United Airlines MileagePlus is running a promotion on purchased miles through Friday, December 18th, 2016. It’s a variable promotion that yields up to 100% bonus depending on how many miles you purchase.
The amount of mileage bonus you receive is targeted to your elite status level in the MileagePlus program, which I think is an interesting way to look at things.
You can access the deal here to see what your percentage bonus is (for those interested in such things, it appears points.com is providing the back-end processing).
Here’s what I was targeted for as a Platinum member:
I’m guessing the 100% threshold is the same or lower for 1K members and possibly higher for lower tier elites. The obvious play here if you’re going to buy is to buy at least 30,000 miles (or whatever number you’re targeted for) to get the 100% bonus. For me, that works out to 1.88 cents per mile (there are some taxes and fees you won’t see added until you hit the payment page). That’s actually not a bad price, and one of the lowest I can recall seeing.
I value a United MileagePlus mile somewhere between 1.5 and 2 cents each, but your value may differ greatly depending on circumstances. If you have an upcoming trip that you’re paying for, it’s easy to run the math if award availability exists to see if it makes sense to buy versus redeem.
If you’re trying to figure out how much you think various miles or points are worth, I think the Points Guy monthly point value posts are a great asset. You don’t have to agree with all of his numbers (he and I disagree here and there), but it’s a great starting point and the posts also discuss the methodology behind his values. You can use that information to determine what you would pay in a given situation.
It’s an interesting way to look at the sale of miles. I see these on a daily basis and most of the offerings are repetitive. While there can be hidden pockets of value from time-to-time, I’m rarely a buyer of miles. However, this one probably makes sense for a good number of folks.
Please report back on what your offer is. I’ll be curious to see how United targets this.