United airlines is not a direct transfer partner within the American Express Membership Rewards program. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your Membership Rewards points to book an award ticket with United!
Airlines often have a partnerships with each other so customers can use their miles to book award tickets with other airlines. Sometimes the airlines make it easy to use your miles by allowing you to do a search on their website and book the ticket on your own. Luckily, using Membership Rewards miles to fly United is a pretty seamless process.
Other times it can seem like the airline don’t even want you to know the partnership exists and they force you to call in to make the award booking. Here is my post on how to book a Delta award ticket with Virgin Atlantic miles. (Hint: Virgin Atlantic forces you to call in to book your award ticket.)
How to book a United award ticket with Amex Membership Rewards
One of the transfer partners within the Membership Rewards program is aeroplan/Air Canada. If you’re not familiar with airline partnerships, then you might be surprised to find out that Aeroplan allows you to book an award ticket on United! After doing a quick search, the availability looks great!
Before you begin, create a free account over at Aeroplan.com. You’ll receive an Aeroplan account number. I recommend storing this somewhere safe since you use this to login to your account each time.
Before you transfer your Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan, you’ll want to make sure the availability is there! You’ll also need to know how many points to transfer. Click on “Use Your Miles” on the top menu bar, and then click on “Travel“.
Type in your departure/arrival airport and start searching for award tickets. I looked for availability this October from MSP to CLT to go see my parents and there was plenty of award tickets for only 25,000 miles!
After you have verified how many miles it’s going to take to book your award ticket, then you’ll want to head back to your Membership Rewards account and transfer your points to Aeroplan.
Additional things to keep in mind:
Aeroplan does allow you to book one-way award tickets at half the cost. This means you could book a one-way for only 12,500 miles!
The reason why I like having United as a travel option is because Delta seems to charge whatever they want now days for an award ticket, and American Airlines availability is scarce unless you book far in advance. Remember, just because American Airlines isn’t an official transfer partner like United airlines, you can still book an award ticket on AA by transferring your points to the British Airways Avios program.
Since both United and American Airlines allow one-way award tickets for only 12,500 miles, you could depart with one airline and fly back home with the other!