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Deal alert: Fly United from 5,000 miles each way from now through early 2022

Oct. 30, 2021
4 min read
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If you've been looking to make travel plans this holiday season and beyond, now might be a great time to use your stash of United miles. TPG has spotted a handful of domestic United routes pricing from just 5,000 miles one-way.

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With fixed award charts gone for both United and Delta, it can sometimes be anyone's guess as to how many miles a domestic flight may cost. Often, the number of miles required is loosely (or not so loosely) tied to the cost of the ticket in cash. Thankfully, both airlines have offered some fantastic award sales from time to time -- sometimes as low as 5,000 miles for a domestic one-way in economy.

And United is offering one right now.

Most of the lowest-priced mileage deals we’ve come across are from November 2021 through March 2022 travel, though the only way to know for sure what your route may cost is to run a search and use the 30-day calendar view if you have some flexibility in travel dates.

Related: How to redeem miles with the United MileagePlus program

The deal

Airline: United
Routes: Continental U.S. travel
Cost: From 5,000 miles one-way in economy
Dates: Now through early 2022 including some holiday dates
Pay with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Citi Premier® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on air travel), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel).

Here’s an example of some of the award prices we’ve spotted this fall on United:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Orlando (MCO): 5,000 miles
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Denver (DEN): 5,000 miles
  • Newark (EWR) – San Francisco (SFO): 8,000 miles
  • Washington DC (IAD) – Miami (MIA): 5,000 miles
  • Boston (BOS) – Chicago (ORD): 5,000 miles

Related: These are the best credit cards for flying United

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Sample routings

Chicago (ORD) to Orlando (MCO) nonstop in December 2021

(Screenshot courtesy of United)

Denver (DEN) to Los Angeles (LAX) nonstop in November 2021

(Screenshot courtesy of United)

Newark (EWR) to San Francisco (SFO) nonstop in January 2022

Washington (IAD) to Miami (MIA) nonstop in December 2021

(Screenshot courtesy of United)

Boston (BOS) to Chicago (ORD) nonstop in December 2021

(Screenshot courtesy of United)

How to book

You’ll go straight to the United website, plug in your desired cities and dates and search for availability. United has a handy seven- or 30-day calendar view if you have flexibility with your dates.

If you don’t already have miles in your account, you can consider a transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards — miles generally post instantly, but there are occasional transfer delays, so there’s a small chance you won’t have the miles in your United account in time to take advantage of this sale.

Redeposit or change fees

If your plans change, United has a somewhat flexible change and redeposit policy when it comes to award miles. However, it's not as generous as some other airlines such as American.

All MileagePlus members, regardless of status level, can cancel and redeposit their United miles 31 or more days before departure without a fee. However, within 31 days of travel, you can only change an itinerary originating in the U.S. If you'd rather cancel and redeposit your miles within 31 days, a fee will apply. Many of those fees are waived or reduced depending on your level of United status.

Maximize your purchase

Don’t forget to use a card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel), American Express Gold Card (3x on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel), Citi Premier Card (3x on air travel) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel purchases). Check out this guide for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

Featured image by (Photo by Carlos Yudica/Shutterstock)
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.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
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 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
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

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
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

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • 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
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.