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United Airlines Excursionist Perk – An Incredible Way to Travel to Europe on a Budget!

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United Airlines Excursionist Perk – An Incredible Way to Travel to Europe on a Budget!

Chris CampbellUnited Airlines Excursionist Perk – An Incredible Way to Travel to Europe on a Budget!Million Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET:  You can pay absolutely ZERO miles to add an extra flight to your itinerary with this trick.

For many folks, traveling to Europe ranks near the top of their bucket list. Whether it’s a backpacking trip from hostel to hostel or a romantic getaway to the Mediterranean, Europe has something to offer for everyone. And while Europe is a dream destination for many, there’s no doubt that it can cost a ton of money to get there.

For people looking to travel to Europe using miles and points, the United Airlines Excursionist perk is an incredible way to travel to Europe on a budget.

The United Excursionist Perk is a great way to visit popular European destinations. (Photo by Shaun Jeffers/Shutterstock)

United Airlines Excursionist Perk

The Excursionist Perk is a feature that allows you to take a “free” additional one-way flight when you book a round-trip or multi-city award ticket with United Airlines. So if you are traveling from the U.S. to Europe, the United Excursionist Perk allows you to fly to a second city in Europe while still only paying the cost of a single round-trip itinerary.

For example, you could book a ticket using United miles from Chicago to London to Paris back to Chicago for the same number of miles it would cost to travel round-trip from Chicago to London and back. The Excursionist Perk allows you to take the London to Paris segment for free.

Let’s price this out on United and see exactly how much it would cost.

One-way flights from the US to Europe usually start at 30,000 United Airlines miles

Typically, you can find award tickets from the US to Europe in coach for 30,000 United miles, plus taxes and fees. Here I found a direct flight from Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow for 30,000 miles.

Next, you’ll be asked to select a flight for the second leg of the trip, from London to Paris. Notice that for this leg, the cost is 0 miles and you just pay taxes and fees for the flight!

For the second leg of the trip, you pay taxes and fees but NO miles!

The final leg of the trip from Paris back to Chicago is the same price as the first leg, 30,000 miles plus taxes and fees.

Taxes and fees flying from Europe to the US are typically more than flying in the opposite direction

Finally, you’ll see a summary of the trip: Chicago to London to Paris back to Chicago for a total of 60,000 United miles and ~$173 in taxes and fees — a great deal!

With the United Excursionist Perk, the extra flight from London to Paris doesn’t cost any additional miles

Excursionist Perk Rules

There are a few rules to keep in mind when using United’s Excursionist Perk:

  • All flights on your itinerary must be made through a single award booking
  • Cash tickets do not qualify for this perk
  • Your trip must include a second region from your starting location as defined by United’s 17 regions
  • The free flight must occur with a single region
  • The free flight must be in a cabin of equal or lesser status than the overall itinerary
  • The final destination region on your ticket must match your originating ticket region

Note that United recently eliminated its award chart for flights after November 15, 2019. So after that date, one-way flights to Europe may vary from the 30,000-mile one-way price discussed above.

The United Excursionist perk is not just limited to Europe. You can read an advanced guide on the United Excursionist Perk here.

Bottom Line

The United Excursionist Perk is an incredible way to get to see multiple cities for less, and can be used anywhere where United Airlines flies.

Here are more guides with tips and tricks for United Airlines miles:

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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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I just came back from my Europe trip – first to Venice and used my excursion perk to visit Austria, before heading home. It’s such a great option and why I love using miles to fly United. The one thing I wish I had done a bit more research on was the price of using partner airlines.