As Low as 8,000 MileagePlus Miles For Award Travel May 6 2021 — Today Only

During the One Day Anniversary Sale from United Airlines in celebration of 40 years of the MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program, you can redeem as few as 8,000 MileagePlus miles for award travel within the United States — and as few as 80,000 MileagePlus miles for award travel to international destinations — when you travel between Tuesday, June 1, 2021 and Tuesday, August 31, 2021…

As Low as 8,000 MileagePlus Miles For Award Travel May 6 2021 — Today Only

…but you must redeem your MileagePlus miles for award travel by the end of the day today, Thursday, May 6, 2021 in order to take advantage of this promotion. A Saturday night stay during your itinerary is required.

I decided to see what I would find if I attempted to book a flight between San Francisco and Tel Aviv.

Click on the chart for an enlarged view. Source: United Airlines.

The lowest redemption rate was 42,500 MileagePlus miles plus $5.60 in taxes — which looks great so far…

Click on the screen shot for an enlarged view. Source: United Airlines.

…but the total airfare was 88,300 MileagePlus miles plus $50.42 in taxes and fees when all was said and done.

Fares are valid in the Economy (Coach) cabin on United/United Express carriers and certain codeshare operated flights only. Some flights may be operated by the following airlines, doing business as United Express: Air Wisconsin, CommutAir, ExpressJet Airlines, GoJet Airlines, Mesa Air, Republic Airlines, or SkyWest Airlines; or may be operated pursuant to a codeshare agreement, such as Silver Airways.

Travel is valid for any day meeting travel period requirements.

Fares, fees, rules and offers are subject to change without notice. Seats are capacity-controlled and may not be available on all flights or days. Fares are nonrefundable except during the first 24 hours after purchase. Other restrictions may apply.

Award pricing is subject to change without notice. Passenger is responsible for all taxes, fees, baggage fees and surcharges applicable to award travel, including, with respect to government imposed taxes and fees, September 11th Security Fee of $5.60 per one-way trip that does not include a government defined stopover, U.S. Customs, Immigration and APHIS User Fees of $16.95 for each international arrival in the U.S.; and non-U.S. government ticket taxes, fees and airport charges may add up to $300 per ticket as of January 1, 2021. Such taxes, fees and surcharges must be paid at the time of ticketing and are subject to change. Any valid unused award ticket may be returned to the MileagePlus Service Center, for a service charge, up to one year from the date of issue. Award seats are subject to availability and capacity-control restrictions apply. For more information on MileagePlus award travel visit united.com/awards.

Summary

The reason why the title to this article states “as low as 8,000 MileagePlus miles for award travel” is because even though one way flights are as low as only 4,000 MileagePlus miles for award travel within the United States, this promotion is only valid “each way, roundtrip purchase required” — so 8,000 MileagePlus miles is technically the least amount which you need to redeem for a flight.

Come on, United Airlines. I realize this promotion is to celebrate 40 years of the MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program — happy anniversary to you — but let us at least be up front about the true cost of redeeming miles for this promotion. Why not have the booking of one way flights for award travel be valid?

Furthermore, many cities are not included in this promotion — such as Atlanta — so it is basically useless to me. To reposition myself to another city just to take advantage of this promotion will almost certainly dilute its value.

Also, if flights are inexpensive enough by using cash, these deals may not offer the best value to you — but that depends on your circumstances, of course.

Finally, you can save 40 percent on the purchase or gifting of MileagePlus miles if you need more miles to redeem for the itinerary you want through this promotion.

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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