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® Card, Chase 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)