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With the previous version of United’s website, it was possible to put tickets on hold by using “the PayPal trick.” Essentially, you’d choose the option to checkout using PayPal and then just neglect to do that. With the new site, this functionality is now built in — any award tickets can be put on hold, as long as you don’t have the required number of miles in your account.

A pricey United award to Seoul.
A pricey United award to Seoul.

To place an award on hold, simply search for the itinerary as you normally would, then click the Reserve button. I created a dummy Asiana first class booking, which requires a whopping 120,000 miles each way — though it’s hardly a United sweet spot, premium-cabin availability is generally fantastic on this route.

Holds expire at midnight the next day.
Holds expire at midnight the next day.

As the site explains, the award won’t be ticketed until you have the required number of miles. Of course, United wants you to purchase the miles you need, but you can also transfer points instantly from Chase Ultimate Rewards earned with your Chase Sapphire Preferred CardChase Freedom or Ink Plus Business Card.

To purchase your ticket, just click the link when you view your reservation.
To purchase your ticket, just click the link when you view your reservation.

Once you have the necessary miles, you can easily complete the purchase process and your award will be ticketed. Although awards can only be held until midnight the following day, you’ll still have plenty of time to transfer points from Chase, which you’ll of course only want to do when you know there’s availability for the flights you’d like to book.

H/T: View from the Wing

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Points Guy Assessment:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.

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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®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • 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
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.