United is currently selling MileagePlus miles with up to a 100% bonus. This limited time promotion is only for four days and ends on March 19, 20201. If you max out this deal, you’ll get the 100% bonus when you buy MileagePlus miles, at a rate of 1.88 cent per mile. However, is this a good deal? Let’s have a look.
100% BONUS WHEN YOU BUY UNITED MILEAGEPLUS MILES
After logging into my account, I found that I was targeted for a 100% bonus. You can click here to find out which bonus you are targeted for.
Like many mileage sales, this one is also offering a tiered bonus structure.
- 30% bonus when you buy 5,000 – 14,000 miles. If you max out, you’ll buy a total of 18,200 miles for $526.75 at 2.89 cents per mile, which is a really bad deal
- 40% bonus when you buy 15,000 – 34,000 miles. If you max out, you’ll buy a total of 54,000 miles for $1,279.25 at 2.37 cents per mile, which is only marginally better
- 100% bonus when you buy 35,000 – 87,500 miles. If you max out, you’ll buy a total of 175,000 miles for $3,292.19 at 1.88 cents per mile. Buying miles may make sense for some in this particular tier, especially if you’re looking to book an award ticket in premium cabins.
A few things to note before you buy miles with this promotion:
- You can buy a maximum of 175,000 per account per calendar year
- Miles purchased do not count toward elite status
- Mileage purchases are not refundable
SHOULD YOU BUY MILES?
Now you may ask whether it makes sense to buy miles or points in advance, even when they’re sold at a discount. Here’s how I view that decision.
You should buy miles/points if you:
- Have an upcoming trip and you’re falling short by a few miles to book it
- Want to buy miles for a very specific trip that will give you outsized value. For example, I often purchase miles during promotional periods when I know I can book a business class ticket which will give me a value of over 5 cpp on miles purchased at 1.5-2 cpp
- Are ineligible for a credit card sign-up bonus for that points currency due to restrictions by the card issuer
You should not buy miles/points if you:
- Can easily transfer flexible points like Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards to top up your balance to book an upcoming trip
- Are simply purchasing miles to increase your balance without any specific use on the horizon
- Can easily rack up enough miles or points via credit card sign-up bonuses
THE PUNDIT’S MANTRA
If you have an upcoming trip, then it may make sense to buy miles with this promotion. However, given how travel is shaping up, signing up for credit cards and obtaining welcome bonuses may be a better option.
Currently, United’s co-branded credit cards are offering some limited time welcome offers. You can earn up to 75,000 United miles with a single credit card welcome bonus. Read this post for all the details pertaining to these limited time offers.
Moreover, you can also sign up for Chase’s credit cards and transfer miles to United at a 1:1 ratio. Currently, Chase’s Ink cards are offering some great limited time welcome bonus offers. You can earn a welcome bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card. Similarly, the Chase Ink Cash and the Chase Ink Unlimited cards are also offering amazing welcome bonuses of 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points or $750 each. On the personal side, the Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to offer a decent welcome bonus offer of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points, with an additional $50 in statement credits.
American Express is currently offering some amazing welcome bonuses on many of their personal cards. You can earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points or up to 90,000 Delta SkyMiles with these bonuses. What makes this deal even better is that Amex is throwing in an additional $200 in statement credits! These limited time offers end on May 5, 2021.
(Note: You can open the link in private browsing mode or incognito mode if the elevated offers don’t show up right away)