Today Only: Buy United Miles With A 100% Bonus

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For today only — through 11:59PM CT on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 — United is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased miles. This is as good as bonuses on purchased miles get, as I don’t ever recall seeing United offer more than a 100% bonus on purchased mile (though they have occasionally offered similar bonuses in the past).

The promotion is tiered, and you earn a bigger bonus the more miles you buy, as follows:

  • Buy 5,000-9,000 miles, get a 40% bonus
  • Buy 10,000-19,000 miles, get a 60% bonus
  • Buy 20,000-75,000 miles, get a 100% bonus

For past 100% bonuses on purchased miles you had to purchase a lot more than 20,000 miles in order to unlock the 100% bonus, so this is a pretty low threshold for unlocking that bonus. For example, you could purchase a total of 40,000 miles (including the 100% bonus) for $752.20, which is a cost of ~1.88 cents per MileagePlus mile.

A member can purchase at most 150,000 miles per year (including any bonuses), and it can take up to 48 hours for purchased miles to post to your account. Personally I value MileagePlus miles at ~1.3 cents each, though there are ways to get more value out of them than that. I wouldn’t recommend proactively picking up MileagePlus miles for ~1.88 cents each, but with a specific use in mind it could make sense to buy miles.


Redeem your MileagePlus miles for travel in EVA Air business class

If you’re looking to earn United miles, MileagePlus is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, so you can convert Ultimate Rewards points into United miles at a 1:1 ratio. This is a great use of points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

United mileage purchases are processed by points.com, so buying miles wouldn’t qualify as airfare spend. If you do buy miles, you’ll first want to use a credit card where you’re meeting minimum spend, and then use a card that maximizes your return on everyday, non-bonused spend, like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American ExpressCiti® Double Cash CardThe Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, etc.

Do you plan on buying United miles with a 100% bonus?

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Comments

  1. Hi Lucky,
    Do you have anything regarding the previous Choice Privileges Points-to-Mile promotion?
    The bonus miles have not yet posted.

  2. @ Joe

    If you read the small print it says that the bonus miles may not post before end December 2017 or even end January 2918.

  3. @Lucky: Your text (correctly) says the offer is for a 100% bonus above 40k miles, but you also have:

    “Buy 20,000-75,000 miles, get a 75% bonus”

  4. All of this is a bit confusing. Lucky, first you write:

    “Buy 20,000-75,000 miles, get a 75% bonus”

    then:

    “For past 100% bonuses on purchased miles you had to purchase a lot more than 20,000 miles in order to unlock the 100% bonus, so this is a pretty low threshold for unlocking that bonus”

    which doesn’t add up.

    Then, if I follow the link provided, I get _zero_ bonus, no matter the amount of miles I chose to buy.

  5. I didn’t get the bonus miles either. Where is it mentioned that bonus miles are posted end of December ?

  6. They could offer a 200 percent bonus and it would still be a bad deal. Have you tried to get a first class award on United lately, for a decent itinerary and at a decent time of day, that doesn’t put you in coach for part of the trip? It is almost impossible. What good are miles if you can not use them to get the same seat for which you would be willing to pay cash?

  7. As of last night, the offer was still there. I had to log into my Mileage Plus account to take advantage of it through the regular United.com webpage as the link above didn’t take me straight to the mileage purchase page. Anyway, the offer was there and I bought 20k miles, so 40k total. It was there as of about 8:00pm PST last night, and may still be. Just be sure to log in through the regular site like I did. If its gone, well, its gone.

    Thank you, One Mile at a Time, for mentioning this. Despite being a UAL Mileage Plus guy United never sent me an email about this. Without this story, I wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of it.

    David. you can get a good deal. I flew LAX-OGG on UAL417 on 11/15. When I went to check in online the night before, there were first class seats available so I was able to upgrade from 7A in economy to 4A in first for $300. This was on top of a coach ticket paid for with miles. It was an awesome flight, and quite inexpensive, too, for first class. A lot of it comes down to happenstance and luck, but checking in the night before when seats have opened up, other passengers’ plans have changed, etc., is a way to get those nice upgrades. I was the third person on the plane. It was sweet…

  8. Forgot, to those whose miles weren’t immediately posted, mine were. My Mileage Plus account showed the extra 40k miles immediately. Perhaps it had something to do with your method of purchase? That’s what I would surmise. I used my Hawaiian Airlines Barclay Card to double dip on airline miles, and the miles were posted within seconds. It may be that the miles will be posted to your Mileage Plus account after you pay your credit card bill at the end of the next billing period. That may explain the delay.

  9. Hi Bob. I can get any seat I want if I want to pay cash. Tell me that you flew first class with all miles, or upgraded your coach set with miles and I’ll be impressed. In the meantime, I continue to consider United miles almost worthless. The part that really irks me is on a flight with multiple connections – they will make you pay the full first class mile award, then tell you it is “mixed cabin” and make you sit in economy, sometimes for the longest leg of the booked itinerary. Buy miles with double bonuses if you want to, but 2 times 0 is still 0.

  10. The original coach ticket was all miles ( some carried over from Continental) plus $5.25. The upgrade fee still meant that I only paid a little over $300 for a first class ticket. When I fly, I don’t make multiple connections so I’m admittedly not in your situation. For the type of travel that I do (point to point, or round trip nonstop) United Miles are a good bargain. My next flight will be United, first class, all miles. It’s coming up in mid-summer, work schedule permitting.

  11. I have got a weird reply from mileageplus saying that the bonus miles were only for US residents? Where does it mention that? Any help please

  12. SK, i certainly didn’t see that on the promotion page when I bought mine. It simply asked for my name and Mileage Plus number, nothing more. I suspect you were connected with a less than well-prepared cubicle drone who didn’t know the answer. I’d call back and speak to someone else and ask where it’s actually printed or listed on the site. If it isn’t there, then one would think that that have to sell them to everyone. As long as the sale is in US dollars, what does it matter where the purchaser is from?

  13. Thanks Bob…this thing sounds fishy to me as I did write to them asking them exactly as you mentioned to show proof of the offer being only for US residents. The same staff has responded saying she would be happy to refund the amount back to my card without replying to my point.

  14. Thanks Bob…this thing sounds fishy to me as I did write to them asking them exactly as you mentioned to show proof of the offer being only for US residents. The same staff has responded saying she would be happy to refund the amount back to my card without replying to my point.

  15. I’d ask to speak with a supervisor and again to show you where the US resident/citizen thing was on the site. Trust me when I say that I didn’t see it. Nowhere in the initial story above does it say that, either. Again, you likely have run into a cubicle drone who doesn’t know his stuff and is simply trying to wear you out and hope you’ll go away. I’d go up the chain of command. The key here is having them show you where it says what they claim it says. Have them send you a screen shot. I’m willing to bet that they can’t.

  16. I am going to that Bob as i really need to know why such a remark was mentioned . I have a screenshot of exactly what you said of only the membership number being asked and the number of miles etc without any restriction for US residents only.
    I,ll keep you updated. Thanks!!

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