United And Mercedes-Benz USA Launch Partnership With Car Discounts and Bonus Miles

Jul 12, 2013

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United scared the collective frequent flyer community Friday when they Tweeted “A new rewards experience is coming for our MileagePlus members. Find out more soon.” Instantly I started receiving frantic emails, texts and tweets asking whether I thought a huge devaluation was on the horizon. Some people were even ready to start burning their MileagePlus stockpiles! Isn’t it crazy/sad how much we’ve been conditioned to think any airline announcement is a bad thing?!

A teaser of the big announcement was tweeted out on Thursday night.
A teaser of the big announcement was tweeted out on Thursday night.

Well luckily they just announced that the new “experience” is a new partnership Mercedes-Benz USA to give discounts and mileage bonuses on certain cards. Not a game changer, either way, which makes me happy. If you’re in the market for a new Benz, this could be a decent deal, but as always shop around for the best price.

According to the official press release, MileagePlus Premier members can now receive incentives of up to $5,000 when purchasing or leasing most new 2013 or 2014 Mercedes-Benz vehicles. In addition, Premier members will receive 25,000 bonus miles, through September 3, 2013, when purchasing or leasing a new 2014 Mercedes-Benz E- or CLS-Class model. Customers can use the incentive and mileage benefits at Mercedes-Benz dealers across the United States.
Mercedes Benz E350 Coupe

To take advantage of the the offers, MileagePlus Premier members should go to united.com/Mercedes, where you can browse available vehicles, select the Mercedes-Benz of your choice, validate your Premier status and print a voucher to obtain the pricing and mileage offers at the dealership. I just tried doing this and it wouldn’t let me log-in saying I wasn’t Premier (which I am Premier Platinum). I’m assuming this is an early glitch, but let me know if you have the same issue. “To access this functionality, you must be a MileagePlus member with Premier status. Please log in through United.com and ensure you qualify for this program.” Lame.

United Airlines
United Airlines announced a partnership with Mercedes Benz-USA on Friday.

While the lure of up to 25,000 miles or $5,000 in incentives is not enough to make anyone run out and buy a Mercedes if they weren’t already in the market for it, if you are shopping around for a luxury car and trying to decide between models – it could very well be enough to give Mercedes the edge. I conservatively value 25,000 United miles at about $500, so while not a game-changer, it isn’t a completely useless perk- that is, as long as you aren’t paying more through this deal for the car.

Earn up to 25,000 miles when buying a Mercedes E- or CLS-class.
Earn up to 25,000 miles or save $5,000 when buying a Mercedes E- or CLS-class.

However, to get the 25,000 miles, you need to get one of two models. The MSRP for the E-class ranges from $51,900 for the E-350 Sport Sedan to $59,070 for the Cabriolet. Meanwhile, the CLS-class ranges from $72,100 for the CLS550 Coupe to $74,600 for the  CLS550 4MATIC.

Other Benz Partnership
United isn’t the first to team up with Mercedes-Benz. Two years ago they launched a co-branded Mercedes-Benz American Express Platinum card, which is still one of the best Amex deals out there with 50,000 bonus points after $3,000 spent within 3 months. It comes with all the same perks of the normal Amex Platinum (lounge access, Global Entry rebate, $200 airline rebate, etc) plus:

  • A $1000 certificate each year you charge $5,000 in purchases, good toward the future purchase or lease of a new Mercedes-Benz8
  • Up to 2,000 excess miles waived at lease-end on leases through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services9
  • $100 certificate at renewal of your Card account, good toward Genuine Mercedes-Benz Accessories10

So if you are looking to get a new car now, the United deal will be more lucrative, but if you can accrue the $1,000 gift certificates, that could be an option as well, though I doubt you can stack both promotions.


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