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Does it make sense to buy United miles with 85% promotion for Premier Platinum?

Does it make sense to buy United miles with 85% promotion for Premier Platinum?

  1. Anonymous


    I’m currently a Premier Platinum member for United. This past year, I’ve often flown long haul international paid business class tickets that have earned me Premier Platinum status.

    With the new Mileageplus PQP rules, I won’t be hitting Premier Gold 2021. I’ll however be Premier Platinum till Jan 2021.

    I want to make the most use of my Premier Platinum status and do not intend to be a United elite after Jan 2021.

    I currently have 170,000 miles and I typically fly from Chicago to Mumbai. Currently with the Saver awards, it costs me 85k miles for one way business class from Chicago to Mumbai on Partner Star alliance flights such as Lufthansa or Air Canada. However, with the Dynamic pricing, there won’t be an award Chart. Furthermore, the close in booking fee for Premier Platinum is $0 but that is going to change after Nov 15.

    I want to use these miles in Jan 2020. Should I buy extra miles now that the promotion is going on for 85% bonus miles?

    1. Does it make sense for me as a Premier Platinum member to buy miles because I don’t know whether I’ll have access to greater Saver space that was previously available?

    2. Since I’m not aiming to retain Elite status, does it make sense to buy miles at 2.03 cents/piece?

    3. Currently, award tickets are cheapest when you book them on the day of departure? Do you think that after the dynamic pricing, this would change?

    4. Do you think 170,000 miles would be sufficient to book a round trip saver business class fare in Jan 2020? How many miles should I purchase so that I can offset the dynamic pricing? I would be flexible with the dates, so most of my award travel purchase would be on the day of departure.

    Thank you for your help.


  2. rickyw

    Hi Neel,

    It’s hard to recommend buying miles speculatively, especially since United runs so many sales.

    If your big trip each year is redeeming miles to India in business class, I agree that being an elite isn’t that important. Having to pay a close in booking fee once or twice won’t justify the cost of going for elite status.

    United has historically been one of the best airlines in the US to release cheaper seats on the day of departure (saver level) when they realize the seats would otherwise go out unsold. So, I think that is still a safe guess, but it’s obviously no guarantee.

    Depending on your spend patterns and credit, you could also look at picking up a Chase Ultimate Rewards card, since those points transfer to United (and others). Everyday spending on those cards may make more sense in the long run than buying miles.

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