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It’s no surprise to see U.S. airports getting crowded these days because the “BIG 3” US airlines are continuously bombarding frequent flyers with promotions. If you haven’t heard, Delta has upgraded their food and IFE while American has added lounge access on Hawaiian flights. And now, United adds money and miles options for its MileagePlus members and also a new transfer partner.
The “United Money + Miles” Awards In A Nutshell
On August 25, 2021, United adds money and miles options which allow customers in certain U.S. domestic markets to purchase tickets using a combination of miles and cash. This means that you can put those miles into good use right away because you don’t need to reach a certain amount of miles and wait for a long time before you can redeem them.
Customers book United flights with money and miles (a minimum redemption of 500 miles) or each ticket purchased on United.com or the United app. United is slowly rolling this new payment option so it may not be available in some U.S. locations at the moment.
Back in 2006, United also rolled out a similar payment option where customers can redeem miles at 1 cent apiece for ticket purchases. However, the old option required redeeming miles at full cost to buy tickets. It isn’t like the Money + Miles payment option where customers can buy tickets using a combination of miles and cash.
Allowing customers to redeem miles for ticket purchases benefits both the customers and the airline. From a customers’ perspective, they are able to reduce the prices of their tickets by redeeming as low as 500 miles.
From United’s perspective, the Money + Miles payment option encourages members to earn miles and use the MileagePlus program more frequently. It’s not just a marketing tool to get people’s attention but it’s United’s way of building trust by providing members instant value for their miles.
Read More: United Reintroduces Hot Foods On Flights To Hawaii
Is The United Money And Miles Options Worth It?
Award travel can cost thousands of miles and not all people can actually afford them. What happens is their miles are just left rotting in their accounts and may eventually go down the drain if not used before the expiry date. This means that the United Money + Miles payment option sounds pretty good on a surface level since customers have quicker options on how to redeem their miles.
However, the new feature does have some pros and cons.
- Instant miles redemption for customers who aren’t United Airlines loyalists
- Some award travel redemptions can be restrictive so the new payment option allows customers to compare the benefits and features between redeeming miles for airline tickets and award travel.
- Gives customers who aren’t into the points and miles game an easier way to redeem their miles.
- The new feature might not give the best value for your miles, possibly lower than 1 cent apiece, since they’re being redeemed at a faster rate.
The upside of the “Money + Miles” payment option is that it gives customers the flexibility to redeem your MileagePlus miles. Other loyalty programs do have a similar payment option but they have limitations. For example, Delta’s “Pay With Miles” option requires members to redeem a minimum of 5,000 SkyMiles to get $50 off their tickets, whereas United only requires a minimum of 500 miles.
The only possible downside for the Money + Miles feature is that your miles can devalue in the long run.
Read More: Chase Adds Aeroplan As A Transfer Partner
Eurowings Is United Airlines’ New Transfer Partner
Eurowings Discover is officially a United Airlines’ loyalty partner which gives United a total of 25 Star Alliance partners and 12 non-alliance partners.
Eurowings belongs to the Lufthansa Group and it’s quite expected that the airline would partner with United since Lufthansa is already a Star Alliance partner. This German low-cost airline has made big moves despite being a new player in the industry. In fact, it has also added Air Canada as its transfer partner back in July.
Earning United Miles On Eurowings Flights
- Go to the Eurowings website and search for your desired flights.
- Type in your MileagePlus account number on the checkout page.
- After checkout, your MileagePlus number will appear on your boarding pass and you’ll miles will be credited to your MileagePlus account.
Redeeming United Miles On Euriwings Flights
- Go to United’s partner award search map.
- Enter flight dates and destinations, and look for prices based on award travel.
- After inputting your desired options, the website will pull up a lost of award flights and their corresponding prices for you to book.
More Ways To Earn United Miles Using Credit Cards
As United adds money and miles options and Eurowings as its transfer partner, you’ll want to earn as many miles as you can to enjoy lots of award redemptions. Signing up for United credit cards and co-branded cards is your best bet to rack in a lot of MileagePlus miles and here are some cards that you might consider:
United Club(SM) Infinite Card
The United Club (SM) Infinite Card comes with a 100,000 welcome bonus after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of getting the card.
- 4x miles on United(R) purchases
- 2x miles on dining including eligible delivery services
- 2x miles on all other travel
- 1x miles on all other purchases
- Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck(R) application fee credit
- Free first and second checked bags (valued up to $320 per roundtrip)
- 25% back as a statement credit on in-flight purchases on United-operated flights when you pay with your Club Infinite Card
The card has one of the highest annual fees, $525, but it packs a lot of benefits that you can really use when traveling abroad.
United Quest Credit Card
The United Quest Credit Card is a great mid-tier card that comes with 70,000 welcome bonus miles after spending $4000 within 3 months of account opening.
Here are the cards’ earning rates:
- Earn 3x miles on United(R) purchases
- Earn 2x miles on dining, select streaming services, and all travel purchases
- Earn 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
On top of that, cardholders will also get a $125 credit for United purchases and two 5,000-mile award flight credits every year. The card has an annual fee of $250.
United Explorer Card
The United Explorer Card has a welcome offer of up to 70,000 bonus miles: 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 miles after you spend $6,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.
Here are the card’s earning rates:
- Earn 2x miles on dining (including eligible delivery services), hotel stays, and United(R) purchases.
- Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
The United Explorer Card also comes with other travel benefits such as a free checked bag, lounge access, and priority check-in. The card has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year and an ongoing fee of $95.
United Gateway Card
If you want a low-tier card with $0 annual fees, the United Gateway Card is perfect for you. The card comes with a welcome bonus of 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months of account membership and it has zero annual fees.
Here is the card’s earning rates:
- Earn 2x miles on United(R) purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting
- Earn 2x miles on United(R) purchases
- Earn 2x miles on local transit and commuting
- Earn 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
The new Money + Miles option is slowly rolling out to select U.S. locations and it should be available in other locations soon. Reaping the benefits of this new feature would always depend on how you travel. Are you a United frequent flyer or not? Do you fly Business class or Economy? Do you fly long-haul or not?
However, it’s good to give flyers the ability to book United flights with money and miles as it gives them more redemption choices on how to get the best value out of their miles.
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