United is running a short-term sale for round-trip award flights to Europe this winter. Travel to Europe must be booked by December 8th which will run you as few as 45,000 points round-trip (plus fees)
So what’s the deal?
United typically charges 60,000 miles/points for a round-trip from the states to Europe. For travel between January 11th and March 10th it will only run you 45,000 miles. That is 25% off the normal rates and that rate is good for flights that depart on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It doesn’t matter what day you return on. If you depart on Friday, Saturday or Sunday it will cost you 51,000 miles round-trip, still not a bad deal at 15% off the normal rate.
What other fees are involved?
Fees, ah yes, there are fees. There are ALWAYS fees when you fly internationally, this is because each country you travel to wants a piece of the pie. There are ways to reduce these customs and duties fees when traveling to Europe. The key is to choose the return country with the lowest fees, such as The Netherlands or Spain. Returning to the US from either of these countries will only run you about $58 in fees.
You can book a multi-city award flight at the sale rates, 45k miles. You can book, for example, San Francisco to London and then for your return book Amsterdam to San Francisco. You would just need to figure out how to get from London to Amsterdam. You can get between these two cities by air or train, usually $60-$80 one-way. This method works out great for two reasons; 1. you get to visit two cities, duh! 2. You save money by returning from Amsterdam ($57 in fees) opposed to returning from London ($200 in fees).
How to get United miles?
If you don’t have enough United miles to book a round-trip, you can always transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio. This would be the best route if you need to top off your United account. You could also purchase United miles but I would only recommend this as a very last resort if you just need to top off a few thousand points.
– Must book by December 8th
– Must travel between January 11th and March 10th
– 45k miles round-trip for departures on Mon, Tue, Wed, and Thur
– 51k miles round-trip for departures on Fri, Sat, Sun
– Not valid on one-way itineraries
Full details here