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Buying miles isn’t the ideal way to accumulate travel rewards — using a credit card or earning miles from shopping portals or dining programs are all generally preferable — and buying miles speculatively isn’t recommended since miles are a bad long-term investment. However, if you have a specific redemption in mind and the cost of the miles is less than the price of the ticket, it might be worth considering. And now, for just a few days, United Airlines is offering a tiered bonus when you buy MileagePlus miles.

From now until January 22, 2018, you can get up to a 60% bonus on your purchased miles. Here’s how the bonus breaks down based on how many miles you purchase:

  • Buy 5,000-10,000 miles — get 25% bonus
  • Buy 11,000-29,000 miles — get 40% bonus
  • Buy 30,000-93,000 miles — get 60% bonus

If you were to maximize this promotion and purchase 93,000 miles, you’d pay $3,499, including taxes and fees, for a total of 148,800 miles. That comes out to about 2.35 cents apiece. Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, United miles are worth 1.4 cents apiece. So, while this promotion is better than no bonus at all, it’s not the best deal — especially considering that United often promotes 100% bonuses. But again, if you have a specific redemption in mind, it could make sense to buy at even just a 60% bonus.

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

  1. Visit United’s Buy Miles page.
  2. Click on the 60% bonus promotion.
  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.

Note that there are some restrictions to this promotion: You must purchase miles by January 22, 2018, at 11:59pm CT in increments of 1,000 miles with a maximum of 93,000 miles. The bonus miles will count toward the 150,000-mile annual limit per MileagePlus account, and purchased miles don’t count toward Premier status.

The purchase is processed by, so you won’t get any travel category bonuses from this purchase. Therefore, 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 on the first $50,000 per year; then 1x thereafter, or Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash back would be the most rewarding choices.

Know before you go.

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The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

This card offers 2X points on the first $50,000 in purchases per year; then 1X point thereafter.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Get rewarded for business as usual. Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.
  • 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
  • You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
  • More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, 15.49%, 18.49% or 21.49%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.49% - 21.49% Variable
Annual Fee
No annual fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.