United Airlines is one of the major U.S. airlines. MileagePlus, the United Airlines loyalty program, has several advantages over other airline rewards programs that can make it especially valuable for redeeming airline miles. These include no fuel surcharges on reward flights and a wealth of partner airlines.
In this post, we’ll cover the best ways to redeem 60,000 United Airlines miles and what you need to know to maximize the MileagePlus program.
The Best Way To Earn United Airlines Miles
Chase Ultimate Rewards has multiple airline partners, including United Airlines. Earning transferable points with Ultimate Rewards is an ideal strategy to maximize the high-value redemptions in the MileagePlus program.
Hot Tip: We love collecting Ultimate Rewards because they’re easy to earn, and when you’re ready to transfer them to United Airlines, you can do so instantaneously at a 1:1 ratio.
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
|Credit Card||Benefits & Info|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred®|
(at Chase's secure site)
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy beneﬁts such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Good to Excellent (670-850)
- Annual Fee: $95
Must Reads: For more info on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, see our thoughts on its benefits and travel insurance coverage, which includes primary car rental insurance. Take a look at our full review to see why it’s one of our favorite cards.
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®|
(at Chase's secure site)
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
- Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
- Excellent (740-850)
- Annual Fee: $550
Must Reads: For more on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, see our thoughts on its benefits, global airport lounge access, and travel insurance protection. Take a look here for our full review.
Business owner? See our list of the best Chase business credit cards.
The most popular United credit card is the United℠ Explorer Card, which is a solid option for frequent United travelers. You’ll get a generous sign-up bonus, your first bag checked for free, priority boarding privileges, and more.
Bottom Line: Earning transferable points with Chase Ultimate Rewards provides flexibility in award travel. With Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can not only use the MileagePlus program to book flights, but also leverage Chase’s 9 other airline partners.
The 9 Best Ways To Redeem 60,000 United Airlines Miles
United Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, so United miles can be redeemed on United Airlines flights, partner airline flights, and non-alliance partner flights. With many Star Alliance members based in Europe, you will have plenty of options booking award travel to Europe.
One important thing to note is that in 2019, United eliminated its fixed-price award chart and moved to dynamic pricing, so while the rates in this list are average, you may find higher or lower costs depending on your dates of travel.
Hot Tip: United does not impose fuel surcharges on award tickets, which can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket spend.
1. Take Advantage of the Excursionist Perk
The Excursionist Perk is a free one-way flight, not in the region of your departure, when booking a round-trip or open-jaw multi-city itinerary.
The following criteria must be met to receive the Excursionist Perk:
- Travel must end in the same region that your travel began (i.e., the first flight departs Newark, the last flight arrives in Houston).
- The free one-way flight must be within the same region (i.e., the first flight is from Newark to Frankfurt, the second flight is from Frankfurt to Zürich, the third flight is from Zürich to Chicago — the second flight is free).
- The cabin of the free one-way flight must be the same or lower than the cabin of the flight it succeeds (i.e., the first flight from North America to Europe in economy class, and the second flight intra-Europe is in economy class).
- Only the first one-way award qualifies (i.e., the first flight is from Chicago to Munich, the second flight is from Munich to Istanbul, the third flight is from Istanbul to Copenhagen, and the fourth flight is from Copenhagen to Newark — the third flight is not free).
Hot Tip: The United Excursionist Perk is competitive with the Southwest Companion Pass as one of the best perks in any award program. A free intra-region flight in Star Alliance partner-rich regions such as Europe provides incredible value.
2. Fly to the Caribbean in Business Class
The entire Caribbean is a region in the United Airlines award chart. A United business class flight from North America to the Caribbean is as low as 60,000 miles round-trip. If economy class is more your style, United prices round-trip flights from North America to the Caribbean around 35,000 miles.
United’s network of U.S. hubs provides excellent coverage throughout this region. United Airlines flights between Chicago (ORD) and Aruba (AUA), Houston (IAH) and Grand Cayman (GCM), and Newark (EWR) and Turks and Caicos (PLS) will set you back from 60,000 miles round-trip in business class and start at 35,000 round-trip in economy class, among other options.
Need help booking? Follow our step-by-step guide to booking United business class award flights!
3. Fly to Central America in Business Class
Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama are all within United’s Central America region. Business class flights start at 60,000 miles round-trip.
If you want to maximize your United Airlines miles even more, consider economy class flights. Flights to Central America are as low as 35,000 miles round-trip in economy class.
There is good Star Alliance coverage in the Central America region. Both United and Avianca provide non-stop flights from several U.S. destinations.
Flights between Chicago (ORD) and Belize (BZE), Newark (EWR) and Costa Rica (SJO), Houston (IAH) and San Salvador (SAL), Los Angeles (LAX) and Guatemala City (GUA), Houston (IAH) and Honduras (TGU), Miami (MIA) and Nicaragua (MGA), and New Orleans (MSY) and Panama City (PTY) all require at least 60,000 miles round-trip in business class and 35,000 miles round-trip in economy class on United, or a minimum of 66,000 miles round-trip in business class and 38,600 round-trip in economy class on Avianca.
4. Fly to Northern South America in Business Class
United breaks South America into 2 regions. The northern region includes Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. You can get a one-way business class ticket to northern South America from 35,000 miles, while a round-trip economy class ticket starts at 40,000 miles.
Star Alliance partner Avianca (also partners with American Express, Citi ThankYou, and Capital One), along with United Airlines, covers Northern South America with non-stop flights.
United flights between Newark (EWR) and Bogotá (BOG), Houston and Quito (UIO), and Newark (EWR) and Lima (LIM) can be found from 35,000 miles one-way in business class and 40,000 miles round-trip in economy class. Flights on Avianca are from 38,500 one-way in business class and 44,000 miles round-trip in economy class.
5. Fly to Europe in Business Class
Europe is considered a single region with United Airlines and includes countries you would expect, including England, France, and Germany. The region also includes Turkey, which is not always the case in other award programs.
Business class flights to Europe on United Airlines start at 60,000 miles one-way, while you need at least 77,000 miles one-way for a Star Alliance partner such as Lufthansa.
Another option to consider is economy class flights. From 60,000 miles round-trip, you can fly economy class to Europe on United, while you can choose any partner in the Star Alliance from 66,000 miles round-trip.
Coverage of the region is incredible due to the number of Star Alliance partners headquartered in Europe. Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss Air Lines, TAP Air Portugal, and Turkish Airlines all operate out of the Europe region.
Examples of non-stop business class flights that can be booked from the U.S. to Europe from 60,000 miles one-way include:
- Chicago (ORD) and Brussels (BRU)
- Houston (IAH) and Amsterdam (AMS)
- Newark (EWR) and Berlin (BER)
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) and Frankfurt (FRA)
6. Fly Business Class Between Australia, New Zealand, and South Asia
United requires at least 55,000 miles one-way in business class on Star Alliance partner flights in Australia, New Zealand, and South Asia. Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and Air New Zealand are the 3 Star Alliance partners providing coverage in this region.
The South Asia region includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Australia and New Zealand region includes Australia, New Zealand, and Norfolk Island.
Examples of flights on Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways include:
- Singapore (SIN) or Bangkok (BKK) to Sydney (SYD)
- Melbourne (MEL) or Brisbane (BNE) to Auckland (AKL)
7. Fly Business Class Within Central and Southern Africa
Africa is divided into 2 regions: Northern Africa and Central and Southern Africa. The Central and Southern Africa region includes every country in Africa excluding Algeria, the Canary Islands, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Notable destinations included in this region are Mauritius, Reunion Island, and Seychelles.
Business class flights within the Central and Southern Africa region begin at 33,000 miles one-way. Economy class flights should also be considered, as flights shorter than 800 miles only need 8,000 reward miles. Flights longer than 800 miles require a minimum of 19,300 reward miles.
An example of a non-stop business class flight you can book from 33,000 miles one-way is between Addis Ababa (ADD) and Mahé (SEZ). Star Alliance partners South African Airways and Ethiopian Airways provide good coverage for this region.
Hot Tip: Did you know there are a handful of other ways to fly to the Seychelles on points if you want to save those hard-earned United miles? Also, check out these other ways to fly to South Africa on points.
8. Fly Economy Intra-Oceania
The Oceania region includes many of the hard-to-reach islands in the South Pacific. Economy class flights shorter than 800 miles (most of the intra-Oceania flights) start at 8,000 reward miles one-way, while flights longer than 800 miles are at least 12,500 reward miles one-way. Business class flights require 20,000 miles one-way.
Hot Tip: A bucket-list item for many AvGeeks is the United Island Hopper. The route starts in Honolulu (HNL) traveling through the Marshall Islands (MAJ), Kwajalein Atoll (KWA), Kosrae (KSA), Pohnpei Island (PNI), Weno (TKK), and Guam (GUM). If you fly the entire route, the mileage prices out to 67,500 miles at its lowest.
9. Fly Business Class Intra-Europe
The Europe region stretches from the U.K. to Russia and from the Nordic countries to Turkey. Business class flights intra-Europe require a minimum of 27,500 miles one-way. Economy class flights shorter than 800 miles start from 8,800 United miles while one-way flights longer than 800 miles start at 16,500 United miles one-way.
Focusing on the longer and more expensive routes will maximize your redemption. Turkish Airlines flies non-stop between Istanbul (IST) and Copenhagen (CPH), Stockholm (ARN), Helsinki (HEL), and Dublin (DUB). TAP Portugal flies non-stop between Lisbon (LIS) and Moscow (DME).
United Airlines Partners
Star Alliance Partners List
Non-Alliance Partners List
|Air Dolomiti||Olympic Air|
United Airlines has many exciting options for making the best use of your MileagePlus rewards. With business class flights to the Caribbean and northern South America, United’s region lists allow you to book premium cabins in a variety of ways. Finding United partner airlines with low fuel surcharges for flights in their premium cabins is critical.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
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