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United has just announced a promotion offering discounted saver level award tickets to four of their destinations, including two of their new European destinations. Specifically, united is offering 20% off awards to:
- Porto, Portugal
- Reykjavik, Iceland
- Sydney, Australia
The basic terms of this promotion are as follows:
- Only valid for roundtrip travel
- You must travel on United in economy; travel on Star Alliance partners isn’t eligible for this promotion
- All tickets need to be booked by March 2, 2018
- For travel to/from Porto, Singapore, and Sydney, the promotion is valid for travel between May 4 and June 17, 2018
- For travel to/from Reykjavik, the promotion is valid for travel between May 23 and June 17, 2018
With these discounts you’ll be paying just 48,000 miles for roundtrip travel to Porto or Reykjavik, and 64,000 miles for roundtrip travel to Singapore or Sydney.
This isn’t a huge travel window, though those are some pretty good award costs. United’s two longest routes — Houston to Sydney and Los Angeles to Singapore — are eligible for this sale, though I can’t say that being able to book one of those flights in economy sounds like much of a prize.
While this may seem like a good deal, be sure you compare the mileage cost to the cost of a revenue ticket, as in many cases those tickets would be quite inexpensive. For example, United has $515 roundtrip fares from Los Angeles to Singapore on the nonstop flight, which probably tells us quite a bit about how that route is performing for them.
Flights from Newark to Reykjavik are selling for just $443 roundtrip.
I think the real moral of the story here is how inexpensive international economy airfare has become.
If you don’t have United miles directly but want to take advantage of this sale, United MileagePlus is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, and points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio instantly. So you could potentially used points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card, and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
(Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)