Buy United Miles with an 85% Bonus until November 5, 2019. It's a staggered bonus, so if you buy 5000-29,000 miles, you only earn 40% bonus miles, which frankly isn't worth it. Buy 30,000-94,000 miles in order to earn the 85% bonus. Here are the terms:
- Offer valid until 11:59pm Central Time, November 5, 2019
- Must buy in increments of 1000 miles
- Miles purchases typically post instantly, but can take up to 48 hours to post to your MileagePlus account
- Bonus miles count towards the 175,000 miles maximum purchase threshold per calendar year
- Miles are nonrefundable.
- Purchased miles do not count toward MileagePlus Premier® status.
- GST/HST is charged to Canadian residents.
If you earn the 85% bonus, that's equivalent to buying United miles at 2.03 cents per mile. That's still on the high side, but could be worth it if you're topping up for a high value partner award, such as a last minute Lufthansa First Class award, ANA First Class, SWISS Business Class, Austrian Business Class, Brussels Business Class or similar.
Note that the United Award Chart Devaluation, which abolished award charts for awards on United metal, goes into effect November 15, 2019. Still, the best values have always been for Star Alliance partner first class and business class, and so far those haven't changed in pricing, although of course they could at some point.
Keep in mind that if you have many Chase Ultimate Rewards points, those transfer 1:1 to United MileagePlus. And it's relatively easy to earn plenty of Ultimate Rewards points given great category bonuses: 3X on all travel and dining with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, 5X on all Amazon and Whole Foods spend via buying gift cards at Staples with the Ink Cash, and 5X on rotating quarterly categories such as drugstores and grocery stores with the Chase Freedom.
Which Credit Card to Buy United MileagePlus Miles
Since United MileagePlus miles purchases are processed by Points.com, you won't earn any category bonuses. For this reason, I recommend either using a new credit card for which you're working on meeting the minimum spend threshold to earn the signup bonus, or the AMEX Blue Business Plus, which earns 2X Membership Rewards points on all spend.
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