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One of the most frustrating restrictions of points and miles is that many programs institute a use-or-lose expiration policy to their rewards. Although United has just announced that its miles won’t expire anymore — ever — there are still tons of people who have already lost their hard-earned miles to expiration. Though United has confirmed to us that those whose miles expired in July or August will receive all their miles back, free of charge, the rest of us aren’t so lucky. Historically, United has offered the ability to “reinstate” them for a set cost, starting at $50 for 5,000 miles. However, as our friends at Million Mile Secrets have noted, you can now reinstate your miles with a 30% discount — and you’ll never lose them again.

The new rates break down like this:

Miles to Reinstate Cost
5,000 $50 $35
5,001 – 20,000 $100 $70
20,001 – 35,000 $150 $105
35,001 – 50,000 $200 $140
50,001 – 75,000 $250 $175
75,001 – 100,000 $300 $210
100,001 – 150,000 $400 $280
150,001 – 200,000 $500 $350
200,001 – 500,000 $600 $420
500,001 – 750,000 $700 $490

Alternatively, if you’re looking to reinstate more than 20,000 miles, you can opt for the “reinstate challenge,” which allows you to pay a reduced fee ($70, with the discount) in addition to qualifying activity to regain your miles:

If you don’t have any United flights coming up, opening up one of Chase’s co-branded United cards could be a great option to both buy back your miles and acquire new miles with current sign-up bonuses:

  • United Explorer Business Card: For a limited time, earn up to 100,000 miles: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months your account is open. Plus, an additional 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 total in purchases in the first six months your account is open.
  • United Explorer Card: Earn 40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.

Note the United TravelBank Card and MileagePlus Go Visa Prepaid Card don’t qualify for the reinstate challenge.

Is It Worth Reinstating Your United Miles?

While I generally grit my teeth at the thought of paying for something I’ve already earned, there are times when it can make sense to buy back your miles. Take, for example, United’s San Francisco (SFO) to Tel Aviv (TLV) route on the 777-300 ER with Polaris. I fly this route often, and with Saver award space, I can snag a Polaris seat for just 75,000 United miles. With the 30% discount, buying back those 75,000 miles would run me just $175 (plus tax). In comparison, the base cost for that ticket runs a cool $3,700+.

In this case, that $175 is looking mighty attractive. In addition to this being the last time ever that you’ll need to buy them back, the 30% discount makes this a pretty compelling choice.

Feature photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy

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2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

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 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% 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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