Amazing Deal Alert: United First Class Asia Awards for Four Miles

by on July 15, 2012 · 89 comments

in Amazing Deal Alerts, United

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United’s booking site currently is booking awards to/from some Asian cities for only 4 or 8 miles total. I was able to book a one-way standard award for 4 miles at 130pm EST so this is still active. I was having a hard time with US to HKG awards and China awards as well, but play around with it to see if you can get the system to price your award out for only 4 miles. TPG intern Ryan was also able to book an award from New York to Hong Kong in First Class for 4 miles plus $43.00.

I see very little downside to getting a couple booked- in the worst case they will be cancelled and your measly miles refunded.  As with all amazing deals- they won’t last long, so book now and ask questions later!

Hong Kong-New York for only 4 miles

New York-Hong Kong R/T for 4 miles and $43

(Hat Tip-View from the Wing)

Updated 3:45pm EST It seems that United has taken away the ability to book awards to Hong Kong, and this deal is now dead. 

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Alan Fowler

    What cities? Just NYC?

  • thepointsguy

    Most US cities. I successfully booked HKG- JFK and LAX but I’m sure you can do others

  • Milezjunkie

    At what point did it show 4 miles?

  • sam

    date range?

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    At the final booking page!

  • MW

    Except that it deducted the FULL amount of miles from my account, not 4. Lets hope they honor and return.

  • Scott Simeone

    Just booked 2 FN tix to Hong Kong for NYE for 8 miles and $124. We’ll see how real this turns out to be.

  • Emrubio

    I was able to book 2 rt sfo-hkg for 8 miles and 72 dollars. My question is what is the history with these types of mistakes? Do they usually respect the tickets?

    Thanks for the tip

  • Eric Mueller

    John and I are trying like heck but nothing’s coming up at 4… grre.

  • Grant Thomas

    this offer is all over other blogs, so the glitch might not last long. might as well book a first class round trip from hong kong for 4 miles plus $115 in fees. I get this message when I log into my UA account: “This reservation was ticketed and confirmed on Sun., Jul. 15, 2012 at 12:36 p.m. Central Time.”

  • Bolwebster

    Yeah I’d like more details on this too.

  • thepointsguy

    Don’t wait for details- start playing with dates that work for you and book. This won’t last long

  • Alan Fowler

    I’m trying to book, and when entering the traveler information, I’m getting a message that says, “Please wait . . .” It’s been hear for a while…

  • Grant Thomas

    same here with Chrome/iPad, go to internet explorer and it will work

  • SR

    I’m seeing PDX-HKG for 4 Miles and $40.50 Aug 6-10

  • Gary Leff

    It’s currently working from the US to HKG and beyond. As long as you connect in HKG you can go anywhere, such as Vietnam or Australia.

    This works in any class of service. And it works for United standard awards (which give you access to most seats on the plane, if you are a United elite or United credit card holder you have last seat availability).

    it works with partner airlines if there is award seat availability.

    So I booked US-Hong Kong for Labor Day and for Christmas. I didn’t bother with beyond.

    If you have plenty of miles in your account, it will deduct the ‘normal’ mileage cost and send you a receipt showing only 4 miles per person.

    If you do not have the normal mileage cost as a balance in your account it will send you a receipt showing 4 miles per person and won’t deduct any miles.

    I do not expect this to be honored. Some folks think that new DOT rules requiring airlines to honor tickets that they’ve sold, and not to raise price after ticketing, will mean United HAS to honor this. I am not so sure that the DOT rules apply to award tickets (that increasing the points required for a free promotional award counts as raising the price under this rule).

  • PanAm

    Worked fine departing from a small city in the central U.S. as well – should be any US city. Somewhere I read some folks did it from Canadian cities, too.

  • hc

    I just did the same thing. routed through IAD and NAR. I don’t have the fill amount of miles so they can’t take them.

  • hc

    I booked from MIA to HKG

  • Al

    Just landed a Chicago to Hong Kong in Oct for 4 miles and $38.

  • Eric Mueller

    What Brian said– deals like this DO NOT LAST, literally every minute can count.

  • Alan Fowler

    I have a Mac. Trying to do it on Safari, but now it’s not showing the same flight availability . . .

  • KC

    I booked from Spokane to Hong Kong… anyone know at what point you can count this as a secure booking?

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    You should get an email about 20 minutes later that says ticketed and confirmed with a ticket #.

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    I had to use firefox to book. Safari wasn’t working for me with this same issue.

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    I am seeing now through Dec. possibly longer haven’t looked that far yet. Just play with the dates though!

  • GS

    did you have to go through the purchase page before it showed the 4 miles? was it after you paid?

  • DP81

    Just booked a ticket to HKG for NYE’s. Now will wait and see if UA will honor this…couldn’t hurt to try!

  • Christopher Wu

    I booked 2 awards.. BWI-HKG and BWI-BKK and return..
    Interestinly enough the return from BKK does not transit HKG but it still priced out at 4 miles each…

  • moonicorn

    I was able to book one ticket for EWR–>HKG, but they found the glitch and it’s not going through anymore. Great catch!

  • Jason Arroyo

    2:45pm EST it seems to be dead. Can’t find the flights anymore.

  • Milezjunkie

    My receipt says 8 miles but it took 120K which is the most had had for one ticket. I can’t see how I am going to argue they give me back the 119,992 miles. I can cancel within 24 hour right?

  • Dcjimmy

    I think it’s down now. Anyone still getting it?

  • Alan Fowler

    Is it dead? I was screwing around with internet browsers and now nothing is showing….

  • Rob Perelman

    Thanks for the alert. Got LAS-SFO-PEK-HKG for 8/14-8/23. Went to book a flight for my friend and it was gone. Guess I’m going solo…

  • Eric Mueller

    I think it’s dead.

  • Luciana

    I just booked it – 4 first class tickets AUS-HKG round trip in February 2013 – 16 miles.

  • Darien

    is the website down?

    Mine shows correct mileage but the purchase went through but I don’t have the actual mileages. Will they allow me to cancel?

  • guest

    looks done now as of 2:59pm – i have had a “please wait” to put in my cc for about 30 min:( probably wouldn’t have been honored anyway

  • Josh_brooks

    I have never hated my iPad more than I do today,,,had it in my cart, can’t book.

  • Will

    your case might be a browser issue, try IE

  • Alan Fowler

    Ditto on my iMac and Chrome. Couldn’t download IE and get it to work.

  • Alan Fowler


  • torontorobb

    booked one ticket, and tried to book another for another trip. looks like it is dead. sigh. now to wait to see what they say about if this will be honoured or not.

  • Maryj

    Booked but received an email from UA saying “there is a delay in the issuance of your ticket”…guess they won’t have to honor the booking as it is not confirmed?

  • guest

    Well, it was nice to get excited for a few seconds as I saw the “total miles deducted – 8 miles” for 2 tickets. But it wont let me book.

  • TPGInternLover

    Kudos to the TPG Intern!! I have a receipt for 2 RT First Class flights both ORD>HKG!

  • Cloudexit00

    I’ve been staring at the “Please Wait…” thingy for about an hour now…it’s hypnotizing…I can taste the Pad Tai chicken on my lips…can’t.stop.staring.

  • CJ

    Didn’t work on my ipad either; had to quickly switch over to laptop. Luckily, it was in time to book 4.

  • Karen Haney Jacobs

    Just got the confirmation email from United, 3 tickets First Class ORD to HKG Jan 4-13. Total 12 miles and $191. Utterly insanely exciting…do UAL’s ticket contracts allow them to take this back from me now that they’ve sent me the confirmation email?

    Meanwhile, a friend is trying to do the same thing and NOT getting through at all, no matter what date/airport configurations he tries…it may be that UAL just caught on to this glitch and closed it down.

  • aird0c

    timing out at the flyer info page… being blocked by UA?

  • KC

    I received a ticket # and it says confirmed… Let me explain a bit more… I had already booked seats to Hong Kong… for rough Dates Mid September to Mid Nov… I just booked another award seat ( the 8 mile one) for now mid september to Late november… wondering when I can securely cancel my first reservation! :)

  • Nfruchter

    think the party is over. i was lucky to book a HKG/NRT/SFO/JFK in F for 4 miles & $54. but now im struggling to book a OW outbound. Its all 160K.. think UM figured out what happened ?

  • Sapphrieswell

    I received a confirmation as well for First Class EWR>PEK; HKG>JFK for over Thanksgiving. I wonder when we will find out if this will be retracted.

  • rew

    I’m not able to pull up ANY flight to Hong Kong from NYC. Is the entire section of reward travel down on the site?

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    I would wait at least this week and see how this deal plays out.

  • Glen

    3:51 pm, EDT: I can’t get anything involving HKG to come up. Have tried multiple departure cities.

  • PJ

    how lucky you have been; I was NOT able to book online manytimes on 12.5 K rewards on Chengdu(CTU) JZH ( Jiuzaighou) ; the simple excuse from Represeatives is : Air China did NOT give us the update..
    i.e. this could be the case what you can book is NOT what you can get.

  • Mitty Chang

    Deal looks completely dead to me. has hidden all HKG travels for award miles. And it looks like they’ve hidden from award search any flight connecting in HKG as well… unless anyone finds one.

  • thepointsguy

    Agreed- seems completely dead

  • hc

    Has anyone had any miles deducted from their account yet? Some people on FT have been reporting full mileage being deducted, or all their miles if they didn’t have enough to cover the trip.

  • Nathan

    I only had 755 miles in my acc and i now have 751 so only 4 miles were deducted. o got an e-ticket as usual, the award code is : 4/XF72 seems the party is over folks, i can’t get the outbound, guess i’ll be using avios to fly out there, still considering i got a HKG-JFK for only 4 miles, its still damn good bang for your buck. Lets not loose focus, i suggest we all give TPG a big round of applause for bringing this to our attention today !!!! well done TPG. Dinner on me when you’re back in NYC.

  • Nathan

    everything to/fm and via HKG is dead. nothing comes up. i got an e-ticket, but no miles deducted fm the account. so who amongst us has a ticket for a nearby date ? my travel date is Dec 04. i guess we’ll have to wait until the first one amongst us flies and gets his ticket honored or rejected ?

  • Nami

    The big question is whether they will honor it or not. If they don’t, it could easily turn into a PR nightmare. Anyone have an idea of what precedence on this has been?

  • Mason Atkinson

    I got 4 business class seats to HKG this afternoon. I have a connecting flight from PEK to HKG on Air China that I can’t reserve seats for through the United website. I couldn’t find anywhere on the Air China site that I can enter my CA confirmation number. Any ideas? Also, I have a return leg on ANA with the same situation that I could use some help with.

  • Tea4twosie

    I don’t know but it seems dishonest to try and take advantage of an obvious computer error. There is a cost to everyone and this is just cheating in buying unless your an absolute moron who doesn’t understand that. What a bunch of vultures.

  • Josh_brooks

    Yeah. I couldn’t get in on the deal either.

  • EMR

    This is a direct quote from the wal street journal. A couple of years old but Smisek was CEO of Conitnental then.

    UAL Corp.’s United Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc., Southwest Airlines Co., LUV +1.40% JetBlue Airways Corp. JBLU +1.59% and Singapore Airlines C6L.SG +0.28% all say their policy is to not cancel tickets even when a mistake is discovered, no matter how large the error.

  • EMR
  • Tea4twosie

    Nah, I worked for the airlines and realize there is a cost to the employees and shareholders. But hey if you think it is okay, you don’t have to answer to me only to God…it is called cheating in buying and selling and promoting this offer to others makes it that much worse. Getting a deal fair and square is one thing but this isn’t. It is just taking advantage of an error. If you all feel great about flying first class while the people that wait on you pay for it then have a great time on your trips.

    There is also that little issue about losing your miles and status for abuse of the program so you are all forewarned.

  • Josh_brooks

    We’ll see. I’m skeptical that they’ll lose millions of dollars versus annoying a few hundred customers that know they don’t really deserve it anyway. Pointsguy got his ~$3000 mispriced first class tickets cancelled last year, it’s hard to believe they’ll accept $40 for first class. Would anybody really be THAT outraged if this was cancelled? Regardless. Bravo to those that got them! And silent tears for those people stuck with safari or chrome :(

  • Emrubio

    How is this cheating or abusing the program? They made the mistakes and we at least most of us in America take responsibility for our mistakes. I have made mistakes buying tickets online and called within 5 minutes to change dates because of my error and they force a change fee etc because that is their policy. It works both ways. They have control of the programming and technology and nobody broke in or hacked their systems. They made mistakes and it happens. They should honor it as the wsj article says they have said in the past.

  • Jake Olson

    You’re on the wrong site Tea4twosie…

  • KP

    Who’s God?

  • Fielding


  • Fielding

    Neither NRT nor HND were part of the deal it only worked for PEK, PDG, and HKG (Oxford Comma FTW!)

  • Fielding

    That Amazing Deal Alert i got in my email this morning had me literally jumping out of bed. When I went back an hour later my sheets were in my hallway.

    I booked three LAX-HKG round trips, one both ways in first (on UA :(), one in OZ First and then UA J with a trip on the NRT-DEN 787 and then an AC J outbound and a CA F back. Also booked a r/t BKK-SYD in TG F with this.

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  • Jouhn

    this is obviously a software glitch and 100% of people who got in on this deal know this. If it were pricing say 20k miles for a trip for economy or something at least CREDIBLE I think UA should honor, but 4 miles is ridiculous and anyone who will try to fight this when cancelled is really unreasonable. No wonder the airlines are all going bankrupt!

  • thepointsguy

    I agree that fighting this would be unreasonable

  • Guested

    Not going to be honored according the the UA person on FlyerTalk.

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  • Dnewton98

    I booked first class since it was working for all classes – receipt said 4 mile, e-ticket said 4 miles however, they just took 320,000 miles out of my account so I will be cancelling. LOLOL. It was worth a try. Wonder if I can get the $150 redeposit fee credited. Ouch – aw well. I was a nice dream while it lasted.

  • Leslie Alexander

    I really hope that United is able to cancel this. As an employee, I don’t appreciate customers knowingly taking advantage of a most obvious glitch. If you walked into a jewerly store and purchased a 5 carat diamond ring but the sales slip ony rang up $5 instead of $50,000, and you walked out the door without lookingback, you’re stealing. Period.

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  • ThunderStorm

    Fielding, you are hilarious!!
    …Made me laugh so hard!! ;)

  • Fjgogo

    is it possible to use my amex point or i should have some milage card?

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