The Little-Known Way to Earn United Miles on Broadway Shows

Because all life is a stage.

Key point

  • Audience Rewards is a loyalty program for Broadway shows that allows you to earn and redeem prizes for tickets to Broadway, Off-Broadway, opera and cabaret shows.
  • United MileagePlus has a partnership with Audience Rewards so you can earn United miles for your performance purchases.
  • It takes at least 4,000 United miles to get a free flight, so you may need to see a few shows before you can fly free.

We talk a lot about earning rewards for your flights and hotel stays. But once you’re at your destination and checked into your hotel, what do you do? You go out and experience things!

If you’re headed to New York City, for example, there’s a good chance you’re planning on taking on a show. Maybe you want to see a classic Broadway show. Or watch a quirky Off-Broadway production. And let’s not forget opera, and of course cabaret (after all, this is life).

Now, what could be better than those raised curtains? Knowing you got a gift for you Next New York City adventures in every show. In particular, do it right, and your night on the town could mean hundreds of United Airlines miles.

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MileagePlus and Audience Rewards

Most travel rewards programs have a small niche redemption option that no one knows about. Unless you’ve spent some time down rabbit holes for miles, for example, you may not know about the partnership between MIleagePlus — United’s frequent flyer program — and Audience Rewards, the “Official Rewards Program for Broadway.”

With this partnership, you can earn United miles for every ticket you buy. How many miles you earn varies by show, but there seems to be a base reward of 50 miles per ticket.

If this seems ridiculously low, well, it is. But those are just basic numbers. There are many shows that earn more miles. In my research, I found shows that offered as much as 1,900 miles per ticket. Here are some examples of what we found:

  • Chicago: 1600 miles per ticket
  • Little Shop of Horrors: 950 miles per ticket
  • Wicked: 700 miles per ticket
  • Red Mill: 550 miles per ticket
  • Back to the future: 100 miles per ticket

Depending on the show you choose, a family of four hitting Broadway can hit 5,000+ miles in one night. Not a bad return!

United flights start at 4,000+ miles

For a bit of context, let’s consider how many miles you need to actually get a free flight with United. Fortunately, United’s website has a handy rewards chart that lets you see the cost of miles for various fare classes (we’ll use the shortened version for clarity and space):

Fare Class

Miles Required



A, R






M, E, U

8,000-15,000 (plus copay)

H, Q

8,000-15,000 (plus copay)

V, W

10,000-17,500 (plus copay)

S, K, L, G

12,500-20,000 (plus copay)

Data source: United.

As you can see, the cost of miles varies significantly. And depending on the fare, some may require miles and a hefty cash copay (copays vary from $75 to $250). In the end, how many United miles you need for your next flight will really depend on your destination, When you’re going, and what part of the plane you want to sit on while you do it.

Even if you’re not going to score a completely free flight off your Broadway trip, however, it’s still a great way to earn bonus rewards on your purchases.

And even better, the miles you earn from United can be stacked against the points or cashback you earn from a rewards credit card when you make a purchase. Choose cards with bonus rewards for entertainment purchases to really maximize your returns.

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