The time after New Year’s is typically slow time in transatlantic flying. The weather is cold in most parts of the Europe and tourists stay away. United just did an email blast offering 20% to 25% discount on return economy award trips to Africa and Europe that are entirely on United metal. This same offer MPG012 is valid on Continental as well.
The ticketing deadline is January 16th for travel between January 27th, 2012 and March 22nd, 2012. There is 21 day advance ticketing requirement. The discount is 25% for off-peak days (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) and 20% for peak days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).
Decided to do tests both on Continental.com and United.com to see how well these discounted awards show up.
Continental award search
The travel is valid from Anchorage originating as well. Decided to include an open jaw in Europe and search for Anchorage to Rome, and on return Barcelona to Anchorage.
The inventory was rather sparse in March but there was plenty of availability in February. I did the search logged in to my account and there are some segments that have availability only due to the status. These show as XN.
This itinerary would require 45K miles and $43.10. The price of buying this outright is only $1003 that would earn close to 16K elite/redeemable miles.
United award search
Run in to a problem with the award booking engine immediately. After I plugged in my Mileage Plus number and password on the award search form, it only returned an error message. I believe that the inventory that was shown didn’t include the extended inventory that is available for 1K members.
Decided to do an award search from Eugene to Moscow and back from Madrid. There was only very few options available and none at the lowest level. The price of the itinerary was 46500 miles + $53.10 in taxes or $930.50, which would earn around 14K elite qualifying miles.
It is always good to have awards available at the lower price. The United’s offer, however, is not great considering that American Airlines has their own off-peak award chart. Starting from Europe you can do a trip to Hawaii with two stopovers in the United States for just 40K miles +taxes. This is excellent use of AA miles.
The terms and conditions of the United’s offer are:
1. Reduced mileage levels valid for redemption only until 11:59 p.m. CT on January 16, 2012.
2. Member must travel between January 27, 2012 and March 22, 2012.3. Reduced award mileage prices apply only to travel on United® and United Express®-operated flight. Not applicable on flights operated by other airlines.4. The Reduced mileage prices also apply for travel on Continental® or Continental Express® if you use miles from your OnePass® account. MileagePlus miles can be transferred to your OnePass account at www.united.com/linkmyaccounts.5. Valid for travel from the US (D49) and Europe and from the US (D49) and Central/South Africa.6. Reduced awards only valid on round-trip travel on a Saver award.7. Stopovers are not permitted.8. A 21 day advance purchase is required.9. Save 20% on peak travel days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and 25% on off-peak travel days (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday).10. Can combine peak and off-peak.11. Open jaw allowed within the same region (i.e. fly into LHR and out of FRA).12. This offer cannot be applied to previously issued tickets.13. Saturday night stay required.14. Valid on all-miles or Miles & Money awards when available.15. Taxes and fees associated with award travel are the responsibility of the passenger. Award tickets are subject to applicable departure taxes, federal inspection fees, passenger facility charges, and other fees, charges or taxes, and the person utilizing the award is responsible for the payment of any such items that may apply. Any valid unused award ticket may be returned to the MileagePlus Service Center, for a service charge, up to one year from the date of issue.16. Award space is subject to availability, and capacity-control restrictions apply. Only a limited number of seats are available at the reduced rate for each market. Travel on award tickets is not eligible for mileage accrual in United MileagePlus or any other frequent flyer program.17. Not combinable with other offers.18. Award only eligible for travel in United Economy.19. No upgrades are permitted on award travel tickets.20. Changes to travel dates are permitted in advance by calling United Reservations. Changes may be subject to additional service fees up to $150 per ticket (based on account status from where miles were redeemed):• After an award ticket is issued, applicable service charge may be imposed for each change requested by the member that necessitates the re-issuance of the ticket.• If a wholly unused ticket is exchanged for travel outside of the validity period, the mileage will be credited back into the member’s account for the applicable service charge, and a new ticket will be issued at the appropriate number of miles for the new award.• On a partially used ticket, if the new travel date requested is outside of the validity period, a new one-way ticket needs to be purchased or a new one-way award at the applicable mileage level needs to be redeemed. The unused return ticket is not valid for travel and cannot be credited back into the member’s account.21. Offer subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply.22. Miles accrued, awards issued and bonus offers are subject to the rules of the United MileagePlus program. The MileagePlus program, including accruals, awards and bonus miles offers, is subject to change without notice. Taxes and fees related to award travel are the responsibility of the passenger. United and Mileage Plus are registered service marks. For complete details about the MileagePlus program, visit united.com.