I’ve written before about offers that make purchasing United miles a reasonable proposition. For example, I wrote about how from time to time MileagePlus shopping offers, like this 45mi/$ offer at Magazines.com, can be leveraged as a miles purchasing tool. United also is known to offer bonus miles on miles purchases from time to time. Depending on your situation, these are great opportunities to earn United miles. Today, however, I came across the best miles purchasing offer I’ve ever seen from United.
Here’s a link to the offer at United’s Buy Miles page.
See below the 3 tiers I can choose from. Obviously, the more miles I purchase, the better the offer:
- Buy 5,000 – 14,000 miles = 25% bonus
- Buy 15,000 – 29,000 miles = 50% bonus
- Buy 30,000 – 49,000 miles = 75% bonus
- Buy 50,000 – 75,000 = 100% bonus
I don’t remember ever seeing a 100% bonus on miles purchase from United. Let’s look at some scenarios to see what this means.
Scenario/Tier 1 – You need 10k miles.
Purchase through United website: 8,000 + 2,000 bonus (25%) + $21.00 tax recovery fee: $301.00 or 3.0 cents/mile
Scenario/Tier 2 – You need 25k miles.
Purchase through United website: 17,000 + 8,500 bonus (50%) + $44.63 tax recovery fee: $639.63 or 2.5 cents/mile
Scenario/Tier 3 – You need 50k miles.
Purchase through United website: 30,000 + 22,500 bonus (75%) + $78.75 tax recovery fee: $1,128.75 or 2.2 cents/mile
Scenario/Tier 4 – You need 100k miles.
Purchase through United website: 50,000 + 50,000 bonus (100%) + $131.25 tax recovery fee: $1,881.25 or 1.9 cents/mile
***To put this into perspective note that usually the top-level tier is: 34,000 + 17,000 bonus (50%) + $78.75 tax recovery fee: $1,268.75 or 2.5 cents/mile
You can purchase anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 United miles at 1.9 cents/mile! Obviously, the more you buy the more bang for your buck. United miles are usually valued at around 1.5 cents/mile, so with this offer you’d be purchasing them almost at their actual value. Think about this: If you purchase 60,000 miles -plus the 60,000 bonus- for a total of 120,000 United miles, you’d have enough miles for a Business Class roundtrip ticket to Europe, which normally costs between $6,000 to over $10,000.
Additionally, with your miles purchase you’ll be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win 250,000 miles! See the rules of the sweestakes here.
As you can see, a bonus like this can make a significant difference in the value of your miles purchase. I usually recommend for folks to abstain from purchasing miles unless they absolutely have to, but this one is a first with United. I highly doubt that we’ll see this again for a long time after it expires. However, you can always earn miles without spending this much by using a combination of the tools available to earn miles and points. If you do decide to wait, keep on the watch for MileagePlus Shopping earn rates, as it’s not uncommon to see offers that will provide you with the ability to ‘purchase’ the miles at close to 2.1-2.2 cents/mile. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to sting a little if you let this one pass and you end up needing the miles sometime in the near future.