United MileagePlus is offering up to an 85% bonus on purchased miles through 11:59PM CT on Friday, March 1, 2019.
United offers bonuses on purchased miles with some frequency, and when they do, the bonuses typically range between 50% and 100%. So 85% is a fairly good bonus, though it’s not the best they’ve offered.
The promotion is tiered, and you earn a bigger bonus the more miles you buy, as follows:
- Buy 5,000-25,000 miles, get a 40% bonus
- Buy 30,000-94,000 miles, get an 85% bonus
If you max out this promotion you can purchase a total of 173,900 United MileagePlus miles at a cost of $3,536.75, which is ~2.03 cents per mile.
The odd amount is because a member can purchase at most 175,000 miles per year including any bonuses, so the 85% bonus means that it’s not perfectly “round.”
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, though there are ways to get more value out of them than that. I wouldn’t recommend proactively picking up MileagePlus miles for over two cents each, but with a specific use in mind it could make sense to buy miles.
You can find the United MileagePlus interactive award chart here, for a sense of how many miles a redemption will cost. In general you’ll get the best value for international first and business class redemptions.
Redeem MileagePlus miles for Polaris business class
United mileage purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as an airfare purchase for the purposes of credit card spend. However, anecdotally points.com purchases earn 3x points on the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, so that would be the card I recommend for these purchases.
If you don’t have that, 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 an 85% bonus?