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United miles redemption
I have over 700,000 miles with United as I used to travel for business and lived in DC which was a United hub. I am retired now and live near Atlanta so am not accumulating more miles with United. I am looking to use the miles but every time I search an award say to South Africa in business or first class on a partner airline, there is nothing available unless I am prepared to travel for 35 hours and stop 2 to 3 times! How can I transfer or use my miles?
Well, no Star Alliance (United’s alliance) flights fly non stop from Atlanta to South Africa. So, at least 2 flights is your only option :). Considering most of those options probably connect in Europe – that’s an 8 hour flight followed by an 11 hour flight. Add in layover time, and your travel time is unfortunately 20+ hours.
Is South Africa the only destination you are looking at?
[QUOTE=”rickyw, post: 61906, member: 1436″]Well, no Star Alliance (United’s alliance) flights fly non stop from Atlanta to South Africa. So, at least 2 flights is your only option :). Considering most of those options probably connect in Europe – that’s an 8 hour flight followed by an 11 hour flight. Add in layover time, and your travel time is unfortunately 20+ hours.
Is South Africa the only destination you are looking at?[/QUOTE]
For the coming year, yes. How else would you recommend using up all the mileage?
There’s actually some okay availability on South African’s flight from Dulles and/or New York in April/May. That would be 80,000 miles each way. The Dulles flight makes a required stop, but no plane change, in Ghana on the way. JFK operates non-stop.
Alternatively, there is availability almost every single day in April/May/June in business class from Germany to South Africa. Given United’s strong partner options to get to Europe, you could look at piecing two awards together. This would unfortunately cost extra miles (60k-70k to Europe, plus 55k to SA), but could be a great option if you are committed to traveling on a specific day.
Thank you Rick. I will look into these options. I was looking at August and the United awards are generally with Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airways!!
I’d avoid Egypt Air, not necessarily because their planes are bad, but I wouldn’t want to transit Cairo if I could avoid it. Ethiopian seems to pretty well-liked, but never flown it myself.
Also, just an example. You could fly from Atlanta to London on August 12th for 60K miles (on United through Houston), then 55K miles on August 13th for London to South Africa (on Lufthansa through Frankfurt). It’s a long journey, but it’s all in business class, so would be somewhat more bearable!
thank you Rick. I agree, I would not like to travel on either Ethiopian nor Egypt. I will look into the options you propose.
Keep in mind that it’s often the domestic segment that can cause problems. If you aren’t finding space on Lufthansa out of Atlanta, look at options out of Miami, Dulles, New York, Houston, Chicago, etc. It can be well-worth organizing one segment separately if it means a better overall itinerary.
Thank you Tiffany. Good to know. I would imagine that the problem with organizing separate mileage awards like this is that the entire itinerary is not located in one record locator, which means that if a flight is delayed or cancelled, the airline will not recognize the connections.