United 15-25% Discount on Purchased Miles: Good Deal?

by on January 17, 2012 · 4 comments

in United

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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.

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  • Tea4twosie

    I actually received an email for 30% off anything over 20,000 miles. Granted it still isn’t a great deal

  • PJ

    At least for non elite class travellers, US airways does let you click on line to book flights run by their partnrs. Agent was right : you can book it on line yourself. However 80 % of the time flights available ( in my case SNA EWR non stopoers) on CO’s booking engine are NOT available except off peak mid week flights with “partner processing fees’ .

    if you are lcuky enough to find CO flights, a US airways dividend miles credit card holder gets 5K discount to reduce the pain for paying 30-40 extra fees.

  • Diddy

    Just as an FYI, the targeted bonus amount seems to vary between members. Personally, my email offered 20% bonus for less than 25,000 miles, and a 30% bonus for 25,000+. Still not a good deal, but like you say, if someone needs to top off anyway…

  • Fufunugget

    US airways CC discount on US Airways metal only… not valid for CO or other *A flights

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