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Yes, United MileagePlus miles expire if you have no activity on your account for an 18-month period. Per the MileagePlus program rules,
Any Member who fails at any time to engage in Account Activity (as defined in Rule 11 above) for a period of eighteen (18) consecutive months is subject to termination of such Member’s membership and/or forfeiture of all accrued mileage. United may, but shall have no obligation to, send a Member a notification of miles nearing expiration.
Rule 11 is defined as:
“Account Activity” shall be deemed to occur when a Member either (a) accrues mileage in such Member’s account in any manner recognized by the Program, including without limitation the use of a MileagePlus credit card, or (b) redeems any MileagePlus or Partner (as defined in Rule 12 below) award by the use of mileage in the Member’s account. In cases where mileage is for any reason removed from an account, as for example the redemption of an award, and there is a subsequent cancellation of the award or removal of miles and a redeposit of the miles to the Member’s account, the cancellation of the award or removal and redeposit of the mileage to the account shall not qualify as “Account Activity.” Neither United’s correction of mileage in an account nor Prohibited Conduct shall qualify as Account Activity.
In summary, Rule 11 defines “Account Activity” is defined as earning, redeeming, and buying or transferring miles. Any of these actions will keep your miles and United account active and current.
How Do I Earn United MilagePlus Miles?
Earning miles with United MileagePlus is very easy—there are so many ways to pick up miles and bonus miles that keeping your account alive through earning has never been easier. Some of the ways you can earn miles are as follows:
- The easiest way to earn miles is to fly with United
- Fly with one of United’s partner airlines and credit your United account
- Book hotel stays with one of United Hotel partners, including IHG, Hilton, and Marriott
- Rent a car from Hertz, Thrifty, and Dollar or any one of the other United Car Rental Partners
- Next time you travel on Amtrak, don’t forget to pick up your United miles
- You can earn miles for your next Cruise or vacation with United’s vacation Partners
- Earn miles whenever you spend with United℠ Explorer Card (our full review of the card and its benefits) or other United co-brand cards.
- Transfer Ultimate Rewards to your United account.
- Everyday shopping, use the United shopping portal and earn miles for your everyday purchases
- Join the United MileagePlus Dining program, and earn miles while dining out at over 11,000 participating venues
- use the MileagePlus X mobile application
Redeeming MileagePlus Miles
United offers many options for redeeming your miles, from shopping and entertainment to dining and magazine subscriptions, although regarding value the best redemptions are for award tickets on United. Combing through the United award space, there are some real sweet spots for redeeming your miles and getting the best value out of them.
Buying or Transferring Miles
If you are close to your 18-month deadline and you have not managed to earn or redeem miles to have some account activity and keep your miles alive, you always have the option of purchasing or transferring some miles. Bear in mind that buying miles is rarely value for money—if you have to, then buy the minimum; otherwise, it is best to wait until there is a bonus for purchasing miles.
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