Via Running with Miles, United’s shopping portal is offering 45 MileagePlus miles per dollar for Magazines.com purchases instead of their usual 12 miles per dollar.
Often coupon codes will interfere with your mileage-earning, but coupons advertised on the mileage portal aren’t supposed to.
This offer won’t last long. 45 miles per dollar means buying miles at $0.022 cents apiece (and it doesn’t include points you’ll earn from your credit card spend).
However here’s an idea to play with, that’s not tax advice let alone advice for anyone’s specific situation but merely something to consider.
Let’s assume you:
- Are in the top income tax bracket (39.6%) and are subject to Obamacare’s 0.9% Medicare surtax.
- Itemize your deductions
- Are already itemizing enough to overcome Pease limits on deductions
- Don’t value the magazines, or don’t value them at 40% of their cost
Mileage rebates aren’t generally considered to be taxable income or to have any value for tax purposes.
Buy and donate the magazine subscriptions to a non-profit, whether a library or other charity, and obtain a tax receipt provided the total of your gifts for the year are $250 or more. The value of your in-kind gift is the market value of what you’re giving.
A $0.022 cents per mile cost, after deducting the amount you’ve paid for the magazines, becomes a net cost to you of $0.0132 cents per mile. I consider United miles to be worth 1.6 cents apiece.
This isn’t as lucrative as reselling items you buy generally but the market for magazine subscriptions is going to be pretty thin. The offer provides the opportunity to think through the cost implications of miles and the US tax code.