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United has announced an award sale where you will receive a 20% discount on miles needed to fly economy class to Hawaii when booking by December 8, 2017. Instead of 45,000 miles for a round-trip economy saver award, you will pay 36,000 miles. While on the surface this sounds like a deal, it is highly dependent on where you currently have your points and miles.
- Bookings must be completed by December 8, 2017, at 11:59 PM CST
- Travel must start on or after January 7, 2018, and be completed on or before March 10, 2018
- Economy roundtrip fares cost 36,000 miles excluding taxes and fees
Is It Worth It?
As is normally the case, the devil is in the details. If you already have the miles in your United account or are very close to 36,000 miles then yes, it is worth it. If on the other hand you are transferring points to United to get the award, then there are ways to use fewer miles with other programs for the same seats on United.
If you want to book flights to Hawaii, you are better served using other airlines’ programs and booking a partner award. You can fly to Hawaii using the following programs:
- Singapore: 35,000 miles economy roundtrip flying with United
- Korean Air: 30,000 miles economy roundtrip flying with Alaska or Hawaiian (and only 25,000 miles with Delta)
- British Airways: 25,000 Avios economy roundtrip flying with Alaska or American Airlines for flights less than 3,000 miles. This covers flights to Hawaii from destinations including Anchorage, Bellingham, Oakland, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, and Portland.
All the above programs are Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, as is United. If you have multiple balances across several programs, but not enough for the award flight, then you need to ask yourself: what is the minimum number of Ultimate Rewards needed to get me to Hawaii? Keep in mind that Singapore, British Airways, Korean, and Delta are also transfer-partners of other programs as well.
Choosing Between United and Singapore
Since airline miles are generally non-transferable, but Ultimate Rewards are, you want to use the least number of points possible. To decide on whether to transfer points to United or Singapore, you will need to compare your United points balance to your Singapore points balance, to determine what is the most cost-efficient way of getting to Hawaii.
Points To Remember
One thing to remember is that if you hold the United℠ Explorer Card or the United℠ Explorer Business Card, then United will make more award space available to you. The same holds true with Elite status as well. Just remember to log in to your MileagePlus account before searching for award space. Sadly, this will not help you out when making a partner booking with United.
This promo does provide some value, however, to get the most out of it you will need to take some time, and work out how it will stack up against the other options available. If you have or almost have all the needed United miles, then it is an easy pick, otherwise, grab a coffee and a spreadsheet and start crunching some numbers!
Source: View from The Wing
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