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United just launched its newest buy miles promotion. Now through July 23, 2021, MileagePlus members are can buy United miles with up to a 100% bonus. At best, you'll effectively pay as little as 1.88¢ per mile. But, is this worth it? Let's take a look.
- Promotion is valid through July 23, 2021, 11:59 p.m. CST
- Minimum purchase is 2,000 miles
- To receive a 100% bonus, you must purchase at least 40,000 miles
- The bonus percentage depends on the number of miles purchased
- To receive any bonus, you must purchase at least 5,000 miles
- You can purchase a maximum of 175,000 miles per year (including bonus miles)
- Purchased miles may take up to 48 hours to post to your MileagePlus account
- Purchased miles do not count toward MileagePlus Premier status
- Miles are nonrefundable
- United miles do not expire
It seems most (if not all) MileagePlus members are getting the following bonuses structure when purchasing United miles:
- 5,000 to 14,000 miles: receive a 30% bonus
- 15,000 to 39,000 miles: receive a 50% bonus
- 40,000 miles or more: receive a 100% bonus
Who Should Buy Miles?
If you've read any of our latest posts regarding mileage sales, then it should come as no surprise that we do not recommend buying miles without a specific plan to use them. This is particularly true now while the world sits in anticipation of when we'll be able to travel again, and financial uncertainty affects many of us—United included.
However, there are a couple of exceptions. Buying miles can make sense if you have a specific redemption in mind, and it would cost less to buy the miles than it would cost to buy the flight.
Through this promotion, you can buy MileagePlus miles at these rates:
- 30% bonus is approximately 2.89¢ per mile (not good at all)
- 50% bonus is approximately 2.51¢ per mile (still quite expensive)
- 100% bonus is approximately 1.88¢ per mile (good price, OK for the right redemptions)
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Porto (OPO) for 77,000 miles in business class
- New York (JFK) to Cape Town (CPT) for 88,000 miles in business class
- San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo (NRT) for 121,000 miles in first class
If you utilize the 100% buy miles bonus, you could buy the miles necessary for these redemptions for:
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Porto (OPO) — $1,448 in business class
- New York (JFK) to Cape Town (CPT) — $1,654 in business class
- San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo (HND) — $2,275 in first class
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.
Maximize Your Purchase
United miles purchases are processed by Points.com, so your purchase will not qualify for any standard travel category bonus. However, if you happen to hold a United co-branded credit card, purchasing miles will qualify as a United purchase, earning the appropriate multiplier. Just make sure to select the “MileagePlus Visa” option from the dropdown list.
If you don't hold a United co-branded card—or you'd simply prefer to collect another award currency—then your best options are to use the purchase to meet a minimum spend requirement, or use a card optimized for everyday spending. Two of our favorite everyday spending cards include the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express and Citi® Double Cash Card.
Other Ways to Get United Miles
If you're not in a bind for time and looking to build your stash of United miles, a better method might be through earning a sign-up bonus on a United co-branded credit card. The United℠ Explorer Card currently comes with a signup bonus of up to 70,000 bonus miles.
Additionally, don't forget that United is a 1:1 transfer partner for Chase Ultimate Rewards. This means that points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can be converted to United miles if you need a top-up for a redemption.
- Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
- 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
- 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
For the majority of people, buying miles probably doesn't make sense right now. This 100% buy miles promotion is about as good as it gets. But, there are better ways to get United miles than buying them at 1.88¢ each. However, for some travelers that have tapped out all other sources, it can make sense to buy miles for the right award redemption.
Are you planning to buy United miles through this promotion?
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