Best Credit Cards & Offers For Earning United Miles

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Check out our list of the best credit cards for earning United Miles and calculate which cards will earn you the most miles based on your spend.
Last Updated 2022-08-20 By R.Flowers III

United has a handful of co-branded credit cards through Chase that you can use to earn miles on your everyday spending. You can also earn miles using credit cards offered by transfer partners which opens up additional ways for you to efficiently earn lots of United Miles.

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Best For Occasional United Travelers

The Unitedâ„  Explorer Card is the best option if you're looking to earn a solid return on your spend while enjoying entry-level benefits when flying United. It earns 2 United miles per $1 spent on United purchases, hotel stays, and at restaurants and 1 United miles per $1 spent on all other purchases.

One of the best benefits is the free checked bag for you and up to one companion traveling on the same reservation when you use the card to purchase a United airfare ticket. If you normally pay for bags, this can save you a lot of money depending on how often you fly.

Other card benefits include up to $100 towards a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, 25% off in-flight purchases, United Club passes, and priority boarding.

Overall, the United Explorer Card is great option that can easily pay for itself if you fly United once or twice per year.

Intro Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Best For Frequent United Travelers

If you fly United often and you're looking for maximum benefits, the United Questâ„  Card will be the card you're looking for. It earns 3 United miles per $1 spent on United purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on select streaming services and all other travel, and 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else.

Along with the elevated earning rates, you'll receive a bunch of benefits including $125 in annual United Purchase credit, two free checked bags for yourself and up to one companion traveling on the same reservation, the ability to earn Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) on spending, and much more.

Intro Bonus: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Best For Flexible Rewards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best well-rounded travel cards as it offers flexible rewards that you can redeem directly with Chase for great value or transfer to partners such as United.

The card earns 5 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 points per $1 spent on online grocery purchases, select streaming services, and dining purchases, 2 points per $1 spent on other travel purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. These points can be transferred to United MileagePlus at a 1:1 ratio.

As a cardholder, you'll be able to redeem Ultimate Rewards Points for 25% more value when booking travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This provides a great alternative for you to get solid value out of points when used for airfare, hotels, and car rentals.

The card also offers a $50 anniversary hotel credit which can be used towards hotels booked via Chase Ultimate Rewards and great travel insurance.

Intro Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Best For High Value

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best travel credit cards in the market if you're looking for maximum value.

The card earns earns 10 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on both hotel and car rental purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5 points per $1 spent on airline travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 points per $1 spent on dining and other travel purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. These points can be transferred directly to United at a 1:1 ratio.

As a cardholder, you'll be able to redeem points for 50% more value towards travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. This gives you a great alternative in the case that you can't find great value transferring your points to United.

Other benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve include up to $300 in travel credit, Priority Pass Select membership, and superb travel insurance.

If you're looking to easily maximize your spending, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is at the top of the list.

Intro Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Best For Flexible Business Travel Rewards

If your business travels with United, you'll want to consider picking up the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card as it is one of the best options for earning rewards transferable to United.

The card earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Points can be transferred to United at a rate of 1:1 which is fantastic.

Cardholders will also be able to redeem Ultimate Rewards Points for 25% more value towards travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. This gives an easy redemption value of 1.25 cents per point which is great if the need to use rewards for non-United travel should pop up.

Intro Bonus: Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Best Credit Cards Summary

Credit Card Best For Annual Fee
Chase Unitedâ„  Explorer Card Occasional United Travelers $0 the first year, then $95
Chase United Questâ„  Card Frequent United Travelers $250
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Flexible Travel Rewards $95
Chase Sapphire Reserve® High Value $550
Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card Flexible Business Travel Rewards $95

United Miles Calculator

Use the United Miles Calculator to find out which credit cards will earn you the most miles based on the spend amounts you enter.

Results will be sorted by net return which is the average value of the rewards earned, plus annual credits, and minus annual fees. You'll want to take into consideration the benefits a card offers as well on top of the estimated value calculated.

Results will consist of top-rated credit cards that either earn United Miles directly or earn rewards that can be transferred directly to the United MileagePlus program.

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These estimates are to help guide you towards making the best decision when it comes to picking up a rewards credit card. They should be used for illustrative purposes only.

You can click on the estimated earnings to see the calculations or click on the card to learn more and apply for the card through our partners.

Do note that all spend amounts entered into the tool above will carry over to every credit card rewards calculator on the site, so there's no need to re-enter spend if you choose to dive deeper into calculating rewards for credit cards on the site.