Airlines will often offer to sell you extra miles but in my experience it’s usually always never worth it. That’s why when a good promotion does come along, it’s almost too good to believe. However, the new United miles bonus program may just be a good deal. Let’s take a look at what they’ve offering.
Why I never usually buy miles
Say you’ve got your eye on a reward seat, but you simply don’t have enough miles. The airline asks you if you’d like to buy more miles to cover the difference and you’re thinking about it. You want to redeem your miles to save money, but now you’re thinking about spending cash. It doesn’t really make sense. But what about if you’re offered a 20 or 40% discount – well, now it’s starting to look attractive. But wait.
When you get an offer such as this, the miles are often selling for two to possibly three times their value. Buying them as needed to top up a purchase almost guarantees an over-spend. If you need a 2% top up, that’s okay. But if you’re looking at a 50% top up, forget it.
So when should I buy United miles?
As it happens, there’s a deal on right now which might be the only decent United offer you’ll see for a while. I don’t remember there ever being a better one and the last US miles buying deal promotion was nothing in comparison. Because right now, if you buy United miles with a bonus you can get 100% more, free.
Strictly speaking, this 100% promotion isn’t open to everyone. If you’re in the case above, looking for a small top up, you’ll still be paying over the odds. But if you’re planning to use miles towards a future flight, and don’t have enough, this is your chance.
The promotion is scaled to offer a better deal for big buyers. So you need to buy a bushel to get the best deal.
- Buy 5,000-14,000 miles, get a 30% bonus
- Buy 15,000-29,000 miles, get a 70% bonus
- Buy 30,000-44,000 miles, get an 85% bonus
- Buy 45,000-75,000 miles, get a 100% bonus
What’s the best price I can get out of the united miles bonus program?
If you buy the most miles possible on this deal, you’ll buy 75,000 miles and get 75,000 miles free for a total of 150,000 miles. 75,000 United MileagePlus miles will cost you $2,821.88 – but now you’re getting 150,000 miles for the same price. This means your total price per mile is 1.88 cent, which is below the 2 cent per mile the very best of the best deals can offer you.
But before you get too excited…
Those use to mile cost fluctuation will notice a catch here. The actual reward flight value of a United MileagePlus mile is around 1.4 cent right now. So yes, you’re still paying more than their worth. This is because the airline’s not stupid. They’re not going to offer you a backdoor to a cheaper price. Otherwise everyone would buy miles rather than paying in cash. This really is just a top up. But with a specific future use in mind it could still make sense and save you money.