Strategically buying miles & points can represent a great deal, especially for luxury travel. United Airlines MileagePlus has just launched its latest sale on purchased miles. As usual, different members may be targeted for different offers.
While I’ll cover the details of this offer, let me state that I almost certainly wouldn’t recommend taking advantage of this, in light of the recent United MileagePlus devaluation. You’re much better off buying rewards with another program, like Air Canada Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles.
Promotion on purchased United MileagePlus miles
Through 11:59PM CT on Sunday, September 17, 2023, United MileagePlus is offering a sale on purchased miles. Different members may be eligible for different offers — some members may be targeted for bonus offers, while other members may be targeted for discount offers. You’ll want to log into your account and see what you’re eligible for.
The accounts I manage all show a bonus of up to 100%, which is in line with the best offers we see from the program.
How much does it cost to purchase United MileagePlus miles?
United MileagePlus ordinarily charges 3.5 cents per purchased mile, plus a 7.5% federal excise tax. That’s before any discounts or bonuses. If you’re eligible for a 100% bonus and maxed out this promotion, you’d receive a total of 225,000 miles at a cost of $4,232.81, which is a rate of 1.88 cents per MileagePlus mile.
How many United MileagePlus miles can you purchase?
United MileagePlus ordinarily limits members to purchasing 175,000 MileagePlus miles per account per calendar year. Note that this limit applies after factoring in any bonuses, so even when United offers a bonus on purchased miles, you can still only purchase a maximum of 175,000 miles.
However, during this promotion the cap on how many miles you can purchase has been increased to 225,000.
If you do buy United miles, it can take up to 48 hours for them to post to your account.
Which credit card should you buy United MileagePlus miles with?
United MileagePlus mileage purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as an airfare purchase for the purposes of credit card spending.
Therefore I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach a minimum spending requirement, or otherwise, a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spending, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review), Citi® Double Cash Card (review), or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (review) (Rates & Fees).
- Earn 3% Cash Back on Dining
- Earn 3% Cash Back at Drugstores
- Earn 1.5% Cash Back On All Other Purchases
Is buying United MileagePlus miles worth it?
United MileagePlus doesn’t publish an award chart, neither for travel on United, nor for travel on partner airlines. Therefore there’s some variability in terms of award costs. On top of that, we’ve seen several MileagePlus devaluations over the years, including one recently. With the latest devaluation, MileagePlus really isn’t very competitive with other programs anymore, in my opinion.
My general hesitation with buying MileagePlus miles is that I think there are other Star Alliance programs with better redemption rates and/or program policies, including Air Canada Aeroplan and Avianca LifeMiles. Both programs often sell miles at a lower cost, and Air Canada Aeroplan also has a lucrative stopover policy.
On what airlines can you redeem United MileagePlus miles?
United Airlines belongs to the Star Alliance, so you can redeem MileagePlus miles on all Star Alliance airlines.
On top of that, you can redeem miles on some of United’s other partner airlines, including Aer Lingus, Azul, Eurowings Discover, Vistara, and more.
How much are United MileagePlus miles worth?
Everyone will value mileage currencies differently, but personally I value United MileagePlus miles at ~1.1 cents each. I tend to value points pretty conservatively, and there are many ways to get more value from MileagePlus miles than that.
Do United MileagePlus miles expire?
United MileagePlus miles don’t expire. There’s no activity required to keep your account mileage balance alive, but rather you can keep your miles no matter what.
What other ways can you earn United MileagePlus miles?
United MileagePlus is offering a promotion on purchased miles, and different members may be targeted for different offers. The best offer is for up to a 100% bonus, which is an opportunity to buy miles for 1.88 cents each.
This could be a chance to acquire MileagePlus miles at a reasonable cost. However, in general I’d personally prefer to buy miles with Air Canada Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles, especially in light of the recent devaluations.
Do you plan on buying United miles with this offer?