From now through November 20th, United is offering targeted, tiered discounts on purchased miles. To see what your personal offer is, log into your account on United.com and hover over MileagePlus.
From there click on Buy, Transfer or Give Miles and you’ll be taken to this screen.
Click on the Reveal Now button, which will bring up a pop-up window for you to enter your MileagePlus number (again) and your last name. Enter that info and the next screen will show you your targeted bonus.
Mine will allow a bonus of up to 100% if I buy 30K-75K miles. United allows up to 150K miles to be purchased in a calendar year.
The drop-down menu shows the base cost of each increment of 1000 miles from 1000 to 75,000. Selecting one of the entries will then cause the calculator on the right side of the page to display the full purchase price including the taxes.
Buying 75K miles has a base purchase price of $2625. So getting 150K points for that price brings the price-per-point down to 1.75 cents each before tax. Since taxes are almost $197, that raises the price to 1.88 cents apiece.
Is it worth it?
It all depends on your needs, of course. If you’re looking to top off your miles to reach a specific award, then it might indeed be worth it. But if you’re looking to buy miles speculatively, then no, it’s probably not worth it. As noted above, the best-case scenario is about 1.88 cents apiece. Ben at One Mile At A Time values United miles at 1.4 cents each while Brian, the Points Guy, says they’re worth 1.5 cents apiece.
So I’ll be sitting this one out since I don’t have an immediate need.