Flash Sale: Buy United Miles With Up to a 100% Bonus

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United has just announced its latest mileage sale, giving MileagePlus members the chance to purchase miles with up to a 100% bonus. If maximized, you'll effectively pay as little as 1.75¢ per mile. That's the best rate we've ever seen United sell miles. But, you'll have to act in the next few days to get this offer.

Key Terms

  • Promotion is valid through July 16, 2020, 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
  • 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

This promotion may be targeted, but at least some MileagePlus members are getting the following bonuses 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.

With this promo, the bonus percentages allow members to buy miles at these prices:

  • 30% bonus is approximately 2.69¢ per mile (not good at all)
  • 50% bonus is approximately 2.33¢ per mile (not horrible, but still expensive)
  • 100% bonus is approximately 1.75¢ per mile (great price for the right redemptions)

Bearing in mind that United recently devalued its MileagePlus program. But even after this devaluation, the new unpublished United partner award chart includes the following award prices:

  • 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 qualify for the 100% buy miles bonuses, you could buy the miles necessary for these redemptions for:

  • Las Angeles (LAX) to Porto (OPO) — $1,365 in business class
  • New York (JFK) to Cape Town (CPT) — $1,540 in business class
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo (NRT) — $2,135 in first class
Buying miles can present incredible savings compared to the cash price for the same flight.

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 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

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.

Bottom Line

For the majority of people, buying miles probably doesn't make sense right now—even at the best rate ever offered. Nevertheless, after witnessing a bunch of negative news about United recently, it is nice to see something positive.

Are you planning to buy United miles under this promotion?

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  • Glad to hear that the United Miles don’t expire anymore, I’m a hoarder!

  • They very much need the extra cash, so I wonder why they launched a targeted offer.

  • One would assume UA would sell miles at a cheaper rate than usual these days, but selling them at a higher price is quite puzzling.

  • This is a good way for United to store up some more cash to weather the Covid slowdown. Hope this works.

  • Not even interested this time around! Just too much hassle with United over getting my last tickets during pandemic refunded and reimbursed!

  • With the difficulties I’m having getting a refund for a united ticket… no thanks!! How an airline treats a customer during these difficult times is very telling of where my first choice for travel partners will be… and it’s NOT united. There is NO WAY i’m giving United more $$ for them to hold with devaluing mileage as it is. I moved my primary mileage earning to Alaska Airlines 5+ years ago and haven’t looked back since.

  • I wouldn’t purchase any airline miles speculatively in this situation. No one knows if these airlines will survive.

  • Absolutely agree. Hard to trust United now (not that they had much to begin with).

  • Juan Ignacio says:

    Great opportunity, more than ever when UA miles doesn¡t expire anymore.

    Hope all airlines do something similar… so they could store up some money.

  • Maryjane says:

    I agree that I would not give United my money at this time. (Despite the fact they need it.) I’m going to keep earning Chase UR points and use those if I have an opportunity for a miles redemption on United.

  • Karina Cesar says:

    Normally I wouldn´t recommend to buy miles, but with a 75% bonus it could be a good deal

  • Florencia says:

    It is sad, but in this context I would not buy tickets or miles from any airline. many do not survive the covid crisis.

    • I would be blown away if any of United, American, Delta, or Southwest didn’t survive all of this. Airlines are kind of like truckers, without airlines America stops.

      • I agree that they’ll survive, but I wouldn’t buy miles at this time, especially from UA who have shown themselves to be bad actors in regards to their FFP.

  • Leonardo Ostropolsky says:

    Happy to read the United miles will not expire anymore!!! Delta does it for so long!
    Thanks

  • bulstrode says:

    Thought a lot, for sure it’s risky – but decided to try

  • i would think that they would sell miles at a cheaper rate during this pandemic. it doesnt make sense to me. im glad they dont expire though.

  • Florencia says:

    I agree that this is not the time to buy miles, even with a specific plan to use them. What happens if the company goes bankrupt? Unfortunately no one is exempt, not even United.

  • Even though the miles don’t expire, with the current world crisis there is, buying big amounts of miles doesn’t seem like a smart choise. I will wait on this one.

  • Manuel Varela says:

    Ok now this is a good promo! I think United it’s a very big company and will not have big problems after COVID19 so it’s a good option.

  • Airlines won’t be back to normal operation until the end of this year. Would avoid buying miles as they might change the terms at any time to reduce risk of filing bankruptcy.

  • What is the best rare anyone has seen on buying united miles???

  • Happy to read the United miles will not expire anymore, but I think that they would sell miles at a cheaper rate during this pandemic.
    However, airlines won’t be back to normal operation until the end of this year so It is kind of difficult to buy miles as they might change the terms at any time. Let’s see.

  • Maybe not the right time for investing money in airlines just to avoid surprises but after this period it´s a good option.

  • The best rate I´ve seen so far during this time. If you´re planning a trip after the pandemic it´s worth buying.

  • MARIA ANA LARRERE says:

    Many thanks for your help. I am glad to hear that United miles does not expire. I think that considering the situation about COVID 19, it would be nice that Aadvantage could postpone the expiration date of our miles. As a traveller I really appreciate what AwardWallet does for us.
    Many thanks for your help! Maria

  • Rodrigo Fraiman says:

    I red that United Airlines miles doesn’t expire.
    Is a temporal decisión or something permanente for ever?

    Thanks

    • T&C always say they can change the terms at any time, for any reason. This is undoubtedly a “perk” that is being used since travel is so risky now. Once it rebounds, I’m sure more strict policy (and expiration dates) will follow suit. They can use your $ that you spend on miles now and ultimately give you something that “will” expire later.

  • Michaelj1 says:

    1.75 per mile is not going to do it for me.

    • JT Genter says:

      Fair enough! Buying miles isn’t going to make sense for a lot of travelers, but we want to share these deals since some travelers do get value out of them!

  • Hernan Paponi says:

    United as many others are in big problems during these days. I hope the industry can survive the shutdown we all are in. We’ll regret When many of these companies desapear from business or stop Flying to certain places. Hope these promotions help them to Keep in business.

  • I’d like to buy some miles. Excellent.

  • I think they will devalue their program again

  • This is a really good deal, specially with the 100% bonus. Compare this with the value of the credit card miles and you will see. There are plenty of United award seats to Europe in the next 12 months and spending $1400 on a one-way Polaris business class ticket next summer to Europe is a great deal. Too bad it is targeted and I was not targted 🙁

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