My wife forwarded me an email earlier today that she received from United giving her the opportunity to earn up to an 80% bonus for miles purchased into her Mileage Plus account. Good news indeed! It’s one of the best offers that I think I’ve ever seen from UA. Her offer was interesting because everywhere else I look, I only saw a 75% bonus maximum. She backed up the truck and bought her full allotment for 2017.
When I logged into my account to purchase miles, I was offered a 75% discount for the same promo so it may be that your mileage bonus may vary based on your status level or length of MileagePlus membership.
Regardless, when an opportunity comes along that offers more than a 50% bonus to buy miles for MileagePlus, it’s usually a fairly good value considering the redemption opportunities that exist for Lufthansa, SWISS, Brussels, and Austrian.
According to the fine print, it looks like this promo is in place until April 20, 2017.
United has made their first ‘Mileage Sale’ a decent one for 2017. Mileage Plus members can earn between 25% and 75% in bonus miles with their purchase, depending on the amount of miles purchased. The sale runs through January 23.
Here is the breakdown:
If you buy between 10,000 and 14,000 miles you’ll earn a 25% bonus of additional miles (equating about 2.8 cents per mile).
If you buy between 15,000 and 29,000 miles you’ll earn a 50% bonus of additional miles (equating about 2.3 cents per mile).
If you buy between 30,000 and 85,000 miles you’ll earn a 75% bonus of additional miles (equating about 2 cents per mile).
Remember that you can buy 150,000 miles a year (including the free bonus amount), and that ‘clock’ has reset to zero for everyone so you can back the truck up and load up 150k miles once again this year.
And of course you know that the best place to use these miles is for those First and Business Class Seats on Lufthansa, SWISS, Brussels Airlines, and Austrian!
When you first bring up the Mileage Plus purchase screen, you’ll see an offer for only 50%, but when you log in you should see the 75% offer available.
UPDATE: Some of you have shared that you are being limited only to 50% bonus for purchases. This may be as a result of United targeting certain members for a 50% or 75% bonus. Here is an image from my own transaction, showing that I would receive a 75% bonus:
United announced a new ‘enhancement’ that takes it one step closer to turning Economy class into something akin to what a Low Cost Carrier would offer, or worse.
In their announcement, they are now going to restrict certain low-level Economy fare buckets to only allow one piece of carry-on luggage which has to fit under the seat in front of you. In addition, seats will not be assigned until check-in and it is even possible that passengers traveling together on the same itinerary will not even be able to choose seats next to one another. ‘United Friendly’ right?
Also, this new fare class will have to refund or rebooking options. If you don’t fly on that ticket, you’re out the amount that you spent. According to UA, these fares will also not be eligible for upgrades no matter what your elite level may be.
On top of all this, these ‘low class’ Economy fare buckets will not be eligible to earn Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM). How’s that for being ‘Friendly’? AND you’ll get to automatically board with Group 5, meaning you will be the last person on the plane. More insult to injury.
Why not just charge for water while you’re at it, United?
Is this next?
United suggests that this will add approximately $5 billion to their bottom line annually by 2020. I guess someone has to pay for the Polaris product that is coming next month. So let the back of the plane subsidize the front! 🙂
It’s an obvious cash grab since in my mind I have no doubt that the other Economy Fare classes will have substantial price increases to exploit the passengers wishing to avoid this enhancement. I can also see Advance Seat Reservation (ASR) fees going up. Instead of $19 for an ASR or upgrade to Premium Economy from GRR to ORD, maybe it moves to $50. Good times.
From a passenger point of view, I can only see this as a disaster. Especially once on board the aircraft.
For example, lets say 25% of the Economy cabin is booked in this new ‘Sheeple’ class, where passengers can only bring aboard one bag that HAS TO fit under the seat in front of them. This will theoretically create quite a bit of over head bin space. What’s to stop someone in this fare class from putting their bag into the overhead since it’s empty anyway? Are the flight attendants who already don’t care about passenger well-being going to police the cabin during the flight and use the passenger manifest to enforce whose bag goes up top, or whose goes under the seat? C’mon.
On the optimistic side of things, United has done a piss poor job in enforcing previous passenger enhancements. Remember when your bag had to fit into the sizer next to the gate? Yep, fail. In 2 years and dozens of flights, I still see Hockey Bags, Backpacks destined for Everest, and babies still board aircraft! 🙂
This may very well fall under the heading of all bark and no bite since getting their crew to enforce these measures will be the hardest part as far as policy enforcement is concerned.