Last year, United mounted no fewer than seven award promotions—limited-time opportunities to book award tickets to selected destinations for fewer miles.
It's too soon to tell whether United intends to be as aggressive with such offers during 2010, but the airline is starting the new year with an award sale that dovetails nicely with travelers' natural inclination to seek sun during the chilly winter months.
For a short time, Mileage Plus members can book restricted coach award tickets for travel between the continental U.S. and Hawaii for 20 percent fewer miles. So, instead of the 40,000 miles normally required for Hawaii flights, the price is reduced to 32,000 miles.
A nice discount, to a desirable destination (assuming you're a mainlander heading for Hawaii—the offer applies to travel in the other direction as well). Like many good things, though, you'll have to act fast to take advantage of this one.
Bookings at the reduced mileage level must be made by February 2, and travel must be completed by May 12.
As always, award seats are limited. But it stands to reason that United wouldn't be discounting seats to Hawaii if it didn't have a surplus. Still, it's worth repeating United's own caveat: "Fly any day of the week (Mondays through Thursdays may have more seats available)."