Best use of ~40k United points?

Old May 31, 18, 10:39 am
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Best use of ~40k United points?

So I have ~43k United Miles saved up. I won't be traveling for work much with my new job and debating how to use these existing ones and wanted to reach out for insight.

One thought was to take a trip to Las Vegas. I've visited for work but it'd be fun to actually do it as a vacation.

It looks like after a cursory examination of the rewards chart I have a few options:
  1. Book 2x "One way saver" (probably booked up / bad times?
  2. Book 1x "everyday award" one way (probably fly home on Southwest)
  3. Pay ~300 for the extra 7k points and fly business class both ways
What would you all do? I don't have any status or anything. I also live in Pittsburgh, so IIRC there's no United direct flights so not sure I want to shell out for a business seat then end up screwed because I got booked on a short delay in ORD/IAD and now there's no seats for non status havers.

My dates would be flexible since I'm a remote consultant now but I would need to plan it out a few weeks in advance. Ideally I want to do it during the week since hotels are significantly cheaper then.
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Old May 31, 18, 10:54 am
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I'd open a United credit card, collect the bonus (40k or 50k miles right now) to give you more options with those additional miles. That'll also get you much better award availability in economy.

As it stands now, your option 3 will be hard to achieve than option 1, because saver first (25k miles OW) is rarer than saver economy.
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Old May 31, 18, 12:10 pm
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Also in regards to LAS, LAS is probably one of the cheapest airports to fly into (outside of the major conventions like CES).

I'd look to fly into a smaller regional airport that costs more, somewhere like PWM or BGR, and plan a nice weekend around that.
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Old May 31, 18, 3:33 pm
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Originally Posted by prometa View Post
I'd open a United credit card, collect the bonus (40k or 50k miles right now) to give you more options with those additional miles. That'll also get you much better award availability in economy.

As it stands now, your option 3 will be hard to achieve than option 1, because saver first (25k miles OW) is rarer than saver economy.
yeah only issue is I'm pretty frugal so I don't want to flail around trying to hit the minimum spend. My plan is to read up onf MS and sign up for United Explorer + CSP at some point in the future to get points for a trip to asia. But for now I'm burned out.

So yeah will try for saver economy both ways.
Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
Also in regards to LAS, LAS is probably one of the cheapest airports to fly into (outside of the major conventions like CES).

I'd look to fly into a smaller regional airport that costs more, somewhere like PWM or BGR, and plan a nice weekend around that.
Meh part of this is I want to spend a couple days playing poker. Not sure I want to do a holiday in portland now, and as for Maine - I've got woods close to me in PIT
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Old May 31, 18, 3:48 pm
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
Also in regards to LAS, LAS is probably one of the cheapest airports to fly into (outside of the major conventions like CES).
Agreed.

I'd recommend to OP to keep the UA miles (extend their validity if necessary) for when a better UA destination presents itself.
NK flies PIT-LAS non-stop, and can be had for ~$250 return in Y.
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Old May 31, 18, 5:07 pm
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There's no reason to spend these miles right away, but if you're committed to that, you can do a round trip saver award to Central America for under 40k miles (it's 17.5k each way) and that's a good vacation destination as well as being a better value than Vegas. If you book it for winter, it can be a nice escape from the cold!
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Old Jun 1, 18, 6:51 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
Agreed.

I'd recommend to OP to keep the UA miles (extend their validity if necessary) for when a better UA destination presents itself.
NK flies PIT-LAS non-stop, and can be had for ~$250 return in Y.
NK?
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Old Jun 1, 18, 7:01 pm
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Originally Posted by greggarious View Post
NK?
Spirit. But friends don't let friends fly Spirit. I think they charge extra for seat belts.
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Old Jun 1, 18, 7:31 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Spirit. But friends don't let friends fly Spirit. I think they charge extra for seat belts.
Haha, fair point!
I only even mentioned it because of this from OP: "...I'm pretty frugal..."
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Old Jun 2, 18, 2:29 am
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Originally Posted by greggarious View Post
So I have ~43k United Miles saved up. I won't be traveling for work much with my new job and debating how to use these existing ones and wanted to reach out for insight.

One thought was to take a trip to Las Vegas. I've visited for work but it'd be fun to actually do it as a vacation.

It looks like after a cursory examination of the rewards chart I have a few options:
  1. Book 2x "One way saver" (probably booked up / bad times?
  2. Book 1x "everyday award" one way (probably fly home on Southwest)
  3. Pay ~300 for the extra 7k points and fly business class both ways
What would you all do? I don't have any status or anything. I also live in Pittsburgh, so IIRC there's no United direct flights so not sure I want to shell out for a business seat then end up screwed because I got booked on a short delay in ORD/IAD and now there's no seats for non status havers.

My dates would be flexible since I'm a remote consultant now but I would need to plan it out a few weeks in advance. Ideally I want to do it during the week since hotels are significantly cheaper then.
You'll find the best mileage (pardon the pun) on:
  1. Saver fares in either premium cabin (i.e. business or first class) on long international flights (i.e. to Europe or Asia)
  2. Saver fares on economy routes that have an expensive ticket price (i.e. booking the flight at the last minute or to a non-competive market)
  3. Upgrades to a higher cabin on long haul routes (i.e. Chicago to Honolulu or New York to Frankfurt)
First class domestic flights (with the exception of perhaps long haul first class domestic like Honolulu) are worthless to me. You're spending all this extra miles/money just to get a seat with a slightly better recline and a meal? No thank you!

Option 3 can be of particular since you'll only pay a proportionately small number of miles for the upgrade compared to how many miles you would have spent to book saver business ticket.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Jun 2, 18, 10:10 am
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Originally Posted by zymm View Post
There's no reason to spend these miles right away, but if you're committed to that, you can do a round trip saver award to Central America for under 40k miles (it's 17.5k each way) and that's a good vacation destination as well as being a better value than Vegas. If you book it for winter, it can be a nice escape from the cold!
Interesting point, I didn't think of that. I have been wanting to visit South America at some point. I'm actually inclined to save them for that, thanks.

Originally Posted by narvik View Post
Haha, fair point!
I only even mentioned it because of this from OP: "...I'm pretty frugal..."
Is Spirit that bad if you plan ahead? I've flown Easyjet and IIRC I just had to pay in advance for what would be a carry on on other flights, but aside from that it wasn't any worse than a shorthaul for IND->ORD or something similar in the states.

Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
You'll find the best mileage (pardon the pun) on:
  1. Saver fares in either premium cabin (i.e. business or first class) on long international flights (i.e. to Europe or Asia)
  2. Saver fares on economy routes that have an expensive ticket price (i.e. booking the flight at the last minute or to a non-competive market)
  3. Upgrades to a higher cabin on long haul routes (i.e. Chicago to Honolulu or New York to Frankfurt)
First class domestic flights (with the exception of perhaps long haul first class domestic like Honolulu) are worthless to me. You're spending all this extra miles/money just to get a seat with a slightly better recline and a meal? No thank you!

Option 3 can be of particular since you'll only pay a proportionately small number of miles for the upgrade compared to how many miles you would have spent to book saver business ticket.

Safe Travels,

James
Yeah, I'm inclined to save them for South America or an upgrade when I go overseas now thanks.

Though I disagree on "national" flights: when you're on a flight to SFO/LAS from the east coast it can be as long enough you wish you had some legroom

At least I can have my tomato juice
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Old Jun 2, 18, 10:49 am
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Originally Posted by greggarious View Post
yeah only issue is I'm pretty frugal so I don't want to flail around trying to hit the minimum spend. My plan is to read up onf MS and sign up for United Explorer + CSP at some point in the future to get points for a trip to asia. But for now I'm burned out.

So yeah will try for saver economy both ways.


Meh part of this is I want to spend a couple days playing poker. Not sure I want to do a holiday in portland now, and as for Maine - I've got woods close to me in PIT
There are way better cards to open than the Mileage Plus cards, especially if you are not a big spender on the cards and not a frequent traveler with United. I would also not burn one of my 5/24 for that card.
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