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Sweet spots on the United MileagePlus award chart are few and far between. However, if you look hard enough, there are a few gems, even if some require some out-of-the-box thinking. We've included five of the most attractive United sweet spots for awards; also included are award charts for United MileagePlus. The first chart is for travel on United aircraft and the second is for travel on their partners.
Premium Cabin Awards on United Aircraft
There might be nothing sexy about flying business class or first class with United, but when it comes to getting the most value for your miles, there are few premium cabin award options available for great rates. Whether it is Europe for 57,500 miles in business class, Australia/New Zealand for 70,000 miles in business class or 80,000 miles in first class, or anything in-between, you will usually be able to get as much or more by booking United awards on their own metal than when booking awards with Delta or American Airlines. Also, keep in mind that United has just launched their much-awaited new business class product called Polaris which appears to be extremely attractive, particularly when compared to previous international business class products.
Partner Awards Between Caribbean/Central America/Mexico and Northern South America (10k in economy or 20k in business)
You may have to position to cities such as San Juan, Mexico City, and Panama City to be able to take advantage of these awards, but if you can do that, you may be in for a treat. United partner awards between the Caribbean/Central America/Mexico and Northern South America require only 10,000 miles in economy class and 20,000 miles in business class one-way. According to United's award chart, the Northern South America region includes Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. Peru and Colombia are likely the two countries you'd take the most advantage of for this sweet spot.
Partner Business Class Awards Within Central/Southern Africa (35k in business)
United is a Star Alliance partner of two of Africa's largest airlines: South African Airways and Ethiopian. As such, you can get pretty much anywhere in Central and Southern Africa on a United partner award with these airlines. Best of all, the business class rates for travel within Central/Southern Africa is only 35,000 miles in business class. The same award with Delta would require 40,000 miles, while with American options are extremely limited for travel within Central/Southern Africa because of the lack of partners in these regions.
Partner Awards Between Europe and Central Asia (25k/40k/60k)
When it comes to awards, United divides Asia into four regions. One of these is Central Asia, which includes India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, among others. If you need to book an award between Europe and Central Asia, it is going to be hard to beat United's partner awards rates of 25,000 miles in economy class, 45,000 miles in business class and 60,000 miles in first class each way. Lufthansa's exceptional first class product, among others, is extremely enticing at this rate.
Roundtrip Itineraries that Include a Stopover (Excursionist Perk)
United allows you to add one complimentary stopover to roundtrip awards, something Delta and American do not. As such, most United award itineraries that include a stopover automatically result in attractive award redemptions.
These five types of awards should be kept in mind when thinking about how to get the most value out of your United miles. Remember, United is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, and those transfers are typically instant, so even if you do not have enough miles to book the United award you want, the award may be only five minutes away. Don't forget that United is one of the few airlines that never imposes fuel surcharges on award tickets. If you're looking to pick up some additional miles with United, check out the United℠ Explorer Card.
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