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Have a Simple Question About United Airlines/MileagePlus? Ask Here [2019]

Old Jan 6, 2019, 1:17 pm
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Welcome to this thread to ask your basic, simple questions about United Airlines, its operations, or the MileagePlus program. We know that the airline is complex and weve created this thread for new and veteran members to ask those basic questions about United Airlines that you think must have an easy answer but just cant find it or arent sure where to look.

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Have a Simple Question About United Airlines/MileagePlus? Ask Here [2019]

Old Jan 21, 2019, 4:04 am
  #121  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by Zorak
"Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 1"

Happy first post!

They're only award miles.
thanks been lurking for a while.

follow up question: would transferring miles from chase ultimate rewards would also only be award miles? (i'm assuming so just couldn't find it stated anywhere)
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Old Jan 21, 2019, 5:32 am
  #122  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
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Originally Posted by racerx_
....follow up question: would transferring miles from chase ultimate rewards would also only be award miles? (i'm assuming so just couldn't find it stated anywhere)
Correct
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Old Jan 21, 2019, 12:54 pm
  #123  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,142
I am new to booking award travel. Playing around with mock bookings and it seems that there's some kind of threshold where UA will let me purchase additional miles needed. In all cases it mentions I am X miles short, but sometimes it has the option to buy it (such as the example below), but other times it says I'm X miles short but there's no option at all to purchase them. Is there some kind of limit I'm unaware of?

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Old Jan 21, 2019, 1:10 pm
  #124  
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander
I am new to booking award travel. Playing around with mock bookings and it seems that there's some kind of threshold where UA will let me purchase additional miles needed. In all cases it mentions I am X miles short, but sometimes it has the option to buy it (such as the example below), but other times it says I'm X miles short but there's no option at all to purchase them. Is there some kind of limit I'm unaware of?
Who knows. Regardless, you can always buy more miles through award accelerator. Don't ever pay more than 2 cpm.
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Old Jan 21, 2019, 2:09 pm
  #125  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,142
Originally Posted by Kacee
Who knows. Regardless, you can always buy more miles through award accelerator. Don't ever pay more than 2 cpm.
The actual itinerary I want to book will be flown in May 2020. I'm not sure how many miles I'll earn naturally between now and booking. I'm currently working on figuring out if I should book ASAP (July 2019-ish?), or hold out until closer to the trip. Thanks for the tip on buying via award accelerator. Am I correct in thinking you can make an award accelerator purchase as part of a flight booking? I currently only have 1 shorthaul booking and it's offering me 2 options both for 2.5 cpm (see below). Are future bookings likely to offer a better rate?

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Old Jan 21, 2019, 7:04 pm
  #126  
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander
The actual itinerary I want to book will be flown in May 2020. I'm not sure how many miles I'll earn naturally between now and booking. I'm currently working on figuring out if I should book ASAP (July 2019-ish?), or hold out until closer to the trip.
The general rule is if you see the award you want, book it. It could be gone in an hour. You can cancel for free for 24 hours.
Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander
Am I correct in thinking you can make an award accelerator purchase as part of a flight booking?
Yes. You can book a ticket, buy the miles, then the cancel the ticket within 24 hours for free.
Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander
I currently only have 1 shorthaul booking and it's offering me 2 options both for 2.5 cpm (see below). Are future bookings likely to offer a better rate?
Yeah, you should be able to buy them for 2 cpm (which is what it looks like UA is offering you now in connection with the award booking).
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Old Jan 21, 2019, 7:54 pm
  #127  
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander
I am new to booking award travel. Playing around with mock bookings and it seems that there's some kind of threshold where UA will let me purchase additional miles needed. In all cases it mentions I am X miles short, but sometimes it has the option to buy it (such as the example below), but other times it says I'm X miles short but there's no option at all to purchase them. Is there some kind of limit I'm unaware of?
You can also leverage credit card points. For example, certain Chase credit cards will allow you to transfer accumulated points into UA miles 1:1 (credit card to frequent loyalty program only; not the other way around, generally). Even if you don't have eligible Chase CCs, you still have a lot of time to accrue points/miles that way, given your planned travel dates. Take advantage of bonus points offering from those CCs, but read the terms carefully.

Good luck hunting!
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Old Jan 21, 2019, 8:08 pm
  #128  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,142
Originally Posted by Kacee
The general rule is if you see the award you want, book it. It could be gone in an hour. You can cancel for free for 24 hours.
Yeah, I figured that would be most sensible. I'm looking to do an 18 day trip IAD-CPT-WHD-IAD. The CPT-WHD should be free via the excursionist perk. My only real requirement is lie flat saver business. On mock award bookings I see lots of Ethiopian Airlines and South African, which would be acceptable, however, theres much better options (eg UA and LH) if I pay cash. Two main questions right now are:
1. If I book the first available acceptable award itinerary, is it permitted to cancel and rebook if something more favorable appears later? Is that easily done, what with needing to use the same points? I wouldn't have spare points to even temporarily cover it.
2. I understand awards are priced one way, and that ideally I would book a return ticket all at once. However, if I need an 18 day long trip would it be the case that I'd need to wait until my entire date range is available to book? Is it better to pounce on one way outbound flights ASAP, then do the inbound when its available to book? I'd be willing to forego the excursionist perk if it meant better long haul flights.

Originally Posted by Kacee
Yeah, you should be able to buy them for 2 cpm (which is what it looks like UA is offering you now in connection with the award booking).
ah yes, so they are. They are offering 2.1 cpm in that mock award booking.
award accelerator is offering 2.5 cpm. Is 2.5 cpm the norm for award accelerator, or might I get better offers as I make further bookings this year? Thanks for your help - much appreciated!

Last edited by FlyingHighlander; Jan 21, 2019 at 8:13 pm
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Old Jan 24, 2019, 12:51 am
  #129  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: San Diego
Posts: 75
Planning a flight from SAN to ICN in 2020 or 2021, but wondering if it is worth booking Economy with 70k points round trip vs $1300 cash price (works out to about 2 cents per mile). Business Saver is 160k round trip works out to 6 cents per mile. I know the goal of awards travel is to book business class or better (more value for your points vs cash cost of ticket), but I will be traveling with family- 3 adults, 2 children. So I'm looking at 350k points for the group in Economy vs 800k points for the group in Business. I think I can get the 350k miles by then, 800k is way out of my range. I'm just trying to see if that is good use for my miles or if there is a better way to maximize 350k miles miles (~150k united and 200k Ultimate rewards)
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Old Jan 24, 2019, 1:48 am
  #130  
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70k for $1,300 is generally regarded as a reasonable use of miles. For the amount of effort required to find I5 and actually book that Business award, you should be able to fly for ~$2,500 cash anyway.
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Old Jan 24, 2019, 1:51 am
  #131  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Houston, Tx
Programs: UA Plat
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Flying SIN-SFO-IAH in a few weeks. I have done a miles and copay upgrade for SIN-SFO which has been conformed. I want to change the SFO-IAH flight from a morning flight to an evening flight. If I tried to change the last leg using website it costs $120 bucks change fee which is fine but the bigger issue is the SIN-SFO just says economy and there is no PZ space available. I am platinum so can do a SDC for free but would rather confirm travel plans now. If I call can in to 1800# can they make the change to just the second leg? Can you preform a SDC in between legs? I don't want to risk screwing up a confirmed upgrade.
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Old Jan 24, 2019, 5:31 am
  #132  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,142
2 questions on Award booking:

1. If I book the first available acceptable award itinerary, is it permitted to cancel and rebook if something more favorable appears later? Is that easily done, what with needing to use the same points? I wouldn't have spare points to even temporarily cover it.
2. I understand awards are priced one way, and that ideally I would book a return ticket all at once. However, if I need an 18 day long trip would it be the case that I'd need to wait until my entire date range is available to book? Is it better to pounce on one way outbound flights ASAP, then do the inbound when its available to book? I'd be willing to forego the excursionist perk if it meant better long haul flights.
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Old Jan 24, 2019, 9:02 am
  #133  
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Originally Posted by pdragn78
I know the goal of awards travel is to book business class or better
The goal of award travel is to maximize your personal return, not to fly in any particular class of service. Different people have different priorities, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Originally Posted by pdragn78
I'm just trying to see if that is good use for my miles or if there is a better way to maximize 350k miles miles (~150k united and 200k Ultimate rewards)
You can "maximize" them by flying from Bangkok to Sydney in first class, or by converting the 200K Ultimate Rewards points to KrisFlyer miles and booking SQ Suites on whatever their most cost-effective route is. However, since you're in San Diego, that's probably not all that useful. The worst thing that you can do is to accumulate a huge stash of miles without using them, as they're constantly devaluing. If the cash price is really $1300 per person -- that sounds really high, honestly; have you checked ex-LAX? -- then I wouldn't have second thoughts about using miles on that flight.

Originally Posted by pong1092
Flying SIN-SFO-IAH in a few weeks. I have done a miles and copay upgrade for SIN-SFO which has been conformed. I want to change the SFO-IAH flight from a morning flight to an evening flight. If I tried to change the last leg using website it costs $120 bucks change fee which is fine but the bigger issue is the SIN-SFO just says economy and there is no PZ space available. I am platinum so can do a SDC for free but would rather confirm travel plans now. If I call can in to 1800# can they make the change to just the second leg? Can you preform a SDC in between legs? I don't want to risk screwing up a confirmed upgrade.
They should be able to do it, yes, but there's always a risk that they'd screw it up. You should be able to get it back -- make sure you have a screenshot showing that it's confirmed -- and be very clear with the agent that you only want to make the change if they can preserve the upgrade.

Yes, you can SDC between legs of a trip.

Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander
2 questions on Award booking:

1. If I book the first available acceptable award itinerary, is it permitted to cancel and rebook if something more favorable appears later? Is that easily done, what with needing to use the same points? I wouldn't have spare points to even temporarily cover it.
Yes and no. There is a charge based upon your status and time to departure -- from $0 to $125. However, if you have any partner segments on your trip, it can be difficult to do this unless there's still inventory available for awards on all flights.

Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander
2. I understand awards are priced one way, and that ideally I would book a return ticket all at once. However, if I need an 18 day long trip would it be the case that I'd need to wait until my entire date range is available to book? Is it better to pounce on one way outbound flights ASAP, then do the inbound when its available to book? I'd be willing to forego the excursionist perk if it meant better long haul flights.
If you're willing to forego the excursionist perk, and you expect to make changes to your flights (but not to cancel them entirely), book as one-ways. The downsides with one-ways are (a) no excursionist perk and (b) two change / cancellation fees instead of one. The upsides are that you can lock in inventory individually, as you find it, and that you don't have to worry about having partner segments on the reservation mess up a change.

Originally Posted by RobBurke
Is there anything I can do at this stage to make the upgrade more likely to clear? Is there any way of figuring out when Ill know if it will clear or not?
There's no meaningful way to improve your chances. It could clear anytime between now and at the gate, or not at all -- if there are only a couple of seats left, your chances aren't very good. Those seats will likely be taken either by new passengers, flight changes by existing business class customers, or buy-up offers between now and departure.
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Old Jan 24, 2019, 9:21 am
  #134  
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Originally Posted by pong1092
Flying SIN-SFO-IAH in a few weeks. I have done a miles and copay upgrade for SIN-SFO which has been conformed. I want to change the SFO-IAH flight from a morning flight to an evening flight. If I tried to change the last leg using website it costs $120 bucks change fee which is fine but the bigger issue is the SIN-SFO just says economy and there is no PZ space available. I am platinum so can do a SDC for free but would rather confirm travel plans now. If I call can in to 1800# can they make the change to just the second leg?
Yes. Do not do this on the website. Call and tell the agent you want to make the change to second segment while preserving the upgrade on the first. It's not that hard, but an incompetent agent can screw it up, so if the agent seems incompetent, thank them for the assistance, hang up, and call again.

The other option is just wait until your BP has scanned at SIN, then use the app to SDC segment two for free. The risk there is no inventory on segment two, so you really need to assess the likelihood of inventory being available 24 hours in advance.
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Old Jan 24, 2019, 11:15 am
  #135  
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander
Is it better to pounce on one way outbound flights ASAP, then do the inbound when its available to book? I'd be willing to forego the excursionist perk if it meant better long haul flights.
It is also worth noting, though, that "most awards are only available at T-330 and are promptly snapped up" is mostly a myth these days. Have a look, but don't expect that this is the only time to find awards.
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