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United Mileage Flash Sale - 100% Bonus Miles
Old 04-06-2020, 08:26 PM   #1
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United Mileage Flash Sale - 100% Bonus Miles

United is currently offering a flash sale (ends on 4/8) on mileage purchases, offering up to a 100% bonus on the miles purchased. If you buy 40,000 to 87,500 miles, you get a 100% bonus.

Is anyone pursuing this? Or am I overlooking something?

As fate would have it, my family and I booked a Spain/France/Italy cruise in late-Sept this year. We booked before the COVID pandemic, obviously.

It is probably likely that it will get canceled, but who knows at this point.

Looking at flights on United, if we were to buy miles under the promotion described above, we could fly Polaris business class round trip to Europe for roughly $750 PP (when converted from miles), which is actually slightly less than what we'd pay if we just bought economy fare tickets outright.

Is it not advisable to buy miles under this scenario and immediately book this low cost business class fare?

Here are the risks I am thinking of:

-Flight is canceled but cruise is still scheduled, left trying to work around United's alternate flight schedule which might not align with our cruise schedule
-Flight + cruise is canceled, and we are left with a ton of United miles. Not really a bad thing, we travel a ton and would use the miles eventually. United miles don't expire
-We decide not to go, and cancel the flights and have a ton of miles. United changes mileage program where miles can expire and they end up expiring before we can use them, thus resulting in me losing money.
-United goes bankrupt or merges with another airline, and my miles disappear, thus resulting in me losing money.

This is obviously a ploy for United to get some cash due to the current circumstances...understandable. Does it make sense to take advantage of the offer, even if I think there's a good chance that the cruise doesn't happen (we would probably try to schedule for 2021)? As I said above, we travel a ton and the miles will get used, but there is risk in that they could change the parameters of the mileage program, or United could go under
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:25 AM   #2
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What is the effective price per mile? Usually I have found myself puzzled as to why anyone would buy more than a few miles needed to top out a points flight.
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:39 AM   #3
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Wow. Occasionally that happens when fares are low and they're giving you a bargain on miles. Having been in two Polaris Lounges (ORD and IAH), I'm impressed with what you get even before you get on the planes! Having said that:

1. Airlines are notoriously stingy with award travel in premium classes. You may not be able to get the dates you want and you should assume you'll be paying the unrestricted mileage amount.

2. I'm not sure the government will let any airlines "go under"- we practically have an oligopoly in the US as it is. That makes mergers unlikely and even in a merger, typically you can transfer your miles to the new program.

3. When in 2021? I'm edgy about early 2021; hoping to re-schedule a South American trip that was curtailed last month but I haven't even gotten the refund for the tour company for the part I didn't take (they said they will and I trust them) in early 2021 but I'm going to take a hard look at things before hitting the "Buy" button. I have a deposit on a small-ship (under 100 passengers) cruise off Belize and Guatemala in October, 2021 and am not concerned about that time frame.

4. If you book a cruise, get travel insurance as soon as you can. Typically it covers insolvency of the cruise line, which is a real possibility, but it's covered only if you bought your policy within X days of booking the cruise, not moths down the road as financial issues became apparent. I've never found an insurer that would issue more than a year ahead so if you book, say, fall 2021 you may have to wait to buy a policy.
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Old 04-07-2020, 10:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by younginvestor2013 View Post
United is currently offering a flash sale (ends on 4/8) on mileage purchases, offering up to a 100% bonus on the miles purchased. If you buy 40,000 to 87,500 miles, you get a 100% bonus.

Is anyone pursuing this? Or am I overlooking something?
Booking immediately is the main thing to do. Otherwise, the airline could simply devalue the miles. That 70,000 mile business class seat to Lower Slobovia becomes a 120,000 mile seat as soon as business picks up. T

I like cash.
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Old 04-07-2020, 11:03 AM   #5
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Availability of premium seats for miles strike me as your biggest risk. United is at bottom of pile of airlines for me to trust even remotely offering a good deal to the consumer.
YMMV
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Old 04-10-2020, 03:15 PM   #6
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Not really on point, but Heathrow Airport for the month ending 3/31 had a 97% drop in air traffic.
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Old 04-10-2020, 03:34 PM   #7
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Way too early. Due to this mess I'm sitting on considerable e credits. However that's the least of my concerns.
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Old 05-06-2020, 10:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
Booking immediately is the main thing to do. Otherwise, the airline could simply devalue the miles. That 70,000 mile business class seat to Lower Slobovia becomes a 120,000 mile seat as soon as business picks up. T

I like cash.
+1

Spending cash for tickets earns points to qualify for elite status, buying points does not.

UA: "Premier qualifying points (PQP) Based on the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharge of flight purchases, along with seating purchases and paid upgrades"
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:37 AM   #9
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No way would I do this. Bankruptcy filing could really hamper your chances of getting your money's worth.
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:54 AM   #10
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No thanks. The better way to play this game is to sign up for a couple of credit cards and meet the spending requirements. That way, you get all the benefits of the deal for just the cost of a 5 point ding on your credit score for a few months.
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Old 05-06-2020, 03:55 PM   #11
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FF miles are akin to Duetchmarks during the Weimar republic. Don't buy - sell.
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Old 05-06-2020, 06:07 PM   #12
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No thanks. The better way to play this game is to sign up for a couple of credit cards and meet the spending requirements. That way, you get all the benefits of the deal for just the cost of a 5 point ding on your credit score for a few months.
Plus the annual fee plus the foregone rewards you could collect on another card with the minimum spend to get the bonus.

I've had Hilton, Marriott and AA credit cards in the past. It made more sense back when I was traveling on business a lot and the points really added up- but with the frequent devaluations in the programs, the perks I get flying in Business long haul (their love can be bought) and the fact that I don't know when I'll be ready to do major travel again, I'm sticking with the straight cash back form Fidelity and Costco Visas.
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Old 05-06-2020, 10:53 PM   #13
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Aeroplan/Air Canada, also part of Star Alliance w/ United, is also having a similar points sale with bonus starting tomorrow.
The main thing holding me back is that AC is relaunching the program at the end of the year after bringing Aeroplan back in house after spinning it off years ago. The flight rewards for business class seats can be fantastic but who knows what the state of travel be for this year. And then with the relaunch, it could go either way: Immediate devaluation or launch with great feature to start and devalue later.
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