Mileage-Earning Rate Doubled for Investing Through Lending Club, Possible Big Miles Opportunity

A year ago I wrote about Lending Club offering up to 100,000 United miles.

At the time they were offering one mile per $2 invested by new customers. You earn better yields than a bank, but there’s some risk. (They claim ‘low risk’.)

Now they’re offering up to 100,000 United miles at one mile per dollar invested by new customers.

They’re promoting 4% – 6% historical returns. This could be worth doing just for the miles, and indeed a reader points out that if you achieved 12% return (for simplicity of the math):

Deposit for the 100k, season for bit, sell on the platform (bids are usually 1 percent below value). If you hold for a month, you might break even. Not risk free by any means.

  • Buy in $100,000 and invest, get United miles
  • Hold for a month at 12% annualized return
  • Your 1% gain should cover the cost to sell your position and pull out your cash

If those assumptions held then $100,000 and a month would net you 100,000 miles. In truth your return is probably somewhat lower and remember this is not risk free.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. 5% average return, plus say 1.5% on the miles is c.6.5% net return, not bad for cash.

    wonder if you cld leverage up with LC via family accounts?

  2. Another p2p lender just went under (bond street) and all inputs of cash were lost. I would be very wary of putting money here. You could lose all of it.

  3. A conversation with them:

    They take 1% if you sell the investment on their website.

    You will probably sell it at lower price than you paid for it.

    You will get your miles around April of next year.

    You must transfer New Funds of at least $2,500 and invest the New Funds through the LendingClub platform between October 9, 2017 and January 9, 2018

    Be sure to give them your UAL account number. After joining, click on your name in the upper right corner, then on Settings.

    All loans are to individuals and are for a term of either 36 or 60 months. Some are paid back early, others last the full term.

    You do not have to loan the full amount. You loan a minimum of $25 per loan. You can chose any combination of loans, or you can get LendingClub to chose them for you, setting any criteria you want.

    They have a really good way of screening loans to your preferences. Each loan provides a very large amount of information on the person needing the loan. It is fascinating how the risk level is determined by factors other than credit score.

    Very soon (perhaps minutes) after you join and before your invest, you will probably receive a phone call from a very knowledgeable rep. Save his number. He can talk you through anything, showing how to use all of the tools on the site.

  4. @Art: Legally, there would be income tax on these miles. Lending Club may not report them to the IRS, and if they don’t, then you can very likely get away with cheating and not reporting the income. But you’re supposed to report them.

  5. You don’t need to be a new investor – you just need to invest new money. I did it last time and got the miles. I have kept it as part of my asset allocation the past couple years. I find it a pretty reliable ~5-8% return. Certainly some risk, but better than other alternative investments (such as kickfurther).

    if you already have money in lendingclub, you can turn off auto reinvest, withdraw before january. then transfer whatever you want in and should earn miles on the whole sum.

  6. I’m sitting at 7.06% return accounting for defaults, etc. These were all notes I would manually find and buy with a $20k total investment. It was a royal PITA scouring these notes several times a day. And tax time it’s even a bigger time suck entering in individual notes. TaxAct doesn’t have any auto import feature like the expensive tax products do. My last note should be paid off some time in early 2018 and at that time I’ll close my account.

  7. Read the prospectus.
    What? It’s just too many words and makes your head hurt?

    You are investing in unsecured notes of Lending Club, so you have two ways to lose money.

  8. Turbo Tax does have a auto calculator, extractor for your tax forms. Much, much easier.

    I just put in $5k for the heck of it and let it grow, using the $25 autoinvest $7k interest received since 2011

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