United MileagePlus Selling Miles With 100% Bonus

Filed Under: Great Deals, MileagePlus
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United Airlines MileagePlus has just launched its latest promotion on purchased miles.

Buy United miles with a bonus

Through 11:59PM CT on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, United MileagePlus is offering a sale on purchased miles. Different accounts may be eligible for different bonuses, so you’ll want to log into your account and see what you’re targeted for. The accounts I manage show a bonus of up to 100%.

The 100% bonus is tiered, as follows:

  • Buy 5,000-14,000 miles, get a 30% bonus
  • Buy 15,000-39,000 miles, get a 50% bonus
  • Buy 40,000+ miles, get a 100% bonus

With the 100% bonus you can purchase a total of 175,000 miles for $3,062.50, which is a cost of 1.75 cents per MileagePlus mile.

Other accounts may very well see different bonuses, so you’ll want to see what you’re eligible for.

United offers bonuses on purchased miles with some frequency, and when these promotions happen, the bonuses typically range between 50% and 100%. A 100% bonus is as good as it gets, and on top of that United isn’t even charging federal excise taxes on mileage purchases right now, making this an even better deal.

With this promotion, it can take up to 48 hours for purchased miles to post to your account.

Should you buy United miles?

Personally, I value MileagePlus miles at ~1.4 cents each, though there are ways to get more value out of them than that.

Keep in mind that a lot of negative changes have been made to MileagePlus recently:

Nonetheless, with a specific use in mind, it could make sense to buy miles, either for redemptions on United or for redemptions on partners.

Which credit card should you buy United miles with?

United 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 minimum spending, or otherwise, a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spending, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review), Citi® Double Cash Card (review), or The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (review)

See this post for more on which credit cards are best for buying points.

Other ways to earn MileagePlus miles

If you’re looking to earn United miles, MileagePlus is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, so you can convert Ultimate Rewards points into United miles at a 1:1 ratio.

See this post for the best credit cards for earning United miles.

Bottom line

United MileagePlus is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased miles, which is in line with the best offers we see from United. This is a way to acquire MileagePlus miles for 1.75 cents each — while there are circumstances where that could represent a good deal, I most definitely wouldn’t be speculatively picking up miles at that cost.

Do you plan on buying United miles with this offer?

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Comments
  1. There are so many of these deals out here atm that it’s hard to keep track off… part of me thinks it’s a once in a lifetime chance to buy like $10-15k of miles (lifemiles, Alaska and United to cover most bases) so that I can fly in biz for a few years at least. Lifemiles don’t expire (for now with a transfer). Maybe book a ton of bookings for June – dec next year and then roll them if travel is still light. I have a family of five so buying points is essential for australia Europe etc.

  2. Worthless unless you need to top off your miles. Alaskan miles are the only ones I would purchase currently (to immediately redeem). Although I did speculatively purchase aeroplane miles at 1 cent each when they had the promo.

  3. Personally I think the value of points has dropped a good 50% in most cases. These blogs are way out of touch with current reality. Getting United miles for 1.75 cents per mile is counting on a sudden reversion to normal which isn’t happening any time soon.

    I doubt I’d pay 1 cent per mile.

  4. The airline miles/points game has changed significantly (for the worse) over the past 3 years. The New York Times put out an excellent article ‘Airline Miles Programs Sure Are Profitable. Are You the Loser?’ yesterday. The article pretty much says what most (savvy) readers on OMAT and Boarding Area already know… that you’re generally better off getting 2% cash back than trying to accumulate mileage points that airlines continue to restrict, control and devalue at their sole discretion.

  5. From my perspective buying UA MP miles in the current circumstances is pointless. I would need to book for a long way into 2021, and given the inevitability of major involuntary schedule changes between now and then, outright cancellations, and possible partner losses, it seems a pointless exercise.
    Even a 100% bonus is not the least bit tempting.

  6. They would have to offer me a 250% bonus in order to make up for their mile devaluation. My usual annual flight has gone up from 70K miles to 165 K miles each way.

  7. @Quo Vadis?
    The article was basically correct. Still, their math is correct for economy, less so for Business or First Class. The miles needed essentially double while fares might go up by a factor of 8 or 10.

  8. Although I still consider the UA mileage program to be the best due to its able search engine, no surcharges, and a great network (including Star Alliance partners), that remains so only because the others have devalued their programs at roughly the same rate. Its absolute per-mile value is still less than just 3-5 years ago.

    With that, I find it quite astounding that UA and most of the other majors continue to try to sell miles today at the same charge rate as they did several years ago when the typical worth per mile was so obviously better.

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