Is this a good use of United Miles?

Feb 25th, 2011, 08:24 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 16
Is this a good use of United Miles?

I have to fly from Chicago to Vancouver June 2-5 for a family trip. My dates are not flexible. The only flight that flies direct is United and the price with taxes and fees comes up to $923.63 which I think is very pricey for such a close trip. It is not that much less for non-stop flight.

I thought about using miles (I have 55,000) and I would have to use 50,000 miles for roundtrip.

Should I use 50,000 miles or pay the $923.63 fare? I don't fly United too much (I earned all these miles in the last 10 years) but am inclined to save it for a long distance trip or upgrade on a long flight. I can afford the fare but it just seems exorbitant.

Thanks in advance for any replies.
PattiGE is offline  
Feb 25th, 2011, 10:43 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,065
if you're willing to fly thru LA the fare dropes to $694 which iMHO is much better than either of the above options
mztery is offline  
Feb 25th, 2011, 05:54 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 188
You might want to consider flying ORD-SEA and renting a car to get to Vancouver. The fares seem to be running below $400 rt. (For the $500 difference, this would be my choice.)
Have you checked Saver fares for your travel dates? Sometimes they are available and if so, it should be 25,000 for the RT.
RonDace is offline  
Feb 25th, 2011, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,600
That price in miles, 50,000 for economy, is because it is a Standard Award. The Saver Award is 25,000 miles in economy. There is a "mixed" award 25,000 outbound and 12,500 on the return but I see why you aren't considering it - it has two stops and the schedule may not be convenient.

You have a few options. I believe that you have, so far, only used the search option at the united website.

The first option is to call United and find out if there are seats available on United partners - Air Canada, Continental, and USAirways. In particular, ask about Air Canada since they probably have nonstops. I suggest that you definitely consider connecting flights in order to get a saver award.

Your second option is to use the same 50,000 miles for a firstr class saver award. You can get a nonstop outbound in first class for 25,000 miles for a saver award. On the return, you can use 25,000 miles for the nonstop - in economy like I think you were considering. OR, you could spend the same 25,000 miles and return with a connection in Denver on a first class saver award.

The first class search results show a couple of options. One is economy to Denver and then first class to Chicago. Another schedule option would have you in first class for both legs.

50,000 miles for a %900+ economy ticket is a good deal - even better if you go first class at least part of the trip.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 25th, 2011, 07:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,600
It looks like Air Canada doesn't have nonstop, they just offer Star Alliance (almost certainly United) for $1300+ or connecting flights.

I see on Travelocity that there are connecting flights both ways for $579 and assume that you considered them. I guess that doesn't meet your schedule and/or travel time needs.

Maybe the first class outbound nonstop saver and economy class return nonstop standard award is your best option. Personlly, I would take the connection via Denver and go in F.

I could argue that 50,000 miles for an economy, connecting itinerary, instead of a $579 ticket is not a really bad deal considering it took you 10 years to earn the miles. But to get nonstops, which you want, for that same 50,000 is, right now, worth $900 plus and that is in F.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 26th, 2011, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 126
If you can consider an alternate airport on the outbound segment, I can find flight ORD-SFO-YYJ (Victoria, BC) and return YVR-SFO-ORD in economy for 25K miles. I see that there are ferries from Victoria to Vancouver, but I haven't checked out the logistics yet.

You can also do a combination of miles and money for UA/UAX combinations if you need to travel at more specific timeframes.
misterfuss is offline  
Feb 26th, 2011, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,003
OP would do well to consider the award flight mentioned by misterfuss in the previous post (for 25k miles). A good alternative to the ferry would be a direct flight from Victoria to Vancouver -- flight time is under 30 mins, and one-way fare will be less than $100.
DonTopaz is offline  
Feb 26th, 2011, 06:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,600
OP has the opportunity to make a two stop return in economy but apparently rejected it.

Travelocity shows one-way fares of $150 all-in on June 2 with AC. That option is 12,500 miles, $150, and two stops instead of 25,000 miles for first class, nonstop.
mrwunrfl is offline  
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