United miles Flash Sale through 2/9/17 (up to 67% bonus)

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I’ve written before about using MileagePlus shopping offers with the real motive of ‘purchasing’ UA miles, and I’ve compared that to straight up purchasing miles through United’s MileagePlus program.  Although not regularly, at times I have used both of this methods to bulk up my United MileagePlus miles balance for different reasons.  Well today, a ‘flash sale’ is available with a decent offer if you are in need of 30,000+ miles.

This is what the offer looks like:

So why do we say that this is a particularly good deal if you’re looking to purchase 30,000+ miles?  The bonus depends on the tier you select to purchase in, and the lowest and mid-level tier bonus offers are the usual, so there’s nothing special there.  The top-level tier, however, is a bit better than usual.  Let’s use 2 scenarios to look at the numbers:

Scenario 1 – You need 10k miles.

Purchase through United website: 9,000 + 1,800 bonus (20%) + $21 tax recovery fee: $336.00 or 3.1 cents/mile

Scenario 2 – You need 50k miles.

Purchase through United website: 30,000 + 20,100 bonus (67%) + $78.75 tax recovery fee: $1,128.75 or 2.3 cents/mile

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

As you can see, you get a bit better value from the purchase at 67% than you would with the usual bonus offer that United makes available from time to time.  However, if you don’t have any upcoming travel plans, then there’d be no need to spend the money, as you can probably earn those miles without spending this much by using a combination of the tools available to earn miles and points.   Also, 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 cents/mile.  If you can wait, then wait.  However, there may be some situations that could warrant this purchase.  For example:

  • You’re a number of miles short to book a ticket for an upcoming trip that’s fast approaching.  This could be a great way to pay little $ for an expensive seat on a plane.
  • You have a 0 balance of miles or points to transfer, and need to purchase a ticket soon.  Again, check all your options before you do this, but it’s likely that it’ll be less expensive to purchase the magazine subscriptions via the shopping portal that add up to the desired amount of miles, than straight up paying for the ticket.  For instance, a business class roundtrip ticket to Frankfurt from Chicago will cost me $4300+ in March with the more renowned Star Alliance members, whereas ‘purchasing’ the 115k miles needed to make that trip in business class through the shopping portal will cost me $2,555.56.

Warning: If you’re intending to fly in economy class, you might be better off paying for the ticket than spending the money to attain miles to get an award ticket this offer.

If, like me, you missed out on the Chase Sapphire Reserve 100k spend bonus, and are in need for UA miles, this could be an immediate solution, but note that there may be better options coming around soon.

Will you purchase UA miles leveraging this new up to 67% bonus miles on miles purchases offer?

Give me your thoughts