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United Miles

We have been purchasing our airline tickets and just now took a look at the mileage program on United. We used to be able to get one international ticket for 50,000 miles - we thought it had gone up to 55,000 miles, but on looking at it we see it's now 110,000 miles for one ticket. We are apparently totally out of touch - when did this go into effect? I'm not sure we'll ever get another free ticket! Is this jump surprising?

Posted by
449 posts

Sharon: Your situation is not uncommon. The stated number of miles to get a round trip ticket from the USA to Europe in Economy is 60,000. However, United has two types of Economy: Saver and Standard. Flying Standard Economy it will cost 110,000 miles for a RT ticket. These are not difficult to get because if you price each mile at about 2 cents you will be paying $2,200. Getting a Saver Economy is much more difficult to do. This will cost 60,000 miles. I was able to get a one way ticket to London flying Saver Economy at 330 days before the day of the flight at a cost of 30,000 miles plus $7 tax plus $25 to make a telephone booking. I have been trying for nearly a month to get a Saver Economy seat for the return flight but with no luck. All that is available is Standard Economy for 55,000 points plus $165 for taxes, etc plus $25.
Good luck on your efforts to get a 60,000 mile RT flight to Europe.

Posted by
2876 posts

"Good luck on your efforts to get a 60,000 mile RT flight to Europe." You can do it if you're using American Airlines. Their FF program wants 40,000 miles for an "MileSAAver Off-Peak" RT ticket and 60,000 miles for a "MileSAAver Peak" RT ticket, US to Europe. They define "Off-Peak" for flights to Europe as October 15 - May 15. "MileSAAver" tickets have some "limitations on seating availability" and some "travel embargo dates."

Posted by
449 posts

Some more comments about United Airlines's mileage program: If you go through the motions of making a reservation using mileage points on their web site you can find when the less expensive, ie 60,000 points for RT, tickets are available. For example, there are plenty of such seats in April, 2012, going to London from Seattle and back. Once you start looking around June, July, August... you won't find any at this time. Also, UA sent me an email recently promoting 60,000 RT flights to London between now and early next year. Bottom line: the 60,000 RT flights are available if you are flexible in the schedule. You might have to travel outside of peak season in order to get tickets at this price. Also, here is a chart from a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal what shows how generous airlines are with their mileage programs. With all due respect to Tom above while American Airlines might have a less expensive mileage program compared to United it is also harder to get seats on AA: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303654804576345254232316730.html Again, good luck on getting your flight.

Posted by
1446 posts

Thanks for all the good information! I remember, Geor, when you wrote in about this, and it sounds as if you've researched it thoroughly.

Posted by
3580 posts

I belong to a couple of FF programs. I've noticed that FF flights may cost more or less now. This makes the programs more flexible, especially for those with excess miles piled up. I never have that problem, so sometimes I do the miles plus cash approach. And I look for flights charging the minimum number of FF miles.

Posted by
1567 posts

Please don't make the mistake of looking for UA freq flyer tickets on the United website. You need to be able to access something like the Air Canada website or the ANA (Air Nippon) website which shows you award seat availability on almost all the Star alliance carriers including ones like Aegean, Asiana, Croatia, etc. etc. I believe for both these airlines you will need a login - though I don't think you need any miles in the AC account for you to search for awards. ANA will require you to have miles to search - it is a very powerful search tool that will show you lots of routings that you may never have considered before. I love the UA program having earned and spent millions of miles over the last 18 or so years. Upto this point it is the 2nd easiest program from which to redeem (after AA) in my opinion. Over the years I have successfully redeemed at the lowest level for 4 tickets at a time. It is a matter of educating yourself on how to play the game. If you need help looking for tickets for a specific date, send me a PM as I can search using the ANA tool. Go to flyertalk.com for more info.

Posted by
818 posts

My sugggestion is decide when you can travel, make a list of possible places you'd like to visit (look open jaw and play around into one and out of another if necessary) . We have gotten super saver tix somewhere for the past few years. Some cities never come available but places that I've seen that do offer the super saver fares : Lisbon, Munich, Amsterdam, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Zurich. Last year we went to Peru - milage deals are less miles there. Interesting vacation. When using miles you must be flexible. For us dates are non-negotiable as we have a middle school kid so we have to be flexible about when we go. This Easter break we got super saver first class on Continental (now United) into Dusseldorf and out of Munich for 100,000. bUT since then nlage award have gone up to Matthew 115,000 or 120,000 each.

Posted by
5 posts

I found the same thing last spring when I went to purchase with miles a flight to Rome. I did find that Continental (who is owned by UAL) was still offering the 55,000 miles for a roundtrip ticket. I flew on Luftansa on a ticket redeemed through Continental. You might want to see if they still have tickets at that "price".