How To Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points To United

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In general, we recommend earning transferable points when possible. They provide a lot of flexibility since you can hold them in your account until you are ready to redeem them. This provides a level of diversification because if one airline or hotel program devalues, you can choose to transfer to a different program.

There are four main programs for those wishing to earn transferable points. They include Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points, and Starwood Preferred Guest.

If you have any of the following, your Chase points transfer instantly to MileagePlus:

And if you have one of those cards, you can combine them with points from the following cards:

United is also technically a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest, but the transfer ratio is horrible. You can also theoretically transfer points from Marriott Rewards at a decent rate, but it does take some time, and you can’t place flights on hold in the interim, so Ultimate Rewards transfers are the preferred option.

Getting your Chase account ready to transfer Ultimate Rewards

In order to transfer Ultimate Rewards to United – or for any partner for that matter –there are a few basic steps to complete upfront.

First, you need to have online access to the Chase credit card where you earn Ultimate Rewards points. If you haven’t done so already, you can go to Chase.com and click on the “Not enrolled, Sign up now” link. From there, just enter the requested information.

If you already have a Chase.com account, then all of your Chase credit cards should show up there already.

You also need to have a United MileagePlus account. If you don’t already have one, you can sign up here.

Once you have both your Chase online account setup and are a member in United MileagePlus, you’re ready to transfer some Ultimate Rewards points.

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to United MileagePlus

First, you should log in to your Chase.com online account:

On mobile, scroll past all of your Chase credit card accounts to the bottom of the left panel, where it will display your Ultimate Rewards balance. On a desktop or tablet, you’ll see a box in the upper right with your points balance.

Click the box that says Use your points:

If you have more than one Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards, the next screen will ask you to select which account you want to use. If you only have one card that earns Ultimate Rewards you’ll skip this step.

Note that you can transfer Ultimate Rewards from one credit card to another within your account.

At the Ultimate Rewards home screen, you want to select Use Points from the menu at the top and then Transfer to Travel Partners:

You will then be presented with a list of all of the transfer partners. Scroll down until you find United MileagePlus. Then click Transfer Points:

You can then select the recipient from the box on the left. Note that you can only transfer points to either your account or the account of an authorized user on your credit card.

At this point you can enter the number of Ultimate Rewards points that you want to transfer to United miles in increments of 1,000. Ultimate Rewards transfer to United miles at a 1:1 ratio meaning that for each 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll receive 1,000 United miles.

In the example, I’ve chosen to transfer 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points:

You have one more chance to verify the transaction before it becomes final. That’s right, Ultimate Rewards transfers are not reversible and not refundable once you transfer them, so double check that you are transferring the correct amount:

The next screen confirms the transaction. You should receive an email confirmation as well.

That’s all there is to it!

How long does it take to transfer Ultimate Rewards to United?

The following chart shows how long it typically takes for Ultimate Rewards points to transfer to partners.

Ultimate Rewards Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Air France KLM FlyingBlue1000 : 1000Instant
British Airways Executive Club1000 : 1000Instant
Korean Air SkyPass1000 : 1000Instant
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1000 : 1000~ 12 to 24 hours
Southwest Rapid Rewards1000 : 1000Instant
United MileagePlus1000 : 1000Instant
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1000 : 1000Instant
IHG Rewards Club1000 : 1000~ 1 to 2 days
Marriott Rewards1000 : 1000~ 1 to 2 days
Ritz-Carlton Rewards1000 : 1000~ 1 to 2 days
World Of Hyatt1000 : 1000Instant

As you can see, Ultimate Rewards usually transfer instantly to United miles. That means you should be able to immediately login to your United and account and confirm the transaction (sometimes you’ll need to log out and back in before the balance updates):

Booking award flights with United miles

Now that you’ve transferred some Ultimate Rewards to United miles, it’s time to book a flight. United miles are very flexible and have many good uses, even after the recent devaluation. Ben values United miles at 1.4 cents each.

United’s award availability is pretty good on both domestic and international routes. And since United is a member of Star Alliance, you can book flights on airlines around the world, including Thai, ANA, Lufthansa, and Air Canada, all from the United.com website. You might want to check out Tiffany’s post on 5 Fantastic Uses of United Miles.

It’s worth noting that United now charges more miles for award booked in business or first class on most of their partners. You can verify how many miles are required for a particular award using their interactive award chart, though it gets more complicated if you want to take advantage of a stopover.

The United.com award search engine is both good and bad. It allows you to book awards from most partners right on the website, but there are some annoying glitches that you’ll notice as you start to use it. But overall, it’s pretty good.

Starting at the United.com homepage, login to your account. If you have elite status or a co-branded credit card like the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card, you may find better award availability by searching while you are logged in.

Enter the origin, destination, and preferred date of your trip. Make sure to check the box Search for award travel:

The next screen will show a calendar that theoretically provides an indicator of award availability for two months around your preferred date. You can choose a different date if you wish, but know that the dots and lines on the calendar are not accurate for partner flights. You’re best off clicking on the dates even if it looks like they don’t have award space:

Available flights for your selected date are shown below with a column indicating the award miles required to book that flight in each class of service.

You can also sort the list by number of stops, miles required, departure or arrival time, and a few other attributes:

To avoid clutter, you need to click on Details to view the equipment type, duration, and other relevant information for the flight. This is especially necessary when booking connecting flights, as the class of service might not be what you’d expect:

Once you’ve selected a flight, click on the Select button to continue with the booking process.

If you forgot to login, you will be prompted to do so now:

You’ll then have the opportunity to buy various bundles of extra services. Note that if you are a Premier member, you might already get some of these options. There is also an option to Hold fare:

From there you can continue to book the reservation by entering the passenger information and your form of payment.

If things go well, you’ll receive a confirmation number, along with a message that the reservation was “ticketed and confirmed.”

What to do when things don’t go well is a topic for another post, but fortunately those things are more rare with United these days.

Bottom line

Ultimate Rewards are valuable because they can easily and quickly be transferred to a variety of airline and hotel partners. This can give you a lot of flexibility since you can earn points prior to knowing exactly where you’ll redeem them.

Earning transferable points also provides a hedge against devaluations in any single program since if one program changes the price of an award, you can choose to transfer them to a different program instead.

And United can be a great option for using your Chase points, given the instantaneous transfers and the relative ease of booking international award tickets on United.com.

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Comments

  1. Thank goodness that mystery is finally solved! Tomorrow maybe you can show me how to transfer to southwest? I just can’t figure it out!!

  2. did .you really need a post on this? UR might be the easiest and fastest currency to transfer and the new united website is pretty intuitive to book

  3. I suppose it’s good info for those who are brand new, but is that the readership of this blog? Perhaps if you post stuff that 99% of readers already know you can put something in the title that says, “For beginners”?

  4. You should probably show everyone how to redeem American awards next….this is real complicated stuff here. Seriously Lucky, why do you keep allowing this amateur stuff on this blog?

  5. Mileage redemption is getting harder and harder, and the gap between the knowledge required to effectively redeem miles and the knowledge required effective to accumulate miles is widening. The reality is that staying ahead of the curve on mileage redemption is getting harder and harder, and that’s going to continue to be the case I think.

    So, what’s my point? Anyone that cannot figure out how to transfer Chase points to United without this kind of tutorial probably shouldn’t be encouraged to be accumulating them at all. I say this not to be judgmental. And I’m not being critical of the blog for having content that appeals all across the learning curve. It is simply that those people would do better with a cash back card, or something simple like Arrival.

  6. Yeah – this post is millionmilesecrets worthy.. Not OMAAT quality.

    You may follow up with a post describing techniques on how to transfer UR points to non-AU accounts.

  7. What are you guys sneering at? Quit acting like you haven’t ever padded your portfolio with useless fluff.

    This post wasn’t about teaching us how to transfer UR to United. What kind of a monkey doesn’t know how to do that yet? Travis is here to push Chase cards. Let the man do his job.

  8. Thanks, as always, for the helpful advice. I have about 130,00 Chase reward points to be transferred to some airline, but I’m not sure which airline partner to transfer the points to. I live in LA and would love to have a first class Air France flight (using the wonderful Air France Paris 1st class lounge Lucky raves about), or a Singapore Airlines suite flight (I believe there is just regular first class between LA and Singapore), or the Etihad first class and residence.
    Do I have enough rewards points for any of these flights? If so, which of these airlines has the best availability for booking the 1st class reward flight? Thanks

  9. Long time reader, first time poster. Wow… It’s just a blog. I like how this website is about traveling. If I wanted negativity I would go to yahoo.

  10. What’s wrong with the people questioning whether this is an appropriate topic for this blog? Do they think that all of us are super-duper-high-rolling-elite-expert-flyers like they are? I am very grateful to OMAAT for publishing this little tutorial. I’ve been flying to Europe on United award miles twice a year for several years, but I’m new to Ultimate Rewards points. I learned a thing or two. Thanks, OMAAT.

  11. I agree! I mean the program has been around for 6 years, and it may have been covered to death, and it even may be the most user friendly and intuitive transfer portal out there, but enough with the haters and trolls!! This post wasn’t written to push credit cards, so if you don’t like go read a different blog. The comment section is reserved for fawning praise!

  12. I found it useful — I just got a CSR card a few months ago, and am just learning the ropes.

    I had a question about this sentence in the post: “If you have elite status or a co-branded credit card like the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card, you may find better award availability by searching while you are logged in.”

    So United will give you more availability if you have their credit card? I have an Explorer Card but was thinking of dropping it (and its annual fee) now that I’ve moved all my spend to the CSR. Is this an unwise choice?

  13. Jim — Yes, members with the Explorer card tend to get access to expanded award inventory which is normally available to those with elite status. This expanded inventory shows up as fare class XN, while the regular saver awards come out of X.

    The question then is how much better award availability is there in the XN bucket vs. X. That’s hard to answer, as I’ve seen it change over time. Sometimes there isn’t much difference at all. Sometimes there will be some XN seats when you need them. So it’s hard to quantify.

    Maybe do some searches on routes you would redeem miles on — do a search where you are logged in to your account (and thus it shows XN), and then search when you are logged out (where it won’t know you have the Explorer card). Then you’ll get a feel for whether the difference is significant or not at the moment — just remember, it tends to change over time.

  14. Travis never responds to criticism. He waits for someone to compliment his post and then responds solely to them.

    How about this, Travis: tell people how they can transfer Starpoints to Marriott and then to United and achieve better than 1:1 ratios (and thus better than UR->United) which is something much less commonly known, and the purpose of such a blog. But then, it’s pump-Chase-cards time, rather than pump-Amex-cards time, isn’t it?

  15. @james

    Last I checked I cannot get 5x starpoints on the reg. I agree that the method you are describing is good, but right now its better to AP, and to other programs like JAL. I would NEVER use spg points to UA via your method.

  16. Can you guys show me how to wipe my butt too? Not sure if I should wipe front to back or back to front, truly stumped!

    Thanks in advance.

  17. @ Tim….can we speak English on the blog?

    “last I checked I cannot get 5x starpoints on the reg” what is the reg? You mean regular non bonus spend?

    “right now its better to AP” What is AP?

  18. Great informational post. Up until now, I’ve just used points or miles for redemption in a specific program and just started collecting transferable points. While I think I could have figured it out, it always nice to know what something looks like in practice.

  19. I disagree with this suggestion.

    1. Chase offers excellent redemption offers with a combination of cash and points if you do not have enough points for redeeming the points through them. The added benefit is you still get the rewards of the flight because Chase actually paid for the ticket for you. However, if you are transferring some points to United or another airline, to top off your balance so you can redeem for a ticket, this is different, but to get rid of ALL of your Chase points is not a good idea. Even paying for a ticket, the Chase travel is an excellent choice. Often times they are cheaper than booking direct with the airline, and they offer a refundable tickets. Getting a ticket refunded is painless, too.

    2. Membership Rewards (AmEx) points are expensive to redeem, even with the points back, they still want a lot more points to redeem for a ticket than Chase, so transferring these would make sense; however, SPG is one of the few programs I see it is worth. While they devalue the amount of SPG points AmEx is worth, if you transfer them to Marriott, it just about equals.

    3. SPG only makes sense to transfer if you are transferring it between your Marriott/Ritz account so you compile the points into one place, or depending on which hotel you are redeeming for, etc but there are plenty of great Marriott, Ritz, and SPG properties that offer it at a reasonable rate for redemption.

  20. I called yesterday the Chase customer service and asked whether is possible to transfer points from chase freedom or freedom unlimited to united mileage. I was not able to find it in the menu. I was told that it is not possible. Maybe it works just for Sapphire cards.

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