Travel

United MileagePlus Selling Miles With Up To 100% Bonus

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Strategically buying miles & points can represent a great deal, especially for luxury travel. United Airlines MileagePlus has just launched its latest sale on purchased miles, which will be the program’s last promotion of the year.

Through 11:59PM CT on Friday, December 31, 2021, United MileagePlus is offering a sale on purchased miles. Different accounts may be eligible for different offers, so you’ll want to log into your account and see what you’re targeted for. It looks like the best version of the offer is for up to a 100% bonus, structured as follows:

  • Buy 5,000-14,000 miles, receive a 30% bonus
  • Buy 15,000-39,000 miles, receive a 60% bonus
  • Buy 40,000-87,500 miles, receive a 100% bonus

How much does it cost to purchase United MileagePlus miles?

United MileagePlus ordinarily charges 3.5 cents per purchased mile, plus a 7.5% federal excise tax. That’s before any discounts or bonuses. If you’re eligible for the 100% bonus and maxed out this promotion, you’d receive a total of 175,000 miles at a cost of $3,292.19, which is a rate of 1.88 cents per MileagePlus mile.

United offers promotions on purchased miles quite often, and when the program does, we typically see a bonus of up to 100% or a discount of up to 50%, which is ultimately the same cost.

United is selling MileagePlus miles with up to a 100% bonus

How many United MileagePlus miles can you purchase?

United MileagePlus limits members to purchasing 175,000 MileagePlus miles per account per calendar year. Note that this limit applies after factoring in any bonuses, so even when United offers a bonus on purchased miles, you can still only purchase a maximum of 175,000 miles.

If you do buy United miles, it can take up to 48 hours for them to post to your account.

Which credit card should you buy United MileagePlus miles with?

United MileagePlus mileage purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as an airfare purchase for the purposes of credit card spending.

Therefore I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach a minimum spending requirement, or otherwise, a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spending, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review), Citi® Double Cash Card (review), or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (review).

Best cards for non-bonused spending:

  • Earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase, earn 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase

  • $0

Chase Freedom Unlimited®


  • Earn 3% Cash Back on Dining

  • Earn 3% Cash Back at Drugstores

  • Earn 1.5% Cash Back On All Other Purchases

  • $0

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card


  • Earn 2x Venture miles on every purchase

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

  • 10,000 bonus miles every account anniversary

  • $395

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card


  • Earn 2x Venture miles on every purchase

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

  • Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check Credit

  • $95

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express


  • 2x points on purchases up to $50k then 1x

  • Access to Amex Offers

  • No annual fee
Redeem MileagePlus miles for ANA business class

Is buying United MileagePlus miles worth it?

United MileagePlus doesn’t publish an award chart, neither for travel on United, nor for travel on partner airlines. Therefore there’s some variability in terms of award costs. On top of that, we’ve seen a few MileagePlus devaluations in the past couple of years, including the program increasing redemption rates on Star Alliance partners, and charging more for last-minute award tickets.

Nonetheless there are some situations where redemptions through MileagePlus represent a good deal. To give some examples of one-way redemption rates:

  • Transatlantic business class awards for travel on United flights start at 60,000 miles
  • Transatlantic business class awards for travel on partner airline flights start at 77,000 miles
  • Transpacific business class awards for travel on United flights start at 70,000 miles
  • Transpacific business class awards for travel on partner airline flights start at 88,000 miles

My general hesitation with buying MileagePlus miles is that I think there are other Star Alliance programs with better redemption rates and/or program policies, including Air Canada Aeroplan and Avianca LifeMiles. Both programs often sell miles at a lower cost, and Air Canada Aeroplan also has a lucrative stopover policy.

Redeem MileagePlus miles for United Polaris

On what airlines can you redeem United MileagePlus miles?

United Airlines belongs to the Star Alliance, so you can redeem MileagePlus miles on all Star Alliance airlines.

On top of that, you can redeem miles on some of United’s other partner airlines, including Aer Lingus, Azul, Eurowings Discover, Vistara, and more.

Redeem MileagePlus miles for Aer Lingus business class

How much are United MileagePlus worth?

Everyone will value mileage currencies differently, but personally I value United MileagePlus miles at ~1.4 cents each. I tend to value points pretty conservatively, and there are many ways to get more value from MileagePlus miles than that.

Do United MileagePlus miles expire?

United MileagePlus miles don’t expire. There’s no activity required to keep your account mileage balance alive, but rather you can keep your miles no matter what.

What other ways can you earn United MileagePlus miles?

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.


Best for beginners

Earn 2x points on all travel and 3x points on dining

Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Sapphire Preferred® Card


Best for premium benefits

Earn 3x points on all travel and dining, plus annual travel credits, airport lounge access, and superior trip coverage and purchase protection

Chase Sapphire Reserve®Chase Sapphire Reserve®


Best for rotating bonus categories

Earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories, which can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points with a premium Chase card

Chase Freedom Flex℠Chase Freedom Flex℠


Best for non-bonus spend

Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points with a premium Chase card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®Chase Freedom Unlimited®


Best for business travel

Earn 3x points on travel, shipping, advertising with social media, and internet and phone services

Ink Business Preferred® Credit CardInk Business Preferred® Credit Card


Best for office expenses

Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores, which can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points with a premium Chase card

Ink Business Cash® Credit CardInk Business Cash® Credit Card


Best for everyday business expenses

Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points with a premium Chase card

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit CardInk Business Unlimited® Credit Card

See this post for the best credit cards for earning United miles.

Bottom line

United MileagePlus is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased miles, which has the potential to be a good deal. This is a way to acquire MileagePlus miles for 1.88 cents each — while there are circumstances where that could represent a solid value, personally I wouldn’t speculatively buy miles at that price. I’d rather transfer miles from Chase Ultimate Rewards, or use another Star Alliance program that offers better value.

Do you plan on buying United miles with this offer?

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