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The Ace Line

Fresh off a recent switch to a revenue-based redeemable-miles earning system, MileagePlus is not nearly as generous of a program as it once was. Reasonable economy and business-class saver fares (kind of) make up for it.

  • No fuel surcharges
  • Discounted short-haul awards (for US flights <700 miles)
  • Good website makes it easy to find award flights
  • Extremely limited saver-level inventory
  • Hard to earn miles in revenue-based mileage-earning system
  • Hard to earn elite status with new dollar-spent component
Discover Destinations on MileagePlus



Accrual Type: Revenue-based

Earn miles by miles flown. See our guide to earning points for more.

Credit Cards

This is a list of branded, program-specific credit cards, in addition to flexible reward cards. Not sure what is kind of card is right for you? Our guide weighs the pros/cons for each type of card.

Disclosure: This selection of cards is for reference and is not guaranteed to be complete or up to date. AwardAce does not earn any commission for any links.

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
Airline Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Flexible Transfer Card
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Flexible Transfer Card

Transfer Partners

Program Partner Ratio Transfer Time
American Express
Chase 1:1 Instant
Starwood Preferred Guest 2:1 10-14 days

The ratio is the number of flexible rewards points it would take to transfer to MileagePlus.

Transfer time is what is reported by the transfer programs, supplemented by our own research. However, actual time to transfer is often highly variable.


Airline Type Pricing Type

Don't know what airlines are bookable? See our list of particpating airlines.

A zone-based program prices award flights by general geographic location, typically by continent and/or country. Learn how to optimize these programs in our guide below.

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Understanding Programs
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Strategy to Spending Points

Booking And Fuel Surcharge Guide

Our step-by-step booking guides can show you how to book tickets on any airline.

Airline Online Phone Surcharges Alliance
Ada Air (ZY) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Aegean Airlines (A3) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Aer Lingus (EI) Yes Yes $
Air Canada (AC) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Air China (CA) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Air India (AI) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Air Japan (NQ) No Yes $
Air New Zealand (NZ) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
All Nippon Airways (NH) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Asiana Airlines (OZ) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Austrian Airlines (OS) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Avianca (AV) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Brussels Airlines (SN) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Copa Airlines (CM) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Croatia Airlines (OU) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
EVA Air (BR) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Hawaiian Airlines (HA) No Yes $
Jet Airways (9W) No Yes $
LOT Polish Airlines (LO) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Lufthansa (LH) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Scandinavian Airlines System (SK) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Shenzhen Airlines (ZH) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Singapore Airlines (SQ) No Yes $ Star Alliance
South African Airways (SA) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Swiss Air (LX) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
TAP Portugal (TP) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Thai Airways (TG) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
Turkish Airlines (TK) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance
United Airlines (UA) Yes Yes $ Star Alliance

Policies and Fees

Expiration: Points Expire 18 months since last activity.

For some programs, an activity can any accrual of miles (e.g., crediting a flight, transfering or purchasing miles). For others, spending activities such as redeeming or donating points counts as an activity.

Fees and Charges

Fees USD
Close-in 0-75
Phone Booking 0-25
Change Award 0-100
Cancel Award 0-200

Fees are waived for elite members, and when changes are requested anytime until 60 days before departure.

Key Airlines and Resources

Click through to each airport code to use our discover feature.

Primary Airlines Code City Name
United Airlines (UA) ORD Chicago Chicago Ohare Intl
LAX Los Angeles Los Angeles Intl
DEN Denver Denver Intl
EWR Newark Newark Liberty Intl
SFO San Francisco San Francisco Intl
IAH Houston George Bush Intercontinental
IAD Washington Washington Dulles Intl

Elite Status


Tiers (4) PQM PQS PQD
Premier Silver 25,000 30 3000
Premier Gold 50,000 60 6000
Premier Platinum 75,000 90 9000
Premier 1k 100,000 120 12000

Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM)
Actual total miles flown

Premier Qualifying Segments (PQS)
Number of individual flights (e.g., a one-way itinerary with 1 connection would equal 2 segments)

Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQD)
Amount of money spent on tickets

PQD requirements only apply to US residents.

Elite Benefits

Benefit Premier Silver Premier Gold Premier Platinum Premier 1k
Economy Plus seating
Complimentary access to Economy Plus At check-in At booking At booking
Economy Plus companions 1 1 8
Complimentary Premier Upgrades
Complimentary Premier Upgrades companion upgrades
Complimentary Premier Upgrades confirmation (as early as) Day of departure 48 hours 72 hours
Instant upgrades on Y- or B-class full-fare economy tickets
Instant upgrades on M-class economy tickets
Regional Premier Upgrades eligibility
Global Premier Upgrades eligibility
Premier mileage bonuses
500 PQM minimum accrual
Award miles on United and United Express and select partner airlines (includes Premier bonus award miles) 7 _ fare 8 _ fare 9 _ fare
Premier priority travel services
Priority check-in
Priority security screening, where offered
Priority boarding privileges
Priority baggage handling
Premier Priority Desk phone line
Access to most sold-out flights
Lounge access when traveling internationally
Service fee Discounts
Complimentary checked baggage allowance for economy tickets 1 bag 2 bags 3 bags
Discounted or waived same-day flight changes
Discounted United Club_ membership rates
Discounted or waived phone service charge
10% discount on inflight Duty Free purchases
$60 statement credit for MileagePlus Chase Credit Card Cardmembers6
Award travel benefits
Priority award waitlisting
Standby for international awards
Unrestricted access to United Standard Awards on United- and United Express-operated flights
Better availability for United Saver Awards in economy
Better availability for United Saver Awards in select premium cabins
Reduced or waived close-in award booking fee
Reduced or waived award redeposit fee
Reduced or waived award change fee
Star Alliance Benefits
Tier Silver Gold Gold

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