5 Top Ways to Redeem 100,000 United Miles

Feb 23, 2017

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – United MileagePlus Explorer Card, United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card


In the market for a six-figure frequent-flyer mile balance? Now’s a great time to sign up for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card and/or the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card — since both are offering elevated bonuses of 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, you’ll be on your way to 100,000 miles in no time. We previously covered some top ways to redeem the 50k miles you’ll get with this offer, and today we’re taking a look at some of the best ways to use 100k United miles.

You could end up with this 100k stash by signing up for both United co-branded cards and earning two 50k bonuses, or by signing up for one if you already have a good amount of miles in your MileagePlus account. Or perhaps you already have 100,00-plus miles simply gathering dust — or a lot of Chase Ultimate Rewards points you’re not sure how to use. Whatever your situation, hopefully this article provides you with some inspiration.

In This Post

1. One-Way to or From Europe in Polaris Plus One-Way in Coach

United’s new Polaris premium product is now in service, and while you’ll need to travel between San Francisco and Newark or Hong Kong to try the new Polaris seat before March is through, you’ll at least be able to experience the “soft product” on a one-way flight to or from Europe for 57,500 miles. If you’re operating with a 100,000-mile budget, you could book the other leg in coach for 30,000 miles. It could be worth taking the outbound segment in Polaris — especially if it’s a red-eye — so you can get some quality sleep and hit the ground running at your destination, but if you want to enjoy the food and service, you might also consider taking a red-eye to Europe in the main cabin and returning to the US in business class. Plus, thanks to United’s Excursionist Perk, with this redemption option you can get one intra-Europe flight for free.

2. Two Premium-Cabin Round-Trip Domestic Flights

100k miles is enough to book two round-trip transcon flights in United’s p.s. premium cabin.

You can book a round-trip business or first-class domestic flight for 50,000 United miles (at the Saver level), so with 100,000 miles you could book a premium-cabin award within the US for you and one companion. This could be an especially valuable redemption if you book on one of United’s p.s. transcon routes (Newark to Los Angeles or Newark to San Francisco), as you’ll enjoy lie-flat seats.

3. Two First-Class Flights Between Australia and South Asia

This option will likely only make sense for you if you can fit it into a larger itinerary, but if you’re building a trip that will take you to multiple continents, note that you can redeem United miles to fly between Australia or New Zealand and Asia — and enjoy Thai Airways’ first class in the process. You’ll find premium lie-flat seats and Dom Perignon Champagne on board, and free massages and escorts through the airport as you wait for your flights. It costs just 40,000 miles to book first on Thai’s 747 between Sydney and Bangkok, so you could book two one-way awards or one-round trip flight for a total of 80,000 miles.

4. Round-Trip to Hawaii in First Class

You can book a round-trip first-class award to Honolulu for 80k miles. Image courtesy of voshadhi via Getty Images.

100,000 United miles is also more than enough to book a round-trip award from the continental US to Hawaii. At the Saver level, a one-way first-class award costs 40,000 miles, so you can get there and back for 80,000. You’ll get especially good value with this redemption if you snag an award from Newark (EWR) or Washington-Dulles (IAD), since United offers lie-flat seats on these longer routes, though first-class award availability can be difficult to nail down on the airline’s most premium domestic routes.

5. Two Coach Flights From Europe to the US

With low-cost carrier WOW Air offering plenty of ultra-cheap fares lately, it could be worth paying out of pocket for a one-way flight on the Icelandic carrier from the US to Europe, and using United miles to book a main-cabin award for the return journey. You could use this strategy to book two sub-$100 one-way fares and two one-way awards for a total of 60,000 miles, plus some cash.

Bottom Line

These are just a handful of options for redeeming 100,000 United miles — make sure to play around with the carrier’s interactive award chart to explore additional redemptions. If any of these itineraries appeal to you, consider applying for the MileagePlus Explorer Card and/or the MileagePlus Explorer Business Card sooner than later, since we don’t know how long these elevated bonuses will be available.

How would you redeem 100,000 United miles?

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