United Airlines MileagePlus has just launched its latest promotion on purchased points.
Buy United MileagePlus miles with a bonus
Through 11:59PM CT on Thursday, February 25, 2021, 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 60% bonus
- Buy 40,000+ miles, get a 100% bonus
With the 100% bonus you can purchase a total of 174,000 miles for $3,273,78, which is a cost of 1.88 cents per MileagePlus mile. The reason that maximum amount is weird is because you can purchase at most 175,000 MileagePlus miles per year including any bonus, and you can only purchase miles in increments of 1,000.
It’s interesting to note that United is back to charging the 7.5% federal excise tax on purchased miles, which wasn’t the case for much of 2020. That’s why the cost to purchase miles now with a 100% bonus is higher than it was in 2020.
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 in line with the best offers we see from the program.
With this promotion, it can take up to 48 hours for purchased miles to post to your account.
Should you buy United MileagePlus 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:
- 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
- United started charging more for last-minute award tickets as of late 2019, for both United and Star Alliance partner flights
- United increased many redemption rates on Star Alliance partners several months ago, typically by 10%
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)
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.
United MileagePlus is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased miles. This is a way to acquire MileagePlus miles for 1.88 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. Still, it’s as good of a price as you’ll see on purchased MileagePlus miles.
Do you plan on buying United miles with this offer?