Skip to content

Mileage deal alert: United flights from Los Angeles and Newark from 5,500 miles

Aug. 31, 2022
6 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Here at TPG we highlight many deal alerts, almost all for discounted cash fares. However, you can also find many budget mileage deals from airlines. Sometimes the airlines publicize these deals as part of a promotional campaign, but often the low-mileage flights are buried within the flight schedules.

One such case is a current set of United Airlines MileagePlus flight deals from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) which cost as little as 5,500 miles one-way. Even cross-country flights from both airports start at less than 10,000 miles one-way — a fraction of the regular 25,000-30,000-mile domestic fares found on the airline. These cheap mileage deals begin in September and continue on select dates through November.

Since these low-mileage flight offers do not appear to be part of any coordinated promotion, the fares will likely just be available until excess seat capacity is filled. So book them quickly if you find a route and flight schedule that works for you.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Read below for details about some sample round-trip flight deals from both Los Angeles and Newark.

For more TPG news and deals delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Deal basics

United terminal at LAX. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Airline: United Airlines.
Routes: From Los Angeles and Newark to multiple destinations.
How to book: On united.com after logging in to your MileagePlus account.
Travel dates: Starting in September.
Book by: While discounted tickets are available.

Related: What are points and miles worth? TPG's latest guide

Sample flights

UNITED.COM

To find good mileage deals on United Airlines, you can start by reviewing United's flight award deals page, as seen in the screenshot above. United regularly updates the page with lower-than-usual mileage fares for both domestic and international flights.

If you happen to find a destination that captures your interest among the dozen or so highlighted, you can click on the city, and the site will send you to a booking page. You'll be prompted to log in with your MileagePlus information. At that point, you can click "Round-Trip" for any of the deals highlighted here to find an itinerary that matches your schedule and the discount mileage offer.

The fares listed all seem to be for regular United economy tickets, so there's no danger of a basic economy surprise that would require you to pay $50 each way for your carry-on bag. The listed mileage fares also include the booking cash surcharge, which is useful to see before selecting an offer.

Chicago to Los Angeles

UNITED.COM

While the cheapest price on the United flight award deals site is currently the 5,500-mile one-way fare from LAX to San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the best value may be for this round-trip itinerary between Los Angeles and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD). The 15,600-mile rate is less than half of usual pricing on this route, which can run as high as 50,000 miles one-way on a holiday weekend.

The booking fee of $11.20 for the flight is also reasonable, as are the terms and conditions. You can cancel and rebook the flight without penalty. You would, however, have to pay additional mileage and flight costs for a different flight if it is more expensive.

You can currently find this 15,600-mile round-trip fare on the United website for select dates beginning in late September and running through December. Pricing for mileage seats can be highly dynamic, so if you see an itinerary that works for you, then you should book it immediately. You'll still have the ability to cancel and use the miles for a future flight if necessary.

Newark to Fort Lauderdale

UNITED.COM

For anyone looking for a quick, cheap escape from New York to Florida in November, this United Airlines MileagePlus deal is for you. You can find trip mileage prices for select dates between Newark and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) for just 12,000 miles, with a nominal $11.20 surcharge.

Mileage prices for this route typically run at least twice as much; on regular dates, one-way fares usually cost about 25,000 miles while one-way flights on holiday dates can cost upward of 50,000 miles.

The highly discounted 6,000-mile fares (and some for 7,800 miles) are listed for dates beginning in late September and continuing through November. These flights tend to get snapped up quickly, particularly the desirable flight times. So if you find an itinerary that matches your schedule, book it fast before it disappears.

Related: TPG's ultimate guide to south Florida

Maximize your purchase

While you won't be spending much to score one of these mileage deals, it's still a good idea to pack a credit card to maximize any purchases you make during your trip. Using a United Explorer Card for the ancillary flight fees (and any other charges along the way) can help earn you bonus miles and speed up your way to status awards.

For more flexibility in spending points, The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 of these purchases per calendar year.

The Citi Premier® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve earn 3 points per dollar spent on airfare, while the American Express® Gold Card earns 3 points per dollar spent on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earns 2 points per dollar spent on travel.

Bottom line

MileagePlus members can find some great mileage fares on United's award deals page, saving more than 50% off typical rates for both short-haul and long-distance flights.

The two mileage-based itineraries highlighted here are great deals for fall travel. The Chicago-to-Los Angeles route for 15,600 miles and the Newark-to-Fort Lauderdale deal for just 12,000 miles are good examples of savings you can achieve.

When considering booking the mileage saver fares on United, keep in mind the prices can be very dynamic and change quickly — sometimes even by the minute.

If you see an attractive deal that might fit your schedule, you should book it as soon as possible. If your plans change and you cancel an itinerary, United's terms currently allow you to apply the miles to future travel plans without penalty.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases