United Airlines is offering 20% off on award tickets to Europe for travel between January 13 – March 11, 2014. This is slow season for European tickets (US Airways offers their award tickets to Europe for 35K instead of 60K during roughly the same timeframe). These tickets must be purchased by November 20, 2013.
If I had to venture a guess, this is an attempt on United’s part to make some people use their United miles on this type of travel instead of doing what many people are doing right now – booking premium partner tickets like crazy (because of their recent devaluation that kicks in February 1, 2014). This helps to prevent people from saving and earning their miles to redeem for premium tickets before that date. Now, it puts people on the fence – an award ticket to Europe on United during this promo will only cost 48,000 miles instead of 60,000 miles.
Is this a good deal?
If you were already planning travel to Europe this winter or would just like to, this is a nice offer. The downsides is that this only works on United flights – meaning if United does not serve your final destination city, you will need to find an alternate way to get there from the city in Europe you arrive at on United. If you can live with that, this would be a great deal. If you were going to travel to Europe with friends or family, this essentially means that the 5th person will fly for free (except the taxes). Not bad!
Before you click Purchase, check one thing. Look at the cost of a regular airline ticket for the same day. Remember, this is low season – you very well might find that you can get the same ticket for just a few hundred dollars. Once you subtract the cost in taxes from your award ticket (can be close to $200), you may see that the miles are worth less than a penny a mile. That is far lower than United miles are worth, even after the devaluation. So just look around and be smart!
To find other inexpensive award tickets to Europe, check this earlier post on how to get to Europe for less than 20,000 miles one-way.
There are some terms and conditions to this deal (the most notable are bolded – bolding is mine):
- Saver Awards discount valid only for air travel. Promotion period ends 11:59 p.m. (CT) on November 19, 2013.
- Offer is valid for travel completed between January 13, 2014, and March 11, 2014.
- Discount on Saver Awards to Europe is valid only for travel on United- and United Express®-operated flights and is not valid on United-marketed codeshare flights operated by other carriers.
- Discounted Saver Award is valid only for travel between the U.S. (excluding Hawaii) or Canada, and Europe.
- Discount is valid only for roundtrip travel in United Economy.
- For this offer, a roundtrip is defined as travel from an origin city to a destination city with return travel beginning in the outbound destination city back to the first origin city with all segments on flights operated by United or United Express. A segment is defined as one takeoff and one landing. Stopovers do not qualify for this offer.
- Tickets must be purchased at least 21 days in advance to qualify for this discount.
- Open jaw itineraries within the same region do qualify for the Saver Award discount to Europe (e.g., fly into Chicago O’Hare and out of New York/Newark).
- This offer cannot be applied to previously issued tickets.
- Passenger is responsible for all taxes, fees, baggage fees and surcharges applicable to award travel, including, with respect to government-imposed taxes and fees; passenger facility charges (PFCs) of up to $18 per roundtrip; September 11th Security Fee of up to $10 per roundtrip (one-way travel may incur fees in excess of $5); U.S. segment tax of $3.90 for each domestic segment (takeoff and landing); U.S. excise tax of $17.20 for each international arrival and departure in the U.S.; U.S. inspection fees of up to $17.20 for each arrival in the U.S.; and non-U.S. government ticket taxes, fees and airport charges. As of June 1, 2013, all taxes, fees and surcharges may add up to $265 per ticket. Such taxes, fees and surcharges must be paid at the time of ticketing and are subject to change. Any valid, unused award ticket may be returned to the MileagePlus Service Center for a refund, subject to a service charge, up to one year from the date of issue. Award seats are subject to availability and capacity-control restrictions. For more information on MileagePlus award travel, visit united.com/awards.
- Travel on award tickets is not eligible for mileage accrual in United MileagePlus or any other loyalty program.
- Not combinable with other offers.
- Combinable with other award types (e.g., member can redeem Standard Awards one way and Saver Awards one way) but only the flight segment purchased with a Saver Award will be eligible for discount.
- Only members with Global ServicesSM status and primary cardholders of select MileagePlus Credit Cards issued by Chase are eligible for upgrades on award tickets.
- Changes to travel dates are permitted in advance by calling United Reservations. Changes may be subject to additional service fees of up to $200 per ticket (based on account status at time that miles were redeemed):
- Applicable service charges may be imposed for each requested change that necessitates the re-issuance of the ticket.
- If a wholly unused ticket is exchanged for travel outside of the promotion period, the mileage will be credited back into the member’s account, subject to an applicable service charge, and a new ticket will be issued at the mileage-redemption rate commensurate with the new award.
- If the value of a partially used ticket is applied to travel outside of the promotion period, a new one-way ticket must be purchased or a new one-way award at the applicable mileage-redemption rate must be redeemed. The unused return portion of the ticket is not valid for travel and cannot be credited back into the member’s account.
- Redemption of additional award miles may be required if any portion of the itinerary is outside of the promotion period.