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United has never been known to sell miles at a discount. In fact, normally their miles are a whopping 3.5 cents a piece plus a 7.5% tax, bringing the cost of buying 100,000 miles to $3,762.50, or nearly 3.8 cents per mile. However, they just launched a targeted sale (link only available from the email they sent out) of 15% when you buy fewer than 25,000 award miles or save 25% when you buy 25,000 award miles or more. This brings the cost of 100,000 miles down to $2,821.88 or 2.8 cents a mile, which is hardly a deal.

I can only see this making sense if you need to top up for an award or if you frequently purchase business or first class and can instead buy miles to book the awards at a much cheaper rate.

Chase sells points for 2.5 cents a piece with no tax and they can be transferred instantly to United at 1:1 ratio. Granted the only downside is that you can only buy 5,000 a month.

If you are looking to book a United flight or other Star Alliance award, buying US Airways miles at 1.9 cents with their current 50% promotion will probably make more sense. The only major downside to US Airways miles is that they don’t allow one-way awards and most of their awards have to be booked over the phone (plus their current buy miles promotion is targeted to people who purchased miles in 2011.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year for baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations worldwide. Terms Apply.
  • Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status with your Platinum Card.®
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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