Borrowing money isn’t usually a rewarding experience, even if you manage to score a low interest rate. But with LendingClub’s new partnership with United MileagePlus, the airline’s loyalty program, both borrowers and investors of the marketplace lending platform can earn rewards to put toward their next flight.
How the partnership works
Whether you’re applying for a loan or investing your money in loans, you can earn United MileagePlus miles:
- Borrowers: You’ll earn 1 MileagePlus mile per dollar borrowed, up to $40,000.
- Investors: You’ll earn 1 MileagePlus mile per dollar invested, up to $100,000.
According to United Airlines, a roundtrip domestic economy Saver Award ticket costs just 25,000 miles. So, borrowers can earn almost enough miles for two free flights, and investors can earn up to four flights.
The offer ends on January 9, 2018, and there’s no word on whether the two companies will continue a partnership in some other way when the promotion ends.
Is LendingClub’s miles program worth it?
Obviously, you shouldn’t borrow money just for the rewards. But if you’re in the market for a personal loan or you’ve wanted to invest in marketplace loans, this might be a good opportunity to get a little extra value out of your decision.
A couple of things to keep in mind for borrowers:
- LendingClub charges an origination fee of 1% to 6% of the amount borrowed. Other lenders, including SoFi and Earnest, don’t charge this fee.
- LendingClub has a wide range of interest rate options. Depending on your credit situation, be sure to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best interest rate.
A couple of things to keep in mind for investors:
- Investing in marketplace loans is a different ballgame from traditional investing. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you take the plunge.
- LendingClub boasts historical returns of 4% to 6%, but there are risks, including the possibility that borrowers default, interest rates rising while you’re stuck with a lower rate, and a lack of liquidity.
If you know what you’re getting yourself into, it’ll be easier to make the right decision.
Other ways to get United MileagePlus miles
If you’re not sure about LendingClub’s offer, but still want to earn some air miles, United has two credit cards that you can use to earn miles fast. The first is the United MileagePlus Explorer Card. With this card, you’ll get:
- 2 miles per dollar spent on United purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent elsewhere
- 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in the first three months
- 10,000 bonus miles every year when you spend $25,000 during the year
- First checked bag free for you and one companion
- Priority boarding
- Two complimentary United Club passes each year; this is the airline’s airport lounge
- $95 annual fee
The other option is a high-end card called the United MileagePlus Club Card. Here are the details:
- 2 miles per dollar spent on United purchases and 1.5 miles per dollar spent elsewhere
- 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
- First and second bags free for you and one companion
- United Club membership
- Priority boarding
- World of Hyatt Discoverist elite status
- Hertz President’s Circle elite status
- $450 annual fee
Other LendingClub partnerships
United Airlines isn’t the only company that LendingClub has chosen to partner with. Others include You Need a Budget, an online budgeting software and app, and Credit Karma a credit monitoring service.
The LendingClub – United Airlines promotion is worth considering if you’re already planning on borrowing or investing. Just be sure to do your homework and make sure that all the other aspects of the deal make sense. Rewards are nice, but they should be considered icing on the cake rather than the main reason for your transaction.