40% Discount on Purchased United Miles- Worth It?

by on September 14, 2012 · 11 comments

in Buy Miles Promotions, United

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United is currently offering a 40% discount on purchased miles through September 19, 2012. They’ve run this promotion in the past (and I’ve written with my thoughts on it),  but I’ll recap it again since I’ve been getting a lot of reader emails whether this promotion is worth it or not.

Promotion Landing Page With Links to Purchase Miles

I personally value United miles higher than any other airline mileage currency. They aren’t perfect, but they are extremely valuable because there are so many partners and actually shows a lot of partner availability, which saves me time having to call in. Their fees are low and they don’t charge fuel surcharges like some of their Star Alliance friends like Aeroplan. Plus, they are an instant 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards so its easy to top up my balance when needed.

So all that being said, would I pay almost 2.3 cents to buy United miles? Personally, no because I have enough Chase points through my credit card sign-up bonuses so I’d rather keep my cash and use the points and miles I already have. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t make a lot of sense to buy them:
1) If you need to top up your account for an award and you don’t have any Chase points (or prefer to use your Chase points on other valuable transfer partners like Hyatt).

2) You redeem your United miles for awards that give you a value of greater than 2.3 cents. For example, if you’d pay $3,500 for a business class roundtrip ticket to Europe, then buying 100,000 miles for $2,257.50 might make a whole lot of sense. On the flip side, it would be like paying $575 for an economy class doemstic ticket- probably not worth it- especially since you don’t earn miles or elite status on award tickets.

Offer details:
To take advantage of this offer, you must use the order links on this page.
For a limited time, save 20% off the regular price on purchases of less than 30,000 award miles, save 40% off the regular price on purchases of 30,000 award miles or more
Buy Personal Miles or Give Miles for less – only $28 per 1,000 miles when buying less than 30,000 award miles or only $21 per 1,000 miles when buying 30,000 or more award miles (normally $35 per 1,000 miles) plus a 7.5% excise tax for a limited time
2,000 mile minimum purchase required and after that miles are available in increments of 1,000
Discount can be used multiple times while the promotion is valid
Promotional offer valid until 11:59 p.m. CDT on September 19, 2012
Purchase up to 100,000 MileagePlus Personal miles or Give Miles per account per calendar year
Credit card will be billed immediately for purchase
Program fees and mileage rates subject to change
Discounted pricing will automatically display when using the links on this page
Allow 48 hours for miles to post to MileagePlus® account
Personal Miles and Give Miles are non-refundable
These miles can only be used for awards and do not count toward Premier® status
If you have questions or concerns about this offer, please email [email protected] for assistance
All MileagePlus Program Rules and terms and conditions apply

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • PJ

    anybody passing up on Sapphire Preferred or United Explorer 50K+5K for United Explorer etc is interested in this buying United miles opportunity? in case you need to top off an award ticket, ask your friends to loan you chase UR points and repay in Chase UR points later…

  • DavisCalifJr

    Can you buy 100,000 for yourself, and then gift 100,000 to someone else too? Or is it 100k/yr maximum personal or gift per year? I’m not sure how that works. Have a big trip planned with 3 people and this would be the quickest way to get the miles in a relatively short amount of time. My two friends live in Switzerland, so I’m assuming they can buy miles if they have an MP account? Or is this just for USA MP accounts? Thanks for all you do for us, Brian! Love your blog with my coffee each day! Have learned so much from you!

  • Jim

    I got a US Airways offer for 2 for 1 points (you posted it about 2 months ago, it’s only targeted accounts); would you agree the US offer is way better than the UA offer? I use all my miles for intl FC/BC. The downside to US are the one-ways (can’t book them) and nothing online. In your experience the US phone calls usually pay off OK?

  • Mary E.

    Thanks for this link. I needed to go one way to the States at a specific time net March, and only need a one way ticket. All tickets from Seoul to LAX were $1600.00 or more. . I got a supersaver one way ticket – and bought $600.00 to top off my miles to get a supersaver ticket using the 40% discount link. So, I saved $1000.00. Thanks much.

  • Mabmonterey

    My husband saw the ad (re: 11 European destinations) on (Sept. 19, 2012), clicked the link to buy miles at the 40% discount, bought miles then called me and suggested I do the same. I immediately got online -went to, saw the same ad (11 European destinations) and No, None, Zip, Zero information was available regarding the available 40% discount. When he came home from work we tried again. Then we called United Airlines directly. We live in California and had an interesting conversation with a very nice lady in Manilla (Philipines) who knew absolutely nothing about a discount. Thanking her for her time we hung up and called United Mileage Plus and we’re again routed to Manilla. This time we spoke with a fine young man who loved California but knew nothing about ant 40% discount. thank you very much. Next, we waited about ten minutes (hoping all the good folks in Manilla might take a break at the same time and we would be routed to someone in the United States), and yep, you guessed it -didn’t get a third time’s the charm deal but we did talk to another nice person in Manilla, who knew absolutely nothing about any discount. At that time we decided that the glitch is because of United Airlines and Apple’s IPad. Right now I’m not sure if I am more upset with United or Apple…

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  • Julie

    Topping off for an award… Does this transaction go through If not I’ll use my Sapphire Preferred for 2x.

  • Julie

    Actually I’ll use Freedom for 5x this quarter, if it shows up as an airline purchase.

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  • dana

    I need to book a one way flight between Oahu and Kauai, it costs about $70 or I can use 5000 UNITED miles plus $2.5. Which one is the better choice?

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