United Says, "Fly Now, Pay Less Later"

The name of United's new promotion pretty much sums it up: "Fly more, save more."

United is offering Mileage Plus members a discount of up to 50 percent on flights in 2010, depending on the number of round-trips they complete between September 14 and December 31.

The discounts are as follows:

  • One round-trip = a 5 percent discount
  • Two round-trips = a 10 percent discount
  • Three round-trips = a 20 percent discount
  • Four round-trips = a 30 percent discount
  • Five round-trips = a 40 percent discount
  • Six or more round-trips = a 50 percent discount

You must register to earn the discount, which will be issued in the form of an electronic certificate that can be used when purchasing a United flight between February 1, 2010, and May 31, 2010.

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Deal or No Deal

It's hard to argue with a discount—paying less always trumps the alternative. On the other hand, unless you're traveling frequently, the discounts are quite modest. In fact, the only travelers likely to qualify for the more significant discounts are business travelers, most of whom are traveling at company expense anyway. The limited period during which the discount can be used further undermines the value of the offer.

Bottom line: While this is a somewhat lackluster promotion—perhaps an ill-conceived one—Mileage Plus members may as well register for it, and take advantage of whatever discount they might earn by traveling through the end of the year.

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