United has been pushing MileagePlus miles sales hard this summer. The airline is back at it as of today, with up to a 100-percent bonus on purchased miles.
This mean’s it is possible, starting with a zero MileagePlus balance, to secure Polaris Business class seating to Europe for $1,250 one-way or $2,450 return. This applies not just to East Coast flights, but to long-haul West Coast to Europe flights, too.
Finding Available Flights to Use This Strategy
With zero miles in a MileagePlus account, and no Chase Ultimate Rewards points to transfer, we’ll need to purchase 60,000 miles for a one-way United business class flight, or 120,000 miles for a round-trip United business class flight.
Given the present bonus, this costs $1,241.63 and $2,257.50, respectively, plus taxes and fees imposed on the award ticket.
To use these miles, we’ll need to find Saver space on United-operated long-haul flights. In off-peak seasons (winter), or at the last minute (within a week or so) this can be fairly easy. Search for open seats on United.com by clicking the ‘Award Travel’ box in the flight search window.
From San Francisco, it’s even possible to find highly-desirable space on United’s Boeing 777-300ER service to Frankfurt, which features the lastest Polaris seating.
Important Tip: Call United immediately and ask to hold the award flight you’ve found before making a purchase. The time required for purchased miles to post to a MileagePlus account is usually minimal, but can vary wildly.
By holding the flight first, you guarantee yourself a seat at the saver rate.
Other Great Values
Of course, this isn’t the only way to take advantage of this mileage sale. It’s possible to get creative with different economy and business class routes. Use a tool like Award Maximizer, or just search in the United.com Award Search tool, to find the necessary miles to travel in economy and business.
Here are just a few examples.
- U.S. to Australia or New Zealand, Economy Class, Round-Trip: about $1,700
- U.S. to Japan, Business Class, Round-Trip: about $2,650
- U.S. to Far Asia, Business Class, Round-Trip: about $2,900
- U.S. to Europe, Star Alliance Business Class, Round-Trip: about $2,800
While its not adviseable to buy miles under most circumstances without a plan in mind, this sale makes it possible to secure sale-like prices on flights, even without any United miles or transferrable Ultimate Rewards points to start with.
Combine this with an introductory credit card bonus on a card like Chase Sapphire or United MileagePlus Explorer, and you can piece together quite the vacation for not a lot of cash.
Those with some United miles already stocked up, or a trove of Ultimate Rewards, could make great leverage out of this best-ever buy miles promotion.