Mileage Plus has introduced a new Award Accelerator, which gives members the option to pay a fee and earn double or even triple miles for a flight. The longer the flight, the higher the fee will be to purchase Award Accelerator miles. For example, the cost to earn additional miles on a one-way flight from Chicago to Cleveland, a flight distance of 316 miles, is $9 for double miles and $19 for triple miles. A one-way flight of 7,483 miles between Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia is $224 for double miles and $449 for triple miles.
When members check in online, they will be presented the option of buying Award Accelerator miles. If your air travel is for 300 miles or less, you will be presented with an offer to purchase 300 Mileage Plus miles.
Is it a good deal? United Airlines eliminated the 500-mile minimum and the Award Accelerator essentially allows members on short trips to purchase the miles they used to get for free, which may not sit well with some members.
The Award Accelerator is slightly cheaper than buying miles, but the miles are still fairly expensive. It will cost you $518.75 to purchase 15,000 miles from United ($0.0346 per mile) or $449 to get 14,966 additional miles on the LA to Sydney route, a rate of $0.03 per mile. Paying $9 for an extra 316 miles on the Chicago to Cleveland route works out to $0.028 per mile.
It’s not a great deal, but if you are close to an award level and need a few extra miles, it may be worth it to purchase double or triple miles. Currently, members can purchase Award Accelerator miles when checking in online and later this year will be able to purchase the miles via united.com prior to check in. If you pay for Award Accelerator miles and then your flight is cancelled, you will be entitled to receive the purchased Award Accelerator miles in your Mileage Plus account. You can also purchase Award Accelerator miles when part of your travel is on a partner airline or when you are traveling on a Mileage Plus Standard or Saver award ticket. Go to http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?1159 for more information.