We don’t cover United MileagePlus much since the airline closed its UK credit card a few years ago.
Whilst there are arguably better value and more relevant Star Alliance frequent flyer schemes for UK residents, it does have some interesting quirks. Short haul Star Alliance redemptions are not a bad deal, for example – a one-way from Heathrow to Frankfurt on Lufthansa can be as low as 6,000 miles and $57 in Economy.
United is currently offering a 30% bonus on transfers of hotel loyalty points into MileagePlus. The offer runs until 30th September and you can see the details here. The bonus is capped at 25,000 miles.
The only hotel programme which offers genuine value when converting points into airline miles is Marriott Bonvoy.
This is especially true with United because of Marriott’s special partnership with the airline.
Transfers from Marriott to airlines are usually in the ratio of 3:1. For United, it is 3:1.1. You also get the usual 5,000 mile bonus (increased to 5,500 miles with the added 10%) for converting 60,000 Bonvoy points in one transaction.
- 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points becomes
- 22,000 United MileagePlus miles, plus
- 5,500 bonus United MileagePlus miles for converting 60,000 Marriott points, plus
- 8,250 bonus UnitedMileagePlus miles with the current ‘30% bonus’ promo
In total, you’d get 35,750 United MileagePlus miles for converting 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
This offer can also work well as a way of converting American Express Membership Rewards points into United MileagePlus miles.
The conversion rate from Amex to Marriott Bonvoy is 2:3. This means:
- 40,000 American Express Membership Rewards points becomes
- 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points which follows the path above to become
- 35,750 United MileagePlus miles
This is a ‘1 to 0.89’ conversion ratio from Amex to United which isn’t bad considering that it is not a direct partner.
If you don’t have an active United MileagePlus account or experience of using United miles, I wouldn’t bother with this. If it is one of the programmes where you have some interest, the 30% transfer bonus from hotel programme is worth looking at.