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The Ultimate Guide To United Miles: Part 10 – All The Ways to Get to Japan, North Asia & South Asia!

The Ultimate Guide To United Miles: Part 10 – All The Ways to Get to Japan, North Asia & South Asia!

Million Mile SecretsThe Ultimate Guide To United Miles: Part 10 – All The Ways to Get to Japan, North Asia & South Asia!Million Mile Secrets Team

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United Airlines flies to the most number of Asian cities than any airline in the US.  In addition, they have several partner airlines such as Thai air, which are based in Asia.

And on top of that, they allow you to fly to Asia via Europe!  Because of this, there are so many ways to get to Asia with your United miles!

United Asia Miles
We Celebrated New Years In Bangkok

The Ultimate Guide To United Miles Index

The Best Tip for Searching on

Don’t forget to change your search results to show you 50 flights (instead of the default) when you search on

Step 1 – Click On “Advanced Search”

Click on “Advanced Search” at the bottom of the award search page.

Step 2 – Change “Number of Flights to Display” To “50”

Click on the drop-down box by the “Number of Flights to Display” and change it from the “Default” to “50

United Asia Miles
Step 2- Increase the Number of Flights to Display to 50

You will see MANY more flight options this way!

How To Use The Information In This Post

You could rely on to find you awards seats to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia.  And United’s website is pretty good.  But it is unlikely to find every possible option on using United miles to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia.

If you’re really commited to finding award seats to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia and don’t want to hire an award booking service, you could search for award seats on many of the routes below.

The information below will help you find the long-distance flight to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia.  Once you find the long-distance flight to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia, you should start searching for flights to your final destination in Japan, North Asia, and South Asia and then from your US departure city to the gateway (i.e. where the flight to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia departs from the US).

Asia Award Routes

Today we will go over finding award flights to Asia, which includes the regions of:

  • Japan
  • North Asia, including China, Mongolia, South Korea, and Taiwan
  • South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Here is the award chart which shows the number of miles needed from the United States to Asia.

United Asia Miles
Asia Award Chart

Here’s how much you will pay from the U.S., Alaska, and Canada to Japan:

  • 32,500 miles each way in economy class (22,500 miles from Hawaii)
  • 60,000 miles each way in business class (32,500 miles from Hawaii)
  • 67,500 miles each way in first class (47,500 miles from Hawaii)

Here’s how much you will pay from the U.S., Alaska, and Canada to North Asia or South Asia:

  • 32,500 miles each way in economy class (25,000 miles from Hawaii)
  • 60,000 miles each way in business class (37,500 miles from Hawaii)
  • 70,000 miles each way in first class (50,000 miles from Hawaii)

1.   United

Of all the airlines based in the USA, United has the most routes to Asia!

You can fly from:

United Asia Miles
United Flies To Many Cities In Asia!
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Beijing, Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo (Narita), Taipei (starts March 31, 2014)
  • New York/Newark (EWR) to Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo (Narita)
  • Chicago (ORD) to Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo (Narita)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Shanghai, Tokyo (Narita)
  • Washington, DC (IAD) to Beijing, Tokyo (Narita)
  • Houston to Tokyo (Narita)
  • Denver to Tokyo (Narita)
  • Seattle to Tokyo (Narita)
  • Honolulu to Tokyo (Narita)

1.  From Tokyo (Narita)

As you can see from the map above, every airport listed has a flight to Tokyo (Narita), where United operates its Asia hub.

Onward from Tokyo (Narita), United flies to:

  • Bangkok
  • Hong Kong
  • Seoul-Incheon
  • Singapore

2.  From Hong Kong

United also flies onward from Hong Kong to:

  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Singapore

2.  Air Canada

Air Canada has flights to several Asian destinations, all from both Toronto (YYZ) and Vancouver (YVR) airports.  This is useful for flights to/from Canada, and also useful for many people in the US, because you can connect in Canada on the way to Asia.

You can fly to:

United Asia Miles
Air Canada’s Flights To Asia
  • Beijing from Vancouver and Toronto
  • Hong Kong from Vancouver and Toronto
  • Seoul-Incheon from Vancouver and Toronto
  • Shanghai from Vancouver and Toronto
  • Tokyo (Narita) from Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary

3.  Air China

Air China is based in Beijing, and flies from there to several cities in the USA and Canada.

You can fly to Beijing from:

United Asia Miles
You Can Fly On Air China To Beijing From Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, And Vancouver
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • Vancouver

From Beijing, Air China has decent connections to other places in China, as well as Southeast Asia.

4.   ANA

ANA is one of Japan’s national airlines.  They are based in Tokyo (Narita), but also fly internationally out of Tokyo-Haneda (which is closer to the center of Tokyo).

ANA recently started flying from San Jose, California to Tokyo (Narita).  Flights from San Jose tend to have more award seats because very few flights from the East Coast and the rest of the US connect in San Jose.

ANA flies from Tokyo (Haneda) to Los Angeles.

You can fly from Tokyo (Narita) to:

United Asia Miles
You Can Fly On ANA From Tokyo To Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, And Washington
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Los Angeles (to Tokyo (Narita) and Tokyo (Haneda)
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose, CA (SJC)
  • Seattle
  • Washington, DC (IAD)

ANA has many onward connections to the rest of Asia.

5.  Asiana

Asiana is one of the major airlines in South Korea.

You can fly internationally out of Seoul-Incheon airport to:

United Asia Miles
From Seoul, You Can Fly On Asiana To Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, And Seattle
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Honolulu
  • Los Angeles
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

From Seoul, Asiana flies to many Asian destinations.

6.  EVA Air

EVA Air is the newest member of the Star Alliance (as of June 2013).  They are based in Taipei and fly to several US and Canadian destinations.

You can fly from Taipei to:

United Asia Miles
You Can Fly On Eva Air From Taipei To Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, And Vancouver
  • Los Angeles
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

EVA Air has many onward and convenient connections into Southeast Asia.

7.  Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is the national airline of Singapore.  Many people love Singapore Airlines because they have great service, especially in First and Business Class, and even in economy class!  Their main airport, Singapore Changi airport, is one of the best in the world, with butterfly gardens, koi ponds, and free movie theaters!

Unfortunately, Singapore Airlines knows how much people love to fly them, and so they don’t tend to offer First and Business Class award seats to people with United miles.

But, Singapore Airlines economy class seats are available with United miles on flights from the United States.

Singapore Airlines flies from:

United Asia Miles
Where You Can Use Your United Miles On Singapore Airlines
  • Houston to Moscow to Singapore
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo (Narita) to Singapore
  • New York-JFK to Frankfurt to Singapore
  • San Francisco to Seoul-Incheon to Singapore
  • San Francisco to Hong Kong to Singapore

Keep in mind that you are allowed to book an award to just the connecting point on these flights.  For example, if you wanted to fly just from Los Angeles to Tokyo, you can fly on Singapore Airlines even if you don’t book your ticket all the way to Singapore.

Singapore Airlines has a lot of onward connections from Singapore to the rest of Southeast Asia, as well as Australia and South Asia.  Those regional routes tend to have Business Class award seats available.

8.  Thai Airways

Thai Airways is based in Bangkok and usually has a lot of award availability.  If you fly out of Bangkok on Thai in First or Business Class, you even get a 30-minute or 1-hour massage before your flight!

However, they only fly to one North America city – Los Angeles.  Outside of this route, Thai is generally useful if you want to fly intra-Asia, between Asia and Europe, or between Asia and Australia.

Thai flies from Los Angeles to Bangkok via Seoul-Incheon.  If you only want to fly Los Angeles to Seoul, you are allowed to book just that portion.

United Asia Miles
You Can Fly On Thai Airways From Los Angeles To Bangkok With A Connection In Seoul

TIP:  When booking award seats on Thai Airways flights for multiple people, you might see only 2 seats available.  Try holding or booking the first 2 seats, then see if Thai opens up more seats afterward.  Often, Thai Airways will only release 2 award seats at a time.

Flying To Asia Via Europe

You can use your United miles to fly from North America to Asia via Europe.

This is huge, because it also allows you to have a stopover in Europe on the way to Asia, if you book your trip as a round-trip.

We discussed how to find award space from North America to Europe in Part 8: All The Ways To Get To Europe! 

After reviewing that previous post, we will now have to see how to connect Europe and Asia on our award ticket!

Restrictions On Segments When Flying To South Asia Via Europe

Before we begin, you should know the restrictions on awards between the US and South Asia that connect in Europe

  • On a one-way ticket you are allowed only 4 segments from your origin city to your destination.
  • On a round-trip ticket you are allowed only 5 segments each way from your origin city to your destination.

Let’s say you wanted to fly from Chicago to Singapore via Europe on a one-way ticket. You are allowed to book Chicago-Frankfurt-Istanbul-Bangkok-Singapore, because that has 4 segments (3 connecting cities).  However, you are not allowed to book Chicago-Boston-Frankfurt-Istanbul-Bangkok-Singapore because that has 5 segments to South Asia via Europe on a one-way award.

On a round-trip ticket, you could book Chicago-Boston-Frankfurt-Istanbul-Bangkok-Singapore, but only if you book a return.

Which Airlines Fly Between Europe And Asia?

The following is a list of airlines that fly between Europe and Asia.  Cities that are international Star Alliance hubs are bolded.  These hubs tend to have many connection opportunities from partner flights.

1.  Air China

You can fly to Beijing, Shanghai, and/or Chengdu from:

United Asia Miles
Cities In Europe Where You Can Connect To An Air China Flight
  • Athens (to Beijing via Munich)
  • Dusseldorf (to Beijing)
  • Frankfurt (to Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu)
  • Geneva (to Beijing)
  • London-Gatwick (to Beijing)
  • London-Heathrow (to Beijing)
  • Madrid (to Beijing)
  • Milan (to Beijing and Shanghai)
  • Moscow (to Beijing)
  • Munich (to Beijing)
  • Paris (to Beijing and Shanghai)
  • Rome (to Beijing)
  • Stockholm (to Beijing)

2.  ANA

You can fly to Tokyo (Narita) and/or Tokyo (Haneda) from:

United Asia Miles
The Cities Where You Can Connect In Europe To Fly ANA To Tokyo.
  • Brussels (to Narita)
  • Frankfurt (to Narita and Haneda)
  • London-Heathrow (to Narita)
  • Munich (to Narita)
  • Paris (to Narita)

3.  Asiana

You can fly to Seoul-Incheon from:

United Asia Miles
The Cities In Europe Where You Can Connect To An Asiana Flight To Seoul
  • Frankfurt
  • Istanbul
  • London-Heathrow
  • Paris

4.  Austrian

You can fly from Vienna to:

United Asia Miles
You Can Connect In Vienna To Fly Austrian To Bangkok, Beijing, Or Tokyo
  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Tokyo (Narita)

5.  EVA Air

You can fly to Taipei and Bangkok from:

United Asia Miles
You Can Connect In These Cities To Fly EVA Air To Taipei Or Bangkok
  • Amsterdam (via Bangkok)
  • London-Heathrow (via Bangkok)
  • Paris
  • Vienna (via Bangkok)

6.  LOT Polish Airlines

You can fly from Warsaw to:

United Asia Miles
LOT Flies From Warsaw To Beijing
  • Beijing

7.  Lufthansa

You can fly from Frankfurt and/or Munich to:

United Asia Miles
You Can Connect In Frankfurt And Munich To Fly Lufthansa To These Asian Cities
  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Busan (via Seoul)
  • Ho Chi Minh City (via Bangkok)
  • Hong Kong
  • Kuala Lumpur (via Bangkok)
  • Nagoya
  • Nanjing
  • Osaka
  • Qingdao
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai
  • Shenyang
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo (Narita)

8.  Scandinavian (SAS)

You can fly from Copenhagen to:

United Asia Miles
You can connect in Copenhagen to fly SAS to Asia.
  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Shanghai
  • Tokyo (Narita)

9.  Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has mostly economy class award seats available to Singapore from:

United Asia Miles
You Can Connect In These European Cities To Fly Singapore Airlines To Singapore
  • Amsterdam
  • Barcelona (sometimes via Milan)
  • Copenhagen
  • Frankfurt
  • Istanbul
  • London-Heathrow
  • Manchester (via Munich)
  • Milan
  • Munich
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Zurich

10.  SWISS

You can fly from Zurich to:

United Asia Miles
You Can Fly From Zurich On SWISS To These Cities In Asia
  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Hong Kong
  • Shanghai
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo (Narita)

11.  Thai Airways

You can fly to Bangkok from:

United Asia Miles
You Can Connect In These Cities In Europe To A Thai Airways Flight To Bangkok
  • Brussels
  • Copenhagen
  • Frankfurt
  • London-Heathrow
  • Madrid
  • Munich
  • Oslo
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Stockholm
  • Zurich

Bottom Line

You can use your United miles to fly to Asia on United or a Star Alliance partner such as Air China or ANA.

You can even fly to Asia via Europe and add a stopover on a roundtrip!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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christina nguyen

Hi Darius,

I have 160,000 MR points and I need to book 2 round trip tickets to Vietnam. I am wondering if you have any recommendation on what airline I should transfer my MR points to. I have been reading about the 3 alliances and got really confused.

Can I transfer my MR points to ANA and then use ANA miles to book ticket from United? Or if I want to book tickets on American flights, then I should I transfer my points to Avios first? I also would like to avoid fuel charges as much as possible.


Christina Nguyen

I booked a R/T reward flight for 60,000 from Hawaii to Europe (65,000) w/ stopover in LA (my home city). I had previously booked a 1-way flight TO HI with cash, so I was planning on using LA as a home “stopover” for an extended period of time before continuing on to Europe and back to LA. Essentially, I planned to get a free 1-way home from HI while using a saver award to get a round trip from LA --> Europe using a stopover in LA and a broken-jaw on the return (ending in LA vs. HI). Follow me so far? That’s one stopover, one broken jaw on the return.

Now, here comes the tricky part. I have work in Asia (Japan) so want to use the award travel to get all the way to Japan. I currently am on my stopover in LA. Can I change that award travel to get to Asia instead? Would this mean cancelling my award travel and booking a new one, or paying the 10K difference in pts? Also, do I need to complete the return leg back to LA before the 12 month window expires (5/28)?

Hi Darius, I'm searching for one segment of the travel for North America to North Asia. shows that Savers award is available for First, but the miles required is 120k (rather than 80k from the award chart). Is that the real cost? Or should I ignore that, and just focus on the # of miles required based off the Award Chart? Thanks!

Darius, how are you going to search for a route with 4 or 5 connections? is it just something that UA offers among 50 choices on a point-to-point search, or do you use multi-city search?

Million Mile Secrets

@Alex - Multi city and you have to call them to book it.

I fly from Shreveport to Bejing china every month on united what is the best route for me

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