Hot on the heels of Alaska Mileage Plan offering one of its largest sales in recent memory, United is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased miles from now till 11.59am on 7 September 2018 SGT.
You need to purchase a minimum of 2,000 miles, although the bonus only starts kicking in at the 5,000 mark. Here’s how the bonus varies:
- Buy 5,000 – 10,000 miles, get a 30% bonus (2.89 US cents)
- Buy 15,000 – 25,000 miles, get a 70% bonus (2.21 US cents)
- Buy 30,000 – 40,000 miles, get a 85% bonus (2.03 US cents)
- Buy 45,000 – 75,000 miles, get a 100% bonus (1.88 US cents)
You can buy a maximum of 150,000 MileagePlus miles a year, post bonus.
Why would you buy United MileagePlus miles?
For those of us in Singapore, United’s award chart has one key sweet spot: flights to Australia and New Zealand, which price at 50,000 and 65,000 miles one-way for Business and First Class respectively.
Consider the following routing from Singapore to Sydney:
You’ll fly SIN-BKK on Thai Airways Business Class (because First Class doesn’t exist on this route), have a layover in Bangkok (where you can explore the Thai Airways First Class spa– be sure to select an option with a long enough layover for you to enjoy this!) and then take Thai’s B747-400 First Class product from BKK-SYD.
A one-way cost of 65,000 United MileagePlus miles + S$150 of taxes means this will cost about S$1.8K all in. Not the lowest cost way of getting to Sydney, for sure, but it’s certainly a much cheaper way of experiencing the Thai Airways First Class product (the same route would cost 90,000 KrisFlyer miles)
I mentioned Business Class costs 50,000 miles, but want to see something really cool? Check out this routing, which allows me to visit both Sydney and Auckland (or anywhere in New Zealand for that matter) on the same trip.
My SYD-AKL flight on Air New Zealand’s B777-200 business class costs an incremental 0 miles- I just need to cover the taxes. This SIN-BKK-SYD-AKL-BKK-SIN routing costs 100,000 miles in business class, exactly the same cost as if I just visited Sydney.
What I’m taking advantage of is the United Excursionist Perk, and the above routing is just one example of how it can work. I’m going to cover this in a future workshop (hint: it’s not limited to Australia and New Zealand!), suffice to say it’s unique to MileagePlus award tickets and allows you to add a free one-way flight to your holiday (within the same region as your first destination).
Which card should you use?
United Mileage Plus purchases are processed in USD by Points.com, so here’s the cards you should be using to maximize the miles earned:
- BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard- 5.0 mpd, no cap
- Citibank Rewards Visa- 4.0 mpd, capped at S$12,000 per card membership year
- UOB Visa Signature- 4.0 mpd, minimum S$1,000 maximium S$2,000 foreign currency spending per statement period
- DBS Woman’s World Card- 4.0 mpd, capped at S$2,000 per month, you may have to appeal to DBS to get the 7X bonus credited (1.2 mpd will credit automatically)
- SCB Visa Infinite- 3.0 mpd, minimum S$2,000 spending in a month
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