The Basics

United Wants to Pay You (In Miles) To Borrow Money

United miles
Written by Charlie

A new promo is out that involves United Airlines and the Lending Club and it is certainly not a promo worth taking just for the miles!

It is certainly addictive, this miles and points game we play. It is easy to jump on every offer that comes out or to be tempted by offers, at least.  But, sometimes, these offers are really not the best ones at all and, in fact, should be avoided.

United Paying Miles for Loans

united lending club promo

Link: United Promo with Lending Club

United Airlines has really been a bit stingy in the last couple of months with offers for earning miles or spending miles. Normally, by this time of the winter, we would have seen some mileage promo for award travel but there has not been anything (yet). Hopefully something like that will come soon!

But, what they are offering is to pay you in miles to borrow money from one of their partners. The “deal” is to give you 1 mile per $1 you borrow from Lending Club. From what I understand, their interest rates run from 8% or so up to 20+%. Even if you were able to get the lowest rate, you are “buying” these miles at 8 cents each! That is really not a good deal at all, for the cost of the miles.

However, I imagine they are targeting customers who need to consolidate or pay off some other, higher interest loans and not the avid miles collectors like us. I guess if you were going to use the Lending Club anyway, might as well get some miles out of it! But as a promotion that would entice others to take advantage of it, it certainly does not work for that (nor do I think United intended it to).

If you really want the miles, you are better off buying them outright at 3.5 cents each. Or, better yet, just buy your tickets and do not redeem miles at all! 🙂

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I have not looked the terms and conditions for the deal, which will vary per customer but this isn’t really how interest rates work. 8% doesn’t mean 8% upfront, it means 8% per annum. So if you could pay the loan off after a month you would be paying under 1%. I suspect the reason this would not be worthwhile are the fees not the interest rate.

    • You are right, sorry, I should have mentioned that more in depth as well. From what I had seen, the entire interest is put on as soon as you take the loan for the period you take it. So, if you took it for 12 months and still paid it in a month, you would still be on the hook for a minimum of 8% interest.

  • I have invested with lending club the last 4 years.I have 2 years to cash out on my 6 year loans and I can’t wait.default rates are double what I was expecting.I’m over 10% default now and climbing every week.I believe the model is broken.their is no accountability on the borrowers to pay back least with a bank the barrower could not open an account their and other banks making it difficult to ever use or have credit.

    • Oh wow! That is too bad. 🙁 I did see an offer of 2 miles per dollar for investors a couple of months ago so they must have been desperate to get more investors but I had no idea on the default rate was so high!

      • The current investor promo (through the end of January) is “1 mile for every two dollars”