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United’s Offering Discounted Awards to Europe for Winter 2016

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American Airlines may have just gutted its award chart, but AAdvantage does still offer an appealing redemption not available to United’s MileagePlus members: Off-peak flights to Europe for 45,000 miles round-trip. In fact, until the new AA chart kicks in on March 22, these flights are available for just 20,000 miles each way.

Newark to Paris round-trip for 45,000 miles.
Newark to Paris round-trip for 45,000 miles.

If you’re looking to burn United miles instead, however, you’re also in luck. Through December 8, 2015, you can book round-trip economy flights from the US to Europe starting at just 45,000 miles round-trip, rather than the usual 60,000 miles that award requires. Your travel dates must be between January 11 and March 10, 2016 to get the lower rate, and you must travel on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. If you’d prefer to fly on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, your award will require 51,000 miles, which is still a reasonable discount.

Newark to Europe open-jaw for 45,000 miles round-trip.
Newark to Europe open-jaw for 45,000 miles round-trip.

You can also mix and match dates, paying 22,500 for a weekday flight in one direction and 25,500 miles for a weekend flight in the other. Or you can book one direction at the discounted rate for travel by March 10 and the other after that date at the regular rate. You can also book your flights as an open-jaw, as you can see in the example above. Finally, if you happen to be a United customer based in Europe, you can book these discounted awards originating in a European city as well. All flights must be operated by United.

Currently, this sale is only available to United elite members. You can also take advantage if you have a United co-brand card, such as the United MileagePlus Explorer Card. United has confirmed that all MileagePlus members will have access to the sale beginning Monday, though. If you’re eligible, you’ll see these rates when you go to book an award ticket through the usual channels. Note that if you’ve already booked an award at the higher rate, you may be able to have the ticket re-priced by calling United reservations at 1-800-864-8331.

TPG values United miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so even with the discount you may still get a better deal by paying cash. For example, if your paid airfare is less than $756 ($675 plus $81 in taxes), you may want to pay cash for your tickets, instead. Also, keep in mind that paid tickets earn miles, though award flights do not.

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