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United Frequent Flyer Deal -- No-Mileage Middle Flight Segment (Non-Domestic)

Arnold from Denver mentioned something in a recent post that I was unaware of. I think it deserves to be highlighted because it could potentially benefit a lot of folks who have United frequent-flyer miles to use. As far as I can tell, this isn't a time-limited special offer, though the policy could change at any time. It's called the "excursionist perk".

I haven't used this myself, but this is my understanding of how it works from reading that website: If a traveler takes a multi-city trip to a different part of the world (such as Europe) paid for with frequent-flyer miles, the traveler can include a middle segment within the destination area at the cost of no extra mileage. The traveler does have to pay taxes and fees.

I bet a lot of frustrated folks will do extended trips next year; some itineraries would benefit from having an intra-European flight segment in the middle. Taking advantage of the excursionist perk could be cheaper than using a budget airline for the intra-European flight.

I am not clear on whether the free (except for taxes) flight has to be a non-stop; the United website doesn't seem to indicate such a limitation. If it can be a trip that requires a connection--and would require a connection on a budget airline as well--this could be a big money-saver. Two-flight budget-airline trips can get quite costly with checked-baggage fees.

Thanks to Arnold for his heads-up on this.

Posted by
5697 posts

Yes, applies to round-trip (or open-jaw)
tickets as I read it. So you have to book the flights for the entire trip at once -- instead of being able to book the return transatlantic flight separately as one-way based on conditions at the time.

Posted by
1567 posts

The flights don’t have to be nonstop- the one I just did was — Tallinn-Warsaw-Vienna-Prishtina

In the past I’ve had a four segment excursionist perk. IAS-VIE-WAW-CPH-BGO

Also, one can get quite creative with the exucursionist perk. It doesn’t have to be tied to a round trip. I have used it on an open jaw - flew to Africa, flew back from India (different zone) and used the perk for an intra Africa segment. In fact the excursonist perk doesn’t have to be part of the trip or even in the same continent or zone. However there are some rules that need to be followed - it must all be in the same zone- no mixing zones else it isn’t free; also the date of travel must be between the outbound and the return

Finally, the perk has existed for at least five years and is not a temporary thing

Posted by
27337 posts

Thanks for the additional info, Arnold. I suspected it wasn't new, because there was no hint on the website that it had been introduced recently. I'm just puzzled that I haven't heard about it before. I read a huge, huge percentage of the threads posted on this forum and a lot of other travel-related things online. Somehow I missed this. I don't hang out on FlyerTalk; that may be the explanation for this particular knowledge gap.