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Award Redemption United reward miles getting worse

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by CAF, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. CAF

    CAF New Member

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    So My wife and I spend all year using our United Explorer card to rack up miles so we can visit her family in Europe every year. When we tried to book award travel for Summer 2020, everything United offered was crappy. No direct flights from DC, 1-stop layovers of 9 hours!!!, or 2-stop layovers. We travel with 2 young kids, so 2-stops or 9hr layover is out.. The regular award mileage for travel was 30k miles per person, each way (60k round trip), but the flights that actually make sense were 70k per person each way. We don't use award miles for anything other than flying, and with family in Germany, United and Lufthansa are our only real options for direct flights. Any thoughts on what to consider in the future?? I'm looking into Capital One Venture. Anyone got advise for our situation??
  2. MidSouth Skier

    MidSouth Skier Well-Known Member

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    Welcome @CAF - summer is peak season so you're going to want to try to book travel as soon as the booking window opens, about 330 days in advance. That doesn't mean award space will be available right then, but that's when you want to start looking.

    Flights on United planes will be slightly cheaper than flights on Lufthansa (or any other partner) because that's the way UA prices them. While it's nice to have non-stop flights from DC, have you considered looking at award availability from Chicago (ORD) or Newark (EWR)? Perhaps you'd have better luck there with the length of layovers?

    Plus, trying to get multiple award seats is always a challenge so perhaps you'd be better off splitting one child with each parent and looking for 2 award seats and 2 paid seats on the same flights?

    A Capital One card may indeed be the best choice for your family. If your travel dates are fairly fixed and you're planning to fly economy that card would allow you to buy the seats you want on the dates you want and then apply their points to "erase" the credit card charges. Plus, you'd be earning miles as those are paid flights.
    rickyw, Tiffany and OCTinPHL like this.