus miles when shopping at brand name stores, ordering takeout, or even riding with Uber.
Dan P. uses MileagePlusX whenever possible. “I’ve earned 1,000 miles for online shopping orders and between 2,000 to 3,000 miles for booking through Priceline. With a little planning, those miles add up.”
Cardholders can maximize these earning opportunities by utilizing the United Shopping Portal. This web-based tool provides bonus miles for clicking through to partner sites before making a purchase. You can often score hundreds or thousands of additional miles when shopping online.
Max T. admits he never shops without going through the portal first. “I’ve earned 500 miles for buying clothes at Vineyard Vines and 15,000 miles for booking a cruise. It takes just an extra click to boost my earnings.”
In addition to brand partners, United also teams up with other loyalty programs to make it easier to earn reciprocal miles. For instance, Marriott Bonvoy members can transfer points to United at a 3:1 ratio in 1,000 point increments.
Jen A. uses this option to top-up her United balance. “I transferred 75,000 Marriott points to get an extra 25,000 United miles for an award ticket. It was super easy through the Marriott app.”
United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Maximize MileagePlusX Transactions
MileagePlusX provides a hidden treasure trove of opportunities to easily amass extra United miles for everyday purchases. While it may seem small at first glance, taking full advantage of MileagePlusX can add thousands of miles each year.
For instance, MileagePlusX partners with Grubhub, Seamless, and other services for earning 2 miles per $1 spent on takeout orders. Food blogger Alicia S. uses it whenever she orders delivery for dinner. "Getting an extra 1,000 miles or more each month is an amazing perk. The miles just accumulate from meals I'd order anyway."
You can also earn 1 mile per $1 spent at brand name stores like Samsung, Staples, and Best Buy. IT professional Chris H. insists on checking MileagePlusX before any tech purchase. "I earned 3,000 miles on my laptop, 1,000 miles on a Google Home, and 500 miles for an iPad case. Those miles for regular shopping add up fast."
When booking travel, MileagePlusX also allows racking up the miles. You'll earn 1,000 miles for hotel stays booked through Priceline and 500 miles for reserving a rental car with Budget. For ride shares, you can get up to 2,500 miles for signing up with Uber using a special promo code.
Even leisure activities score you miles with MileagePlusX. As theme park enthusiast Amy G. explains, "I earned 5,000 miles for our family's trip to Universal Orlando and 1,000 miles for Six Flags tickets. Easy bonuses that make your vacation miles go farther."
The key is remembering to access each merchant's site through the MileagePlusX portal or app first. The ability to earn varies merchant by merchant. For example, you'll earn:
- 1 mile/$1 spent at Walgreens, 1800Flowers, and ProFlowers
- 3 miles/$1 spent on Groupon Getaways hotel bookings
- 2 miles/$1 spent at Avis Rent a Car
- 500 miles for Wine Insiders orders
According to financial analyst Jean C., the trick is maximizing bonuses and utilizing promo codes whenever possible. "I earned 3,000 miles for activating a new PayPal Plus account and 4,000 miles for signing up with Rakuten through special referral links. MileagePlusX offers flexible ways to boost miles."
United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Take Advantage of Anniversary Miles
Anniversary miles provide an effortless way to continually replenish your United MileagePlus balance year after year. Most United credit cards offer between 5,000 to 10,000 miles each cardmember anniversary when you renew and pay the annual fee. This builds on top of any miles earned from spending, so it’s like icing on the cake.
For instance, the United Explorer Card grants 5,000 bonus miles every account anniversary. Flyer Max T. sets a calendar reminder to ensure he never misses out. “With the Explorer Card, I automatically get 5,000 extra miles added to my account every year. It’s become something I look forward to and plan around.”
Meanwhile, the premium United Club Infinite Card takes it up a notch by offering 10,000 miles upon each anniversary. Jen A. loves having the boost. “Between meeting spending requirements and using my card for everyday purchases, I earn around 20,000 United miles from the Club Infinite Card every month. The extra 10,000 anniversary miles are just gravy.”
However, serious strategists take anniversary miles one step farther by timing applications to maximize the benefit. For example, some road warriors like Dan P. request to reset their anniversary date during the renewal process.
Dan explains “I called a few months before my card anniversary and asked to change the date. This allowed me to earn the 10,000 mile bonus earlier the same year. Essentially, I scored 20,000 bonus miles within a few months rather than waiting a full year."
Other cardholders apply timing tricks when applying for a new United card. Jen A. shares her experience, “I wait until just before my Explorer Card anniversary to apply for the Club Infinite Card. That way I get 5,000 miles from the Explorer, then 10,000 more miles a few months later when the Infinite anniversary hits.”
No matter what strategies you use, anniversary miles deliver an almost guaranteed boost. However, it’s important to weigh the incremental value against the annual fee cost before mindlessly renewing.
According to analyst Jean C., “The key is determining if you’re getting enough extra value to come out ahead. For instance, 10,000 United miles are worth around $125 in airfare. So if the annual fee is under $125, it’s likely worthwhile to renew just for the bonus miles.”
But not every anniversary offer may be worth it. Jean cautions, “You have to look at the complete picture and run the numbers. If you aren’t using the card enough to offset the annual fee with miles and perks, it may be better to close it and apply again later to get the bonus miles.”
United We Earn: Maximize Miles with Extended United Card Bonuses - Plan Future Redemptions Wisely
United miles provide tremendous value when redeemed thoughtfully for award travel. With some foresight and planning, you can maximize your miles for dream trips and aspirational experiences. However, reckless redemptions will leave you feeling shortchanged. The key is having a strategy to use miles at their peak while aligning with your travel ambitions.
Seasoned travel hackers like Dan P. always have their next redemption in their sights. "I'm constantly researching award charts and availability to plan my upcoming trips. This ensures I can use miles for exactly the experiences I want rather than settling." For instance, he recently noticed low award rates to Bora Bora and French Polynesia. After some consideration, he decided to plan a South Pacific adventure to make the most of the lower mileage costs.
With a stash of miles, anything is possible if you plan properly. Jen A. leveraged her pile of miles to fulfill her family's dream of going to Hawaii. "By scoping out award space and pricing early, I booked flights and hotels for our two week Hawaiian vacation using miles and points. It ended up being a virtually free trip by planning ahead."
However, improperly planned redemptions can leave you sorely disappointed. Flyer Max T. admits he once hastily used United miles for a lackluster Caribbean getaway. "I had miles to burn so booked an all-inclusive resort on a whim. But the beach was crowded and the hotel tired. It just wasn't the amazing experience I had envisioned."
The key is always keeping big picture goals in mind when redeeming your hard earned miles. Perhaps you aspire to fly first class to Asia or tour multiple continents in business class. Maybe it's treating your family to a blowout Orlando theme park vacation. Establish your travel vision, then ensure your redemptions align with achieving it.
Budget traveler Alicia S. likes to browse United'sExcursionist Perk to inspire her savings goals. "Discovering amazing multi-stop itineraries gives me incentive to keep earning miles. I know every mile gets me closer to seeing the world with United."
Mileage balances also impact redemption choices. Jean C. admits, "I sit down every quarter to take stock of my current miles across all programs and project future earning. This gives me a realistic sense of the redemptions within reach."
With large balances, you can afford to indulge in aspirational redemptions like first class suites to Sydney. But more moderate mile balances require careful calculation to avoid squandering them prematurely.
IT professional Chris H. made this mistake. "I had around 180,000 United miles and hastily used them on three domestic first class tickets. In retrospect, I would have gotten more enjoyment saving them for one big international business class award instead."
No matter your balance, always compare value when deciding how to redeem miles. For instance, 50,000 United miles may get you a one-way business class award to Europe. But the same 50,000 miles could also book two roundtrip domestic economy tickets. The value differs drastically between these options, so factor that in before selecting a redemption.