Get up to a 50% Bonus When You Buy United Miles

May 18, 2017

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

Now through Monday, May 22, you’ll receive up to 50,000 bonus miles when you purchase miles through United. This is a tiered promotion: You’ll get a 25% bonus (up to 8,500 extra miles) when you buy 5,000 to 34,000 miles, and you’ll get a 50% bonus (up to 50,000 extra miles) when you purchase 35,000 to 100,000 miles.

United miles usually cost 3.76 cents apiece ($35 per 1,000 miles plus a 7.5% federal excise tax), but this current offer lowers the price to as little as 2.5 cents per mile (with the 50% bonus). That’s still higher than TPG’s valuation of this currency (1.5 cents), but if you were planning on buying United miles anyway, you’ll definitely want to nab them at this lower rate.

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If you purchase between 5,000 and 34,000 miles and get the 25% bonus, you’re looking at a per-mile cost of about 3 cents. That’s hardly stellar, but again, it could make sense if you already had plans to top off your MileagePlus account for an upcoming redemption.

Here’s how to take advantage of the promotion:

  1. Visit United’s Buy Miles page.
  2. Click on Buy Personal Miles.
  3. Enter your United MileagePlus account number and last name.
  4. Select the number of miles you want to buy and 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. Miles may be purchased in increments of 1,000 miles.
  • Members can only purchase 150,000 miles per account per calendar year, and bonus miles count towards the 150,000-mile annual limit.
  • Miles may take up to 48 hours to post to your account.
  • Purchased or gifted miles do not count toward MileagePlus Premier status.

Note that the purchase is processed by Points.com, so you won’t get any travel category bonuses from this purchase. Make sure to use the best non-bonus category credit card for your situation. Based on TPG’s valuations, the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points would be the most rewarding choice.

Bottom Line

We never recommend buying miles speculatively — especially since the rates are almost always high — and even with this promo you aren’t necessarily getting a steal on United miles. That said, if you’re just a few thousand miles away from a lucrative award flight, such as a premium seat in the carrier’s Polaris cabin, topping up your account and getting up to a 50% bonus in the process could be worth it.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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