United Offering Mystery Bonus On Purchased Miles

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United MileagePlus has just launched their latest promotion on the purchase of miles. With this promotion, United is offering a mystery bonus that varies by account, so you’ll have to log into your account here to see what kind of an offer you’re eligible for. The offer expires at 11:59PM CT on Thursday, May 9, 2019.

Best I can tell, the bonuses seem to max out at 60-85%, depending on what your account is targeted for.

United offers bonuses on purchased miles with some frequency, and when they do, the bonuses typically range between 50% and 100%. They just recently offered a flash sale with up to a 100% bonus, which was the best offer we’ve seen from them in a long time. So I’d say for most people this bonus will be pretty average.

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. 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.

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. So the value proposition of buying United miles has gotten worse, in my opinion.

With these changes, United has also eliminated award charts for partner airlines, though they have said that they’re not increasing award costs on partners for now. 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.

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 would not be purchasing something whose value I cannot know without any award chart or history to go by in their new opaque pricing system, except the history that miles get devalued. I would only recommend this for someone with an immediate use for the miles, that they see available right at the moment, and even then the risk with up to 48 hours delay is significant.

  2. mystery bonus is like mystery UA miles value when you try to redeem, since they no longer have an award chart.

  3. So UA expect people to buy something without knowing what they’re really getting in return considering the mystery award prices?

    No thank you.

  4. Is there a way to use miles for something other than flights for just over a penny a mile? Efrrring to legal ways, not something that breaks their rules. Thank you

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