Limited-Time Only: Get Up to a 60% Bonus on Purchased United Miles

Jan 19, 2018

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Buying miles isn’t the ideal way to accumulate travel rewards — using a credit card or earning miles from shopping portals or dining programs are all generally preferable — and buying miles speculatively isn’t recommended since miles are a bad long-term investment. However, if you have a specific redemption in mind and the cost of the miles is less than the price of the ticket, it might be worth considering. And now, for just a few days, United Airlines is offering a tiered bonus when you buy MileagePlus miles.

From now until January 22, 2018, you can get up to a 60% bonus on your purchased miles. Here’s how the bonus breaks down based on how many miles you purchase:

  • Buy 5,000-10,000 miles — get 25% bonus
  • Buy 11,000-29,000 miles — get 40% bonus
  • Buy 30,000-93,000 miles — get 60% bonus

If you were to maximize this promotion and purchase 93,000 miles, you’d pay $3,499, including taxes and fees, for a total of 148,800 miles. That comes out to about 2.35 cents apiece. Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, United miles are worth 1.4 cents apiece. So, while this promotion is better than no bonus at all, it’s not the best deal — especially considering that United often promotes 100% bonuses. But again, if you have a specific redemption in mind, it could make sense to buy at even just a 60% bonus.

If you’re planning to utilize this promotion, here’s how to do so:

  1. Visit United’s Buy Miles page.
  2. Click on the 60% bonus promotion.
  3. Enter your United MileagePlus account number and last name.
  4. Select the number of miles you want to buy and fill in the required information to finalize your purchase.

Note that there are some restrictions to this promotion: You must purchase miles by January 22, 2018, at 11:59pm CT in increments of 1,000 miles with a maximum of 93,000 miles. The bonus miles will count toward the 150,000-mile annual limit per MileagePlus account, and purchased miles don’t count toward Premier status.

The purchase is processed by Points.com, so you won’t get any travel category bonuses from this purchase. Therefore, make sure to use the best non-bonus category credit card for your situation. Based on TPG’s valuations, the Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express’s 2x Membership Rewards on the first $50,000 per year; then 1x thereafter, or Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash back would be the most rewarding choices.

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