How to Make Reasonably-Priced Small Top Ups of United Miles This August

United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner above the clouds (Source: United AIrlines)

It seems that every few weeks, the major airlines launch another promotion to sell their miles at a discount / with a bonus. These promotions usually share one similar problem – you must buy a substantial number of miles in order to receive the best price.  But if you just need a small top-up for a specific reward, you are often out of luck.

If you are a United Airlines Mileage Plus member needing a small top-up of your mileage balance, therefore, this two-part travel hack might be just what you need. It stacks two promotions that will run until August 31st, 2021.

Step 1 – Buy Choice Privileges Points

Choice Privileges members can buy points at a 15-25% discount. The more points you buy, the higher the discount.

Step 2 – Convert Your Choice Points into United Miles

Choice Privileges and United Airlines Mileage Plus are running a special promotion for the month of August 2021.  Instead of the standard (atrocious) 5,000 points –> 1,000 miles conversion rate, you can convert 5,000 points –> 2,000 miles.

You must convert a minimum of 5,000 points; larger conversions must be in 1,000 point increments.

The Net Cost as United Miles

Depending on how many United miles you need, you could:

  • Buy 6,000-9,000 Choice points and pay 0.935 cents per point –>2.3375 cents per United mile for 2,400-3,600 miles
  • Buy 10,000-11,000 Choice points and pay 0.8415 cents per point –> 2.1037 cents per United mile for 4,000-4,400 miles
  • Buy 12,000-19,000 Choice points and pay 0.792 cents per point –> 1.98 cents per United mile for 4,800-7,600 miles
  • Buy 20,000+ Choice points and pay 0.7425 cents per point –> 1.856 cents per United mile for 8,000+ miles

What Do United Miles Normally Cost?

United tends to alternate between 85% and 100% bonuses. If you wait a month or two for the 100% bonus, you would pay 1.88 cents per mile. HOWEVER, you would have to buy a minimum number of miles, which is often 40,000 miles or more. (80,000 after bonus)

The Bottom Line

If you need a handful of United miles this August, and have an active Choice Privileges account through which you can buy points, then you might want to consider buying Choice points and immediately converting them to United miles.

In addition, don’t forget that you can earn some cashback from Topcashback when you purchase Choice points via the cashback website. If you are not yet a member of Topcashback, you can earn an additional $10. Simply sign up using this referral link – http://www.topcashback.com/join-us/inside-flyer/ref/craigsowerby – and earn $10 of cashback. You probably won’t earn $10 of cashback from a small purchase of Choice points, but it’s still an easy enough target to hit…

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