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Buy United Miles For 2.26 Cents Apiece Through September 2

Aug. 30, 2016
4 min read
Buy United Miles For 2.26 Cents Apiece Through September 2
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – View the current offers here.

Now through September 2, you can earn up to 60,000 bonus miles when you purchase United miles here. Here's how this promo breaks down:

  • Buy 5,000-14,000 miles: Get 1,000-2,800 bonus miles
  • Buy 15,000-29,000 miles: Get 6,000-11,600 bonus miles
  • Buy 30,000-90,000 miles: Get 20,000-60,000 bonus miles

Here’s how to take advantage of the promotion:

  1. Visit United’s Buy Miles page.
  2. Click on Buy Personal Miles or Give Miles (both are eligible for the bonus).
  3. Log in to your United MileagePlus account.
  4. Select the number of miles you want to buy/give and click Continue.
  5. Fill in the required information to finalize your purchase.

Keep in mind that the usual restrictions for purchasing United miles apply to this promotion, including the following:

  • You must purchase at least 2,000 miles but can only purchase 150,000 miles per account per calendar year.
  • Miles may be purchased in increments of 1,000 miles up to a maximum of 100,000 miles and in increments of 5,000 miles up to a maximum of 150,000 miles.
  • Miles may take up to 48 hours to post to your account.
  • Purchased or gifted miles do not count toward MileagePlus Premier status.

Is It Worth It?

Purchasing United miles without a promotion costs ~3.76 cents per mile ($35 per 1,000 miles plus a tax recovery fee), and this current offer brings the per-mile cost down to as little as 2.26 cents per (when you buy 30,000-90,000 miles). That's still significantly higher than TPG's valuation of 1.5 cents, but if you need some extra miles to book a redemption it's certainly better to leverage this promotion than buying miles for the higher rate. Note that you may be able to buy United miles for as little as 2 cents apiece by purchasing the "Award Accelerator" available as part of an upcoming reservation.

Maxing out this promo gets you a per-mile cost of 2.26 cents.

If you need to book a last-minute flight, using this buy miles promotion could help you score a decent deal, as with this one-way transcon flight in business class tomorrow:

You could leverage this current buy miles offer to book a business Saver award such as this one.

Purchasing this flight with cash would cost you $1,549, compared to 25,000 miles and $5.60 in taxes and fees. If you currently don't have any United miles (or only enough for a one-way flight) and used this promo to buy 18,000 miles with a 7,200-mile bonus, you'd be paying $677.25, including taxes and fees — $871.75 less than the sample fare.

Of course, buying miles isn't your only option for working toward a United award flight. Since the airline is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, you can move points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the recently launched Chase Sapphire Reserve to the MileagePlus program at a 1:1 ratio. You could also sign up for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card and earn 40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in the first three months. The card also opens up additional award inventory, so when it comes time to redeem, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding flights at the Saver level.

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Which Card to Use?

Keep in mind that United miles purchases are processed by rather than the airline itself, so they're not eligible for bonus rewards with cards like the United MileagePlus Explorer Card. Your best bet is paying with a card that offers a solid return on non-bonus category spending, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Bottom Line

This promotion provides an opportunity to buy miles for less than the standard rate, and it could be a decent option if you're looking to book a last-minute award flight and need to pad your MileagePlus account. Even when you max this offer out by purchasing at least 30,000 miles, though, this isn't the best-value promo we've seen — so it's definitely not worth buying these miles speculatively.

Will you take advantage of this promotion? If so, share how you'll use your miles in the comments below!

Featured image by A United 777-200.

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