United Discounts Awards to Europe, Africa

It's been awhile, but it looks like United is back in the business of regularly discounting award flights.

In 2009 and 2010, United offered limited-time discounts on award flights no fewer than 12 times, establishing itself as the industry leader in award discounting.

But, perhaps distracted by the exigencies of merging the United and Continental frequent flyer programs, the discounting was suspended until the very end of 2011, when United and Continental jointly offered a 20 percent discount for award flights in "select markets."

With this new promotion, United will have offered two award discounts in two consecutive quarters, a good start on reestablishing its previous pattern.

Offer Details

MileagePlus and OnePass members can save up to 25 percent on restricted coach award tickets between the U.S. and Europe or Central/South Africa booked by January 16 and completed between January 27 and March 22, as follows:

  • A 20 percent discount on peak travel days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • A 25 percent discount on off-peak travel days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)

Only MileagePlus miles may be redeemed for discounted United flights; and only OnePass miles may be redeemed for Continental flights. But you can easily transfer miles back and forth between the two programs, so the restriction is moot.

The fine print:

  • Peak and off-peak flights may be combined.
  • Bookings must be made at least 21 days in advance.
  • No stopovers permitted.
  • A Saturday-night stay is required.

Deal or No Deal

A significant discount on a significant number of routes during a significant time period. Nice, nice, and nice.

Meaningful award discounts like this add real value to MileagePlus miles, and to the program itself.

Reader Reality Check

Award trips to Europe, anyone?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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