United Mileage Plus and frustration

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sydneygirl

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Hello Frequent Flyer Community,

I am new as of today and am desperate to find out some answers to my current frustration.

I fly to the USA every 2 years to visit family and have accrued around 75,000 United Mileage Plus points. I am an ordinary member not elite by any means. Now I will lose most of these points fairly soon due to UA's latest rule change of using your points after 18 instead of the 36 months. I really want to spend these points NOW before UA make further "cost cutting" changes or increase the amount of points needed for various routes.

Can someone please tell me where in Australia could I possibly use these points; maybe for hotels, restaurants, rental cars, gifts etc? Where can I fly to with these points other than the USA? I can't seem to find out any of this information on the United.com.au site. They make it easy to buy points but not to sell them.

Thanks,
Sydneygirl
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Welcome to AFF sydneygirl :)

Firstly, UA's new rule only requires activity every 18 months. Anything counts - eg a single rental car, hotel stay, flight on NZ or EK, etc.

Generally non-flying redemptions are poor value. Usually longhaul offers the best value, but even closer to home there are some reasonable value awards you could get for your 75,000 miles.

For example Australia to Japan/South Korea/China/SE Asia in economy 50k miles or 75k in business, to NZ in economy 20k miles or 30k in business, to pacific islands (excl Hawaii) in economy 20k miles or 40k in business, to India in economy 40k miles or 60k in business.

MP award chart
 

serfty

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United Airlines Email said:
We offer lots of ways to keep your account active:
  • fly on United or one of its 28 airline partners
  • purchase products or services from travel and retail partners
  • use a Mileage Plus credit card
  • redeem miles for award travel to one of the 841 destinations United and its partners serve
  • transfer miles to another Mileage Plus member
  • purchase Personal Miles® for your account
Maybe you could buy a few miles if you are not ready to travel yet.
 

clifford

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Kiwi Flyer said:
Welcome to AFF sydneygirl :)

Firstly, UA's new rule only requires activity every 18 months. Anything counts - eg a single rental car, hotel stay, flight on NZ or EK, etc.

Generally non-flying redemptions are poor value. Usually longhaul offers the best value, but even closer to home there are some reasonable value awards you could get for your 75,000 miles.

For example Australia to Japan/South Korea/China/SE Asia in economy 50k miles or 75k in business, to NZ in economy 20k miles or 30k in business, to pacific islands (excl Hawaii) in economy 20k miles or 40k in business, to India in economy 40k miles or 60k in business.

MP award chart

Well Kiwi, my knowledgable friend.

I challenge you to tell me how I can fly to Japan from Australia for 50,000 miles in economy class. All answers considered on their merits.

Now, if I was advising the OP, I might suggest to her that she use her 75,000 miles to fly to Bombay or Delhi (or similar place) business class for her 75,000 miles. Could use Singapore Airlines, etc, etc.

Anyway,that's what I'd do (and have done).

:)
 

Kiwi Flyer

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clifford said:
Well Kiwi, my knowledgable friend.

I challenge you to tell me how I can fly to Japan from Australia for 50,000 miles in economy class. All answers considered on their merits.

I presume you are referring to UA Mileage Plus rules which set out MPM for award routing. I cant recall how much MPM is compared with direct distance (which is not possible for *A Aust to Japan), but I note PER-NRT-CTS for example is only 16% over the nonstop distance (see GCM). Granted not ideal for someone based on east coast of Australia, but NZ-Japan is allowed at the same cost (and east coast to NZ is cheap).
 

sydneygirl

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Thank you guys for your help. I have never used frequent flyers for anything and I was wondering if I could get a flight from Sydney to New Zealand with Air NZ. Would I need to phone United Airlines to make that reservation? The NZ route is the only way I can spend my points and be with my husband. I am not interested in flying alone any longer.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Yes you need to call Mileage Plus to book an award using UA MP miles.
 

BeeGee

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sydneygirl said:
...I was wondering if I could get a flight from Sydney to New Zealand with Air NZ. Would I need to phone United Airlines to make that reservation?...

Hello SydneyGirl,

I have done what you are proposing. Used United FF points for 2 Air New Zealand return tickets Sydney <-> Auckland. Because this is not a United flight booking but is instead a Star Alliance booking, the United web site could not process this request and I had to call the United Mileage Plus help desk. They were able to make the booking. But because I made the booking through the help desk and not through the web site, I was charged US$15 per ticket handling fee. I asked for the fee to be waived seeing as their web site did not provide the capability to do a Star Alliance booking but they refused to do so. :-( The flights themselves were fine.

In case you haven't see it, this is the reward chart to use:
United Airlines - United Saver and Star Alliance Award chart

Hope this helps.

Regards,
BG.
 
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StevePER

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Kiwi Flyer said:
I presume you are referring to UA Mileage Plus rules which set out MPM for award routing. I cant recall how much MPM is compared with direct distance (which is not possible for *A Aust to Japan), but I note PER-NRT-CTS for example is only 16% over the nonstop distance (see GCM). Granted not ideal for someone based on east coast of Australia, but NZ-Japan is allowed at the same cost (and east coast to NZ is cheap).
Apparently the MPM for Australia-Japan has been relaxed, see this thread on Flyertalk.
 

clifford

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sydneygirl said:
Thank you guys for your help. I have never used frequent flyers for anything and I was wondering if I could get a flight from Sydney to New Zealand with Air NZ. Would I need to phone United Airlines to make that reservation? The NZ route is the only way I can spend my points and be with my husband. I am not interested in flying alone any longer.

Hi Sydneygirl,

I would suggest Rarotonga (RAR) or Tahiti (PPT) using your points, as the same number is required (20,000 in economy) as is required for NZ.

Just a thought, but I know where I would rather be going.

:)
 
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sydneygirl said:
Thank you guys for your help. I have never used frequent flyers for anything and I was wondering if I could get a flight from Sydney to New Zealand with Air NZ. Would I need to phone United Airlines to make that reservation? The NZ route is the only way I can spend my points and be with my husband. I am not interested in flying alone any longer.

one thing to remember on these ua star alliance awards is that once you have commenced travel, you cannot change dates of any other segments (i.e. the return date). so make sure you are certain about your return travel before commencing the first leg of the ticket. otherwise you forfeit the remainder of the ticket (including unused taxes).

unfortunately, i learned this the hard way.
 

ozstamps

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Buy something for $5 on overstock.com - enter via UA website and your account is good for another few years.

Don't use miles for something you do not really need to use them on. :!:
 

ozstamps

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UA's recent award increases were the first for MANY years - take that into account. They are still around half the rate for Qantas redemptions to USA.

They'll stay the same for quite some time IMHO.
 
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