Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Get 15,000 United MileagePlus miles bonus with their free UK credit card

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For the last few months, the United Airlines MileagePlus Amex credit cards (issued by MBNA) has had the unique distinction of offering NO sign-up bonus!

Things are improving, though. Via this link, you can now earn 15,000 bonus United miles when you take out their cards.

The cards are free and you only need to spend £1500 within 90 days to trigger the bonus.

United credit card

The offer runs until 15th July.

The representative APR is 18.9% variable.

The card was revamped and relaunched in October 2013. As is now the model with MBNA cards (Lufthansa, American, Etihad, Emirates etc) it comes as a double-pack with an American Express and a Visa.

Here are the core facts:

Generous (for a free credit card) sign-up bonus of 15,000 United MileagePlus miles

No annual fee

Very good earning rate (for a free card) of 1.25 miles per £1 on the American Express and 0.625 miles on the Visa

It is worth noting that United is the only airline to enforce a particularly poor exchange rate with Starwood Preferred Guest.  It does this in order to protect its own credit card. Whilst almost all other airlines transfer at 1:1 from Starwood, United transfers at an amazingly poor 2:1. This means that these MBNA cards are the only realistic way to earn decent levels of United miles on credit card spend.

However, United announced an incredibly bad devaluation of MileagePlus in 2013. This particularly impacts people outside the USA, since the hardest hit awards were Business Class and First Class redemptions on Star Alliance partners.

Here is a PDF of their award chart with Star Alliance awards on page 3.

A one-way business class award to the Middle East is 45,000 miles (up from 27,500 miles) so the credit card bonus would leave you well short. If you’re heading to the US, a one-way Saver-level award in business to New York would be 57,500 miles.  However if Saver seats are not there you are looking at a crazy 150,000 miles for a one-way ticket

Please note United’s nasty fees for changes or cancellation, or indeed booking less than 21 days before departure.

In the main, because you now can’t get very far on United unless you have a very large miles balance, the main beneficiaries of this deal will be people who already have some MileagePlus miles they want to build up.

I will be running a fully updated review of the United cards in the next couple of weeks as our ‘Credit Card Reviews’ series cycles towards the end of the alphabet.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (3)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Gabe says:

    Hi raffles, i know you usually redeem in business and write down the required miles for business, i usually redeem economy, (not sure what most of your readers redeem on). So not sure if you can implement this

    • Alan says:

      The thing to be aware of when redeeming in economy with BA (apart from some situations such as within Europe with Reward Flight Saver or within the US) is that the amount of taxes you end up still paying on the ticket can really reduce the value you’re gaining from your points vs paying outright cash. US airline programmes can be a bit better in that their taxes aren’t nearly as high, however it’s still a much closer run thing that a business class redemption.

      • Gabe says:

        Yes i usually redeem economy ba in Europe, or other airlines beyond Europe to avoid that

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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