The best answer to whether United MileagePlus reward miles expire is “Yes, but…” United MileagePlus miles will expire after 18 consecutive months of inactivity, but there are ways to easily keep your account active to avoid expiration.
The MileagePlus program rules pertaining to miles expiration are explicitly clear:
Any Member who fails at any time to engage in Account Activity for a period of eighteen (18) consecutive months is subject to termination of such Member’s membership and/or forfeiture of all accrued mileage. United may, but shall have no obligation to, send a Member a notification of miles nearing expiration.
While it is conceivable that you might not earn any MileagePlus miles because you haven’t had any reason to take a United flight for 18 months, it is almost inconceivable that you couldn’t earn some miles in one of several ways. If you shop, dine out, rent a car, stay at a hotel, or use your credit card, you can earn MileagePlus miles which will keep your account active.
If you like to shop online take a spin over at United’s shopping portal. All you need is one purchase to keep your miles from expiring. MileagePlus Shopping is United’s shopping mall that can hook you up with many of your favorite online stores, such as Macys, JC Penney, Staples, Kohls and the Apple Store. Most stores offer one mile per dollar spent, but you’ll find many offering anywhere from two to 10 miles per dollar. Simply sign in to your account, look for the store you like and then click on the link to that store. You’ll earn miles for your purchase and you’re good for another 18 months.
If you like dining out, even if it is just one time a year, you can reset your miles expiration clock with one restaurant meal. Sign up for United’s MileagePlus Dining program and you can have access to hundreds of restaurants that reward you with MileagePlus miles. Just link to the restaurant you want and your account will be credited with miles after you pay your bill.
Rent a Car
When you rent a car from any of United’s MileagePlus partners – Hertz, Thrifty, and Dollar – you will earn miles.
Get a Room
If you need a hotel room, book it through one of United’s hotel partners, including Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, Marriott, Wyndham, Carlson, and Choice Privileges. When you reserve your room provide your MileagePlus account number and you will earn miles for your stay.
Use Your Credit Card
If you normally use a credit card for purchases it might make sense to get a United MileagePlus credit card. If you’re a business owner, than the business version of the MileagePlus credit card is another option. Every time you make a purchase with the airline card you earn miles.
The United MileagePlus Explorer Card from Chase awards you double miles on United air fare purchases and one mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. You are also allowed one free checked bag and two United Club passes. The Explorer Card has a $95 annual fee.
The United MileagePlus Club Card awards the same double miles on United air fare purchases, but it bumps the miles on all other purchases to 1.5 per one dollar spent. You will also receive a United Club membership. That’s a $550 value which makes the $450 annual fee a little easier to swallow.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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