I wrote a post recently about when you should consider buying miles. Buying miles which are on sale can be a great way to get a deal on international first & business class tickets. Generally speaking, the three programs with the best deals on miles are American AAdvantage, Alaska Mileage Plan, and Avianca LifeMiles.
United isn’t an airline which often offers great deals on purchased miles, though at the moment they have one of the better promotions I’ve seen in a while.
Through August 31, 2015, United MileagePlus is offering a discount on the purchase of miles. Different accounts are targeted for different promotions, though the best version of the offer seems to be for up to 50% off the purchase price.
Through that version of the offer, the discounts are tiered based on how many miles you purchase, as follows:
- Buy 5,000–14,000 miles, save 15%
- Buy 15,000–29,000 miles, save 25%
- Buy 30,000–49,000 miles, save 40%
- Buy 50,000–150,000 miles, save 50%
With the discount of up to 50%, the cost to buy 150,000 miles is ~$2,820, which comes out to ~1.88 cents per mile. That’s not a half bad price. Certainly not a rate at which it makes sense to speculatively purchase miles, but with a specific use in mind it could be a decent deal.
Here are the full terms of the promotion:
- Promotional offer valid until 11:59 p.m. CT (Chicago local time) on August 31, 2015
- Miles are available in increments of 1,000 up to a maximum of 100,000 miles, and in increments of 5,000 up to a maximum of 150,000 miles
- Purchase up to 150,000 miles per account per calendar year
- Price displayed on this page does not include any fees or taxes
- Price displayed on this page includes all discounts and bonuses
- Credit card will be billed immediately upon purchase
- Mileage rates and other fees and offer terms are subject to change
- Allow 48 hours for miles to process and post to your MileagePlus account
- Miles are nonrefundable
- Purchased miles do not count toward MileagePlus Premier® status
- All MileagePlus Program Rules and terms and conditions apply
- GST/HST is charged to Canadian residents
- Powered by Points to purchase United MileagePlus miles. Transaction will appear as ‘Points United Miles’
The discount being offered by United varies by account, so you’ll want to take a look and see which version of the offer you were targeted for. If you were targeted for the 50% discount, ~1.88 cents per mile is the best price I’ve ever seen on the purchase of United miles.
It’s still not an especially good deal, though, and certainly not a price at which I’d recommend speculatively picking up miles.
How much do you think United miles are worth? Would you buy them for 1.88 cents each?