Buy United Miles For 1.67 Cents Each

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When United sells miles directly, the lowest cost we typically see per purchased mile is 1.88 cents. That’s the best case scenario, when they’re offering a 100% bonus, and typically requires purchasing a significant number of miles.

However, at the moment there’s a roundabout way to buy United miles even cheaper. Through June 30, 2018, United is offering a 50% bonus when you convert IHG Rewards Club points into United MileagePlus miles.

Ordinarily IHG Rewards Club points convert into United miles at a 5:1 ratio (10,000 IHG Rewards Club points convert into 2,000 United MileagePlus miles), though at the moment they’re offering a 50% bonus, meaning that 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points convert into 3,000 United miles.

There’s no limit to how often you can take advantage of that offer, and no registration is required. However, it can take 4-6 weeks for the bonus miles to post (though in practice I suspect they’ll post much faster).

So, how can you leverage this to buy United miles at a lower than usual cost? Through tomorrow (June 15, 2018), IHG Rewards Club is selling points for just 0.5 cents each (which represents a 100% bonus), which is an excellent deal.

You can buy a total of 200,000 IHG Rewards Club points for $1,000. Ordinarily those points would convert into 40,000 United miles, though during this promotion you’d get 60,000 United miles, which is a cost of ~1.67 cents per United mile.

Is that a rate at which I’d speculatively pick up United miles? Nope. But if you are looking to buy United miles, this is as low of a rate as you’ll ever see. I know lots of people who buy United miles when they’re offering a 100% bonus, and this is an even better deal than that.

Keep in mind that United MileagePlus is a Chase Ultimate Rewards partner. My preferred method of earning these miles would be using a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Anyone plan to buy IHG Rewards Club points for the purpose of converting the points into United miles?

(Tip of the hat to LoyaltyLobby)

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Comments

  1. I guess the ultimate cost benefit analysis here is what you can achieve the United miles that you wouldn’t be able to with Avianca. Even at 1.67 you will need 70,000 for a OW C class to Europe. With Avianca it’s 63,000 and their miles can be had for 1.3 or less on a regular basis.
    United has way more flexibility and availability, so for complex itineraries it’s definitely preferable.
    Lufthansa F to Europe can be had for as little as 80,000 Avianca miles while United is 110,000. Again availability and flexibility is better with UA.
    I may use this offer as an opportunity to top off my UA account, and get rid of IHG points which are becoming rather useless.

  2. Does your account have to be opened 24-48 hrs before buying IHG points, or can i open one and buy right now?

  3. @DCAGuy : Avianca Lifemiles are great when all the stars perfectly align, and you rarely have the need to make any itinerary modifications or cancellations

  4. Do you know how long it will take for the transfer to happen from ihg to United?

    Since United doesn’t hold seats… I don’t want to transfer it and lose out on the seats..

  5. Have we seen offers like this before for IHG-UA transfers, or is this just being noted because of the buy miles at 5cent?
    I have a sizeable balance of IHG that I could reduce, but not sure if a better transfer ratio might come along later

  6. I would do this if I could purchase a total of 220k United points, but by my math I would only be able to do 60k per account right?

  7. @Tom After a short google search it looks like 50% between IHG and UA is the best it gets (going back 3 years from what I see) so a better ratio is doubtful and if so not anytime soon since once this promo ends UA will award the bonus to another hotel partner.

    @William W IHG has a rule that limits members to purchasing 100k point per calendar year according to their website so 60k UA miles looks to be the max here.

    I am wondering how long the transfer to UA takes – I took advantage of this since I haven’t bought IHG points this year and will need to book some pricey flights later this year. Hopefully the transfer takes place within the week. If anyone knows please share! Thanks

  8. If you use the new IHG Rewards Card, will you get the 20% discount on the cost of the IHG points?

  9. @Gary,

    I believe the 20% discount on the cost of purchased IHG points is valid when buying points at retail. It does not apply to discounted IHG points on sale. Worthless new benefit, IMO.

  10. I took advantage of the transfer on June 14th and none of my converted points have shown up in my United account. I did this for a booking I want to make in the fall. They are taking the 4-6 weeks seriously.

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