Lowest Price: Buy United Miles for 1.88 Cents Each

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Buy United Miles: 100% Bonus for One Day Only

The cheapest United sells miles for is 1.88 cents apiece. They first offered via Groupon in 2014.

They offered miles at that price twice in 2015 and again in 2016.

After Scott Kirby became President of United, bringing with him Andrew Nocella from American, the frequency of these discount offers increased. They’re America West-turned-US Airways veterans who aggressively sold miles turning their airline into the ‘official consolidator of Star Alliance premium cabin seats’. And they brought the mileage sale discount approach with them to American Airlines.

Last year we saw 1.88 cents per mile sales in the summer, in the fall and again for end of year.

Now United is back with this sale, creating a sense of urgency promoting the offer as ‘one day only’. That’s true as far as it goes, and it’s cheaper than usual, though I think we can expect that this pricing will be back at some point later in the year.

Buying between 50,000 and 75,000 miles generates a 100% bonus. Here’s the cost to buy 150,000 miles. It comes to 1.88 cents per mile.

Remember of course that you may be able to get back the taxes from the IRS as well.

United sells miles via Points.com. That means you won’t get reimbursed for the purchase as a travel credit. And it actually means that Points is taking a cut of the purchase price. (They may also be guaranteeing some minimum sales to United, buying in bulk and reselling at a profit.) United itself is earning meaningfully less than 1.88 cents apiece through this arrangement.

While 1.88 cents is more than United miles are worth the offer can work for you to top off an account, or even buying from zero if you were going to book one of the unique values.

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. this is not working for me. I get no bonus. what is the trick?

    Your order
    Number of miles 50,000
    Cost of miles $1,750.00 USD
    Tax recovery fee $131.25 USD
    Total $1,881.25 USD

  2. Didn’t work for you?

    The one-day only was April 4, yesterday.

    When I checked, I could have purchased, and netted 150,000 miles for $2,625, but I don’t recall seeing any extra charge for the tax recovery fee.

    There was also an asterisk saying the purchase was subject to the max 150,000 miles per year per account.

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