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Even after United MileagePlus killed their amazing stopover rules, I’ve remained a fan of the currency. They are still one of my favorites to amass (SEE: 5 reasons I prefer collecting miles with Star Alliance airline programs), as it lets us fly out of our tiny regional airport for a fraction of the cost. So, when I have the chance to earn some extra miles, I try to jump on it.
MyPoints is one of those kinda random programs that I use to add to my MileagePlus balance from time to time. It functions much like a shopping portal, but has its own quirks.
MyPoints versus typical shopping portals
Most airlines have an associated shopping portal you can use to use to top off your mileage balances. I use them on occasion, but the reality is that most of what we purchase isn’t from merchants associated with any of them.
But…we do have the occasional item (or booking) for which I’ll portal-shop. And I almost always compare MyPoints to the other mileage portals. Often MyPoints is the winner. What MyPoints *doesn’t* usually beat is Ebates, but sometimes it’ll still be the best choice (usually when there is a promo rate). I have to do some extra math since the points earned don’t transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and I have to factor in both this transfer ratio and my personal value of United miles. More on that later.
MyPoints offers a few other ways to earn points, making them different than the typical shopping portal. You can view videos, take surveys, etc. through their site to earn points. In my opinion, these option aren’t really worth the time. You can also receive emails that often earn 5 points each by simply clicking through them.
The total gains aren’t huge, and I don’t put in a lot of investment, but I usually am able to amass enough to redeem for one 2,500-mile package each year. If you’re interested in MyPoints, please consider using my referral link.
Is redeeming for United miles worth it?
It all depends on how you value United miles. With 7,900 MyPoints you can redeem for two $25 Visa gift cards, so I’ll use that as my baseline comparison. This is an “average” value of 0.63 cent per point. Redeeming for gift cards for various merchants yields a similar value (varies based on merchant).
The lowest United award starts at 6,900 MyPoints for 2,500 United MileagePlus miles. Personally, I don’t like to burn my United miles for under 2.0 cents each. That pegs the value of 2,500 miles at $50. This makes it slightly better than other offerings (at least for me). If you are saving to book premium cabin on an award that will get you 5+ cents per mile, you’re looking at a value of $125+. But then we go back to inflated valuation argument, as who is going to pay $5,000 for a round-trip business class? (Not I).
So, my estimated value for one MyPoint is 0.72 cent. Based on this valuation of the miles, I’m happy to take United miles over other the other redemption options, as 2.0 cents is the floor at which I will redeem my miles. Depending on the earning rate, sometimes it makes sense to buy through their portal. I made a Holiday Inn Express booking a couple months ago when they offered 10 points per dollar (7.2% return), which beat out Ebates’ 4.5% cash back. You can *totally* double dip here, as you are still booking direct since MyPoints sends you to the IHG site.
How to redeem MyPoints for United Miles
MyPoints makes redemptions very easy. Just click on “Redeem Points”, scroll down until you see the United MileagePlus entry, and click on it.
If you have enough points, you can enter your information into the form and click “Get Rewarded”. You’ll have to click through one more modal form that is basically asking you if you are sure you want to make this redemption. If you confirm, your MyPoints will be instantly deducted from your account.
The fine print at the top says that MyPoints redemptions may take up to 7 days to post to your MileagePlus account. Mine have averaged much less than this. Usually about a day. My most recent redemption took under 30 minutes to hit my MileagePlus account.
While MyPoints won’t get you extremely far in terms of earning oodles of miles for your next trip across the ocean in Lufthansa business class, it is a nice option to have if you want to top off your balance for an award. I find that they sometimes offer slightly better returns than other mileage portals and can be worth using. Just make sure you compare MyPoints to your returns through a typical cash back portal.
Featured image courtesy of Raimond Spekking under CC 4.0 license.
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