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United Airlines isn’t an American Express Membership Rewards® transfer partner, making it a little harder to book award travel on the major airline. However, there are several ways to use Amex Points for United flights through partner airlines and American Express Travel. Let us show you how.

Best Amex Offer: New American Express® Gold Card cardholders can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months.

United Airlines 777 Polaris LAX to HNL February 28, 2022. Photo by Johnny Jet

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit to learn more.

Can American Express Points Be Used For United Airlines?

You cannot transfer American Express Membership Rewards points directly to United Airlines, but that doesn’t mean they can’t book United-operated award flights. The easiest option is to book United flights through American Express Travel (

Your other option is transferring to a Star Alliance partner and looking for award availability. You might be able to book United-operated flights online. However, sometimes a phone call is necessary.

These are the American Express Star Alliance transfer partners:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • Singapore Airlines

Here are a few of the top American Express cards for travel that can take you around the world.

American Express Travel

The most convenient option is redeeming Amex points for United Airlines flights you find through American Express Travel is the built-in travel portal available to Amex cardholders. Additionally, it compares flights between many domestic and international carriers.

Each point is worth one cent using the credit card travel portal. It’s not necessarily the most valuable redemption method, but you avoid the transfer process. The risk is that award space becomes unavailable while waiting for your points to be deposited.

The most luxurious American Express credit cards offer additional benefits to help you save on airline-related expenses and expand your redemption value.

For instance, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express gives 35% points back (up to 1 million points per year) on qualifying first-class and business-class award trips. Additionally, the consumer and business Platinum Card products reimburse up to $200 in incidental airline fees for one airline of choice.

Air Canada Aeroplan

The Air Canada Aeroplan loyalty program uses a zone-based award chart that can require fewer points than by booking directly through United Airlines.

The number of points required for partner flights depends on the flight distance. For instance, a 500-mile domestic short-haul flight needs 6,000 Aeroplan points. However, you need 12,500 points for a flight distance between 1,501 and 2,750 miles.

You won’t pay a close-in booking fee when redeeming points within 21 days of your departure date. There is no online booking fee, but a fee applies for phone-based award reservations.

Related: Finding The Miles That Transfer to Aeroplan

ANA Mileage Club

The ANA Mileage Club and United Airlines partnership lets ANA Premium Members and United MileagePlus Premier members enjoy elite status perks on either airline. You can book round-trip United award flights through ANA, as the carrier doesn’t offer one-way itineraries in this situation.

Start by searching for round-trip availability on the ANA website to start the award flight booking process. You won’t pay fuel surcharges, which is a bonus too. The award availability is competitive for domestic and international flights. Depending on the departure points, you can anticipate spending between 60,000 and 90,000 for round-trip fares.

Related: Traveler’s Secret: The Best Credit Cards for Miles Aren’t Always Miles Cards

Avianca LifeMiles

Many travelers like transferring credit card points to Avianca LifeMiles as this Star Alliance member doesn’t charge fuel surcharges. However, award space for partner airlines, including United Airlines, can be limited and require a flexible travel schedule.

You should also expect a $25 award travel booking fee and encounter expensive cancellation penalties if your travel plans change. It’s possible to book award flights online using the Avianca website or mobile app. However, both platforms are known to be glitchy, and it can take a few times to get a session working properly.

One option is flying one-way from Chicago to Washington, D.C., for as low as 7,500 LifeMiles. Award flights to Europe in United Airlines business class can cost as little as 60,000 miles one-way and without a fuel surcharge.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Many world travelers enjoy Singapore Airlines for its premium cabin experience, but you may also find United Airlines award availability. Refine your search on the airline website to display results for Star Alliance partners.

Award availability isn’t necessarily common, so you may try other alliance partners first, as this Reddit thread confirms. Additionally, Singapore Airlines also has partner airline award charts with Alaska Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Vistara, and Juneyao Airlines.

Best American Express Credit Cards for United

Additionally, these two consumer cards can help you frequently book United flights with Amex points.

American Express Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card welcome offer is 60,000 bonus Membership Rewards®, which are worth $600 in award flights and select gift cards. You can earn this bonus after spending $6,000 during the first 6 months.

Consider trying for the American Express Gold Card for these reasons:

  • Can redeem up to $120 in Uber Cash for rides and eats (eligible for $10 in Uber Cash each month (subject to these terms and conditions; to receive this benefit, you must have downloaded the latest version of the Uber App and your eligible American Express Gold Card must be a method of payment in your Uber account; benefit may only be used in the United States)
  • Are able to use the up to $10 monthly dining credits (up to $120 per year) at participating restaurants
  • Want to earn 4x Membership Rewards® points on dining worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in U.S. supermarket purchases, then 1X)
  • Receive 3x points on flights booked directly from the airline or on
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Prefer to redeem your points for award flights, 1:1 point transfers, or gift cards
  • Enrollment required

You stand to gain the most from this Amex card when using it mostly for dining, groceries, and flight purchases. In most cases, the most valuable point redemption option is for award flights that you book through or transfer to an airline partner. The annual fee is $250 (See Rates & Fees).

Related: Is the American Express Gold Card Worth the Annual Fee?

The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express earns up to 5x Membership Rewards on flights and hotels. You also get complimentary access to several airport lounge networks and an annual $200 airline fee credit.

Consider the International Airlines Program, which offers discounted fares on select business and first-class fares from several airlines. Additionally, you can get up to 20% off qualifying fares for up to eight tickets. You can book these fares by calling Amex Concierge.

There are many other travel and lifestyle benefits this premium credit card offers. Its annual fee is $695 for a primary card and $195 per secondary card (See Rates & Fees).

New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $8,000 on purchases on their new Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership.


See how you might be targeted for the Amex Platinum 100,000 or 125,000 Bonus Offer!


In conclusion, there are several ways to use Amex Points for United flights, even though the legacy airline isn’t a direct transfer partner. The easiest option is to redeem points through However, you might get a better redemption value through a participating Star Alliance partner. For most travelers, Air Canada Aeroplan and Avianca LifeMiles are the best ways to convert Membership Rewards into United flights using point transfers.

Related Articles:

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of The American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

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