Buy United Miles with a 70% Bonus and a Chance to Win 1,000,000 Miles

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This United MileagePlus Miles Purchase promotion has ended, however, you can still purchase MileagePlus Miles.

United has announced a double promotion, offering a bonus of up to 70% on purchased miles and a chance to win 1,000,000 miles plus $10,000 as part of their “MileagePlus Miles” Sweepstakes. The promotion runs through February 1, 2019.

Key Terms

  • Promotion is valid through February 1, 2019, 11:59 p.m. CST
  • Receive up to a 70% bonus when you purchase United miles
  • To receive a bonus, you need to purchase a minimum of 5,000 miles
  • The level of bonus depends on the number of miles purchased
  • You can purchase a maximum of 150,000 miles per year (including bonus miles)
  • Each purchase will receive one or two entries for a chance to win 1,000,000 miles and $10,000
  • Promotion is only open to residents of the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.

You will receive the following bonuses when you purchase United miles:

  • Purchase 5,000 to 14,000 miles and receive a 25% bonus
  • Purchase 15,000 to 29,000 miles and receive a 50% bonus
    Purchase 30,000 miles or more and receive a 70% bonus

Sweepstakes Terms

The grand prize is 1,000,000 United miles plus $10,000. The number of entries to the sweepstakes you get will depend on how many miles you have purchased.

  • Purchase 29,000 miles or less and receive one sweepstakes entry
  • Purchase 30,000 miles or more and receive two sweepstakes entry

The Potential winner of the Sweepstakes will be selected on or around March 7, 2019, and they will be notified approximately one day later.

No Purchase Sweepstakes Entry

No purchase is necessary to enter the sweepstakes. If you want to enter without buying miles, you can earn two entries into the grand prize drawing by mailing United a postcard with your information.

The terms and conditions state that each person is limited to a maximum of two (2) entries regardless of method of entry. (Sorry for all of you headed out the door to buy stacks of stamps and postcards.) All entries should be postmarked by February 1, 2019 and should include your name, address, phone, email, and date of birth. It does also say that “copies, facsimiles and mechanical reproductions will not be accepted,” so you may want to fill out your mail-in entry by hand just to be safe.

You can find the full terms and conditions along with the address to send mail-in entries on United's website.

Who Should Buy Miles?

This is not an earth-shattering deal, and our usual advice applies: Don't buy miles unless you have a specific redemption planned, and it would cost less to buy miles than it would cost to buy the flight.

With this promo, the percentage bonuses break down into cents per point as follows:

  • 25% bonus is approximately 3.0 cents per point (not good at all)
  • 50% bonus is approximately 2.5 cents per point (also not great)
  • 70% bonus is approximately 2.2 cents per point (not horrible, but still expensive)

But, there are good reasons to buy miles, which is why we cover these sales. Assuming you start with zero United miles, and you don't have any Chase Ultimate Rewards to transfer, here are a few sample prices from the U.S.:

  • One-way business class to Europe (operated by United) — 60,000 miles for $1,355
  • Round-trip business class to Europe (operated by United) — 120,000 miles for $2,671
  • One-way business class to Europe (operated by a partner airline) — 70,000 miles for $1580
  • Round-trip business class to Europe(operated by a partner airline) — 140,000 miles for $3,123

There are a lot of situations where the cost to buy a ticket could be far more expensive than buying miles with this bonus. This is especially true with one-way tickets that often cost more than half the round-trip price.

If you already have some United miles or Chase points to transfer, the math could be even more favorable.

Maximizing the Promotion

Unfortunately, United Miles Purchases are processed by, so your purchase will not qualify for any credit card category bonus. If you do decide to go ahead with the purchase, your best option is to use a card optimized for everyday spending, like The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express or the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Our Take

If you are looking to purchase United miles for a specific trip, then this promotion might be useful.  70% is not the highest bonus, we have seen, but it's stronger than many bonuses United has offered. Whether you buy miles or mail in a postcard, the chance to win 1,000,000 miles might add some fun—even if it's a long shot.

Source: United Airlines

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