Today Only: Buy Large Blocks of United Miles, Get Elite Status (and More)

Wall & Main is a new venture capital business that is crowdfunding itself, looking for initial investors that they’re going to reward with large numbers of miles.

The project launches today, and there’s a news conference set for early afternoon Eastern time that I won’t be able to call into because of some pre-existing obligations.

But Milepoint broke news of their deal a bit early in their e-mail newsletter, since the best deals are available only today.

The offer page lists several benefits packages, but not including today’s additional premiums. In addition to a number of smaller value items, they show:

  • 1 million United miles at the $30,000 level
  • 500,000 United miles at the $15,000 level
  • 250,000 United miles at the $7500 level
  • 150,000 United miles at the $4500 level

That’s a bit below what United sells miles for normally, it’s 3 cents a mile all-in, but it’s a lot of cash and not worth it just for buying miles alone and without any interest in what Wall & Main is doing.

But as reported in the Milepoint newsletter, the first 300 packages sold by 10pm Pacific today July 16th also come with United elite status.

  • The $30,000 / 1 million mile level also comes with Platinum status for the 2014 program year.
  • The $15,000 / 500,000 mile level also comes with Gold status for the 2014 program year.
  • The $7500 and $4500 levels also come with Silver status for the 2014 program year.

Packages purchased by 10pm Pacific today also receive Bose QC-15 noise canceling headphones.

It’s a lot of money so it’s a big decision, but the miles can be worth a large portion of the purchase price. Being able to straight-up buy Platinum status or even Gold can be really valuable as well. This is obviously only a deal/option for folks who have significant liquidity available, but it’s a quick boost to a mileage balance and for folks who might otherwise buy premium cabin award tickets likely worthwhile (even redeeming at the ‘standard’ award level).

Wall & Main is likely of interest to a narrow subset of readers, but to them of great interest.


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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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Comments

  1. Crowds are frequently stupid

    Due diligence is too boring

    This sounds so good – finally a real million mile secret!

    Must hurry, limited time to signup.

  2. Let me get this right? For $30k you get 1 mil miles and no shares of the company? No vested interest? Just some bogus benefits?

    Can I fund by credit card?

  3. Wow. A few things:

    You have a significant typo, the $15,000 package only offers 500,000 miles, not 1,000,000.

    Is my understanding correct that the $30,000, or whatever, is purely a contribution to this profit-making company and not an investment of any kind, and that the only return you will get is miles / status / benefits enumerated in the offer?

    Do you have a sense of how much the company is paying for benefits? For instance, if you donate $30,000 to them so they can build their business are they then paying $25,000 to United to purchase the benefits?

    If you figure the miles in the top package are worth $20K, it means you’re paying $10K for platinum elite status. What’s your evaluation of that as a straight dollar value basis?

    You almost always publish a statement saying whether you have any interest in the company or deal you’re mentioning. There’s no such statement here. Do you have any interest in this company directly or through MilePoint or another organization?

    What exactly is the relationship between MilePoint and WallAndMain? I notice the MilePoint had advance knowledge of this deal and that Randy is prominently featured on WallAndMain’s web site pushing these packages.

  4. I find the email that came from MilePoint today to be sketchy because of this:

    “Here’s an example, one of our fellow road warriors took advantage of an early “friends and family” offer and knew how to leverage these sorts of offers and ”invested” $15,000 for 500,000 bonus miles and promptly turned just 240,000 of those miles into two round trip tickets on MileagePlus partner US Airways to Beijing in premium cabins which when priced out would have cost the road warrior $18,704.”

    I don’t think US Air flies to Beijing so this make me doubt this whole proposition…

  5. @Lantean – the US Airways piece is clearly erroneous. As I understand it, it was a story/example submitted by someone who got in on the deal pre-launch. But to be clear I have no financial relationship with this company, and I think the value proposition either does or does not on its own apart fro the story.

  6. You get nothing but the rewards. It is not a loan or ownership in Wall&Main equity.
    From their FAQ:
    https://w.wallandmain.com/faq
    “Crowdfunding is simply, a group – or crowd – of people providing funding to a company, project, person, or activity. Three types of crowdfunding currently exist: 1) donations, where funding is given with no expectation of anything in return except some form of thank you or reward; 2) loans, where the backer is repaid with interest; and 3) investments, where the backer receives equity (ownership) in a company. …Today in the U.S., donations are the only form of crowdfunding allowed for now for unaccredited investors, with the funded company providing some form of thank you or reward for the backer’s generous donation.

  7. @LarryInNYC – I typed it right in the first instance 🙂 I fixed the second. This is not an investment. I have no idea their cost of miles.

    I have no financial interest here. The Milepoint email closed with, “Milepoint has no business interest in or with Wall&Main.”

    I had a conversation with one of the people involved in this at the Freddies who used to be a VP at MileagePlus, and they asked me to be a participant in their media announcement but I declined due to a conflict.

  8. OK, maybe it is an error… but when soliciting such large amounts of $$ from strangers errors are simply not acceptable. it makes the whole deal look not legit. just my $0.02.

    also i don’t understand what “I think the value proposition either does or does not on its own apart fro the story” means. is it missing a verb perhaps?

  9. @Lantean As I mention in the original post, this will be very interesting to a very small subset of readers. The value proposition WILL appeal but not to most.

    The value of status will vary by preferences and travel plans. I’d personally mark Platinum at about $3k in value, so $27k for 1mm miles is too high a price for me even if I had the spare cash sitting around. But I could imagine the scale sliding the other direction.

  10. Just read through their website, and unless I’m missing something, you need to change your opening sentence from “…looking for initial investors” to “…looking for initial DONORS.” This is their own language, from the website. Highly, highly misleading to use the word “investors” there.

    You aren’t obtaining an equity stake in anything here, you aren’t buying shares in any company…you’re simply making an outright donation to a for profit company in return for a package of benefits.

    And @LarryinNYC, yeah, judging from the quotes from Randy Peterson on the website, there definitely seems to be some sort of relationship between WallandMain and Randy/Milepoint, that would be good for Gary to disclose.

    All in all this is a TERRIBLE use of that kind of money. Anyone who’s putting $4500, $7500, $15000, or $30000 into this and not into their nest egg investments is an idiot.

  11. @Andrew

    exactly! the use of the word “investor” is highly misleading… Gary, do you have a lawyer???

  12. If anyone is willing to “invest” in my “venture”, they can simply send blank, endorsed checks to XXX XXXX Street, XXXX, XX. In return I will mail them an autographed post-it note and a chocolate chip cookie.
    I also accept credit cards and envelopes stuffed with cash.

  13. Man… these Wall St types are slick. I’m sure they’ll trick a few people with this charade.

    I’m used to seeing crowdfunding for worthwhile causes like helping a charity or a young entrepreneur with a good idea, not some Wall St vampires who will just end up getting a taxpayer bailout from the guy whose re-election campaign they bought once their snake-oil business goes under.

  14. This post needs to be much much clearer on the fact that you’re giving money solely for United miles and status, with no other ownership stake or benefit. I couldn’t figure out the facts until I read the discussion in the comments (which also started with confusion).

  15. Agree with other folks that the use of the word “investors” in the first sentence could reasonably cause even knowledgeable readers to assume that this was something other than a straight dollars-for-miles deal.
    .
    Based on the impression that this was an investment for which I could expect some kind of return, I considered this seriously for a few minutes. With that kind of mileage, even if the money turned out to be an interest free loan (even if the investment lost 50% of its value!) it might still be a good deal.
    .
    Reading further and finding out that there was no investment at all but essentially a gift to the company (in exchange for the benefits provided) left me with a considerably worse feeling towards the company than if I hadn’t originally believed that they were talking about an investment.
    .
    Just my two cents.

  16. So the purchase of the United miles, does NOT count towards lifetime United status(1MM, 2MM, 3MM, 4MM)?

  17. By using ones credit card, you would also accumulate additional points thus reducing the cents per mile, i.e., if you bought the Platinum Package for $30,000, you would get an additional 30,000 points.

  18. Another thought here, if you are already a million miler with United, this will give the same status to your “significant Other” for 2014, i.e., if you purchased the Platinum Package, your “significant other” would also get that status for 2014!!

  19. I have no involvement with this company, I got the Milepoint email this morning about it (which notes Milepoint has no financial interest), and I wrote it up. I’ve tried to clarify that you don’t get an equity stake, that it’s crowdfunding. Really expensive things bring out a lot of ire sometimes, that’s fine, I shared it because there might be 4-6 readers who find this really useful. And always fair to nitpick!

  20. Chitownflyer…if it counted towards lifetime United Status, then we would be talking about a great deal here!!!!

  21. I can’t believe milepoint would do this as an email blast without any sort of compensation from the company. They really didn’t pay for that advertisement?

    If they paid for that ad email from milepoint, and you co own milepoint, itd be hard not to see the conflict of interest… Esp when being sold as an investmet

  22. If the mileage guru, Randy, says “These pacakages are a ‘must buy’ for any savvy traveler” and spams all MilePoint members with an email, then it must be a great deal for all of us here. So I don’t understand the concern,

    Is that fish I smell here?

  23. Items like these expose what most blogs and milepoint are all about, creating revenue for their owners….

  24. After reading through the Wall & Main website, the company seems very dubious to me. I can afford to “contribute” (in exchange for the miles and status) to this for-profit outfit, but I won’t. Its goals are vague at best, and its business model seem to be relying on this: “In April 2012, The Jobs Act was passed by Congress that will permit unaccredited investors to participate in equity and debt crowdfunding. In the near future (we expect by year end 2013), the Securities and Exchange Commission will release the specific JOBS Act rules, allowing everyone to make loans or equity investments in businesses.”

    So wait until the SEC releases the rules before “crowdfunding” your business!

    I’m surprised and disappointed that Randy is promoting this.

  25. not a good deal at all – with rewards accelerator, you can buy miles for around 2cents/mile

  26. Be Afraid, be very afraid !!! Any company that plasters their FAQ’s with ‘current, proposed, or expected changes to SEC regulations for crowdfunding’ is definitely making sure their asses are well covered

  27. Did y’all see the video on the wallandmain.com website? As Randy said in his video segment, what’s there to think about it. This is an awesome deal, sign up now. And if you call before noon, they may even send you a free set of ginsu knives. Or double your order. Or not. What do I know.

    Somewhat surprised about Milepoint’s involvement in what I ultimately consider a scam.

  28. What happens to the status if you’re already 1K?
    Do I go back down to Plat?
    Sounds like just the thing I need.
    $30k is just a chump change.

  29. United Representative has confirmed that Wall&Main do have an arrangement with united.

    UA Insider

    Company Representative – United Airlines

    Join Date: May 2006

    Location: Chicago, Houston, or somewhere in between

    Posts: 1,804

    Hi everyone,

    We do indeed have an agreement with Wall&Main, where MileagePlus members can earn award miles. As the above posters have mentioned, you can find full details at http://www.wallandmain.com.

    Aaron Goldberg
    Sr. Manager – Customer Experience Planning
    United Airlines

  30. You say they are “looking for initial investors that they’re going to reward with large numbers of miles.” This is not an investment in their company! this is s straight up transaction where you pay big bucks in return for some “benefits” and airline points. You do not receive any equity in the company. I am not sure if you are being paid to promote them, but this post is highly misleading.

  31. Pass. You can manufacture the miles much more cheaply, although not without a lot of work. Status too.

  32. At those price points, something like Pass Plus with negotiated GS or 1K starts to make sense.

  33. I guess the best way for me to compare this is to buy 2 RTW first class tickets on Star or One World. Given you’d be collecting miles and status, I am not sure you are getting much for your money. You’d also have significantly more availability.
    It sort of reminds me of the first Nevada JOBS act filing–I wish I could find it, but looked and could not–where you were investing in a company that was promising to do nothing more than locate potential investments

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