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:
- 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 as of mid 2020, 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 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?