Back in November 2021 United introduced a Money + Miles option. Similar to hotel Points + Cash booking options, Money + Miles gave you the ability to book a flight with – you guessed it – money and miles.
This feature flew under the radar for the most part as the redemption value was poor, averaging ~0.75cpp (cents per point). At some point since then – or perhaps ever since this redemption option was introduced – United allows you to get 1cpp of value when making a Money + Miles booking but only if you’re a cardholder or have Premier status.
Now, I can’t guarantee that every Money + Miles fare generates a 1cpp value, but all the searches I’ve done recently have ended up with that pricing.
For example, let’s look at a one-way flight from EWR-MCO on February 23. Here are two nonstop options that day when it comes to a regular award booking for someone who doesn’t have status or a United credit card…
…and here’s the cash pricing.
When starting on United’s homepage, you only get the choice of paid and award flights. You have to run one of those searches first, then the search bar at the top of the page will let you change that to Money + Miles.
Here’s how the Money + Miles fares show up for me below. As you can see, when booking a regular award flight on this route you get the choice between economy or first. With cash rates and Money + Miles though, you can also choose basic economy and economy plus (economy refundable is an option for cash bookings, but not Money + Miles).
Let’s look first at the economy options. You can pay $118 cash for those options or redeem 5,500 MileagePlus miles with a $63 cash co-pay. That means you’re saving $55 by redeeming 5,500 miles – a 1cpp value.
It’s a similar calculation for first class too. For example, the cash price on the 6:15am flight is $479, with the Money + Miles option being 24,000 miles with a $239 cash co-pay. You’d be redeeming 24,000 miles to save $240 cash which again is 1cpp.
A Couple Of Caveats
There are a couple of caveats to this finding though. The first is that if you’re a United cardholder or have some level of Premier status, you can get preferential award pricing on Saver flights. For example, rather than redeeming 15,000 miles for these flights, I could book them for only 9,600 miles + $5.60 in taxes.
With the Money + Miles options, I could redeem 5,500 miles + $63. With the Saver award, I could redeem an additional 4,100 miles to save $57.40. That latter redemption would get 1.4cpp of value from the additional 4,100 miles which seems worthwhile if you’d already be content with a 1cpp redemption value from Money + Miles, although it works out to be a 1.17cpp redemption overall.
The other caveat is that this 1cpp value only seems to be available for cardholders and/or those with status. I have a United Gateway card which was converted from an Explorer card, plus I have United Premier Silver status thanks to United’s partnership with Marriott with whom I have Titanium status. My wife doesn’t have either and this is the pricing she sees on her account for a Money + Miles booking on this same route and dates:
As you can see, the pricing for her is different. Rather than being $63 + 5.5k miles for economy, it’s $83 + 5k. When compared to the $118 cash pricing, she’d be redeeming 5k miles to save $35. That’s a 0.7cpp redemption value which is in keeping with what we saw when this feature was first launched. The first class options are a similar redemption value too.
A 1cpp redemption value isn’t great compared to the value that you can get when redeeming United MileagePlus miles. However, it is nice to have this floor value for their miles if you have one of their credit cards or status with United.