Exchange your unwanted gift cards for United miles

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Did you obtain present playing cards for the vacations that you just aren’t that enthusiastic about?

We have now some excellent news: You’ll be able to flip these undesirable present playing cards into United MileagePlus miles via United’s MileagePlus Gift Card Exchange. Right here’s the way it works.

Which present playing cards are eligible?

On the MileagePlus Gift Card Exchange landing page, United notes that “over 100” varieties of service provider present playing cards are accepted. On the backside of that web page, there’s a hyperlink to a listing of the retailers whose present playing cards this system will take, together with Greatest Purchase, Sears, Starbucks and Walmart.


Nonetheless, be aware that some retailers on its record aren’t really obtainable for trade on the web site, reminiscent of Residence Depot and Southwest Airways. And there are many retailers obtainable for trade that aren’t on the record, together with North Face and HP.


There’s even an airline possibility. If your loved ones didn’t know you have been loyal to United and gave you an American Airways present card, you might commerce this present card in for United miles. Nonetheless, the MileagePlus present card trade doesn’t purchase present playing cards from Alaska, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit or Solar Nation.

Associated: 30 ways to earn miles with the United MileagePlus program

Is it value it?

United has a chart itemizing the “minimal award miles awarded,” which might make you assume that some choices provide extra miles than these charges. However, I checked dozens of various retailers and the mileage provide was the identical for each.


Regardless of the chart, you aren’t restricted to $25, $50 and $100 present playing cards. You’ll be able to trade any present card with at the least a $15 minimal steadiness. From the proof we have now gathered, the calculation is the present card worth occasions 26.6, rounded as much as the closest 10 miles. This price imputes a worth on the United miles of between 3.70-3.76 cents per mile, relying on how a lot you’re buying and selling in. For instance:

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  • $15 present playing cards = 400 United miles (3.75 cents per mile).
  • $20 present playing cards = 540 United miles (3.70 cents per mile).
  • $25 present playing cards = 670 United miles (3.73 cents per mile).
  • $30 present playing cards = 800 United miles (3.75 cents per mile).
  • $40 present playing cards = 1,070 United miles (3.74 cents per mile).
  • $50 present playing cards = 1,330 United miles (3.76 cents per mile).
  • $100 present playing cards = 2,660 United miles (3.76 cents per mile).

This price is way greater than TPG’s valuation of 1.13 cents per United mile, which means that you just’re not getting an excellent worth out of your present playing cards. However, in the event you’d moderately have the miles than the present card, it could be value making the most of this manner of offloading them.

Additionally, at the least United is being constant. When United isn’t working a buy miles promotion, you may buy United miles at a price of $35 per 1,000 United miles. After taxes and charges, this price can be successfully 3.76 cents per mile.

Associated: The best credit cards for buying points and miles

Limitations to remember

To promote present playing cards via the MileagePlus Present Card Change, your MileagePlus account should have been open for at the least 90 days. Additionally, this system’s phrases and situations be aware your account should “have a constructive account steadiness.”


Though United provides you with a quote for $10 present playing cards, the phrases and situations state: “Present playing cards accepted should have a $15 minimal steadiness on the cardboard and will have a most imposed.” It additionally seems that the trade will solely settle for present playing cards as much as $100.

If you happen to determine to promote a present card via the MileagePlus Present Card Change, the miles ought to arrive in your United account inside 5 enterprise days.

Associated: Exchange your unwanted gift cards for gift cards and more

Backside line

Whilst you’re not going to get a wonderful price from buying and selling in undesirable present playing cards, it’s good to have the choice to liquidate these present playing cards for one thing that you just may really need. That mentioned, it is likely to be value checking on-line for one more present card trade program (reminiscent of CardCash) which will offer you a greater price.

The one argument for utilizing the MileagePlus Present Card Change is in the event you want United miles for an upcoming redemption, have tapped out your Chase Ultimate Rewards points and are holding a qualifying present card. In case your solely different possibility is to purchase United miles, you may as nicely liquidate the present card — particularly if it’s one that you just wouldn’t use quickly anyway.

Further reporting by Emily Thompson.

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