Buy United Miles With Up To A 100% Bonus

Filed Under: Great Deals, MileagePlus
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each card. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

Update: This article contains mentions of Chase Freedom Unlimited® whose terms have expired and are in the process of being updated. All other offers reflect accurate offer terms. Learn more about the current offers here.


Citi is an advertising partner of OMAAT

Obviously this isn’t the time to buy miles speculatively. However, there are also lots of people planning last minute trips to get home, or planning travel way in advance, so if that applies to you, buying miles at a discount could be worth considering. That’s why I’ll keep covering deals to buy points as they arise.

United Airlines MileagePlus has just launched their latest promotion on purchased miles, which is a flash sale that’s only valid for a couple of days.

Buy United Miles With Up To A 100% Bonus

Through 11:59PM CT on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, United is offering a bonus on purchased miles. While you have to log into your account to see the offer, best I can tell just about everyone is receiving an offer for up to a 100% bonus.

The 100% bonus offer 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 40,000-87,500 miles, get a 100% bonus

If you max out 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.

United offers bonuses on purchased miles with some frequency, and when they do, the bonuses typically range between 50% and 100%. A 100% bonus is as good as it gets, and historically we’ve only seen promotions like this a couple of times per year.

United lets you buy up to 175,000 MileagePlus miles per year including any bonuses. 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 United introduced dynamic award pricing as of late 2019, and that’s bad news for members, as it means that many awards on United have gotten more expensive. Not only that, but United has started charging more for last minute Star Alliance awards as well.

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 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® (review) or Citi® Double Cash Card (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.

Do you plan on buying United miles with this offer?

(Tip of the hat to John)

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Comments
  1. While i have grown to loathe United over the past 5 1K years I do find some lovely EVA royal laurel seats for 90k miles west coast to SE Asia. The one way tix are usually at best 1800 and at worst 3100 a piece so I do get value out of these.

    Would never buy to fly United’s metal but some partner redemptions are sweet.

  2. United dynamic pricing only works on the way up , not on the way down , which is exactly what you should expect from United Airlines

    Right now cash prices are so low , I think United miles are maybe worth half of the 1.4

  3. I have not seen a redemption that I want at more than 0.8c in the last year or so. They are only useful for refundable fares, which I guess does increase the value but nowhere near 1.4c, let alone 1.7c.

  4. Generally, I find LifeMiles (cheaper acquisition cost as well) and Aeroplan as better redemption rates for Star Alliance rewards than Mileage Plus. So no thanks.

  5. Given the way airlines have been stealing from their customers for cash fares, you would have to be an idiot to stock up on their miles right now. No one should really have an immediate use for these miles, and no one should stock them up for the “future” (hello devaluations!), assuming these airlines survive into the future.

  6. This is nowhere’s lucrative enough to get me to bite. Nice try United but you’ll have to do a lot better with your next offer.

  7. I am feeling insulted…1K for multiple years and yet I never get word of these special “offers” after logging into my account…and once again, they didn’t even bother to extend this miles purchase offer to me! I only use miles for hotel stays. Don’t know if that is logical or cost-effective, but it sure is convenient.

  8. I don’t know if anyone here had the same experience I have been through, but every time I called United agent to see if they can find an award seat using miles (as a few claimed they have better inventory), they sounded tired, bored.. even I spoke very politely. They made me feel that I was bothering them. Yes, even though it is an award ticket, I have to pay with “their currency” and I have to earn it. Noone gives me those miles for free. This is my personal opinion- cash is king. If you earn miles by flying, staying at hotels… yes, you can use them. However, buying United miles, stock up and save, don’t do it. It devalues year after year.

  9. Benny I think you should try to establish some sort of fiduciary duty to your readers, especially in these times. Your defense of the last inappropriate peddling of mileage sales (at a time when airlines just took money from the government not to go out of business) was “well I’m not even earning a commission on this one.” Okay, well now you are earning a commission on this one (google points dot com + topcashback). Meanwhile in the last 5 years, you haven’t earned or redeemed a single MileagePlus mile, per my skim of your trip reports. Asking your readers to cash flow United when the world is closed so you can skim a 2% commission strikes me as a bit rich.

  10. Why even post this? Can you honestly say this is a good deal in any but 1% of cases? A deal for the one percent? I get that there’s no news but have some decency to not promote crap to your readers.

  11. Shouldn’t these sorts of posts now be headlined “Another opportunity to give an unsecured, non-transferable, interest-free loan to a corporation which is so wobbly it needs cash support from the tax-payer and may well end up in bankruptcy, at which point you’ll lose pretty much everything”?

    Or something similar?

  12. @ John — This is a great point to bring up, actually. I don’t post any deal with the expectation that a majority of people will take advantage of it. Rather I post most deals with the expectation that a small percentage (or fraction of a percent) of people will take advantage of it. This blog has a big readership, and that still translates to a lot of people taking action on things.

    For example, I posted about how you could redeem 55K AA miles for a first class ticket to Tokyo Haneda. I also posted that with the expectation that at most 1% of people would take advantage of that. If more took advantage of it, all the space would be gone.

  13. Ben, I was wondering, why would United not try to sell these miles at 150% discount or even 200% discount. During such crisis situation it’s probably something they could do to get some cash and increase consumer spending and meanwhile increase deferred liability which they could pay in the future when revenue is back. WDYT?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *