United Airlines’ frequent flyer program MileagePlus is offering a bonus of up to 100% on miles purchases until 19 March 2021 at 11:59 PM US Central Time (that’s 3:59pm on 20 March in Sydney time AEDT).
This is an above-average bonus for United miles, which can be used for cheaper Star Alliance redemptions to Asia and beyond. Of course, with international travel still affected by COVID-19, we’d only recommend buying miles if you are able to book something right away for urgent travel.
This guide covers the latest United MileagePlus buy miles promotions. We also have a dedicated guide on how to buy United MileagePlus miles here.
The current United Airlines ‘buy miles’ promotion
The promotion I’ve been offered is tiered as follows:
- 30% bonus: buy 3,000-14,000 miles
- 60% bonus: buy 15,000-34,000 miles
- 100% bonus: buy 35,000+ miles
Your tiers may be different, so log in to your account to see which bonus you’ve been offered. I’ve seen someone else with a flat 85% bonus during this promotional period, which isn’t too bad.
With a 100% bonus, buying the maximum 87,000 MileagePlus miles would yield a total of 174,000 miles for US$3,273.78 (includes taxes), equating to a cost of ~US 1.88 cents per mile.
(The maximum number of miles you can buy per year is 175,000, including those offered as part of a bonus promotion.)
While the current situation with travel worldwide makes points purchases risky and speculative, this is an above-average value offer. This may make it worth purchasing miles for future use.
Example uses of United MileagePlus miles
United MileagePlus no longer offer a fixed mileage chart, which means that pricing for awards even with partners can be variable. It’s either more expensive than they before (more likely), or cheaper if off-peak (less likely).
Flights to/from Australia on the MileagePlus award chart will typically start from as follows:
|New Zealand||Business Class||25,000 miles|
|Rest of Oceania||Business Class||40,000 miles|
|South Asia/Hong Kong/Japan||Business Class||50,000 miles|
|First Class||65,000 miles|
|North Asia||Business Class||55,000 miles|
|First Class||75,000 miles|
|Mainland US, Alaska and Canada||Business Class||90,000 miles|
|Europe||Business Class||90,000 miles|
|March 2021||100||targeted, highest offer, flash sale|
|June 2020||85||price reduced due to changes to US taxes on points purchases|
|April 2020||100||highest, three-day flash sale|
|November 2019||100||highest, four-day flash sale|
|September 2019||100||highest, one-day flash sale|
|April 2019||100||highest, flash sale|
United MileagePlus buy miles promotions can be a great way to accumulate miles for cheap Star Alliance redemptions.
However, it only makes sense to do so when the offer is at least above average, and you have a particular Star Alliance partner redemption in mind.
The other program that you could consider buying points through for travel on Star Alliance is Avianca’s LifeMiles.
And as always, make sure there is award availability for the redemption you are eyeing off.