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United is offering MileagePlus members the opportunity to purchase miles at a discount — but the exact discount you’ll get is a mystery. To see your United mystery miles offer, head to United’s buy miles landing page, click the Discover My Offer button and sign in to your account. You’ll then be directed to your personalized offer. Note that for all members, regardless of specific offer, the mystery miles promotion ends on Nov. 20, 2018, at 11:59pm CT.

TPG staffers have gotten a fairly narrow range of offers ranging from a 70% bonus up to just a 75% bonus. I was one of the lucky ones targeted to get up to 75% bonus miles with this promotion. Here’s how my offer breaks down:

  • Buy 5,000-14,000 miles, get 25% bonus
  • Buy 15,000-29,000 miles, get 50% bonus
  • Buy 30,000-85,000 miles, get 75% bonus

The 70% offer was quite common in the TPG office, with everyone getting an identical offer:

  • Buy 5,000-14,000 miles, get 25% bonus
  • Buy 15,000-29,000 miles, get 50% bonus
  • Buy 30,000-88,000 miles, get 70% bonus

I already purchased 2,000 United miles this year as part of our testing to see which credit card is best for buying United miles. So, I can only buy 83,000 more United miles through this 75% bonus promotion. If I did, I’d pay a total of $3,123 for 145,250 miles. That comes out to 2.15 cents per mile. Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, United miles are worth 1.4 cents each. So, as you can see, this isn’t a great offer.

None of us were targeted for a 100% bonus. If you are, here’s when it makes sense to purchase United miles with a 100% bonus. If you’re targeted for 70% or 75%, here’s What You Should Do Instead of Buying Miles Through United’s Latest Promotion.

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 toward 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 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.

Surprisingly, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card earned 3x Ultimate Rewards points — netting the best 6.3% 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 (3.8%) and the Chase Freedom Unlimited‘s 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points (3.15%).


This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about United’s mystery 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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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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.