Transferring United Plus miles-- the transfer fees cost more than buying the miles!

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by disambiguous1, Jun 28, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. disambiguous1

    disambiguous1 Silver Member

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    I've got about 88,000 points in my Mileage Plus account, my wife has about 46,000. I'm trying to book a trip to Europe for us in September/October, which will require 60,000 points each. United is saying I'll have to transfer miles from my account to my wife's so she can have enough to independently book her trip using award miles, they can't just use the combination of both accounts and apply them.

    When I looked at the United site for transferring points, I was stunned to see that the transfer fees are about what it would cost to buy the miles outright! The fee per transaction is $20, and each 1,000 points cost $15! To transfer 14,000 miles would cost me $230! This is nuts!

    At that rate, it would be far more advantageous to just use cash to buy one of her tickets, and I could save up my miles for future use.

    Am I correct in my calculations? If so, why does United charge so much for just transferring existing miles?

    While I'm at it, this poses another question. My wife is planning a trip to Ireland for herself and our daughter next summer. We should have another 120,000 points accumulated by the time we need to book tickets. However, can my wife purchase two tickets-- one for herself, one for our daughter-- with points just from her account?

    This is causing me to seriously re-think my strategy. Can points on one account ONLY be used to book travel for that one person? -DA1
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    It is still cheaper to transfer than buy but neither is a good deal.

    You can redeem for any passener from any acount and you can do one-way awards if you don't need/want a stopover. So using 90k from one account and 30k from the other gets you the tix you want.
     
  3. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    United was being disingenuous to disambiguous1.
     
  4. disambiguous1

    disambiguous1 Silver Member

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    So in other words, as long as I take care of things in 30,000 point chunks (for international travel, as the point rewards stand right now), I can still get tickets for anyone from my account. I wonder why the agent didn't think of that, since I told her how many points I had in each account. If she would have said, "Oh, just by two thousand points for yourself at $35 per thousand, and for $70 you'll have all you need for two round trips. With your 90,000 points, you get a full round-trip for your self and a one-way for your wife. Then your wife uses 30,000 of her points to book a flight back home, and she'll still have 16,000 points left."

    That solution came to me immediately, after I saw the Wandering Aramean's post and figured out all the rules. I'm surprised that it didn't come to someone who was already familiar with the system as the agent was. -DA1
     
  5. LIH Prem
    Original Member

    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    You did the right thing by asking here rather than trusting the call center.

    -David
     
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  6. Steve GadFly
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    Steve GadFly Gold Member

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    If I remember the rules correctly, booking two one-way tickets takes away your ability to include a free stopover in your itinerary. If however your intention is to only go to one destination on this trip, it sounds like you're going to use the best plan.
     
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  7. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    Or the person didn't even know the rules--wouldn't be the first time.
     
  8. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Or simply answered the question asked. Though I suppose conspiracy theories are much more fun.
     
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  9. vsasson

    vsasson New Member

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    Me and my wife will be going to New Orleans in April, and she had 50,000 miles in her United MileagePlus account to pay for a round-trip ticket. But I didn't have enough so was told by the agent I could transfer from her surplus, then was switched to MileagePlus.

    There, I was told transferring 15,000 to my account for a one-way ticket would cost $255. Thinking that was more than half of the round-trip fare, I was switched back to the reservation agent, only to learn the round-trip cash fare was about $767 (a music festival that weekend).

    Back to MileagePlus, I paid my $255, then got an email that I could use the 25,000 miles in my account right away (15,000 from her, plus 12,000 of my 13,000), but it took more than an hour to resolve that issue.

    Then, when I bought a one-way return ticket, it cost me $466. Go figure. Why do you have to pay to transfer miles from your spouse? Don't some mile programs pool all miles earned by family members?
     
  10. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Because they can.
    Yes, though that is the exception, not the rule.
     

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