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award miles on United- I finally have enough to cash in! Help!

award miles on United- I finally have enough to cash in! Help!

Jan 20th, 2003, 06:47 AM
  #1  
blue
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award miles on United- I finally have enough to cash in! Help!

I am planning a trip to Tokyo in May and have the requisite 60K award miles saved up to do it!

I have never cashed in miles before and would like to hear from those who have.

What timeframe prior to the travel time is best for booking award travel?

Pitfalls to be aware of?

Advice to make this go smoothly?

anything else?
 
Jan 20th, 2003, 07:06 AM
  #2  
Sue
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In my experience, it is very easy to book and redeem fligths with miles on United, much easier than Continental and even other Star Alliance members like Lufthansa.

I would book now as you want a popular flight route. They will tell you whether seats are avaiable for redemption at this point; if not, you call back to make a reservation when you can. You may be able to make a reservation now and cancel it a certain amount of time later if the seat cannot be redeemed with miles. Give the mileage plus reservations center a call and they can answer all your questions.
 
Jan 20th, 2003, 07:55 AM
  #3  
Bill
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You'd probably be ok all the way to April. If you know your travel dates, you ought to do it now. Pitfall is on changes to the ticket or redeeming the miles back into your account. I don't know the current rules for UA, but other airlines will charge you for a change of travel dates on an award ticket. You are also likely to find that you can make reservations and have 30 days to actually get the ticket (allowing you to change dates, destinations for free during that time).

Your MP award entitles you to a stopover enroute or an open-jaw trip.

The open jaw trip, for example, would be fly to Tokyo and return from Osaka.

I highly recommend using the free enroute stopover. UA flies to Beijing via Tokyo. UA also flies on from Tokyo to other places in Asia.

I cashed in an award and flew to Tokyo, toured Japan for 12 days, then flew to Beijing for 3 days to see the Great Wall and the major sites and then returned to the US. Japan was the whole point of my trip, but the free sidetrip to Beijing for a couple of days was great.

Since UA flies on to Osaka from Tokyo, you could make Tokyo the enroute stopover, fly on to Osaka and return home from there. Or out to Osaka, or Beijing, or Hong Kong, stopping in Tokyo on the return.


 
Jan 20th, 2003, 07:56 AM
  #4  
Bill
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The Japanese Derby (horse race) is in Tokyo in May. Grand sumo tourney in Tokyo in May, see www.sumo.or.jp

 
Jan 20th, 2003, 08:33 AM
  #5  
Bill
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You hit on my fav subjects: Japan, MileagePlus.

After the award travel in Nov 2001 that I mentioned above(for only 40000 miles due to a post-9/11 special) I bought a ticket in early March 2002 for travel in May. The ticket cost $622. Your 60,000 miles are worth $600, at a penny a mile.

You can string out the award reservation without actually getting the award ticket. I'd keep an eye out for a double miles or 50% bonus offer for a paid ticket to Tokyo and buy the $600 ticket, if available. Earn the miles to return to Tokyo on a future trip in Business class.

 
Jan 20th, 2003, 09:27 AM
  #6  
David
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I personally would buy the cheapest coach ticket I could on United and then use 50,000 miles to upgrade to business class. According to Consumer Reports that is the way you get the "most bang for your buck." With coach seats being "relatively cheap" it is a good way to use your miles and fly in comfort.
 
Jan 20th, 2003, 09:46 AM
  #7  
AA
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David,

I agree with you on the upgrade option, BUT that would work really well with AA, not UA. The reason is that it takes at least an M or H fare class to be able to upgrade to business and I'm just guessing, but that ticket would probably cost around $2500 RT, plus it's 30000M each way for an upgrade, so 60K round trip. The cheap fares can't be upgraded with UA, that's one of the better features of AA, as one is allowed to upgrade even from web specials.

I could be wrong, but it looks to me like the original question came from a leisure traveler, so it probably took them years to get the miles. I believe they are looking for cheapest way to visit beautiful and exciting Japan. So I say go for it, and use your miles now!
Enjoy your trip!
 
Jan 20th, 2003, 11:49 AM
  #8  
blue
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the last poster is correct, I definitely fall into the leisure traveller category. Having an award ticket is making it possible for me to swing the trip $-wise.

I appreciate the info, can someone tell me more about the "open Jaw" tickets?

Is this only in Asia that I could add another city, or could I do a stop-over on return to the US say in a major city for 2 days before returning to my final US destination?
 
Jan 20th, 2003, 12:17 PM
  #9  
AA
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Blue,

I believe UA will allow one stopover or open-jaw on your award ticket. The stopover could be anywhere as long as it's in the same direction.
Don't forget, since you are going for the supersaver award, there are some blackout dates. I don't know what they are, but I'm sure you could find out on UA.com.
Have a great trip!
 
Jan 20th, 2003, 01:58 PM
  #10  
Bill
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The enroute stopover can be used in any connecting city that might be used to get to your destination. That would mean you could stopover in Chicago on your way to Tokyo. Or stopover in Washington D.C. on your way from BOS to MIA.

Open-jaw means that your return would be from a city different from your outbound flight. Fly from NYC to LA, return from San Diego to NYC.

The distance between cities is limited, though, so they would probably consider NYC-> Seattle returning from S.Diego to be two one ways.

When you see the ads that say "Fares each way based on a round-trip purchase". If an open-jaw is permitted, you could get that sale fare to Vegas and that sale fare for your return from LA.
 
Jan 20th, 2003, 02:25 PM
  #11  
Bill
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blue,
The short answer is: yes, you can stop over in the UA gateway cities of NY, Chicago, L.A., San Fran, and (I think) Seattle. Your stopover could be in any U.S. city you would need to go through in order to get to a gateway city.

You also have the option of taking All Nippon Airways. You can fly ANA nonstop from IAD. Stop over and see the White House.
 
Jan 20th, 2003, 03:08 PM
  #12  
David
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I am flying next week United from Chicago to Singapore via Tokyo, then returning from Hong Kong. The fare was less than $1000 (the lowest fare available when booked in August)- plus 50,000 miles to upgrade. And now the fare is even lower than when I purchased it.
 
Jan 20th, 2003, 03:24 PM
  #13  
AA
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Good for you David, but I just did some checking around and here is what I found:
Traveling from ORD-NRT in May
H class fare - $1386
M class fare - $1486
These are the lowest fares that could be upgraded on UA.
Also, I'm not sure how you were able to upgrade with just 50K miles, since UA.com award chart:
http://www.ual.com/page/article/0,1360,1151,00.html

clearly states that it takes 30K each way to upgrade from these fares.

Maybe you got the upgrade during a special or before they raised the required miles?
Have a great trip!
 
Jan 20th, 2003, 07:06 PM
  #14  
Bill
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blue,
What's your basic itinerary or interest in Japan? Tokyo, Kyoto, probably. Sapporo? Kagoshima?

I'd like to make the case of how/why you would want to get an open-jaw ticket to/from Japan on ANA instead of making a U.S. stopover.
 
Jan 21st, 2003, 04:31 AM
  #15  
David
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AA: Then I shall consider myself very lucky and I'll enjoy my trip even more!
 
Jan 25th, 2003, 11:56 AM
  #16  
Tom
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AA,

Do you need an H or M class fare to upgrade on United to Europe, and how do you find that fare on their website?
 
Jan 27th, 2003, 09:17 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Tom,
unfortunately it's not possible to find these fares on UAL.com. You must have access to Sabre network or travel agent, or the easiest is to call UA reservation and ask for the best price on these fares.
Good Luck!
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