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Discounted United Award Redemptions in North America

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Earlier this week, United was pricing certain partner awards at a discount, and now it appears that the airline is offering a 20% discount on economy awards to certain destinations within North America just in time for a winter beach getaway or ski season at some of the US’s best resort areas.

United Airlines
United Airlines is offering 20% off award flights within North America.

Here is a link to the promo page (though it does not appear to be loading at the time of posting). However, Running for Miles notes that the promo is for a discount of 20% off the normal mileage requirements for roundtrip saver economy awards (and not open jaws within the same region) on United or United Express. Discounted awards are available to select US destinations and from the US to Canada, Mexico and Hawaii.

These discounted award levels bookable now through December 30, 2014 for travel January 12-February 12, 2015, with awards bookable to the following destinations within the US.

  • Aspen (ASE)
  • Bozeman (BZN)
  • Durango (DRO)
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Fort Myers (RSW)
  • Jackson Hole (JAC)
  • Mammoth Lakes (MMH)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • Montrose/Telluride (MTJ)
  • Salt Lake City (SLC)
  • San Diego (SAN)
  • Santa Barbara (SBA)
  • Sarasota (SRQ)
  • Sun Valley (SUN)
  • Vail (EGE)
  • West Palm Beach (PBI)
  • Yampa Valley (HDN)

A 20% discount means economy awards will require just 20,000 miles roundtrip instead of the usual 25,000, and there are appears to be a good deal of availability. Here, flights from Los Angeles LAX to Aspen in February priced out at the discounted levels:

LAX Aspen

And here is a sample itinerary from New York to Salt Lake City (where you could fly in order to visit Park City) for a weekend trip in February pricing out for just 20,000 miles and $11.20.

NYC SLC

Other Awards: Canada, Mexico, Hawaii

Roundtrip economy awards from the US to Canada, Mexico and Hawaii are also being offered at a 20% discount. That means the following mileage amounts:

  • Canada: 20,000 miles instead of 25,000 miles
  • Mexico: 28,000 miles instead of 35,000 miles
  • Hawaii: 36,000 miles instead of 45,000 miles
The technicolor beauty of O'ahu begins well before your flight has landed (Image courtesy of Shutterstock)
Head to Hawaii for a beach vacation for fewer miles too. (Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

And it appears there is a decent amount of availability on these routes as well. For example, here is an itinerary in February from San Francisco SFO to Maui (Kahului) OGG in February for just 36,000 miles roundtrip:

SFO OGG

United has pretty good coverage in Hawaii, with flights to Honolulu, Maui, Lihue on Kauai and both Hilo and Kona on the island of Hawaii.

Here is a sample itinerary for Houston to Vancouver in February for just 20,000 miles roundtrip (if you wanted to visit Whistler, for example):

IAH YVR

United operates flights to all the major Canadian cities, with plenty of coverage to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver as well as smaller destinationsl like Calgary, Ottawa and Quebec.

For Mexico, here’s a quick sample roundtrip from Chicago ORD to Cancun via Houston on the outbound and Washington Dulles on the return for just 28,000 miles:

ORD CUN

United operates flights to over a dozen destinations throughout Mexico including popular vacation spots like Cabo, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Zihuatenejo/Ixtapa and more

Bottom Line

While a 20% discount on economy awards isn’t jaw-dropping, it’s still a good chance to save a few thousand miles on roundtrip awards, especially if you were going to book ski or beach getaways this January-February, and spreading that discount across a family of four could save you anywhere from 20,000-36,000 miles depending on where you are heading.

If you are thinking of booking any of these, I would get on it quickly before saver award availability dries up.

If you need to boost your United mileage account quickly, you have a few options. The airline is a 1:1 instant transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards if you have the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus. It is also a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest, though at a much less favorable rate of 2:1. So even with Starwood’s 5,000-point bonus on transfers of 20,000 points, you would still end up with just 12,500 miles for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer (not good at all), so I’d avoid that option if at all possible.

Plan to book one of these discounted awards? Let us know what your plans end up being in the comments below!

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