Purchase United Miles With a 100% Bonus Through September 12, 2017

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

United has announced a mileage sale, where you can pick up to 100% bonus on purchased miles. It has been a while since United held a sale with such a large bonus; the last time was in May 2016.  The offer is relatively straightforward and runs through September 12, 2017.

United 100 Percent Bonus

Key Terms

  • Minimum purchase of 2,000 miles
  • Offer valid until September 12, 2017
  • Offer is tiered, and you will need to buy at least 50,000 miles to receive the 100%
  • Bonus miles take up to 48 hours to post in your account
  • Purchased and bonus miles do not count towards United Premier

Should You Buy United Miles?

This depends on a couple of factors, and whether you know if you will use the miles or not. Although purchasing miles speculatively is not recommended, if you have a United MileagePlus balance and are nearing your 18-month mileage expiry deadline, then purchasing miles is a good way to keep your account and miles alive. However, it is easier and less expensive to use MileagePlus Shopping or dining program to create account activity and earn miles. If you are close to a reward then this promotion is one of your better options to reach your required miles.


If you need the miles, then this is the best value you are going to get for topping up your mileage account through a mileage purchase. But if you don’t, then buying miles speculatively is not really a great idea. At the top end of this promotion with a 100% bonus, you are still paying 1.75 cents per mile. Unless you need the miles to hit a specific redemption, we'd say holding cash is preferable.

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  • Bertrand Say says:

    I think its usually not a good deal to buy miles unless you need to top up your account.

    • In general, this is solid advice. Sometimes a speculative purchase can work out especially with Alaska. It used to also be good with US Air which would have 50%+ bonus purchases regularly and 100% bonuses sometimes.

  • Definitely need to check there’s availability before buying any miles.

  • It’s the annual summer sale…UA miles for 1.88 cents apiece after taxes. A great price, about the lowest it gets, if I’m not mistaken.

    • But who is going to buy a minimum of 50,000 miles?

      • Really? I’ve purchased 120,000 miles, in the past, to redeem for premium cabin long-haul flights, realizing a massive discount on the revenue fare. Plenty of other must buy miles as well, or airlines would not continue to offer such promotions on purchased miles.

  • this is a decent deal, but nothing spectacular

  • More and more often getting the miles appear to be the easy part….using the at a good value is the hard part

  • This is lower than they typically sell for. It can make sense if you’re topping up for a redemption.

  • Sebastian says:

    I need just a few to keep mine from expiring – so this is a great way to do so! Thanks!

  • Fairly standard offer. Slightly better. I wouldn’t rush to just buy miles, but if you’re a few short like others have said, go for it. Late minute it can always help, but I’d always rather top off another way that doesn’t “directly” cost me, like a portal. If you have time.

  • While this is a better deal than usual, it’s still not worth buying miles unless you need to get to a certain amount to claim an award. I’ll stick to earning miles in other ways.

  • Thanks for this post. My aunt is trying to book a redemption on UA and is short on miles. I’ll let her know.

  • I would never buy miles unless there is saver award availability for my desired destination.

  • This is actually pretty good, but I have no need. How often do these offers come out?

  • Jacqueline parsons says:

    Typically buying miles is not as good a deal as it sounds unless you do actually find availability on your chosen dates or you can redeem on another partner with bonuses attached.

  • A fairly good deal if you need a certain amount to top up your account for a redemption. I prefer making the bulk of my airline points for free via cards though.

  • What sort of bonus is so good that it is a decent idea to buy speculatively?

    • I’d say at a penny/mile it is worth it, but that is for me. You should look at your situation and see what you have planned for travel. I wouldn’t recommend speculatively purchasing anything that you wouldn’t redeem within 18-24 months. The redemption market is too volatile to hold on for long.

  • This is very tempting just to see my balance go up. However, I cannot wrap my head around buying miles. I just figure I have enough or not. I agree that I’d rather get miles from something I already have to purchase, then if I don’t have enough miles I’ll just purchase the ticket I need instead. Though I do know lots of people do buy miles…I just can’t, you know? Maybe if you have to make up a small difference or too late to do something else to extend the miles.

  • lots of other ways to get United miles, so be careful

  • Its still united miles. Not worth anything valuable in my book.

  • The lowest I’ve seen in a while, with that said, 1.88 after tax is hard to find an award ticket worth that much, even in biz class. Might be a little bit less using mileage than paying cash, but then you don’t earn miles towards award tickets or status.

  • Very good offer but I have already enought United miles.
    If the same offers was for Alaska I was buying the miles.
    But I think Alaska never offer 100% bonus miles.

  • Interesting ! I need to look at it carefully based on my upcoming trips and see if it makes sense. Thanks as always!

  • I have bought points and really cleaned up on award tickets. That being said it is always a gamble. Make sure you know exactly what you plan to use them on in the near future. No sense in stockpiles of points since devaluation is always right around the corner

  • Howie,
    I know that usually buying miles is not recommended. However, I recently bought a large number of AA miles, and this filled two needs for me. I was approved for the Delta Platinum card and needed to spend $4000 in 4 months to get the 70K bonus. I noticed that AA had a promo where I could get a 10% discount on mileage purchases plus bonus miles. I actually spent about $4300 using my new Delta card, buying 150K AA miles plus a 100K bonus. This enabled me to get my 70K Delta miles with just one purchase. In total, I got 250K AA miles plus 4300 Delta miles. Not even counting the 70K Delta bonus miles for reaching my new card’s spending threshold, I figured I spent about 1.69 cents per mile.

    I am someone who for many years has been spending a lot of time looking for promos to get relatively small amounts of miles via shopping and dining promos. At the same time in the last few years I have gotten just about every credit card bonus I could. My thought with this big purchase was to stockpile my miles in two programs very easily by spending $4300 (which is no burden to me right now) and and also buy time till in a couple of years I could try to apply for an AA card I had previously owned. Any thoughts on all this?

    • Steve, that is a big chunk of change to lay out for miles — but the key question is “Does it work for you?” If you’ve got a plan for the miles and making this purchase made sense for you than bravo. I hope you’re planning a nice business/first class redemption and get 3 or 5x your return on mileage investment.

      • Thanks Howie,
        Yes, I’ve got plans for a couple of business class redemptions in the next 10 months or so. I’ve recently booked an AA business class award to SE Asia using Cathay and JAL. I used 140K mi for a ticket that would cost about $5000. So those miles are worth about 3.5 cents each. Hopefully over the next year or two I can get similar value for my miles.

  • I’m actually in a need of roughly 30K UA miles and can’t decide whether to do a UR transfer or to just buy the miles via this promo.
    Arg decisions decisions.

  • Thanks for the tip. I haven’t done this before. could be useful in some cases.

  • Howie, success! And thanks as always for your inspiration – I told you that I recently bought 250K AA miles. I was just now able to upgrade an existing NY – SE Asia business class ticket to first class! I would say that might be a good return on investment, right?

    • Nice!!! Which airlines and which lounges are you going to visit? Oh yeah, why champagne too? 😉

      • Thanks Howie! I will be flying 1st class with Cathay JFK – Hong Kong non-stop. I believe that Cathay has a 1st class lounge in HK. Then I will be continuing with Cathay to Siem Reap, Cambodia (the site of the Angkor Wat ruins). Coming back to NY I will be flying business class on JAL, BKK-NRT-JFK. I was told that there is only business and economy on those flights, but I have heard nothing but great things about JAL’s business suites.

        • Yes! Enjoy the first class lounges in Hong Kong — can’t go wrong with The Wing — get a shower suite if you can / perhaps a nap too. Also, get the dim sum; can’t go wrong with a few delicious pork buns!

          Keep looking for those first class seats from NRT to JFK; is it just that there is no availability or that aircraft doesn’t have First? JAL F is great so if you can get it please do!

  • Thanks Howie, will do!

  • Because of the changes coming to the program in November, I am keeping an eye on this promo as an option. We have nearly enough for 2x to Europe, under 10k tops things off. Still, last resort is to buy!

  • Getting a little sour on UAL miles, with the devaluation and all.

  • I might have a use for miles that I can use immediately (although I already have miles in the bank), so, thanks for pointing this out so I can at ;east look into it. Buying miles that won’t be used right away is always risky.

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