There is a 30% discount on buying United Miles which brings the purchase price down to 2.63 cents per mile, but is it worth it?
I mentioned yesterday that there was an award accelerator option that was cheaper to buy miles. It usually is.
Here is how it works:
Usually all itineraries that have a United segment and can be added to your reservations will work. What award accelerator is basically multiply the BIS miles that you’re accumulating with the itinerary. So if your itinerary is 5,000 miles then you’re given an option to buy 5,000 miles (so doubling your miles) or 10,000 miles (tripling your miles). It will work even if you’re not accumulating redeemable miles (RDM). For example, I have a US Airways award on my account and it will still give you the option.
You can look at this option when you’re managing your reservation. It should be under recommended addons.
Then you are given the option to buy Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM) and Redeemable miles. I have no interest in qualifying for 1k at 9.5 cents per mile, so focus on the cheaper price. On this itinerary (which is one-half of a US Airways Award HKG-SIN-NRT-ORD-YVR), I’ve given the option to buy 12,969 miles for $273, and 25,938 miles for $545. This works out to be approximately 2.10 cents per mile and that means this is way cheaper than buying miles directly from United.
What are the tradeoffs? The fact that you can only buy the number of miles that your itinerary is for and that you need to have a reservation on united. But both of those are negligible for me, so that’s why my value of United miles is capped at 2.1 cents per mile. With shorter itineraries, it will give you a higher price per mile so keep that in mind. But for me buying miles at the price is as easy as buying a refundable ticket and clicking a few buttons for five minutes. If you want a specific amount of miles then buy a itinerary that is a specific length.
I would say at this price I am hesitant to not buy any miles, because that means two long-haul LH F segments plus a TG/OZ/NH short-haul segment is just around $1550. Definitely before you buy consider what you’re going to use these miles for and whether there’s a cheaper alternative as the purchase is nonrefundable. But it’s certainly an option to keep in mind when you want LH F and no nasty YQ with Aeroplan.