United MileagePlus offers to purchase miles with a bonus of up to 100% (until September 17)

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United Airlines’ latest mileage promotion seems to be making waves in the frequent flyer community, giving MileagePlus members the opportunity to buy miles with a 100% bonus that can be quite lucrative. As this offer expires on September 17, 2023, let’s dive into its benefits and potential pitfalls.

The Highlights:

  1. Duration: The promotion runs between September 4 to 17, 2023.
  2. Increased Purchase Limit: Normally, United allows the purchase of up to 175,000 miles annually. This promotion bumps it up to a substantial 225,000 miles, which is a notable change for regular flyers.
  3. Bonus System: It’s structured on a tiered basis. The more miles you purchase, the more bonus miles you can potentially earn. The maximum bonus, as cited, seems to be 100%.


Value for Money? 

The cost per mile under this offer boils down to 1.88 cents. While it might seem tempting, especially when compared to the usual price of 3.5 cents per mile, one must always cross-check with the real-world value and actual airfare prices. For example, although a flight from New York to London may be significantly cheaper per mile than a regular ticket, there may be few such opportunities.

Ticket price from NYC to LON if paid with miles
Cost of tickets from NYC to LON if paid with money

From the example provided, it’s evident that the ticket price stands at $4032 if paid in cash. However, by utilizing the miles purchased during the sale, the cost drops significantly to $1510 (which is the product of 80,000 times 1.88 cents plus a $5.60 fee).

Use-Case Scenario

The true value of this offer will be unlocked for those who either have an upcoming trip in mind  avail business or first-class tickets between major city pairs. For example of a round-trip business class flight from LA to Tokyo starting at 110,000 miles + $5.6 fee (which costs $21981 if you pay in cash) gives a taste of what’s possible. But for those with no immediate travel plans or a considerable bank of miles already, the taking advantage of this sale might not be as beneficial.

This offer truly shines for individuals who are planning a trip or often book business or first-class flights between major cities. Take, for instance, a round-trip business class flight from LA to Tokyo. It starts at 110,000 miles plus a $5.6 fee, compared to its cash price of $21,981. However, if you don’t have any immediate travel plans or already have a significant amount of miles saved up, this sale may not offer as much value to you.

Restrictions & Limitations

There are several caveats to be aware of:

  • The offer doesn’t apply retroactively to past transactions.
  • Bought miles don’t contribute towards the MileagePlus Premier® status, which can be a bummer for some.
  • All sales are final. The non-refundable nature of the purchased miles can be a deterrent for those who like flexibility.

Additional Benefits

Making the purchase with a United MileagePlus card can bring dual benefits. Not only does one receive the purchased miles, but they also get miles for every dollar spent on the transaction.


United’s MileagePlus promotion seems enticing on the surface, particularly for those with specific travel plans. The potential for savings is evident, especially for luxury or international flights. However, it’s always recommended to strategize the purchase, comparing the mile’s cost against actual ticket prices and considering immediate travel needs. For those without a clear plan, buying miles “just because” might not offer the best value.

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