A couple of days ago I posted about how United was offering 20% off domestic awards for those who book in the next couple of weeks for travel through December 15, 2016. In many cases that can represent an excellent deal, so is worth being aware of.
However, that’s not the only promotion that United is offering. United MileagePlus members can also save 17,776 miles on select roundtrip economy awards between the US and Asia. The discount is 8,888 miles in each direction (since “8” is a lucky number in China), and is valid as long as your transpacific flight is on United between the US and China.
The basic terms are as follows:
- Valid for tickets booked between August 11 and August 22, 2016
- Valid for travel between August 29, 2016, and April 30, 2017
- The transpacific flight must be on United between the US and China, though you can add connections on other Star Alliance carriers
- Blackout dates of December 9, 2016, through February 3, 2017, apply
- The promotion is only valid for roundtrip travel between the US (excluding Hawaii) or Canada and North or South Asia
The discounted price should automatically be reflected for eligible itineraries when searching for availability.
~52,000 miles for a roundtrip ticket between the US and China can indeed represent an excellent value, so assuming you’re looking to cross the Pacific for the lowest price possible, this is a great option. However, do keep in mind that we’ve seen some ridiculously low transpacific fares lately, so it always makes sense to compare the mileage cost to the revenue cost.
For example, I see ~$629 roundtrip fares on United between San Francisco and Shanghai for much of the fall and winter.
Personally I value United MileagePlus miles at ~1.4 cents each, so to me you’d be better off paying cash rather than booking an award, especially when you consider the miles you’re forgoing by booking an award ticket.
However, there are also instances where cash tickets would be more expensive, and where this can represent a great deal. Everyone approaches their miles differently, so this promotion is at least worth being aware of.