Up to 40% Off Purchased United Miles Through June 30

United is offering a strong discount on purchased miles.

  • Save 20% when you buy less than 25,000 award miles
  • Save 40% when you buy 25,000 award miles or more

As always with United, you can purchase up to 100,000 award miles per calendar year per account.

With this offer you can buy miles at ~ 2.3 cents per mile, which is darned good for United miles considering what they usually ask. I’ve seen sale prices of 2 cents for American miles and a hair under 1.9 cents for US Airways miles of late, but United usually gets more even with its purchase miles promos. Which isn’t entirely unfair since MileagePlus miles for most folks offer the best redemption opportunities.

Here’s the pricing for the top amounts purchasable:

Still, I do not buy miles speculatively. You give up cash now and have to trust that award charts won’t become more expensive and that seats you want will be available.

Instead, I buy miles to top off an account towards a specific award (rather than buying enough miles outright for an award) or because I have a particular use for the miles right away.

If you fall into one of those camps, it’s better to buy miles from United during this offer than at other times.

(HT: Reader John M.)

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. Thanks for the news.
    Can new members take advantage of this, or is it for existing members only or a x day old member like us airways?
    Some prior united offers were targeted, but seems this one is open?

  2. The 25,000 mile terms are a little vague, but you can:

    Buy 2,000 – 24,000 miles, get a 20% Discount = 3.01 cpm
    Buy 25,000 – 100,000 miles, get a 40% Discount = 2.26 cpm

    If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold/Plus/Classic, you can purchase Ultimate Reward Points for 2.5 cpp and transfer those to United instantly for free. So if you need between 2,000 and 24,000 United miles, it would be cheaper to buy Ultimate Reward points instead.

    Source: http://travelwithgrant.com/2013/05/24/united-buy-miles-40-discount/

  3. @Seth Miller – by working the mileage maximizer with purchased tickets (and cancelling tickets within 24 hours), sure

  4. @ЖенЯ – yes the processing appears as a united charge so bonus miles as though it was airfare spend, in my experience

  5. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to purchase UR points via a Chase card buying VRs for 0.8¢ per point?

  6. @Dbest, VRC for .8 cpp is the best way to go, unless you need 10,000 United miles…. today or tomorrow. Sometimes purchasing miles is the best deal if your award seat is available and you think it might not last long.

  7. Thanks for this info. While Taca is still in Star Alliance (Oneworld soon), MileagePlus is a great deal to secondary airports in South America. Do you happen to know how long it takes for the purchased miles to post? The site says 48hours, but I have a pending reservation that says I need to book by midnight tomorrow. Or, alternatively, do you know if UAL allows holding a reservation an extra day or two? Again, thank you.

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