Hurricane Harvey has done unimaginable damage to Houston and the surrounding areas. It’s the wettest tropical storm ever recorded in the contiguous United States, dumping more than 40 inches of rain in just four days. Storm damages are estimated in the tens of billions of dollars.
Hard-to-Reach Islands You Can Get to With United’s Excursionist Perk
If you’re looking to maximize your hard-earned airline miles by booking trips to multiple cities, or even countries, United MileagePlus is one of the best programs to do just that. The program allows for a longer stop in a city on the way to your destination, dubbed the Excursionist Perk, which lets passengers book a free one-way flight within a round-trip. Essentially, you can book three flights for the price of two if you do it correctly. A stop can be as short as 24 hours and as long as the calendar allows you to book.
Earn More Miles with the MileagePlus X App
United Airlines is one of the biggest airlines in the world, and therefore it’s no surprise that their loyalty program, MileagePlus, is also one of the most popular airline loyalty programs. It allows you to earn miles by flying on United Airlines flights, and redeeming those miles for free flights on United. But did you know that you can also earn United miles from your everyday shopping, through the MileagePlus X app?
How to Travel to the Caribbean with Chase UR Points
Although it’s probably hot enough for polar bears to wear sunscreen this summer, it’s never too early to start thinking about your winter vacation in a tropical climate.
The Caribbean and its beautiful islands, sandy beaches and festive umbrella cocktails are often the go-to destination for those looking to escape the snowy winter. Unfortunately, high demand also means high prices. So how do you avoid the hefty price tag when it comes to traveling to the Caribbean? Having a healthy balance of Ultimate Rewards can help. Let’s take a look at the possible redemptions with Chase’s transfer partners.
United Award Devaluations and Other Changes
United Airlines recently announced another round of changes to its MileagePlus award program. These include a variety of increases in award prices, a new variable scheme to replace Standard awards and new redeposit fee rules. The award devaluation is not as massive as United’s previous devaluation which became effective at the beginning of 2014.
While the last devaluation may not seem like very long ago for many travelers, by the time the new award chart takes effect on November 1st, 2017 it will have been almost four years so in some ways we should be thankful that these changes aren’t even worse.
Secrets of Achieving Star Alliance Status
Star Alliance is the biggest
Talking Travel Rewards Credit Cards with Astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly
If you had a chance to meet two of the world’s most famous astronauts, what would you talk about? On the Thursday before the Super Bowl last month, I was invited to attend the NFL Player’s Association VIP party at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Among the hundreds of attendees were dozens of current and former players, who easily stood out because of their size.
The Ultimate Guide to Buying Miles and Points
Earning points and miles through flying on planes, staying in hotels, and credit card spend are all ways to
Help City Kids by Donating United Miles to R.O.C.K.
Real Options for City Kids, or R.O.C.K. for short, is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that provides active and enriching programs to youth living in the working class neighborhood of Visitacion Valley. R.O.C.K. gives kids in this underserved community a chance to participate in activities they wouldn’t normally have access to, such as sports, outdoor adventures and a variety academic programs. Thanks to a partnership with United Airlines, you can donate MileagePlus miles to this worthy charity.
United Loopholes Allow for Some Creative Routings
When United recently overhauled its award ticket rules this past summer many saw it as a massive devaluation. United had relatively friendly award routing rules that allowed one stopover and two open jaws on roundtrip award tickets.Those rules are gone now though and have been replaced by the “Excursionist Perk,” which is essentially a free segment on an international itinerary. It comes with new rules. We bring you workarounds. Read on.
Chase Ultimate Rewards: Best and Worst United MileagePlus Redemptions
United is arguably the most popular Chase airline transfer partner, and transferring Ultimate Rewards points to United often makes sense when the price in points on the Ultimate Rewards website is too high compare to what you could pay for the flight using alternative currencies —
Best U.S. Programs for Premium Class Travel to the South Pacific
The South Pacific encompasses much more than Australia and New Zealand. It includes exotic islands like Fiji, Tahiti, Vanuatu and Palau. You can take your pick of these bucket list destination at any time by booking an award ticket on the airlines you have miles with including American, United and Alaska. Unlike Europe or South America though, what is classified as the South Pacific can vary by airline. Here are some tips to avoid confusion.
How to Navigate Award Routes
It can be frustrating to redeem award miles for an overseas trip. But, keep in mind that not all hope is lost since many airline websites fail to show award space from all of their partners. This means that there are many routes with open seats available for award tickets going empty, but you may have to call the airline mileage program to find them.
How to Upgrade Your Flight with United MileagePlus Miles
Many travelers who
There are two important rules for booking upgrades on United. It’s very important to understand these before you book a ticket as any mistakes could require expensive change and cancellation fees. Please ask your questions here or contact a United representative for clarification.
First, you must use miles in your United MileagePlus account to upgrade your United-operated flight; any miles earned with another loyalty program will probably not be helpful. Second, upgrade inventory is limited. Just because there are business class seats for sale does not mean that you can upgrade your economy class ticket. Like award flights there are only so many available (because the airline would rather get cash instead of miles), and this changes often. However, if a business class award is available then it is likely that an upgrade is also available.
Because award availability is often limited, upgrades make it easier to secure travel on the flights you need when the destination and dates aren’t very flexible. You may need to fly even if your upgrade doesn’t clear. You’ll be stuck in economy, but will get to your destination anyway.
There are also some people who don’t want to travel any more than they already do, or they need to continue booking paid tickets in order to earn the miles they need for elite status. Booking more award travel doesn’t appeal to everyone. Knowing how to use your miles for an upgrade is still a better option than redeeming them for merchandise or gift cards, which deliver very poor value.
Searching for Upgrade Inventory
United’s program is more complex than most other airlines’ but has the advantage that many more flights are eligible for an upgrade and much of the process can be performed online.
You can use United’s website to search for available upgrades before or after you book your flight, enabling you to compare options if you have some flexibility in your schedule. You can also specify certain fare classes when searching for airfare, since the fare class is a big factor in determining your rank in the upgrade hierarchy and the amount of the cash co-pay, if any, that you must provide in addition to the miles.
For example, on the United homepage you should click on the link for “All search options” to visit the advanced search page. Near the bottom of that page is a section for fare preferences. Select “MileagePlus Upgrade Awards” from the menu and which kind of ticket you want to pay for (not the ticket you’ll have after the upgrade). You can enter one or more fare classes if you wish to take advantage of special upgrade rules for those fares.
The results page will show not only the cheapest available fare (without an upgrade), but also the cost when booking an upgradeable fare that includes the necessary miles and the co-pay. You can also view the details under each itinerary — without jumping through all these hoops — to look at the inventory in specific fare classes. United classifies its upgrade inventory in the R fare class. (Some of these features may require that you activate United’s Expert Mode).
Calculating the Necessary Miles
To upgrade a flight operated by United Airlines, United Express, or Copa Airlines, you will need to redeem miles and provide a co-pay that vary depending on your destination, route, and the fare class purchased. Pricing for mileage upgrade awards can be found on pages 5-7 of this PDF or by using United’s interactive search tool. A small portion is copied below.
For example, upgrading a one-way domestic flight within the Continental U.S. will cost 7,500 miles for a Y fare or 20,000 miles for a S, T, K, L, G, or N fare. There are other levels in between. These upgrades also require a co-pay that ranges from $0 to $250. On international routes between the U.S. and Europe, a typical upgrade to business class costs 20,000 miles and $550.
The co-pay can be the biggest inhibition against redeeming miles for an upgrade. You should determine if purchasing a more expensive fare that allows you to reduce the co-pay is more sensible. Or it may be worth paying for a discounted business class ticket.
Co-pays are waived entirely on the following routes if you have elite status (or if you’re a general member and the miles come from the account of a elite member):
- Travel within Canada and the continental U.S. (excluding p.s. routes)
- Travel from Canada or the continental U.S. to Hawaii (excluding service between Honolulu and Newark, Washington-IAD, or Houston)
- Travel from Canada or the U.S. (excluding Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico) to Mexico, Central America, or the Caribbean)
- Travel within Oceania (excluding Honolulu and Guam)
Upgrading Flights on Other Airlines
If you want to upgrade a flight on any other Star Alliance member, then you must book a full price Y or B fare. These can be very expensive for
Not every Star Alliance member participates in upgrades, but most do. A typical price is 25,000 miles each way for travel between the U.S. and Europe. You can learn more about the special requirements of Star Alliance upgrades on United’s website.
Upgrades for Full Fare Tickets
You don’t have to upgrade at the same time you buy. There is an online tool that checks availability inventory and provides an option to upgrade at any time before check-in. The same system is also used to apply other sorts of upgrades for full fare tickets or systemwide upgrade instruments.
Travelers with elite status who purchase Y or B fares can receive complimentary upgrades on domestic routes and select international flights that travel shorter distances. Premier 1K members also get an instant upgrade when they purchase an M fare. These upgrades must be requested after ticketing; if upgrade inventory is not immediately available you can go back and request the upgrade again at any time.
To request these upgrades after ticketing, or to upgrade with miles, go back to United’s website to access your reservation online and then select the “Redeem Upgrade” button at the bottom of the itinerary. The next page presents two tabs: the first lets you buy up to first class and will re-fare your ticket (not a real upgrade), and the second will let you use miles to confirm an upgrade. The cash co-pay will also be displayed.
If a flight doesn’t have upgrade space immediately available (green check mark) then you’ll be placed on the waitlist (yellow triangle) and given priority ahead of any complimentary elite upgrades.
You can even use your miles to upgrade someone else’s flight. Log into your United MileagePlus account and then access your friend’s reservation using his or her last name and confirmation number. Following the same steps as above you’ll be presented with some options to upgrade. However, your miles will be deducted if you choose to proceed with the upgrade.
Priority for Each Upgrade Type
Assuming your upgrade does not clear in advance, United will process upgrades in the following order:
1.Full fare tickets, which may be eligible for an instant upgrade, are processed first. These are ranked by fare class (Y > B > M). Within each fare class they are ranked by the passenger’s elite status.
2.Upgrades using miles or systemwide upgrade instruments are processed next. Neither one is prioritized above the other. These are ranked by the passenger’s elite status first, then fare class, and then the time of request (typically when the flight was booked).
3.Complimentary elite upgrades for passengers and their companions are processed last.
Because of the importance of fare class in the upgrade hierarchy, you might find that it is helpful to buy a slightly more expensive fare to improve your odds. For example, K and L fares require the same co-pay and
United MileagePlus Explorer Business Credit Card Review
Who Is the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card Good For?
If you’re considering a co-branded United Airlines card and you’re a small business owner or independent contractor, you should consider getting the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card. It has better earning potential than its personal card counterpart and it doesn’t come with a hefty annual fee like the premium MileagePlus Club card.
United MileagePlus Club Business Credit Card Review
Who Is the United MileagePlus Club Business Card Good For?
The United MileagePlus Club Business card is a
Best U.S. Programs for Business and First Class Travel to Asia
Flying in a premium class seat to Asia might be one of the best ways to redeem your miles. Being able to enjoy a comfortable seat that turns into a bed can make a world of difference. Of course, airlines know that people are willing to pay more to avoid being miserable on such a long flight and price their premium class flights accordingly. Still, good values are to be had if you know where to look for them.
United Just Changed a Fundamental Rule for Booking Award Travel
One of the most valuable features of many
Best U.S. Programs for Business and First Class Travel to Africa
Choosing the best airline program to fly in business or first to Africa isn’t easy. Awards are expensive, there are not as many options as there are to Europe or Asia, and some business class cabins are simply better than others. Having said that, no matter how much you’ve dreamed of visiting Africa, your plans probably don’t include arriving exhausted after a very long journey in a cramped economy seat. Let’s see how much style and comfort our miles can afford to travel to the cradle of humankind.
Load Up on United Miles with e-Rewards
United MileagePlus members have the ability to collect hundreds of miles by signing up for e-Rewards, answering a few questions and sharing your opinion. When you sign up for e-Rewards, you will be automatically eligible to earn 250 miles. With continued use of e-Rewards, you can earn hundreds of additional miles.