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United, Continental Discount Award Flights by 20%

United, Continental Discount Award Flights by 20%

Up until a year ago, United was on track to establish itself as the industry leader in discounting award flights, having rolled out a dozen limited-time award-price discounts over the previous two years.

And then … nothing, for the past year.

Perhaps that’s been due to United’s recent focus on integrating MileagePlus with OnePass in the wake of the merger with Continental.

In any case, United is back to its discounting ways, this time together with merger partner Continental.

Offer Details

Through September 19, United MileagePlus and Continental OnePass members can book select coach-class saver awards for 20 percent fewer miles, for travel between October 10 and December 15.

The list of discounted routes includes United, United Express, Continental, and Continental Express flights to and from United and Continental hubs (Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Houston, Newark, Cleveland), plus a few non-hub flights.

Members of both programs have access to both airlines’ discounted flights, but to book flights on the other airline, they must first transfer their miles to the other program.

Per United: "To book flights operated by Continental or Continental Express please transfer your MileagePlus miles to a OnePass account and redeem through Continental.com."

Conditions:

  • Ticket by September 19, 2011
  • Blackout Dates: 11/18, 11/23, 11/26-11/28, 2011
  • Saturday-night stay required
  • Valid on round-trip coach saver award travel

Deal or No Deal

It’s not clear why MileagePlus members are required to move their miles to OnePass to receive the discount for Continental flights, and OnePass members must do the same to redeem for discounted United flights. Given the two programs’ extensive integration, that seems like an unnecessary complication.

The Saturday-night stay requirement is a negative as well.

Still, a 20 percent discount on a wide range of award flights, with a 10-week travel window, is a solid deal.

Let’s hope that this signals United’s return to regular award discounting.

Reader Reality Check

Is this a meaningful program benefit for you?

Have you taken advantage of past United award discounts?

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  • MORT

    WHAT IF THERE ARE NO AVAILABLE SAVER SEATS (AS USUAL) AND THEY WANT TO CHARGE YOU DOUBLE MILES – THEN THY TAKE 20% OFF AFTER THE 100% ADDEDD ON. ????

    I TRIED TO BOOK 2 BUSINESS FIRST SEATS JFK TO TOKYO AND I WAS TOLD NO SAVER SEATS WERE AVAILABLE (AT 150,000 MILES EACH) BUT I WAS OFFERED TWO SEATS AT 300,000 MILES EACH. I DISCOVERED THAT THE FLIGHT HAD ONLY 1 SEAT RESERVED. THE REST WERE AVAILABLE (BUT NOT FOR SAVERS).

    I BOOKED WITH AMERICAN (I AM NOT AN ELITE MEMBER THERE) AND THEY GAVE US TWO FIRST (PREMIUM) CLASS SEATS FOR 150,000 MILES EACH. AND THIS WAS IN A 3 CLASS AIRPLANE.

  • carolm

    What if you already booked an AWARD at the regular amount during this time frame?

  • Tim Winship

    carolm – Believe you’d have to cancel your booking and redeposit the miles, at considerable expense, and then re-book at the discounted level. Not worth it, IMHO.
    MORT – The discount ONLY applies to saver awards.