In November, United Airlines did away with their old MileagePlus award chart as they switched to “dynamic” award pricing. That change left no way to highlight discount or cheap award fares. Thus, United has rolled out a new site to search for award deals: the MileagePlus Featured Awards page.
At first glance, Uniteds MileagePlus Featured Awards page looks very similar to Delta’s SkyMiles Deals page. Both feature a list of origin and destination cities/airports, mileage prices, and booking buttons. But the MileagePlus Featured Awards page has several major improvements. It also has important limitations.
All Discounted Award Fares are Searchable (Theoretically)
Award fare “sales” are now a regular occurrence in dynamically priced frequent flier programs. The MileagePlus Featured Awards page doesn’t seem to have a limit on the maximum number of routes available. However, currently the page maxes out at about 30 deals per airport (with fewer fares often available). Is that due to relative newness or a limited number of “deals”? That remains to be seen.
On Delta’s deal page, only specific discounts are posted each week. Yet searching the Delta award calendar often shows good pricing outside of the specific dates noted for the sale. If United can provide a single page to search for all discounted awards, and not just specific limited fares, it would be a great help to customers.
Filters for Origin, Destination, and Departure Date
If all deals can be posted here, limiting your search to specific cities would remove a major headache. True, you can search for specific routes from UA’s booking page. But what if you want to explore all of the options from your local airport. Or search for several nearby airports’ options to one far-flung destination? The MileagePlus Featured Award Page gives you those choices.
There’s also a filter for departure date, but currently this is less useful. You can only search a specific date and not a range, which makes wading through multiple days’ pricing tedious. Hopefully, UA can expand this to a range option in future iterations of the page.
Maximum Mileage “Budget” Feature
While we’d all love to have unlimited airline miles for vacations, there’s little need to slog through high-priced awards looking for a great price. Limiting your search to the miles you have in your account (or can transfer from Chase) simplifies award hunting quite a bit.
United MileagePlus Featured Awards Overview
Aside from those mentioned above, there are a few other limitations with the MileagePlus Featured Awards page. Foreign currencies sometimes show up for taxes and fees. And only one-way awards are currently featured (Delta shows only round trips on their deals page). But moving forward, this page could be an almost required stop for United MileagePlus members looking to maximize their miles.
I will keep an eye out for deals posted there, and showcase them when they provide a good value.
H/T to Loyalty Lobby for spotting this.
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