I never really paid attention to United’s Award and Premier Accelerator program until just recently. If you’re not familiar with it, the program allows you to purchase redeemable MileagePlus miles with the option to add Premier Accelerator giving you an equivalent amount of Premier Qualifying Miles (PQMs).
The offer appears on each of your ticketed reservations on United.com and is also displayed during the check-in process. Since my mileage balance is always healthy and I haven’t needed to worry about hitting my desired elite level in previous years, I’ve always passed on the offers not paying much attention to them.
I may be changing up my travel this year and in the past month I started looking more closely at the PQM offers and reading up on them a bit on Flyertalk. It appears the pricing fluctuates quite frequently with lower rates typically offered at the beginning of each year and prior to hitting a new elite level.
Here’s an offer I received last week for an upcoming reservation:
The $1,260 displayed would provide 60,000 redeemable miles. At 2.1 cents-per-mile (CPM), that’s actually not a terrible rate when compared to purchasing miles outright using the Buy Miles program. It would cost me $2,257.60 to get 60k miles there. And 2.1 CPM ends up being about double the rate I’d earn redeemable miles on a normal mileage run. But I’d rather just fly and earn miles the “fun” way, so I probably wouldn’t ever buy miles under this program. It’s an option to consider, though, instead of Buy Miles if you’re looking to top-off your account.
But more glaring in that offer is the rate for Premier Accelerator. Wow! Only an additional $15,000 to get 60k PQMs?! Premier Accelerator isn’t separate from Award Accelerator, so you’d have to buy both to get the PQMs. At a total of $16,260, that’d be 27.1 CPM for 60k PQMs. Waaaay out of my threshold of tolerance.
Today, though, I logged in to find the following offer on the same reservation:
The price for Premier Accelerator dropped by nearly $10,000 to an all-in level of 10.6 CPM to buy 60k PQMs. That’s still pricey, but it dropped significantly. And it’s still well more than I’d probably ever pay if I had several thousand dollars just sitting around with no other purpose. This rate, however, seems to be the lowest CPM United has gone as of recently for purchasing PQMs.
As an elite, the mileage amounts offered (usually two options) are generally a specific number rounded off to the thousand and based somewhat on the total amount of miles flown on the reservation in question. Non-elites, I’ve read on Flyertalk, seem to get offers either doubling or tripling the miles flown on the corresponding reservation. And it appears people have been successful in booking a refundable ticket, buying the Premier Accelerator and canceling the reservation getting their money back for the ticket and keeping the PQMs. That’s something to consider if you’re in a bind for “cheaper” redeemable miles and PQMs.
Would you or have you purchased Award and Premier Accelerator?