If you take the time to earn miles, you need to be aware of the rules for keeping those miles. Some airlines will claw back your miles if there isn’t any account activity within a certain number of months. In the case of United Airlines, you will forfeit your miles if you do not earn or redeem miles for 18 consecutive months. Let’s talk about what you can do to keep your miles.
Take a Survey
It’s hard to believe, but you can earn United MileagePlus miles by taking surveys from MyPoints, e-Miles and OpinionMilesClub. These deposits, even though they’re usually small, will reset the expiration date on your account.
Swipe Your Credit Card
Most airlines have a partnership with a credit-card company to provide co-branded credit cards. If you fly United Airlines often, or redeem miles on any StarAlliance partner airline, it makes sense to get one of Chase’s United MileagePlus credit cards. Anytime you charge a purchase to the card, you’ll earn miles and that will reset the expiration date of your MileagePlus account.
Do Some Shopping
MileagePlus Shopping is the name of the online shopping portal that will net you miles for purchases you make at your favorite online stores. Just log in, look for the store you want to shop at and then click on the link to that merchant. You’ll earn a certain number of miles per dollar spent at that merchant, and that activity will reset the clock on the expiration of your miles.
Almost all of us eat out at restaurants from time to time. If you do, sign up for United’s MileagePlus Dining program. Then when you dine at participating restaurants, you’ll earn miles. Sign up now and miles earned in this way will reset the expiration date on your account.
Take a Flight
All paid flights earn miles, so you can reset the expiration date on your account by flying on United or any StarAlliance partner, including Adria, Aegean, Air Canada Airlines, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels, CopaAirlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, Eva Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss, TAP Portugal, Thai and Turkish Airlines.
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Renting cars from certain agencies will net you MileagePlus miles. Look for deals from Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty. If you don’t need to rent a car, but you do use a car service, look to Groundlink. They also award MileagePlus miles to its customers.
Another way to earn miles—and reset the expiration clock on your account—is to book a stay at one of thousands of hotels in the United States, Canada and beyond. Just look at United’s partnerships with hotel brands like Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, IHG, Hyatt, Carlson, Wyndham, Choice Privileges and others. Just be sure to credit your stay to your United MileagePlus account.
Book a Vacation or Cruise Package
United, like most airlines, also offers vacation and cruise departments. If you’re booking a package, it pays to check these options because you’ll earn miles for all trips booked through United Vacations or United Cruises.
Buy, Transfer or Give Miles
You can buy United MileagePlus miles, transfer them to another account or give them to someone. Every time you buy, transfer or give miles, your account expiration date resets.
Buy a Mercedes-Benz
Okay, so this isn’t going to work for everyone, but you can earn 25,000 bonus miles if you purchase a Certified Pre-owned Mercedes.
Invest Money With Fidelity
Earn up to 50,000 MileagePlus miles when you open and fund a Fidelity Investments account, or add new money to an existing account.
Each of the above methods will earn MileagePlus miles, and when those miles hit your account, your expiration date will be extended for 18 months. It’s also important to remember that redeeming miles also resets your account. So don’t sit on those miles, just pick a fabulous vacation destination and get going.
Finally, if the worst happens and you do lose miles due to inactivity in your account, you can pay United to have them reinstated. The fee ranges from $50 for one to 5,000 miles right up to $2,500 for reinstating 500,001 to 750,000 miles.