Where Can We Go With United Miles When We Won’t Fly On United?

We’ve made a choice to avoid flying on United Airlines. For our normal travels it doesn’t cause much of a hardship as we don’t live at a United hub airport. We’ve been able to find flights to where we want without using them and they’ve never been the cheapest or best option anyway. The problem is that we still have a stash of United miles that we earned from the United MileagePlus Explorer card sign up bonus. I don’t plan on renewing the card this year but those miles are still ours and I need to figure out a use for them.

Thank goodness for airline alliances. United Airlines is part of the Star Alliance, which means we should be able to use those miles for flights on Star Alliance member airlines. You may also hear this being called “using miles on partner airlines.” So where can we fly from our home airport, or nearby, using our United miles?

Well, it turns out there are several choices of flights originating right from our home airport of Orlando.


The option closest home would be to fly on Air Canada to Montreal. One way flights would cost 12,500 miles in economy and 25,000 miles in business class.

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Air Canada flies their Rouge planes to and from Orlando. This is their brand for leisure flights so I wouldn’t splurge for business class on these flights. Two round trips for 50,000 miles wouldn’t be a bad deal as round trips can cost over $300.

BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada

There are other places we could fly. Lufthansa flies non-stop to Frankfurt from Orlando.


Flights to Frankfurt will cost 30,000 miles each for Economy and 70,000 each for Business.

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We could also fly to Ireland on United’s non-alliance partner Aer Lingus. We’ve done this flight already to Dublin (and onward to London) and the flight is wonderful. It’s even better when you step off the plane in Ireland.


Economy tickets start at 30,000 miles for a one-way ticket.

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Orlando isn’t such a great airport for international destinations. What if we were willing to drive the 4 hours or so to Miami?


We’d love to go to Vienna and then why not go back to Salzburg again when we’re nearby?


We could fly on Austrian Airlines for 30,000 miles in Economy or 70,000 for Business class.

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I’d definitely go for business class on this flight. Austrian Airlines has an on board chef as well as a separate coffee menu for business class passengers.


We could also go to Zurich on Swiss Airlines.


Same as the other flights to Europe, this flight costs 30,000 miles in Economy and 70,000 miles in Business.

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I could always save the miles for a flight to Oslo, Norway on Scandinavian Airlines. From there, it’s just two short flights to our bucket list resort in Lapland, Finland (not Iceland, despite what Sharon keeps telling people) (Note from Sharon: Shut up, Joe. It’s not my fault I can’t remember that) where we can watch the Northern Lights while staying in a igloo.

Once again, flights would cost 30,000 miles for Economy. I couldn’t find business class availability. I guess there are a bunch of people in Norway who want to visit Miami. 🙂

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There are other options besides flying to Europe. We’re going to Japan in 2020 and will hopefully be able to get tickets to the Summer Olympics.


We’d be able to fly on ANA (for the third time) and would have our choice of Economy flights for 35,000 miles, Business Class for 80,000 miles or First Class for 110,000 miles.

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We’ve traveled on First Class with ANA before and it’s an experience. However, 220,000 miles for a round trip ticket is a whole bunch of miles and I think they’d be put to better use somewhere else.

It seems like we have plenty of choices of where to fly with our United miles without ever stepping foot on a United plane. That’s just what I came up with with a quick look and sticking to non-stop flights from nearby airports. I’m sure that any one of these trips would be amazing and I’m not going to lose any sleep about finding a way to put those miles to good use.

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