United Is Offering 20% Off Awards To Porto, Reykjavik, Singapore, And Sydney

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United has just announced a promotion offering discounted saver level award tickets to four of their destinations, including two of their new European destinations. Specifically, united is offering 20% off awards to:

  • Porto, Portugal
  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Singapore
  • Sydney, Australia

The basic terms of this promotion are as follows:

  • Only valid for roundtrip travel
  • You must travel on United in economy; travel on Star Alliance partners isn’t eligible for this promotion
  • All tickets need to be booked by March 2, 2018
  • For travel to/from Porto, Singapore, and Sydney, the promotion is valid for travel between May 4 and June 17, 2018
  • For travel to/from Reykjavik, the promotion is valid for travel between May 23 and June 17, 2018

With these discounts you’ll be paying just 48,000 miles for roundtrip travel to Porto or Reykjavik, and 64,000 miles for roundtrip travel to Singapore or Sydney.

This isn’t a huge travel window, though those are some pretty good award costs. United’s two longest routes — Houston to Sydney and Los Angeles to Singapore — are eligible for this sale, though I can’t say that being able to book one of those flights in economy sounds like much of a prize.

While this may seem like a good deal, be sure you compare the mileage cost to the cost of a revenue ticket, as in many cases those tickets would be quite inexpensive. For example, United has $515 roundtrip fares from Los Angeles to Singapore on the nonstop flight, which probably tells us quite a bit about how that route is performing for them.

Flights from Newark to Reykjavik are selling for just $443 roundtrip.

I think the real moral of the story here is how inexpensive international economy airfare has become.

If you don’t have United miles directly but want to take advantage of this sale, United MileagePlus is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, and points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio instantly. So you could potentially use points earned on several cards.

Earn Ultimate Rewards Points

(Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)

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  1. “You must travel on United in economy” – if rather roll on burning glass while being showered in acid.

  2. “You’ll be paying just 48,000 miles for roundtrip travel to Porto or Reykjavik, and 64,000 miles for roundtrip travel to Singapore or Sydney…..those are some pretty good award costs”

    Lucky, they are terrible award costs. If they are that good, why don’t you purchase one and fly it? Thought not….

  3. As if any Asians would fly on United…Why do they even bother flying to Singapore or China anymore…just white Americans on those flights now probably. Even the Chinese tour groups won’t book them.

  4. Yeah, United for 18 hours in steerage just…no. I mean, they couldn’t PAY ME to do that, and 18 hours with UA FAs in any long haul cabin? No thank you.

  5. Some of the comments are funny or highly amusing, but seriously?

    We just got back last week after flying United EWR to NRT–over in J (Polaris–one of the few planes that actually has it) and back in Y (extra legroom seats). Truthfully, neither United flight was all that great. We actually enjoyed JAL Premium Economy from JFK to NRT better than United Polaris due to the soft product. However, the flight in Y from NRT to EWR is perfectly survivable, as long as you are not planning to sleep all that much. We actually had better flight attendants on the flight in Y than the Polaris flight in J, and the food was better than expected in Y.

    Two months ago we flew AA round trip from LAX to SYD in Y (MCE). We survived those flights too. It wasn’t all that hard.

    I guess my view is that I might not be able to fly J or F on every flight, and maybe that’s OK. Sometimes you can’t find that upgrade space on FF points, and other times there is a great Y fare that you don’t want to pass up. In the past we have flown a lot of long haul flights on Cathay Pacific and Thai to and throughout Asia (all in J) with very good results. We also flown trans-Atlantic in J several times on foreign airlines and enjoyed them as well.

    Most people in the USA fly in the back on every flight. Among our friends, we are the exception, since they’ve never been in J or F in their lives.

    So, Lucky, thanks for posting these deals in Y. Some of your readers do find them useful. Some may not. I certainly do.

  6. Virgin Australia is also having an award fare sale – 30% of all awards booked through Feb 28, for travel all the way through January 2019. Could be something to look into- I’m thinking of snagging some flights in “the business” myself!

  7. So I get why EWR-KEF isn’t doing well — KEF is not a huge destination.. but why is LAX-SIN doing so poorly? Both are major cities with diversified demand (tourists, business, family visits).

  8. United y is not any more torture than anyone else’s y. While I often try to break any flight in y that’s over 8 hours into 2 segments, 16 hours in a 787 is not too bad. Take off, eat, couple movies, bathroom break, couple movies, eat and we’re there. It was a torture doing 11 hours on an md11 without private tvs, even in biz.

  9. “United Economy on IAH/LAX/SFO-SYD or LAX/SFO to SIN?”

    Those itineraries would be torture in ANY airline’s economy and not just United’s, but thousands of REAL people out there do take such long flights in Y every single day. Therefore, the sanctimonious comments in here simply reflect the disconnect between REAL people out there and the troglodytes who dwell in travel blogosphere and, ironically, consider themselves “enlightened”…

  10. @DCS

    Yes, but even if you don’t get physically assaulted on a UA flight, you’ll definitely get death state’s a-plenty from the apathetic, indifferent and surly flight attendants.

    It doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement to me.

  11. There are many carriers economy overseas flights I’d consider taking if the price is right. UA is not among them. They’ve done everything they can to persuade me not to fly anything over 5 hours.

  12. @DCS

    There are other carriers. Hands down th Japanese carriers are best in economy (biggest reason are the fellow passengers), and all the other premium airlines have survivable products. But I wouldn’t fly on UA for free. Shit FAs, shit food, shit seat, and who knows which one of your fellow passengers is gonna get in a fight.

  13. What does United provide in terms of meal service on these 18 hour flights? The food on their transatlantic food from IAD is awful and not fullfilling at all.

  14. Well, about 80% of the pax onboard a plane are in Y. For many, airtravel is about getting from A to B. This may explain the success of airlines that sell nothing but transportation. If you want extras (luggage, food and what not) you can pay extra.

    Then there’s group of travellers who have decided (or had their company decide for them) that airtravel should not be so taxing (even enjoyable). Please realize that you are a blessed group of travellers. No need to pick on those that haven’t had or may never have a better flight experience than in Y.

  15. “which probably tells us quite a bit about how that route is performing for them”
    I don’t think this is fair – route performance (profitability) often depends primarily on premium fares and on cargo – generally not on coach. Some routes could go empty in coach and still make a profit.

  16. Like I said… sanctimony, probably by folks who have never taken a long-haul UA flight in Y. For most real people out there, an airplane, including those operated by United, is just transportation, a convenient way to go from point A to point B when other forms of transportation are impractical. For folks in here, an airplane has been turned into a “status symbol”…


  17. Are you people all 400 lbs and completely stiff from inactivity or what? I have no problem with long distance flights in Y, but I guess being reasonably fit, flexible and at a healthy weight helps.

  18. Can United’s Excursionist Perk be used in conjunction with this? If so, a free one-way flight to somewhere, although you’d be responsible for getting back to OPO, SIN, etc.

  19. @DCS

    I’d rather stay at home than fly this P.O.S. airline, thank you. I don’t wish to support any company which employs moronic, lazy and bitchy flight attendants who think they are God’s gift.

  20. @Mr Potatohead

    Flying Cathay Economy will feel like First Class compared to flying with United, which is a shithole of an airline

  21. If you gave me award miles I wouldn’t fly United economy in a 9-abreast 787 for 18 hours to Singapore. DVT isn’t a joke.

  22. @Maria — That’s, of course, your choice. I have flown with UA to tune of 100+ million miles, and I do not believe that their FAs are any more “moronic, lazy and bitchy” than those of any other US airline. There will be some bad apples in the bushel, but the generalization is not warranted. Go to the FT’s specific airline forums and you will be in good company among folks who bitch non-stop about DL, AA, WN, etc, FAs.

    They are called attendants and not servants. If you get onto a plane expecting the latter, you’ll be disappointed every time, unless you fly only with Middle Eastern or Asian airlines, which expect their FAs to be servants. The West has a different (better) view of individual or worker’s rights. Kissing arses is not part of a FA’s job description.

    Sanctimony, indeed…

  23. @DCS

    I don’t fly on any North American carrier if I can help it. Luckily I have avoided them for the past 12 years.

  24. @Maria – Glad you clarified that point, which indicates that you feel the same way about all North American carriers as you do about UA, and that is so many of carriers that one must wonder whether real problem isn’t because you are…a prima donna?

  25. “…and that is some carriers that one must wonder whether the real problem isn’t because you are…a prima donna?”

    Wish they’d implement even a rudimentary text editor here!

  26. I don’t get it. for example, iah-ewr-opo for various dates in May show 48K points, but consistently approx. $2000 in S. So why are they offering cheap point seats valued at $2000?

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