After thunderstorms, air traffic control issues and operational challenges stranded thousands of passengers, United Airlines is offering 30,000 miles to passengers who were delayed overnight or didn’t make it to their final destinations between June 24 and 30.
However, this is not an automatic deposit. Instead, you must proactively take steps to ensure the miles post to your account.
Here’s how you can claim your 30,000 United miles — and how to put them to use once they arrive.
How to claim your miles
In the immediate aftermath of the disruptions, some affected United customers received emails stating United would send instructions on how to claim the goodwill miles.
If you received an email from United with a link to claim your miles, follow the instructions. Affected customers who aren’t MileagePlus members (or who traveled with a Star Alliance partner account) should have received enrollment instructions in this email.
You can also visit this webpage and sign into your MileagePlus account to receive the 30,000 goodwill miles. If your flight was affected and you had your MileagePlus number on your reservation, you should be able to follow the instructions to obtain your miles.
Once you claim your miles, they should instantly appear in your MileagePlus account.
If your flight was delayed overnight or you didn’t make it to your final destination between June 24 and 30, but the compensation webpage shows you’re ineligible, you can submit a customer care case at united.com/feedback. In your form submission, include your MileagePlus number and confirmation or eTicket number.
How to use your miles
Although you can use your United miles for some ancillary fees like Wi-Fi and onboard food, these redemption options aren’t conducive to maximizing your miles. Ideally, you should plan to redeem your miles for award flights.
Unfortunately, United increased award rates on some routes by over 100% earlier this year, which devalued MileagePlus miles. Our new valuation pegs United miles at 1.1 cents apiece, so 30,000 miles are worth $330. Naturally, the value of your miles can vary, but you should aim to get around $330 in value from these United miles.
While United miles never expire, you should consider redeeming your miles sooner rather than later, as historically, loyalty rewards are not good long-term investments.
Note that United occasionally offers award sales that could increase the value of your miles. For example, the airline offered round-trip flights to Australia and Tahiti from just 42,000 miles a few months ago. And you can always book a flight and redeposit the miles for a future flight if United offers an award sale. As of Jan. 1, United no longer charges redeposit fees.
If you don’t already have access to special member pricing rates (i.e., you don’t have United status or an eligible credit card), opening one of these credit cards will give you economy-class special member pricing and bonus miles, allowing you to stretch your 30,000 goodwill miles further:
- United Club Infinite Card: Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 1,000 Premier qualifying points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Offer ends Aug. 9.
- United Quest Card: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 PQPs after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open. Offer ends Aug. 9.
- United Explorer Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
- United Business Card: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
Club Infinite cardmembers also save around 10% on United and United Express-operated economy saver awards within the continental U.S. or between the continental U.S. and Canada.
Here are some examples of award tickets you can book with these 30,000 miles:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico’s Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR)
- Regular pricing: 5,500 miles
- Special member pricing: 5,500 miles
- Club Infinite pricing: 5,500 miles
Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR)
- Regular pricing: 31,800 miles
- Special member pricing: 31,800 miles
- Club Infinite pricing: 31,800 miles
Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
- Regular pricing: 15,000 miles
- Special member pricing: 11,100 miles
- Club Infinite pricing: 10,000 miles
Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
- Regular pricing: 15,000 miles
- Special member pricing: 14,400 miles
- Club Infinite pricing: 13,000 miles
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to San Diego International Airport (SAN)
- Regular pricing: 14,800 miles
- Special member pricing: 14,800 miles
- Club Infinite pricing: 13,300 miles
Denver International Airport (DEN) to Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
- Regular pricing: 32,000 miles
- Special member pricing: 15,000 miles
- Club Infinite pricing: 13,500 miles
Multicity Hawaii Excursionist Perk
- Regular pricing: 23,200 miles
- Special member pricing: 23,200 miles
- Club Infinite pricing: 23,200 miles
If you’re eligible for United’s 30,000 goodwill miles, make sure to claim them. Even though United increased award rates earlier this year, 30,000 miles are still worth $330 at TPG’s valuations.
Now is a great time to start looking for award flights to see how you might maximize your United miles.