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Do United miles expire? NO, they do not and that’s one of the best things about Mileage Plus apart from priority boarding, free checked bags, United Club access, and many other travel perks.
Additionally, non-expiring miles could help you get better redemptions since you’re able to save up your miles for future promotions and deals.
Before, you need to have any form of activity in your Mileage Plus account within 18 months to keep your miles from expiring. This means that you either use your miles or earn miles even just once within the allotted time period to avoid mile expiration.
Mileage Plus Miles Do Not Expire
Most airlines still have mile expiration policies where your miles expire after a certain period of inactivity. Here are some examples:
- Spirit Airlines: 3 months without earning
- Air Canada: 12 months without activity
- Hawaiian Airlines: 18 months without activity
- American Airlines: 18 months without activity
- Alaska Airlines: 24 months without activity
- British Airways: 36 months without activity
Now, there are also other airlines that have another type of mile expiration policy where your miles expire after a certain period of time. This means that your miles will not roll over regardless if you have you have any activity in your account.
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 36 months after earning
- Singapore Airlines: 36 months after earning
Do United Miles Expire If You Close Your MileagePlus Account?
First of all, a MileagePlus account is free so there’s no reason why you should close it even if you rarely use it. However, if you do want to close it for personal reasons then yes, you will lose all of your earn Mileage Plus miles.
How To Earn United Miles?
Now that we know that United Mileage Plus miles don’t expire, the question now is how do you earn them? There are multiple ways how to do it and here are some examples:
Fly with United Airlines Or Its Partner Airlines
One of the most basic ways to earn Mileage Plus miles is to sign up for a MileagePlus account and fly with United Airlines. You can even earn more Mileage Plus miles when you become an elite status member.
- Basic MileagPlus member – 5x miles
- Premier Silver – 7x miles
- Premier Gold – 8x miles
- Premier Platinum – 9x miles
- Premier 1K – 11x miles
But did you know that you can also earn Mileage Plus miles through Star Alliance partners and non-alliance partners? When you book a flight with an airline partner, just type in your Mileage Plus number and you will automatically earn Mileage Plus miles. Rates may vary for each airline partner.
Here’s a list of United’s Star Alliance partners:
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Brussels Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- EVA Airways
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airway
- TAP Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
Here are United Airlines’ non-alliance partners:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Dolomiti
- Boutique Air
- Cape Air
- Eurowings Discover
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Olympic Air
- Silver Airways
Signing Up For Co-branded United Airlines Cards
United Airlines has a solid lineup of co-branded credit cards that allows you to earn bonus Mileage Plus miles and also other travel perks.
Here are some cards that you can apply for:
- United Gateway Card – Earn 20,000 Mileage Plus miles after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
- United (SM) Explorer Card – Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles: 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months + 10,000 miles after you spend $6,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months.
- United Quest Card – Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
- United Club (SM) Infinite Card – Earn 120,000 bonus miles after spending $6,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
- United Business Card – Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership.
It’s worth getting these cards if you’re a United Airlines frequent flyer since you earn more miles when you use your credit card on United purchases.
Tranferring Chase Ulitimate Rewards Points
Chase credit cards allow you to transfer your points to your Mileage Plus account at a 1:1 ratio. This means that if you transfer 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you will also get 1,000 Mileage Plus miles. Here are some examples of cards that you can apply for:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 of card membership.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card – Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
The advantage of getting Chase credit cards is that it also allows you to transfer your points to other airline and hotel partners giving you more flexibility on how to use your points.
Add Authorized Users To Your Card
Authorized users are allowed to make purchases without the approval of the primary cardholder. It’s a great way to earn miles faster especially if you’re not using your card all the time. Just be careful since the purchases made will still be recorded under the primary cardholder’s name.
However, the good thing about having authorized users is they will also get the same benefits that the primary cardholder gets.
For example, authorized users of an American Express Platinum cardholder will also get full access to Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass Lounges. They can even get Delta Sky Club access if they are flying with Delta.
Shopping In The Mileage Plus Shopping Portal
Loyalty members can earn Mileage Plus miles whenever they purchase from one of United’s 1,100+ online and in-store partners. Most shops offer 1x to 3x miles per dollar although there are others that can offer more miles just like 1800Flowers.com which gives you 30x miles per dollar.
The change in the United miles expiration policy is a big bonus for United frequent flyers and co-branded cardholders. You don’t have to force yourself to earn or redeem Mileage Plus miles every 18 months just to keep them from expiring. It would be nice if all other airlines would have the same mile expiration policy.