Deal Dead – MileagePlus GO

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I appreciate Vihn’s ‘Deal Dead’ posts on Miles Per Day for the education they provide.

Invariably, someone criticizes him for not sharing while the deal is alive. If you want someone to hand you lucrative live deals, you need to work harder than read a blog freely available to the world. These deals will end if publicized or have wider take-up; those who find them rightly see the value to themselves and don’t want to risk their deals in giving them away.

Vihn is providing case studies that attune readers of what to look for to find their own deals. Experimentation is a key theme. Revisiting seemingly dead deals is another, for example, trying a new type of gift card at a post office rather than assuming every type of card is forever blocked.

A small deal I like is coming to an end. This is one that everything was public, yet few people paid attention. It was limited enough that the self-ascribed ‘heavy hitters’ didn’t think it worth their time, so they did not kill the deal with the excessive volume that they rationalize as not excessive if they are doing it.

MileagePlus GO

MileagePlus GOUnited and NetSpend launched the prepaid MileagePlus GO card in July 2017.

A head-scratcher of a product with a steep $85 annual fee, it was unclear the target market.

Points media coverage was dismissive.

Market take-up must have been poor, because the card recently closed to new applicants, and is to be discontinued entirely at the end of 2019. (Note for cardholders: you cannot load after November 30, 2019, so get your December $2,500 in the account by then.)

Really a Dud?

Yes, MileagePlus GO had the $85 annual fee.

Take a look, though, at what it offered:

  • Free loads from direct deposit / bank transfer
  • 1 mile per 1 dollar spent, up to 2,500 miles per calendar month
  • 5% interest on the first $1,000 in the attached savings account (0.5% on any above $1,000)

30,000 United miles per year for $85 is solid. Adding the $1,000 to savings partly offsets the cost (if the 5% is higher than other available savings rates).

The question is the effort involved: loading and liquidation.

Loading was easy by direct deposit. By transfer, not all banks supported the card, however, Chase as one, did. Every month I pushed $2,500 from my Chase checking to MileagePlus GO, taking about 1 minute.

Liquidation was easy, too. Any purchase seemed to work, even buying money orders or paying a credit card at a bank that accepts debit card payment. 5-10 minutes a month calling my bank to pay my credit card.

Scaling was weak. Some people pushed things for a time by managing to have two cards tied to the same United account. Others scaled cards across accounts for the whole family.

The Lesson

The life of the MileagePlus GO card I’ll have earned 72,500 miles. A good deal to me!

The lesson for me is to pay attention to any prepaid card launch and be willing to test things.

I was a month late in getting the card because at first, I, too, did not pay attention to think it through. It was only when a smart friend told me to take another look that I realized I was missing out.

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[…] Deal Dead – MileagePlus GO […]

2 years ago

Great post! I remember some chatter about MS when it came out but the standing in line for MOs was a dealbreaker for most (including myself). And not all of us carry balances at Citi/C1 (if that’s still accurate lol). So if you couldn’t max it out every month, it would cut into your profit margin due to the AF. Glad it worked out for you!!!

Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts
2 years ago

You could use the mileageplus go card to load Serve/BB for free subject to their limits. Use 3 serve accounts and you’re all set for the $2500 from your couch. Fee was a bit high but if you were locked out of Chase due to 5/24 this was a nice side-deal until you can get a United credit card. 30K miles for $85 without leaving your couch isn’t the worst deal in the world, but not worth it once you can MS the Chase credit card.


[…] Deal Dead – MileagePlus GO by Rapid Travel Chai. […]

2 years ago

Oh, spare us the tiresome moralizing. You smugly say people need to do their own digging, but then it was a friend who told you to look again?

As for talking about dead deals? It’s pointless (pun intended) unless it’s to rub it in the faces of those who didn’t know. And yes, there have been plenty of deals that never made it to the online forums but people aren’t wasting their breath talking about it.

The GO card was small beer that few bothered with.

2 years ago

Count me as one of those ppl who scoffed at the AF for the United miles