I was poking around the United website and messing with the award search cuz duh that’s an awesome way to spend a Saturday night.
I noticed something weird. I’m not sure if it’s a glitch or pricing error or a legit award booking or what.
But I wanted to share it with you guys in case someone has a better answer.
Here’s what I found.
United is discounting First Class round-trip award flights with a one-way added
Here’s what I searched:
- LAX-NYC-LAX (round trip)
- LAX-IAH (after a stopover)
Pricing at 65,000 miles.
Now, United isn’t supposed to allow free one-ways or stopovers on domestic itineraries any more according to Milevalue (although you can still get a free one-way on international itineraries and mainland US to Hawaii award flights).
So following that logic, 50K is the standard price for a round-trip First Class award.
And a one-way would be 25K.
But instead of pricing as 2 tickets, it’s letting me book all 3 flights for 65,000 miles. A 10K discount.
It gets weirder when I mix cabins. A free one-way?
When I book the 1st flight in economy and the next 2 in First Class, the price it spits out is 50,000 miles.
That means I’m paying for 2 legs at the price of 25K for a First Class one-way.
But what about the leg in economy? It’s free.
Also weird was that I was able to replicate the pricing with partner awards on European award flights.
When I looked into it, I can book something like:
- AMS-CDG in economy
- CDG-AMS in business
- AMS-somewhere else in business after a stopover
It prices at 45,000 miles.
Round-trip awards in business are supposed to be 60,000 miles.
So not only do I get a free one-way, but I get a 15K mileage discount, too.
What else is glitching?
This is as far as I’ve gotten. But I’m wondering if you can add the free economy one-way after a round-trip First Class award flight (I couldn’t find any examples… yet.)
FWIW, I can replicate the discount from the all-First Class example with all-economy flights, too:
But it’s more like a 2,500-mile discount.
On the beta website, it prices the 1st leg at 17.5K miles. And then the next 2 at 8.8K miles each.
I haven’t actually booked any awards, so it could all error out before the final pricing screen.
I tried to find info about this on the ye olde interwebs but couldn’t find anything, so apologies if this is old news.
It seems United is pricing 1-ways and stopovers as either free or with a discount. I can force this with partner metal, mixed cabins, and all-domestic itineraries.
Is this a known error… or a new glitch?
Anyone know anything about this?* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update!
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