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Rundown of United Airlines’ MileagePlus for Canadians (updated February 8, 2019)

It has been over 2 years since I last updated this post, so I think that it is a good time for a review. I was strongly considering switching my Star Alliance earnings to United Airlines’ MileagePlus program, instead of continuing to bank with Aeroplan (when I thought Air Canada was dropping Aeroplan). But with Air Canada buying out Aeroplan, looks like I will continue to use Aeroplan as my primary Star Alliance program. The main reason is because Aeroplan has many partners in Canada to earn miles with, which makes them valuable at the moment.

That being said, if you are a Canadian considering MileagePlus, I would consider the highlights below to help you optimize the program.

Expiry Policy

Miles remain active as long as their is an activity (earn or redeem) once every 18 months.

Earning Miles

Unfortunately for Canadians, there is no Canadian specific way to earn miles (e.g. co-branded credit card or transfer partner of a Canadian loyalty program). Which means that we can only earn miles the general way that all members can earn.

Airline Partners

United Airlines is a member of Star Alliance, which means that you can earn and redeem miles with all its members:

  • ADRIA Airways
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana
  • Austrian
  • Avianca
  • Avianca in Brazil
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Airways
  • Juneyao Airlines
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • SWISS
  • TAP Portugal
  • THAI
  • Turkish Airlines

As you probably noticed, Air Canada is a member of Star Alliance. So those who are frustrated with Aeroplan, United Airlines is a great alternative, as flying once a year would keep the account active (see expiry policy above).

Non-Star Alliance Partners

Furthermore, you can also earn and redeem miles with its non-alliance partners.

  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeromar Air
  • Dolomiti
  • Azul
  • Boutique Air
  • Cape Air
  • Edelweiss Air
  • Eurowings
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Olympic Air
  • Silver Airways

Transportation

MileagePlus has quite a few transportation partners (which I find makes MileagePlus valuable) that you can earn miles with:

  • Amtrak – earn between 250 – 750 miles per segment depending on fare class
  • Carmel – earm 50 award miles (within New York) or 100 award miles (outside of New York) and up to 2 miles per $1 spent on each trip
  • Dollar Rent A Car – earn 50 miles for rentals of 1 – 4 days or earn 500 miles per rental of 5 of more days
  • ExecuCar – earn 150 miles one-way
  • GroundLink – earn 200 miles per ride
  • Hertz – earn between 500 – 1,250 miles per qualifying rental depending on MileagePlus status
  • SuperShuttle – earn 50 miles one-way
  • Thrifty Car Rental – earn 50 miles for rentals of 1 – 4 days or earn 500 miles per rental of 5 of more days
  • United Cruises – earn up to 45,000 miles per cruise booking

Also watch for bonus offers to earn even more miles on a booking.

Hotels

There is a host of hotel partners that you can earn miles with. The earning structure can even vary for the same hotel chain, it is brand specific:

  • AC Hotels – earn 1 mile per $1 spent
  • Aloft Hotels – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Andaz – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Ascend Hotel Collection – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Autograph Collection Hotels – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Baymont Inn & Suites – earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 (USD) spent on qualified stays (depending on Wyndham Rewards elite status)
  • Best Western – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Cambria Suites – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Candlewood Suites – earn 1 mile for $1 spent
  • Clarion – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Comfort Inn – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Comfort Suites – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Cordis Hotels and Resorts – earn 500 miles per night or up to 1,500 miles per stay
  • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Courtyard by Marriott – earn 1 mile per $1 spent
  • Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Days Inn – earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 (USD) spent on qualified stays (depending on Wyndham Rewards elite status)
  • Delta Hotels – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Design Hotels – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Eaton HK – earn 250 miles per night or up to 750 miles per stay
  • Econo Lodge – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Edition – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Element – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Fairfield Inn by Marriott – earn 1 mile per $1 spent
  • Fiesta Americana – earn 2,000 miles per stay (minimum of two nights)
  • Four Points by Sheraton – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Gaylord Hotels – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Grand Hyatt – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham – earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 (USD) spent on qualified stays (depending on Wyndham Rewards elite status)
  • Holiday Inn Express – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Hotel Indigo – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Howard Johnson – earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 (USD) spent on qualified stays (depending on Wyndham Rewards elite status)
  • Hyatt Centric – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Hyatt Hotels & Resorts – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Hyatt House – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Hyatt Place – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Hyatt Regency – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Hyatt Summerfield Suites – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Hyatt Zilara – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Hyatt Ziva – earn 500 miles per stay
  • InterContinental Hotels & Resorts – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • La Quinta Inns & Suites – earn 750 miles per stay
  • The Langham Hotels and Resorts – earn 500 miles per night or up to 1,500 miles per stay
  • Le Meridien – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • The Luxury Collection – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • MainStay Suites – earn 250 miles per eligible stay
  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Marriott Vacation Club – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Microtel Inns Suites – earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 (USD) spent on qualified stays (depending on Wyndham Rewards elite status)
  • Millennium Hotels and Resorts – earn 500 miles (Millennium) / earn 250 miles (Copthorne)
  • Moxy Hotels – earn 1 mile per $1 spent
  • Park Hyatt Hotels – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Park Inn by Radisson – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Park Plaza – earn 500 miles per stay
  • PointsHound – earn up to 10,000 miles per night
  • Protea Hotels – earn 1 mile per $1 spent
  • Quality – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Radisson – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Radisson Blu – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Radisson RED – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Ramada Worldwide – earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 (USD) spent on qualified stays (depending on Wyndham Rewards elite status)
  • Renaissance Hotels & Resorts – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Residence Inn by Marriott – earn 1 mile per $1 spent
  • Rocketmiles – 1,000 – 10,000 miles per night
  • The Ritz-Carlton – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Rodeway Inn – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Shangri-La – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts – earn 500 miles per stay
  • Sheraton Hotels & Resorts – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Sleep Inn – earn 250 miles per stay
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott – earn 1 mile per $1 spent
  • St. Regis Hotels & Resorts – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Staybridge Suites – earn 1 mile per $1 spent
  • Suburban Extended Stay Hotel – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Super 8 – earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 (USD) spent on qualified stays (depending on Wyndham Rewards elite status)
  • The Unbound Collection by Hyatt – earn 500 miles per stay
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott – earn 1 mile per $1
  • Travelodge – earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 (USD) spent on qualified stays (depending on Wyndham Rewards elite status)
  • Tribute Portfolio – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • TRYP by Wyndham – earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 (USD) spent on qualified stays (depending on Wyndham Rewards elite status)
  • United Hotels – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • W Hotels – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Westin Hotels & Resorts – earn 2 miles per $1 spent
  • Wingate by Wyndham – earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 (USD) spent on qualified stays (depending on Wyndham Rewards elite status)
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts – earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 (USD) spent on qualified stays (depending on Wyndham Rewards elite status)

Just like with transportation booking, watch for bonus offers to earn even more miles for a hotel stay.

United Airlines

The most direct way of earning miles is paying for a flight with United Airlines, which has the following earning ratios depending on your elite status:

  • Earn 11 miles for every $1 spent on the base fare as a 1k member
  • Earn 9 miles for every $1 spent on the base fare as a Platinum Premier member
  • Earn 8 miles for every $1 spent on the base fare as a Gold Premier member
  • Earn 7 miles for every $1 spent on the base fare as a Silver Premier member
  • Earn 5 miles for every $1 spent on the base fare as a General member

Surveys

You can earn miles by completing surveys with E-Rewards (E-Rewards invitation only) and Opinion Miles Club.

Destinations Departing from Canada

Even though the frequent flyer program has a weak relationship with Canada, United Airlines has a strong presence in Canadian airports. Last time I already mentioned that the numbers of United flights are dwindling, and it only goes worse this time as even more flights got discontinued, rather than added.

Below is an of direct flights that are serviced by Canadian airports. Changes from last time are in brackets or struck-through:

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

  • United Airlines: Chicago-O’Hare, Denver (added), Houston–Intercontinental (added), San Francisco (begins March 31, 2019)
  • United Express: Chicago-O’Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, Washington-Dulles

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

  • United Airlines: Chicago-O’Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, San Francisco
  • United Airlines (seasonal): Los Angeles, Newark, Washington-Dulles
  • United Express: Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco

Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)

  • United Express: Chicago-O’Hare, Newark, Washington-Dulles

Calgary International Airport (YYC)

  • United Airlines: Chicago-O’Hare, Denver (added), Houston-Intercontinental, San Francisco
  • United Airlines (seasonal): Denver
  • United Express Chicago–O’Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, San Francisco

Edmonton International Airport (YEG)

  • United Airlines: Houston-Intercontinental
  • United Airlines (seasonal): Denver
  • United Express: Denver

Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport (YOW)

  • United Express: Chicago–O’Hare, Newark, Washington–Dulles

Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG)

  • United Express: Chicago-O’Hare, Denver

Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ)

  • United Express: Newark
  • United Express (seasonal): Chicago-O’Hare (begins June 6, 2019)

Victoria International Airport (YYJ)

  • United Express: San Francisco

Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB)

  • United Express: Newark
  • United Express (seasonal): Chicago-O’Hare

What I would like to See

I am not hopeful that any positive changes will occur. But if I had to choose one thing, I would like to see a co-branded credit card offered in Canada.

More importantly, what would you like United Airlines’ MileagePlus program do to expand its reach for Canadians? Please share in the comment section below!

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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