Through December 4, 2014 United is offering 20% off saver economy award tickets to select cities in Europe. These discounted awards are good for travel between January 12 – March 12, 2015. An award that would normally cost 60,000 miles roundtrip will be discounted to just 48,000 miles. Travel to the following airports qualifies for this promotion:
- Amsterdam (AMS)
- Brussels (BRU)
- Frankfurt (FRA)
- Geneva (GVA)
- Hamburg (HAM)
- London (LHR)
- Munich (MUC)
- Paris (CDG)
- Zurich (ZRH)
In addition to limiting the promotion to the above mentioned cities, a few additional restrictions apply:
- Discounts only apply to travel on Monday – Thursday.
- Travel is only valid on United operated flights – code shares do not qualify.
- Only roundtrip flights between the U.S. or Canada and Europe are eligible. Hawaii is excluded.
- Open-jaws are allowed, as long as they occur in the same region.
- Stopovers are not allowed.
You can combine a standard award with a saver award on a roundtrip, though only the saver segment will qualify for the 20% discount. Doing it this way would bring the cost to 174,000 miles roundtrip. Obviously a terrible value, since you can fly business class for less than that.
While 48,000 miles compared to 60,000 for a roundtrip economy flight to Europe sounds like a good deal, it’s not the best out there. US Airways offers off-peak awards to Europe for just 35,000 miles roundtrip between January 15 – February 28. American Airlines’ discounted off-peak awards to Europe require 40,000 miles roundtrip and if you have a Citi AAdvantage Platinum card, you get 10% of the miles back, bringing the total to just 36,000 miles. American Airlines also offers more flexibility, with a 7-month travel period of October 15 – May 15. If you’re on the East Coast, British Airways Avios can offer even more value, with roundtrip flights between Boston and Dublin on Aer Lingus requiring just 25,000 miles roundtrip.
Redeeming AAdvantage miles to Europe is slightly more challenging, with award space being more difficult to find. Still, if you can swing it, save your United MileagePlus miles and use another reward currency. You can get more substantial discounts and flexibility in your travel dates.
If you’re going to book one of these discounted United awards to Europe, keep in mind that the cut off is 11:50 PM (CT) on December 4, 2014.