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Similar to a recent award sale offered by Delta, United MileagePlus just launched a winter sale to a handful of major cities in Europe, allowing you to book round-trip saver award seats in coach for only 48,000 miles round-trip (a 20% discount from the usual 60,000 miles).

Book by December 4, 2014 from destinations in Canada and the U.S. (excluding Hawaii) to Amsterdam (AMS), Brussels (BRU), Frankfurt (FRA), Geneva (GVA), Hamburg (HAM), London (LHR), Munich (MUC), Paris (CDG) and Zurich (ZRH). Travel must be on United-operated flights with departure dates of Monday-Thursday only, between January 12 and March 12, 2015.

A winter scene of Munich, one of the European cities to which United is offering 20%-off awards
United is offering 20% off awards in 2015 to European cities like Munich. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

To qualify for this discount, you must purchase your award ticket at least 21 days in advance of your trip. Open jaws are allowed, but not stopovers, and these awards are subject to taxes, fees and surcharges in both the U.S. and abroad. Upgrades on these tickets are only available to MileagePlus members with Global Services status or primary cardholders of the United MileagePlus Explorer CardExplorer Business and United MileagePlus Club credit cards.

The usual United MileagePlus award chart for travel between North America and Europe
The regular United MileagePlus award chart for travel between North America and Europe. 

You can divide your redemption into a one-way saver award and a one-way standard award (65,000 miles), but only the saver segment will be eligible for the 20% discount (24,000 miles as opposed to 30,000). Personally, I wouldn’t advise doing this, since it would bring the total cost of your trip to 89,000 miles, which gets close to the 115,000 miles needed for a round-trip saver award in Business class.

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Newark (EWR) to Paris (CDG), February 16-24, 2015 – 48,000 miles + $89.60

At present, availability for these awards is fairly plentiful, as long as you’re willing/able to travel to Europe for only a few days, or for at least a week. For example, in order to book a discounted saver award in Economy (for 48,000 MileagePlus miles + $89.60) for a post-Valentine’s weekend trip from Newark (EWR) to Paris (CDG), you’ll have to travel from February 16-24, 2015, returning a full week after you arrive.

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San Francisco (SFO) to London (LHR), January 14-19, 2015 – 48,000 miles + $203.60

However, some itineraries will allow you to take just a few days off work and enjoy a long weekend away. For instance, saver award availability between San Francisco (SFO) and London (LHR) throughout January and February is wide open, enabling long-weekend jaunts such as January 14-19, 2015, which would get you into the Big Smoke on a Thursday and out on a Tuesday. This particular itinerary requires 48,000 MileagePlus miles and $203.60.

One of London's best winter attractions, the Canary Wharf Ice Rink, will be open until February 28, 2015.
One of London’s best winter attractions, the Canary Wharf Ice Rink, will be open until February 28, 2015.

If you have your heart set on a trip to Europe this winter, keep in mind that while this United offer is a good deal, it’s not the best one out there. For instance, US Airways is presently offering off-peak, roundtrip awards to Europe for 35,000 miles between January 15 – February 28, 2015. American Airlines’ discounted off-peak awards to Europe are being offered through May 15, 2014 and require only 40,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip; however, booking with your Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard will earn a 10% return on your miles, bringing the total of each award to only 36,000 miles. Finally, Flying Blue Promo Awards from Air France/KLM can get you to Europe from select North American cities for just 25,000 miles round-trip.

What discounted awards to Europe do you have planned?

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

The standard sign-up offer for these co-branded cards is 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, so the current bonus is a significant step up. TPG values United miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so this 50,000-mile sign-up bonus gets you $750 in value.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Special offer: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $100 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Your miles don't expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn
  • Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United-operated flight at the MileagePlus Standard Award level
  • $95 annual fee
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.