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When you’re trying to book an award ticket, one of my my biggest pieces of advice is to try and search for your award travel leg by leg. Even if you’re looking for a flight on an airline that allows unlimited connections for your award travel (which is most of them), you still want to do your award travel searches one leg at a time. For those of us who don’t live in a city that is an airline hub, we know that we’re going to have to make connections when doing award travel searches, but my best advice is to just focus on the longest (usually an overwater flight if you’re going to Europe and Asia), and then fill in the connections later.
Where to select nonstop for United Airlines award travel searches on United.com
You can select nonstop for United Airlines award travel searches on the main page of United.com
Also if you were ever wondering how to default the checkbox for United award travel searches (instead of regular “cash” flights), you can do that in your profile – full instructions in the post about how to see more United award availability.
“Upgrading” the website broke searching for MileagePlus awards
A few months ago, when “upgrading” their website, United broke the search for United award travel. They kept the checkbox that let you choose that you wanted to only search for nonstop flights, but it didn’t actually do anything! So searching for United awards became a lot harder, since the United award travel calendar (which is actually one of the more useful award travel search websites out there) became cluttered with tons of connecting flights
The difference between nonstop and non-non-stop for United award travel
Non-Nonstop – that’s totally a word, right??!? 🙂
Let’s take a look at a United award travel example. Here’s a flight from Cincinnati to Denver in September without the nonstop award checkbox selected.
Oh wow LOOK AT ALL THAT AVAIILABILITY!!! Except that most of those dates only have flights with connections. Now, that’s fine if that’s what you want (or need), but I find it much more useful to search leg by leg, and for that, I don’t want my United award travel calendar cluttered with connecting flights and most dates do not have direct United saver award flights.
You can also see the checkbox for nonstop United award booking flights on the search results screen. Let’s set aside the fact that although the checkbox is marketed as “new” it has still been on the front page for months in a non-working state, but if we check that box, here’s what we see
Okay then. So if we want a United saver award flight, we need to fly on Tuesday or Saturday. Good to know! This is a simple example, but for doing more complicated United award booking, a working nonstop checkbox is AMAZINGLY helpful! For example, when trying to help our friends get to Australia, being able to see the dates that have availability on the direct LAX or SFO to SYD or AUK is very useful
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Good luck out there, and happy booking!