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Miles for flights, sure.
Miles for credit card charges, you bet.
Miles for merchandise, OK.
In fact, frequent flyer miles can be earned for just about anything that involves a transfer of funds.
But miles for mortgages?
Members of United’s MileagePlus program can earn up to 50,000 bonus miles for refinancing or getting a new mortgage from Chase as follows:
There’s no published end date to the offer, so it could be terminated at any time.
Deal or No Deal
The median price of a metro-area home in the U.S. is currently around $158,100, according to the National Association of Realtors. So for most home buyers, the bonus will be 12,500 miles. That’s enough miles for a restricted domestic coach ticket, one way. Or to put it in dollar terms, using my 1.2 cent average value for a frequent flyer mile: $150.
Assuming the full amount was financed, at 4 percent over 30 years, the total payments on that median-priced home would be $271,726.
So, a $150 incentive to make what could ultimately be a $271,726 purchase?
A miniscule difference in the interest rate would be worth far more, as would differences in load-origination fees.
Of course, if a rigorous analysis of your mortgage options determined that Chase offered the best deal overall, there’s no reason not to opt for the miles. But of all the variables to consider, for such a crucial decision — the largest purchase most consumers will ever make — frequent flyer miles should be at the very bottom of the list.
Reader Reality Check
Have you ever made a purchase to earn miles and later wished you hadn’t?
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