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First time using United Miles - saver vs standard

First time using United Miles - saver vs standard

Jan 3rd, 2011, 08:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 621
First time using United Miles - saver vs standard

I'm looking at airfare for an open jaw trip to Zurich, back from Vienna in June. United has non-stop flights with good times, for about $1350. I'm not convinced prices will drop much below this, although I can wait a little while.

I HAVE accumulated quite a few miles along the way, however, but I've never USED any, other than to upgrade. I took a look at the United site, and saw that there's a difference between 'saver' miles and 'standard' miles, most notably that you only need about half the number of saver miles than you do standard miles.

When I looked at June, there were NO dates with saver miles available. But when I backed up the dates, I saw that there WERE all kinds of saver miles in March and April and beginning of May. So, is it that they haven't posted saver mile available dates past early May yet, OR do they not allow saver miles at all in the summer?

Thanks for your help,
Alice9 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,037
I can't answer your question about June, other than to say that in the past, I've redeemed miles for United saver awards to Europe in the summer...although I haven't tried to do so for next year (and things do appear a little tighter these days).


United doesn't fly to Vienna--only its Star Alliance partners do (you might be seeing a code share operated by Austrian??). As such, you can only use a saver award for this itinerary; standard awards are only available for travel on United or United Express-operated flights.


You'll need to call to check availability. There are a couple of Star Alliance partners whose award inventory will show up on the United site (Continental, US Airways), but most do not.
ms_go is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 09:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 621
Hmmm. On the United site, it seemed perfectly happy to sell me tickets using standard miles, and I think it WAS using Austrian.

Should I just call United to see when saver dates for June will be posted?

Alice9 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,792
I would call UA and see what they have available via any routing that meets your plans. Often they can work something out with other airlines in Star Alliance. Usually these are not non stops, but u never know. Airlines release seats for awards according to their inventory. Likely the saver seats that were available for the route u want were snatched up when they were first released. I always get our seats way in advance, but I know some people wait until the last minute and are able to get seats closer to their departure dates.
yestravel is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 12,533
We've got Saver award tickets from SFO to FRA for this summer and we've used miles to get Saver award tickets twice before to Europe in the summer time. So it is definitely possible to get summertime Saver tickets. The thing is that there are only so many (2? 4?) Saver ticket seats available on each flight. They go fast during popular travel times (like summer). If a flight isn't getting sold out at the rate the airline would like, they may open up more seats for Saver awards, but that isn't very predictable.

Standard award tickets are handled differently - because you have to use twice as many miles to buy the ticket, you've got more options. In fact, you may be able to buy any open seat with the standard award.

Award tickets become available 11 months before the date of travel - the same date that regular paid tickets become available.

Calling the airline is probably your best bet - then you have the ability to book flights on partner airlines using your miles and the agents seem to be able to search available flights better than you can online. Also, if you can be flexible with your dates and/or arrival and departure cities, you might have more luck. The more flexible you can be, the more likely you will be successful in getting Saver award tickets.

Let us know how it turns out.
november_moon is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 04:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 621
Okay, thanks everyone. I will carve out some time to call United and check out the options, and will let you know what I find out.

Alice9 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 04:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,089
A word of warning - United outsources some or all of its customer service overseas. On several occasions I spoke with polite but useless customer service personnel that, by their accents only, seemed to be in India. For one memorable phone conversation (I admit several years ago but it still has me ticked off) I argued with 3 different voices that Jackson, WY was actually in the US. Of all airlines I have called, UA has infuriated me the most.

As far as saver, we tried all sorts of configurations to get daughter to South America on Saver miles and were unable. It is also possible that summer saver seats are sold out.
gail is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 04:46 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
save miles are usually reserved for off peak travel times.

so grab what you can that works as soon as you can.

Economy is improving deals VERY hard to find this year.

Fuel surcharges being added by many carriers also too

to make matters even less economical.

www.farcompare.com good tips for finding best miles deals

also www.flyertalk.com

Good Luck,
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,830
We got Saver seats last summer from LAX, but we had to be flexible on which European hub we flew into...so consider UA to FRA, LHR or CDG or AMS and then a low cost carrier to the final destination.
boom_boom is offline  
Jan 5th, 2011, 05:58 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 465
Also check Mileage Plus seats available to Brussels and Munich.
tom18 is offline  

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