Get up to a 100% Bonus When Buying United Miles

Jul 24, 2017

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Earning airline miles using the traditional method (actually flying) is just one option for growing your account balance. While it’s increasingly harder to earn miles from flying, airlines make it relatively easy to accrue miles without flying — whether through top credit card offers or by utilizing shopping portals and dining rewards programs. If these methods leave you short of your travel goals, you can also purchase miles directly from an airline.

If you’re finding yourself a little short of a redemption, you might be interested in United’s new buy miles bonus. Now through September 12 you can purchase United MileagePlus miles with up to a 100% bonus. The regular price for buying United miles is 3.76 cents per mile ($35 per 1,000 miles plus a 7.5% Federal Excise Tax). But, with the 100% bonus, this promotion will drop the price down to 1.75 cents per mile.

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United is known for sometimes offering targeted promotions, so we checked around the office to see what offers everyone got. We found that there are at least three versions of this offer:

  • Buy 5,000 – 14,000 miles, get a 25% bonus (2.8 cents apiece)
  • Buy 15,000 – 29,000 miles, get a 50% bonus (2.33 cents apiece)
  • Buy 30,000 – 49,000 miles, get a 75% bonus (2.0 cents apiece)
  • Buy 50,000 – 75,000 miles, get a 100% bonus (1.75 cents apiece)

Or:

  • Buy 5,000 – 19,000 miles, get a 25% bonus (2.8 cents apiece)
  • Buy 20,000 – 29,000 miles, get a 50% bonus (2.33 cents apiece)
  • Buy 30,000 – 49,000 miles, get a 75% bonus (2.0 cents apiece)
  • Buy 50,000 – 75,000 miles, get a 100% bonus (1.75 cents apiece)

Or:

  • Buy 5,000 – 19,000 miles, get a 25% bonus (2.8 cents apiece)
  • Buy 20,000 – 49,000 miles, get a 50% bonus (2.33 cents apiece)
  • Buy 50,000 – 75,000 miles, get a 100% bonus (1.75 cents apiece)

Is It Worth It?

In his latest valuations, TPG pegs United miles at 1.5 cents each. This promotion drops the price per mile down to 1.75 cents each. So, it wouldn’t seem to make much sense at first. However, there are certainly cases where it’d make sense — and it’s certainly more appealing than a maximum of 75% bonus offer.

Either way, one thing is for sure: You’re going to want to have a specific use for the miles in mind before purchasing miles. Speculatively buying miles isn’t recommended, as miles are a bad long-term investment.

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If you’re planning to utilize this promotion, here’s how to do so:

  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 Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express’s 2x Membership Rewards or Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points would be the most rewarding choice.

Are you going to buy miles during this promotion?

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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