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United MileagePlus Offering Up to a 100% Bonus When Purchasing Miles

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James Larounis

James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
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United Airlines MileagePlus members can take advantage of a new promotional offer when purchasing miles. Offers vary depending on the amount of miles you purchase, but you can purchase with up to a 100% bonus. This promotion is valid through November 30, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. CT.

Let’s take a closer look at the offer.

United’s MileagePlus Buy Miles Bonus

First, you’ll need to log in to your account with your MileagePlus credentials. Then, you can determine whether you will get value from buying miles with this promotional offer.

You’ll see the ability to score a bonus of up to 100% on purchased miles. For this promotion, the more miles you buy, the better the bonus you’ll receive.

Here’s the breakdown of our targeted offer, which was a bonus of up to 100%:

  • Buy 5,000 to 17,000 miles and receive a 30% bonus
  • Buy 18,000 to 34,000 miles and receive a 65% bonus
  • Buy 35,000+ miles and receive a 100% bonus

With United, you only can purchase a maximum of 225,000 miles per calendar year. If you’re targeted with the 100% bonus, you can buy a maximum of 175,000 miles for a total of $3,063 before taxes.

There’s plenty you can do with 175,000 United miles. For example, a round-trip business class flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (TYO) starts at 140,000 miles.

Is Buying United Miles Worth It?

Let’s do the math.

If you were to max out this promotion, you’d end up snagging the 100% bonus on the purchase of miles. Instead of purchasing miles for the usual 3.5 cents per mile, you’d get them for 1.75 cents apiece.

However, note that this price is still 0.55 cents more expensive than what we value United MileagePlus miles at: 1.2 cents apiece.

Hot Tip:

Buying miles can be a quick and easy way to boost your MileagePlus account. However, if you’d rather not fork over that kind of cash, there are many more ways you can earn MileagePlus miles without handing over excess cash.

Let’s take, for example, a round-trip flight in business class with United from Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX) using miles. This would set you back about 124,100 MileagePlus miles in business class.

With the promotion, buying the necessary miles outright would cost you about $2,205. But, the cash cost of the trip is only about $1,400, meaning purchasing the miles is not a good use case in this scenario.

Image Credit: United Airlines

So, if you were sitting on a zero balance in your MileagePlus account, you’d still want to pay cash for this flight vs. spending far more to purchase miles.

It’s usually not a great idea to buy miles just for the sake of it.

Final Thoughts

United is targeting MileagePlus members with promotional rates on buying miles. While there are savings to be had, it’s not always a good idea to purchase miles unless you have a specific trip in mind and the cost of the miles purchase is less than the cash purchase. If you do opt to purchase miles, consider using a United co-branded credit card to maximize your earnings!

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.


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