Flash Sale: United Offering 100% Bonus On Purchased Miles (Yes, Right After They Devalue Miles)

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No, the irony of this sale being launched just days after United made negative changes to their MileagePlus program isn’t lost on me. However, this could still represent a good deal, and I try to be thorough, so…

United MileagePlus has just launched a flash sale on the purchase of miles. With this promotion, United is offering up to a 100% bonus, which is much better than most of their promotions they offer on purchased miles. The offer expires at 11:59 PM CT on Friday, April 12, 2019.

The bonus with this promotion is tiered as follows:

  • Buy 5,000-19,000 miles, get a 20% bonus
  • Buy 20,000-49,000 miles, get a 50% bonus
  • Buy 50,000+ miles, get a 100% bonus

United offers bonuses on purchased miles with some frequency, and when they do, the bonuses typically range between 50% and 100%. For example, the most recent bonuses we’ve seen have been in the 75-85% range, so this is quite a bit better, and is the best offer of the year.

United lets you buy up to 175,000 MileagePlus miles per year including any bonuses. If you max out this promotion you can purchase a total of 175,000 United MileagePlus miles at a cost of $3,292.19, which is ~1.88 cents per mile.

With this promotion, it can take up to 48 hours for purchased miles to post to your account. Personally, I value MileagePlus miles at ~1.4 cents each (maybe a little less with the recent changes), though there are ways to get more value out of them than that.

Once again, keep in mind that United just introduced dynamic award pricing for travel as of November 15, and this is bad news for members. It means that many awards on United flights will be more expensive.

While the program has also eliminated award charts for partner airlines, they have said for now that they’re not increasing award costs on partners. The main reason I’d consider buying United miles to begin with is for partner awards, and those prices haven’t gone up yet.

So with an immediate use in mind, it could make sense to buy United miles for redemptions on partners, given that they’re obviously offering a better bonus post-devaluation.

United mileage purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as an airfare purchase for the purposes of credit card spend.

Therefore I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach minimum spend, or otherwise, a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spend, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Citi® Double Cash Card.

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

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.

Do you plan on buying United miles with this offer?

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  1. I practically spat out my coffee when I saw this sale arrive in my mailbox. I’m sure it’s just a big company being uncoordinated, but, still, the chutzpah.

  2. Lifemiles and Aegean is the new go to star alliance program for me after United pulled this crap.

  3. I was a big United Mileage Plus booster until this manure started. When I saw that email in my in box, my stomach turned. I know exactly how Ivan X felt. I’ll still take advantage of United and Mileage Plus shopping tactically when I see a good deal, but they’re no longer on my happy list and I won’t purposefully go out of my way to use them. I was seriously considering getting a United branded credit card to further max out my miles, but no longer. Talk about shooting yourself in the proverbial foot, United. Bad, very bad…

    Fly the Cheapening Skies – United!

  4. Most of the time when I look for international award tix, I have to fly all over the world before they would let me get to my destination. I rarely seen any saver/ full priced nonstop award tickets from west coast to Europe or west coast to Asia. I can’t remember the last time I used their website to book an award ticket. I find Asian/ European/ middle eastern airline award programs much better.

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