Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
It’s been a week now since United announced their award chart devaluation that kicks in on February 1st, and now that some of the initial shock/disgust/outrage/dust has settled, hopefully most of you have switched into strategy mode. We aren’t going to be able to change United’s decision, so we might as well figure out to make the most of our individual situations. I know many are strategizing how to burn United miles before it takes many more of them to fly some routes/partners, and that is smart.
While I don’t think you should automatically empty out your United MileagePlus account, if you still have room in your 2014 travel schedule to make use of United’s current award chart, then I highly encourage you to consider doing so. If you already have the miles or Ultimate Reward points to do it then just use what you have, but if you are a bit short then it makes sense to consider pulling the trigger on either one of the United co-branded cards, or one of the Chase Ultimate Reward cards that earn points that can be transferred 1:1 to United now. Sure Ultimate Reward points and United miles are going to be worth less in the future than they have been, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss getting them now while you can still leverage them to the maximum extent possible. Additionally, of course they will still have value after 2/1, just not the same as before.
If you hit the spending requirements fairly quickly, you should get the sign-up bonus points in plenty of time to use them before 2/1, but I wouldn’t waste many more days before making a move. Here is a list of some of the best credit card options I am aware of to relatively quickly boost your United account.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card: 30,000 to 50,000 miles after meeting spending requirement – but best offers are potentially targeted and/or reportedly available in-person a Chase branch. Read this post for current details.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 40,000 Ultimate Reward points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening
United MileagePlus Explorer Card: 30,000 – 50,000 miles after meeting spending requirements – similar to the personal card, the best offers are targeted. Read this post for current details.
Ink Plus® Business Card: 50,000 Ultimate Reward points after spending $5,000 in three months
Ink Bold® Business Card: 50,000 Ultimate Reward points after spending $5,000 in three months
Ink Cash® Business Card: 20,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months
Ink Classic Business Card: 20,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months
Obviously with these offers, it isn’t hard to rack up a good number of United miles very quickly. We may all be mad about the award chart changes, but don’t waste too much time being mad. Spend your time making the most of the situation, which for some will involve earning and burning very quickly. Remember that spouses or domestic partners can share Ultimate Reward points, so that may help you get to your desired award even faster. I’ve also read rumors that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card may start offering 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user beginning the middle of the month, so I’ll be paying close attention to that as well.
I’d love to hear what some of your strategies are right now with earning and burning quickly given the recent United devaluation!
Disclosure: Some of the cards in this post are affiliate offers that pay me a commission if you are approved using my links. As always, thanks for your support.