Not Traveling? United Cardholders Can Use Miles Towards Annual Fees

As COVID-19 has us all stuck at home and avoiding travel, we’ve had some time to think about our unused travel miles. As a member of United’s MileagePlus program, I have been racking up miles for future flying plans. However, I’m also a MileagePlus Chase Cardmember, meaning I have greater options when it comes to utilizing those miles.

Although thankfully United miles never expire, it’s worth it to explore some options as to how you may be able them to benefit from them in the meantime. One way you can spend your miles is by putting it toward your annual cardholder fee.

For example, the most basic card offered by the airline—the United Explorer Card charges a $95 annual fee each year after the first year. To pay that fee in miles, I would need to spend 9,500 miles. However, when spending miles to pay an annual fee, those miles must be Choices miles. Choices miles are earned solely with the credit card, not through travel.

Therefore, each dollar equates to 100 miles when using them to pay an annual fee. Let’s try another example, like the United Club Card. This card charges a $450 annual fee, providing numerous benefits that outweigh the cost. If I wanted to pay my annual fee with Choices miles, I would need to fork up 45,000 miles.

Ideally, most people would prefer to put those miles toward travel. However you spend your United miles is your choice. Nevertheless, it’s great to be aware of all your options. For someone who is trying to reduce expenses due to a shaky financial situation, paying their annual fee in miles might be the better choice. If you’re someone who would rather stick it out and hang onto your miles, you won’t have to worry about them expiring.

To determine how many miles you would need to pay your annual Chase credit card fee, there is a convenient tool located in your MileagePlus account.

annual fee calculator

In order to access this feature, you will need to view your Choices activity summary. Please sign in first, and you will then be prompted with this amazing tool.


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