I haven’t had too many pieces about good value awards this year and I always say that people should only redeem for international business or first class seats. Oh well. Sometimes it does make sense to redeem for economy flights as well.
Flights within Europe can be expensive at times if:
1. You are looking for one way
2. City pair not served by any low cost carrier
3. You are booking in short notice
All these happened to apply for me last week. I was looking for a one way flight from Helsinki (preferably from Kokkola) to Budapest to connect to an Egypt Air flight on 26th of December. The airline activity is heavily curtailed on 24th and 25th of December and there was no flight before early 26th out of Kokkola but too late to make my connection in Budapest.
There was, however, an option via Helsinki leaving on late on 25th and arriving to Budapest in the morning of 26th after an overnight in Frankfurt. One way United awards in economy cost 12500 within Europe in economy and the taxes/fees came to reasonable $40.90 for this itinerary.
I probably need to play around this with more, as it is somewhat waste just to redeem for one way when United has very flexible rules including double open jaw + stopover in return awards. Essentially, you can almost have three one ways within a return if you can do it correctly.
I highly value my United miles for the flexibility that they offer. For now, I don’t have to pay any expedite or reissuance fees due to Premier 1K status. This will change next year, however. We’ll see if I still like the program as much as I do today.