United Mileage Plus & Lending Club’s Awful Personal Loan Offer

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United Mileage Plus & Lending Club

United Mileage Plus & Lending Club’s Awful Personal Loan Offer

I received a mailer from United Mileage Plus yesterday that said I could earn 80,000 miles.  I assumed it was a targeted Chase credit card offer that I would be ineligible for because of Chase 5/24. When I opened it, to my surprise, there was an offer for a personal loan inside.  It appears United Mileage Plus & Lending Club partnered up to send out bonus offers for Lending Club personal loans.

I immediately decided to see if there was a way to use this offer to my advantage. I dug into the details of the terms and that is when I realized this was an awful offer.

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The offer states that I can earn 2 United Mileage Plus miles per dollar that I borrow.  The deal was for up to 80,000 miles on a $40,000 loan.

There are no prepayment penalties so that got me thinking that I could maybe score some cheap points with this deal.  Then I noticed that there is an origination fee of 1-6%.

Lending Club goes on to break this fee down with an example.  If I was approved for a $10,000 loan with a 5% origination fee then they would send me $9,500.  The fact that they used the 5% number leads me to believe that 5% is what you are going to get a majority of the time.

That is a pretty steep up front cost, especially when a lot of lenders will offer personal loans without an origination fee.  That would be how they are paying for the United Airline miles though.


This is a pretty terrible offer aimed at people who don’t know better.  Charging 5% off the top is pretty bad.  This is pretty surprising even for an online based lender.  It is like having an early payment penalty but being able to say that you don’t.

If you happen to be looking for a personal loan and you were considering this offer do yourself a favor and check out someone like SoFi who doesn’t charge origination fees.  Also be sure to always check out the APR rate and not just the interest rate. The APR rate will add in any fees associated with the loan and give you a better overall picture.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. Awaiting my loan approval now. Even factoring in the origination fee it will save me thousands of dollars in interest while lowering my monthly payments, paying off my debt faster, and getting the added flight miles. It’s a win, win, win situation for me over credit card debt, origination fee included. Everyone is different so to say the only people that would take advantage are people that just don’t know better is a broad judgement. It may not make sense for your situation or current debt but for many people it’s a great solution!

    • Austin did you compare it to other personal loans that didn’t come with airline miles though? I think you would have saved more going that route versus doing this. Unless they offered you much lower rates than everyone else you essentially paid 2.5 cents per mile. Unless you got an origination fee or 2% or less I think most people will do better going to a credit union etc.

  2. On the other hand all Peer to Peer (P2P) online lending services charges for originating fees. And they give you back nothing. So, its not that bad.

  3. Interesting article, but the most important cost to me of any loan is the APR. If they charge a 5% origination fee and a 8% interest rate that is an APR (on a 4 year loan) of 10.7%. That is certainly better than a credit card that charges 15%. If you were paying the loan back in 1 year, than it would be an effective APR of 13% but still better than most credit cards


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