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If you’re looking to stock up on United MileagePlus miles, now’s a great time to do so. United is running a flash sale for buying miles, giving MileagePlus members the opportunity to get up to a 100% bonus through midnight on April 12. When maximized, you can buy United miles for as low as 1.88 cents each through this promotion.
Why Should I Buy Miles?
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Buying miles makes sense only for certain travelers. It’s obviously much better to earn United MileagePlus miles for free through credit card sign-up bonuses. If you’re looking for good options, the United Explorer Card is offering a 40,000-mile sign-up bonus right now for spending $2,000 in the first three months.
With United miles, it rarely makes sense to buy miles when you can almost always get United miles at two cents apiece with this technique. To get a rate lower than that, you’re going to need a huge bonus promotion. But right now United is delivering just that by matching the best bonus rate we’ve ever seen: a 100% bonus.
Remember, you’re only going to want to take advantage of buying miles for the right redemptions, and that’s generally going to be for international first or business-class flights, or when you can maximize the Excursionist Perk.
Just note that this sale comes right on the heels of United’s announcement that it’s eliminating its award chart — gutting the value of United miles for United award flights starting Nov. 15. However, there’s still plenty of value to be found on United until then or on United’s partners beyond that date.
Details of This Promotion
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 this 100% bonus, you can effectively buy between 100,000 and 175,000 miles at the rate of 1.88 cents per mile.
Here’s how the promotion is set up:
- Buy 5,000 – 19,000 miles, get a 25% bonus (3.01 cents apiece)
- Buy 20,000 – 49,000 miles, get a 50% bonus (2.51 cents apiece)
- Buy 50,000 – 75,000 miles, get a 100% bonus (1.88 cents apiece)
How to Buy United Miles
If you’re planning on utilizing this promotion, here’s how to do so:
- Visit United’s Buy Miles page.
- Click on Buy Miles Now.
- Enter your United MileagePlus account number and password.
- Select the number of miles you want to buy.
- 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 175,000 miles per account per calendar year, and bonus miles count toward the 175,000 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 elite status.
Which Credit Card Should You Use
We put this exact question to the test recently. Since the purchase is processed by Points.com, you won’t earn a travel category bonus for it on most cards. However, some United co-branded credit cards — such as the United Explorer Card and the United MileagePlus Club Card — earned 2x United miles on the purchase. The information for the United MileagePlus® Club Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Surprisingly, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card earned 3x Ultimate Rewards points — netting the best 6% return on your purchase based on TPG valuations. The runners up were The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express with 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 per year; then 1x and the Chase Freedom Unlimited‘s 1.5% cash back.
This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about United’s best “buy miles” promotions, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for the latest offer. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older deals below.
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The United Explorer card recently got some enhancements like 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants and on hotel stays and a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Fee credit (up to $100). The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.
- 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
- Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
- 25% back on United inflight purchases
- Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
- Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases