Update: It is no longer possible to purchase Ultimate Rewards points directly from Ultimate Rewards.
United charges 3.5 cents per mile, plus a 7% federal excise tax for the purchase of miles. That means 2,000 miles (the minimum you can purchase through United) will cost you $75.25, not to mention the miles can take up to 48 hours to post to the account.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been just a few thousand points short of an award redemption, which is where this trick comes in handy.
While we all know Ultimate Rewards points are valuable, many don’t realize you can purchase them for 2.5 cents per point directly from Ultimate Rewards.
So if you have a card that accrues Ultimate Rewards points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, log-in to your Ultimate Rewards account at ultimaterewards.com and click on “Manage Ultimate Rewards” at the top of the page.
Then on the next page click on “Purchase Points,” located on the left sidebar.
There you can purchase up to 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points per calendar month, for a total of $25 per 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which will post instantly.
Now, hopefully you’ll have earned enough Ultimate Rewards points through sign-up bonuses, credit card spend, and the Ultimate Rewards Mall so that you don’t actually have to purchase any, but if you do, it’s unbeatable in terms of price and speed.
(Tip of the hat to Travelsort)