United MileagePlus Selling Miles With 85% Bonus

Filed Under: Great Deals, MileagePlus
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United Airlines MileagePlus has just launched its latest sale on purchased points (the program seems to be almost as consistent as American AAdvantage when it comes to offering these kinds of sales nowadays).

Buy United MileagePlus miles with a bonus

Through 11:59PM CT on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, United MileagePlus is offering a sale on purchased miles. Different accounts may be eligible for different offers, so you’ll want to log into your account and see what you’re targeted for.

All the accounts that I manage show a bonus of up to 85%, structured as follows:

  • Buy 5,000-14,000 miles, receive a 30% bonus
  • Buy 15,000-39,000 miles, receive a 50% bonus
  • Buy 40,000-94,000 miles, receive an 85% bonus

If you max out this bonus you can purchase a total of 173,900 MileagePlus miles at a cost of $3,536.75, which is a rate of 2.03 cents per MileagePlus mile.

Other accounts may very well see different bonuses, so you’ll want to see what you’re eligible for.

United offers promotions on purchased miles quite often, and when the program does, the bonus typically tops out at 85-100%. So this is in line with the promotions we usually see. However, if you’re in no rush and want to buy miles, I’d recommend waiting until there’s a 100% bonus.

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:

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)

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.

Bottom line

United MileagePlus is offering up to an 85% bonus on purchased miles. This is a way to acquire MileagePlus miles for 2.03 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.

Do you plan on buying United miles with this offer?

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  1. Before Covid, buying the maximum amount would let me do ONE transAtlantic ORDLHR in business. Now it’s 60,000 miles which is reasonable. It’ll be back to 155,000 soon. I would not stock up with this offer unless I had a few immediate needs.
    Given that the Brits and we seem to be doing a who blinks first over opening travel between the countries, I do not see an immediate need.

  2. Don’t think most people should purchase the points unless you have a use for the points very soon. The airline offering such a big premium is misleading as they devalued recently.

  3. I want to give United some credit.

    Firstly, their new business product is the best in the North American market in my opinion.

    Secondly, as the recent recipient of 2.5million Air Canada points (cancelled trips reimbursed as points) I tried to spend them and was shocked by AC’s approach to flexible points pricing. Flight from YYZ-LHR 160K points at Christmas. Same flight, same dates starting in US, e.g. ORD-YYZ-LHR is 60K points. Checked United, was curious, and they don’t gouge their local market on points. Good on them.

  4. Tough Choice! Which is better, Emirates at 100% Free or UA @ 75% Free. I bought 400,000 Emirates. But UA can also have a Good value if you can Find Direct Flights.

  5. Hi, Newbie here.

    will there be a limit on how many miles i can use for an upgrade? i need about 140k miles to upgrade my family’s 15 hour trip to polaris business.

    Will i be able to use all these miles for the upgrade?

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