Two United Offers to Generate 200,000 Miles

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United Airlines MileagePlus has several things going for it.

  • No fuel surcharges on any awards
  • Great partner redemptions – Star Alliance means there are more ways to get to Europe and Asia, meaning more chances at the award you want
  • While they’ve moved to dynamic pricing for United flights, partner awards – which are usually what you want anyway – are still pricing based on the old award chart (albeit a few thousand miles more for close-in redemptions)
  • They’ve abolished expiration of miles
  • And there are no more cash ‘close-in’ booking fees

What’s more United miles are easy to get – you can earn them directly or transfer them in from a credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card which has had the most lucrative personal card offer with modest requirements to earn for quite some time now.

However United has aggressively worked to counter how easy it is to earn their miles via Chase transfers by working with Chase to acquire new cardmembers of their own rapidly. Right now they are doing that with rich limited-time offers on both the personal and small business United Explorer cards.

  • UnitedSM Explorer Card has a Limited time offer to earn up to 65,000 Bonus Miles: 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.

    What’s great about this $0 the first year then $95 annual fee card is the travel benefits when flying United. You get first bag for free when you use your card to purchase your ticket. You get priority boarding (avoid having to gate check your carry on, and indeed on a Basic Economy fare you can still bring on a full-sized carry on bag). You’ll get 2 one-time United Club passes each year for your account anniversary as well.

    Cardmembers get access to last seat availability on extra miles awards as well as extra saver award availability that general members don’t have. Elites with the card can receive complimentary domestic upgrades on award tickets.

  • UnitedSM Explorer Business Card has a potentially even bigger off to earn up to 100,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases. You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open plus 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open. The card’s annual fee is $95.

    Benefits are similar to the personal card including 2 United Club passes each year with card renewal, a free checked bag, and priority boarding.

Meeting the spend requirements on both cards, and earning the full bonuses, would generate a minimum of 200,000 United miles.

While Chase’s 5/24 applies to both offers – Chase is unlikely to approve you if you’ve had 5 or more new cards opened in the last 24 months – Chase’s own business cards don’t count towards this total. My approach would be to:

Consider applying for the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card first if you’re at 4/24 (since after approval you should still be at 4/24).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. I am not getting into United even if I am under 5/24. Than god I am not living at a United fortress hub.

    The company is rotten.

  2. What would one do with 200k UA miles? I would have been able to answer this with exciting possibilities a few years ago.

  3. Saying that there are no more cash close-in booking fees is deceptive unless you also say that United will now charge your frequent flyer miles for the close-in booking fees. There’s still a fee. It just changed from cash to miles. Hurts either way.

  4. These miles are useless because… unless you book ahead of time on a saver award on business class for 80k(now 83.5k) after changes, the regular one way business class price is 180 (183.5k) miles.
    You have to spend more than 15k to get these miles? Where anyone can buy a round-trip business class for my h cheaper than this in a world class international airline than United.

  5. I predict United is going to have some real issues selling Miles as their credibility for how much something costs or is worth is shot.

    Not interested in earning any United Miles anymore. If United has a special on award flights I would consider transferring exactly as many miles as are required from Chase. But I’d just as likely consider Aeroplan, Avianca, etc.

    Meanwhile my formerly almost 100% spend and crediting of spend will go to other airlines. Would surprise me if I earn more than 4000 miles on that carrier next year.

    So many other great airlines out there. So forget 200K offers. They are getting as little of my money as possible. What an entitled airline with their frequent changes that brings no benefits to their (formerly) best clients.

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