Got frequent flyer miles?
If so, this would be an ideal time to cash them in for a free trip. While airlines have slimmed down their flight schedules, the capacity cuts have not kept pace with the fall-off in demand for travel. So there are plenty of seats available for award travelers. And if the trip includes a hotel stay, room rates are favorable, and most major chains have special bonuses on offer for members of their frequent-stay programs.
If you happen to have miles in [[United Airlines | United's]] Mileage Plus program, there's even more reason to travel now: a discount on award flights to Europe.Through May 14, Mileage Plus members can book round-trip coach award flights to Europe for 40,000 miles rather than the 55,000 miles normally required.
The discount applies to United flights between the U.S. and Canada, excluding Hawaii, and Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Rome, and Zurich. Blackout dates: April 6 through April 15.
Award sales like United's are a win-win. For the airlines, they're an opportunity to get the mileage liability off their books, with little danger of displacing revenue passengers. And lower-cost awards add value to their mileage programs, which have been suffering from a steady increase in fees and award prices. For consumers, better and cheaper award availability is always a welcome change.
Such opportunities arise only rarely, in response to extraordinary circumstances—in this case, a global economic slump of historic proportions. Take advantage while you can.