While it has taken a scattershot approach to doing so, United has established itself as the year's premier award discounter.
The latest discount is for award travel to Canada, which is on offer for 20,000 Mileage Plus miles, a savings of 5,000 miles. The discount applies to round-trip coach flights on United and United Express that are booked by June 21 and completed by September 2.
I've chastised United for the discounts' limitations (no Chicago flights among the domestic discounts?), and for requiring that reservations at the lower rates be made absurdly far in advance of travel. Those criticisms still apply. Still, looking at the big picture, and compared to the conspicuous lack of similar moves by its competitors, United deserves recognition as the only airline that has done what I consider the smart (and right) thing: Make those empty seats more readily available to members of its frequent flyer program.