Should you buy United Miles with a 25% bonus?

Posted on May 14, 2013 by in United Mileage Plus

United just sent out emails with a (targeted?) offer to buy miles with a 25% discount.

Hurry, purchase award miles now and save up to 25%.

Wherever your next inspiring journey may take you, you can buy enough miles to get there sooner. For a limited time, save 25% on the purchase of 15,000 MileagePlus® award miles or more, or save 15% on the purchase of 5,000 to 14,000 miles. You could be on your way to a dream vacation in no time.

Hurry, this offer expires at 11:59 p.m. CST on May 20, 2013.

Buying miles directly from an airline is generally not a good idea.

One exception is if you have a specific redemption in mind and have made sure that you can find seats. The example is that you can direct your company’s budget towards buying miles instead a buying a business class ticket. Assume you are willing (and ready) to pay for a business class direct ticket from LAX-FRA for about $7,000. You find award seats for the same flight on the same day (not very likely but possible on May 28th for instance).

Instead you could buy 100,000 miles (enough for a return award ticket to Europe) for $2821.88 from United directly.

There are fees for the award booking (less than $200 usually) and you won’t be able to earn miles for the flight. But still that’s a saving of 50%+.

The only other exception is that you are eyeing a redemption a a couple of thousand miles are missing. I have often bought small amounts of miles as they post instantly and you can get your award booked right away without any hassle.

What’s your mile buying story?


About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]

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