Earning United Miles No Matter Who You Fly

This is the first in a series of posts on managing your accumulation of miles. You can generally earn miles with whomever you wish. This post will explain how to earn United miles if that’s your preferred currency.

If you’re a United frequent flyer, and you really just want to accumulate United miles, but you’re forced to fly another airline odds are you can still earn the miles you want.

In fact, you can fly Delta, Continental, Northwest, USAirways, or Alaska and earn United Mileage Plus points instead of receiving points from Skymiles, Onepass, Worldperks, Dividend Miles, or Mileage Plan.


If you’re flying USAirways, you can credit the miles directly to your United account. Just give USAirways your United frequent flyer number. The same holds true for Delta.

You can earn Continental miles for flying Continental, Northwest, or Alaska. And Continental miles can be transferred 1:1 (no devaluation) into United miles.

Sound too good to be true? Here’s how it works.

Continental miles can be transferred 1:1 into Amtrak Guest Rewards points. To do this, call the Continental One Pass Service Center at (713)/952-1630 (6:30am to 8:00pm Central). Have your Continental and Amtrak account numbers and passwords ready. They will move miles to amtrak in 5000 point increments. The transfer should be accomplished within 10 days.

Amtrak Guest Rewards points can be transferred 1:1 in blocks of 5000 into United miles.

These transfers used to be unlimited — and folks were moving hundreds of thousands of Continental points into United because Continental miles are uniquely difficult to use — but Amtrak now caps the transfer at 25,000 miles per year (50,000 is the max if you’re an Amtrak elite member). You can still transfer all the Continental miles you want into Amtrak, but Amtrak limits the number of points that can be transferred out now because they have to buy miles from United. And Amtrak isn’t doing too well financially these days

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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