Best Credit Cards 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 2022-07-10

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.

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.

The card earns 2X United Miles on United purchases, hotel stays, and at restaurants. All other purchases earn 1X miles.

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.

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 3X United Miles on United purchases, 2X at restaurants, on select streaming services and all other travel, and 1X 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.

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 5X points on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X on online grocery purchases, select streaming services, and dining purchases, 2X on other travel purchases, and 1X 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.

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 10X Ultimate Rewards Points on Chase Dining purchases and both hotel and car rental purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5X on airline travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X on dining and other travel purchases, and 1X 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.

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's the best option for earning rewards transferable to United.

The card earns 3X Ultimate Rewards Points on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising purchases and 1X 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.

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.

All spend entered in the fields above will carry over to every credit card rewards calculator on the site so there's no need to re-enter spend.