By my count, United has offered discounted award travel 11 times during the past 18 months, making such discounts a regular if unofficial feature of the Mileage Plus program.
The latest award sale makes it an even dozen.
Mileage Plus members can save 30 percent on coach-class award tickets for short-haul flights (less than 700 miles) within the U.S., or between the U.S. and Canada. With the discount, the price of a round-trip Saver award is reduced from 25,000 to 17,500 miles, and a one-way Saver award drops from 12,500 to 8,750 miles. A round-trip Miles & Money award is reduced from 10,000 to 7,000 miles, plus cash, but United warns that "this award type may not be offered on every flight."
Bookings must be made by August 31, but travel at the reduced prices can be completed any time before January 7, 2010.
Deal or No Deal
It goes practically without saying that paying less is better than paying more. So if there's a short flight already in your plans, taking advantage of the discount is a no-brainer. You might even want to squeeze in an unplanned short trip, just to get some extra value from your miles.
This might also be an opportunity for Mileage Plus members with modest account balances to use their miles for an award that would otherwise exceed their mileage budget.
Reader Reality Check
Have you taken advantage of United's previous award sales?
Will you take advantage of this one?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.