Booking United awards flights

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by crusty1, Sep 2, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. crusty1

    crusty1 New Member

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    I'm new here and I have a question concerning booking United awards flights. I know you can book one way awards flights, but what about the return flight? If no return flight is available through awards mechanism, what do you do? Can you book one way, wait and watch as flights change (I usually book far in advance) and book at a later date? Could I book an awards flight one way and request a miles upgrade on the return and how do you do this? Thanks!
  2. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    Welcome to MP. in my experience if the seat isn't there now it won't be if you wait (coach or business class, I don't redeem F). I'd suggest getting creative on the return with routing if it is international and search segment by segment for space and then cobble together the route home. I've just done this with my Australia trip -coming home via /BKK/CDG/FRA/PHL -took a lot of work/time to find but worth it

    It would be helpful if you elaborate on your query for others to help -Where are you going, what is your home airport, what is the time period/dates, class of service and mileage/points balances
  3. Misplaced Texan
    Original Member

    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    I disagree that availability won't open up later in time. Both UA and partners frequently open up availability for awards closer to departure as their inventory management models suggest to them that those seats will otherwise go unsold.
    As for the OP's question(s):

    Yes, you can book a one-way now and add the return flights later in time. Or you can simply book a second one-way for the return. The reason you might add the return flights (to book a round-trip award) is if you were looking to take advantage of the stopover availability on a round-trip that you can't get on a one-way. If that's not relevant, just book a second one-way to get home.

    Note that I'm not sure what the change fee might be for adding return flights to an existing one-way. If you're not Plat/1K there might very well be a fee of some sort, which might argue for simply booking a second one-way to get home.

    An alternative to this, if the return flight is entirely on United metal, I think you can book the return on whatever dates are available and then call in to wait-list the flights you actually want. This would allow you to grab award seats on those flights automatically if they open up rather than having to monitor availability yourself.

    You can't do this if there are partners involved though and you'll only be able to wait-list a single set of flights, so you'd want to monitor other flights on the same day in case not-quite as attractive options open up.

    As for booking an award one way and a revenue ticket on the return and then applying for a mileage upgrade on the revenue ticket, yes you can do this. You would just book the one-way award and then book the revenue ticket as you normally would and revenue ticket, then use the "upgrade" button within the existing revenue reservation to apply for a mileage upgrade.

    One consideration here is that, if you're looking for something international, one-way revenue tickets might be extremely expensive. Unlike domestic fares, most of which are now filed as one-ways, almost all cheap international fares are still filed as round-trip fares. To get a one-way you may have to book close to a full-fare economy ticket.
    genemk2 likes this.
  4. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    Extra kudos to Misplaced Texan for an excellent response. I have also found availability can open up as time goes on, and sometimes on day of departure, for both international and domestic award tickets in all types of cabin.
    Misplaced Texan likes this.

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