What United Doesn’t Want You to Know: Use Brussels Airlines to get to Europe, Africa & Beyond!

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In ~10 days, starting from February 1, 2014, it will cost many more miles when you book award flights with United.

In particular, business class and first class awards, especially those on other Star Alliance partner airlines such as Lufthansa etc. will cost more United miles.

Coach award prices remain mostly the same, but you will find more ways to get to Europe and beyond along with better award seat availability when you learn to search for award flights on Brussels Airlines.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Use Brussels Airlines to get you to Venice!

Many people are trying to book trips by January 31, 2014,  so that they can use the much more favorable old award chart!

United Website Doesn’t Show Brussels Airlines Award Seats!

Here’s a link to an extensive series on how to book award flights with your United miles.

United.com is a great way to check for award flights using United miles, but it doesn’t show every airline.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

United.com doesn’t show these flights between New York (JFK) or Washington (IAD) to Brussels on Brussels Airlines

In particular, it does NOT show Brussels Airlines award flights.

But Brussels Airlines can be a great way to get from the US to Europe or to get from Europe to Africa.

And once you’ve found a way to get to Europe, you can then piece together award flights to India or other parts of Asia.  See this post on how to get to India and this post on how to get to Africa with your United miles.

There are many flights from Brussels to Frankfurt, London, and other big cities in Europe.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

United.com won’t show ANY of these flights from Brussels to Africa

Even though United.com will NOT show you Brussels Airlines award flights online, you can still book award seats on Brussels Airlines by calling United at 800-864-8331 once you find award seats.

The best way to specifically search for Brussels Airlines award seats is with the ANA Website.

ANA or All Nippon Airways is a Japanese airline with a great website to find award flights on Star Alliance airlines.

How to Use The ANA Website 

I wrote about using the ANA website in an earlier post on using United miles.

ANA recently changed the look of their website, so let’s go over how to find Brussels Airlines award seats.

Step 1 – Sign Up For An Account

If you don’t have an ANA account, you can sign up for one here.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Step 1 – Sign Up For An ANA Account

Step 2 – Log In To Your ANA Account

TIP: I store my ANA account information in AwardWallet.  So I only have to click on my ANA account in AwardWallet to get automatically logged into my ANA account!

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Step 2 – You can log in to your ANA account via AwardWallet

Step 3 – Go to The ANA Award Booking Engine

The quickest way to search for awards is to use this link to get to the ANA Award Booking Search Page.

Enter your ANA account number and password.  Then click continue.

Skip to step 4 if you went to the ANA Award Booking Search Page via the link above.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Step 3 – Log In The ANA Award Booking Engine

You can also get to the ANA Award Booking Search page from the ANA.com homepage.  This is a longer way to get to the Award Search Page, so I don’t suggest using this method.

On the ANA homepage, Click on ANA Mileage Club” in the top blue banner.  Then click on Using Miles from the drop-down box.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Click on “Using Miles” in the Drop-Down box

Under Partner Flight Awards,” click on Application and Ticketing.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Click on “Application & Ticketing”

Lastly under ANA SKY WEB,” click the to members-only function link.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Click the “to members-only function” Link

Step 4 – Click On The Blue Button Titled “Use the Single Airline”

You’re now at the ANA Award Booking Search page.

You can search for all Star Alliance airlines or just ONE airline.

Because we are specifically looking for Brussels Airlines award seats, click Use the Single Airline.“ 

If you want to search for multiple Star Alliance airlines, click Use Star Alliance Member Airlines.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Step 4 – Click on “Use the Single Airline”

NOTE – if you have 0 miles in your ANA account, the airline buttons will be grayed out and you will not be able to click on them.  You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to ANA.

Follow the instructions below to learn how to search for award seats even if you have NO miles in your ANA account.

If You Have 0 Miles In Your ANA Account

If you have 0 miles in your ANA account, you can still search for award seats on ANA.  There is a back-door method to search for Star Alliance airline awards!

Click on ANA International Flight Awards.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Click on “ANA International Flight Awards”

You will have to do a “dummy search” for a route that ANA flies.

ANA does not fly from New York to Brussels, so we will first search for New York to Tokyo, because ANA flies that route.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

ANA Doesn’t fly from New York to Brussels so we Search for New York to Tokyo

You will see results for New York to Tokyo.

If you scroll to the bottom, you will see the option to select both “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” and “Use the Single Airline.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Now you can Select “Use the Single Airline” Option

Step 5 – Select “Brussels Airlines”

Click on the Use the Single Airline” & select Brussels Airlines.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Step 5 – Click “Select” to Choose Brussels Airlines

Step 6 – Select Your Travel Dates, Cities, And Number Of Passengers

Let’s say we want to find 2 seats from New York (JFK) to Brussels (BRU) in May.

Select the date, cities, and number of passengers using the drop-down menus.  You can also select the cities by entering the 3-letter airport codes.

Then click Next.”

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Step 6 – Select Your Travel Dates, Cities, and Number of Passengers

Step 7 – Review Results

The results show that at least 2 seats are available in both Business Class and Economy Class from New York (JFK) to Brussels on May 16, 2014.  That’s because they have “OK” in the box.

For the return on May 26, 2014 at least 2 seats are available in Economy Class.

You can click on “Display 7 days” to see award seats for a week.

Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Step 7 – 2 Seats are Available in Business & Economy Class to Brussels, but only 2 seats in Economy are Available from Brussels

When you click on “Display 7 days,” the website shows award seats in Economy Class.  You can search for Business Class by clicking on the drop-down menu and selecting “Change Class.”

Here we see 2 Economy Class seats available from:

  • New York to Brussels seats are available on May 16, 17, 19, 20, and 21.
  • And from Brussels to New York, seats are available on May 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30.
Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

2 Economy Seats are Available Roundtrip From New York to Brussels

To search for award seats during the prior week, click the “Previous” button.  And click Next to search for the following week.

Let’s say you wanted to see business class award seats as well.

In Business Class, there are 2 seats available:

  • From New York to Brussels on May 16, 17, 19, 20, and 22.
  • On the return from Brussels to New York, there are 2 seats available only on May 27
Booking Brussels Airlines With United Miles

Business Class Seats From Brussels to New York are Only Available on May 27

Remember that United allows you to book a Business Class one-way and Economy Class on the return.

So you can mix and match award flights to get the seats which you want!

Bottom Line

You can use United miles on Brussels Airlines to book flights to Europe.  But United.com will NOT show you Brussels Airlines award seats.

So you’ve got to find them yourselves by using the ANA website.  And once you’ve found those award seats, write down the flight number, dates and other information and call United at 800-864-8331 to book those flights.

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28 Responses to What United Doesn’t Want You to Know: Use Brussels Airlines to get to Europe, Africa & Beyond!

  1. To save on the $25 phone booking fee (especially for United members with no status like me), I’d just book the routing that I want, but then I’d call in within 24h to change to the SN flights that I want to get on to after ascertaining availability with ANA.

  2. Greetings from Cambodia, as I watch a beautiful dusk sky exploding with amazing colors as the sun has just set. Spent an amazing day yesterday riding a bicycle around the Temples of Angkor. Magic.

    Thank you for this post, including the “circles [or boxes, as the case may be ;) ] and arrows”. This is one of many amazing posts across the internet that are beneficial to me, for which I thank you first. The posts that have helped me travel all over the world, which I could never afford otherwise, have come from this wonderful site, ftg, tpg, fm, ft, vftw, etc, etc… I always laugh when the pathetic complainers bitch about bloggers when the massive numbers at ft kill deal after deal after deal (not to mention all of the posts ripped off from bloggers and posted on that site — “one card to rule them all”, the cardpool 50-100k amexes last year, just to name two of the plethora of instances). But so what, there is always another deal now and lurking on the horizon. Isn’t information and knowledge grand?!?! Plus, I would rather focus my attention on utilizing the generosity of the multinational banks, perhaps adding a tiny weight to counterbalance all of their crimes.

    Best to you and to Emily, Daraius (I think that’s misspelled, sorry; I’d look at some of the past posts to find the correct spelling, but I have to get back to my drink on the terrace of this wonderful guest house in Siem Reap). Cheers to you, and all of the others who generously share information in pursuit of a common, or uncommon, goal. Btw, you two have very nice glasses of wine waiting for you in your neighboring Colorado any time you pass through/visit.

  3. Oh, and, I went out of my way to click your link on my last Ink Bold successful appy in December. Hope you guys have fun with that referral bonus, and all of the others, which you well deserve… ;)

  4. Planning an NYC-LON trip in the summer with UA in Y. My read of the new award chart is that Y Saver awards will not be affected with the pending devaluation. Can anyone confirm if my read is correct? Trying to decide if I need to rush to book now, or potentially look at Brussels as an option. Thanks!

  5. Ouch. Advertising abuse of the ANA site is a mistake. Please stop.

  6. @Joel – That could work, but I’d rather pay $25 to lock-in the flights than to call back and hope that the award seats are still available.

    @J – Glad you’re enjoying Cambodia and thanks for sharing your trip details and for using our links! We’ve not been to Cambodia yet…but it is on our list of places to visit!

    @Jonathan – There isn’t a change to low-level coach awards, but if you want to travel this summer, I’d book sooner rather than later.

  7. ‘Nun – Ouch. Advertising abuse of the ANA site is a mistake. Please stop.’ – bitching of FTers towards bloggers starts NOW!

  8. Is there is requirement of Schengen visa for BRU-FRA leg?

  9. Is the Brussels award miles needed not increasing on 2/1?

  10. Nun, where’s the abuse? Who is being abused? Darius is not suggesting we steal seats from some unsuspecting ANA FFlyer, or doing anything that’s unscrupulous. Search engines are simply computer code that’s designed to sell product. It’s irrelevant that we’re using it on Platform A to buy something from Platform B because Platform C does not include the information we seek. Maybe the Powers That Be at United will see this post and beef up their site. This is the basis of capitalism and free enterprise, not abuse.

    No harm, no foul.

  11. Darius,

    You’ve never been to Cambodia??? J is right, it’s a wondrous place. My wife wants to move to Phnom Penh after spending a week there.

    Go!

  12. You guys are great. Thank you for all the tips to maximize our miles.

  13. Can you also us US Air miles before they exit *A?

  14. Hmm, that’s a good point to consider, but would there be much of a difference booking it and then making the change 5 minutes later on the United hotline though?

  15. Can somebody help me on how to find business award availability for 5 people on Star Alliance?
    UA website only show its own metal for anything above 5 people. Prefer to be able to use ANA or Asiana
    I and family trying to go to NRT (stop over) then continuing to DPS this summer.
    So far can only see max 4 seats availability on ANA.
    Thx

  16. @Manikandan – Depends on your nationality/country of residence.

    @MissMiles – Only in business class, but not in coach.

    @Geoff – I’ll put that on our list of places to visit sooner rather than later!

    @Kira – Hope you found them useful.

    @Ken – You sure can!

    @Joel – 5 minutes shouldn’t matter too much!

    @ec – That’s going to be very hard especially if you want them on the same flight. Perhaps consider separate flights or splitting up between coach and business. Or book 4 in business and 1 in coach and hope that a business seat opens up later on.

  17. My constant question with ANA searches is that I never knew how availability translates into Saver vs. Standard awards on United. Does anyone know, or have experiences seeing ANA availability that only means Standard awards?

  18. Thanks for the post, but wouldn’t the number of points increase for Brussels airlines also with the devaluation ?

  19. @Andrewt – The Star Alliance partner availability on ANA will match what other airlines can book.

    @Shon – They will increase in business class, which is why it could be nice to book now before the prices go up.

  20. Pingback: Getting to Europe this Summer Before the United Devaluation | asthejoeflies

  21. I’m not understanding the new rewards chart.

    For example, if I want to travel to South Korea from US mainland, how many miles would it be to fly roundtrip? I just want to fly cheapest, Coach. I’m just a normal member. Also if I book before Feb 1st, I have to do it by phone? I was confused by the post above to pay the $25 fee. Thank You!

  22. @sahnse – There is virtually no change in coach. You’d pay 70K miles for a round-trip award. You don’t have to book by phone, unless you don’t find award availability online or the website is glitchy.

  23. I just wanted to say thank you for this tip. I was able to look up award availability from JFK to Brussels in November and then call United to make the reservation. Once I told them the flight I wanted, I requested the $25 fee to be waived as I was not able to make this booking online myself. The representative agreed to waive the phone booking fee so our flight there is only costing the miles and $5 in taxes altogether. Thanks for your help!

  24. @Andy G – Great news! Thanks for sharing your tips!

  25. you have the clearest instructions for how to do things of all the travel blog websites. I really appreciate and thank you.

  26. I just tried a mock reservation from JFK-BRU-LHR-CDG-BRU-IAD, all for 43k miles on brussels airline. Thanks for the insight! Do you think that once calling united to reserve, they can add your real departure city (Not JFK or IAD in my case) for the same miles or the ENTIRE trip has to be on Brussels for it to be so low on miles?

  27. Michele Sullivan

    Hi–wow, what great info! I’m going to Bangkok next November. Can I use this approach to get there?

  28. @leah – Thanks!

    @Ali – Sure you can add your real departure city (as long as there is award availability) and you will pay the same amount of miles.

    @Michele Sullivan – You sure can if you find a way to Europe and from there to Asia.

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