Dropping Prices – 5,000 Mile One-Way United Airlines Flights and Here’s What It Could Mean for the Future

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Normally, United Airlines domestic flights cost 10,000 to 12,500 miles one-way in coach.  But right now a handful of select routes are available for as little as 5,000 United Airlines miles one-way.

And it looks like the cheapest prices are available to United Airlines elite members or credit cardholders.  I’m happy to have a nice little extra perk for my United℠ Business Card.

While it’s nice to have cheaper prices, in the long run this could be another step toward United Airlines dropping their award chart in favor of award prices which mimic the cash price.  But by itself this is a positive change.

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Right now United Airlines flights to places like Las Vegas could cost less

United Airlines Lowers the Price of Some Award Flights

United Airlines normally charges 10,000 miles for a one-way domestic flight that is 700 miles or less.  And they charge 12,500 miles for a one-way domestic flight that is 701+ miles.

Summer, over at The Points Guy, got a tip from a reader about United’s cheaper prices and was able to find these one-way Economy deals:

  • Los Angeles, Houston, or San Francisco to Las Vegas for 5,000 miles
  • Chicago to Newark for 11,000 miles
  • Denver to Houston for 5,000 miles
  • Newark to Fort Lauderdale for 5,000 miles
  • Newark to Orlando for 10,000 miles
  • Reno to San Francisco for 5,000 miles
  • San Francisco to Denver for 8,500 miles
  • San Francisco to Seattle for 5,500 miles
  • San Francisco to Portland for 6,000 miles
  • Washington DC (Dulles) to Orlando for 9,000 miles
  • Washington DC (Dulles) to Newark for 5,500 miles

The cheapest prices are available to United Airlines credit cardholders or elite status members.  If you’re a non-elite/non-cardholder, they prices will be a tad more expensive.  For example, some of the 5,000 miles flights were 6,000 miles instead.

On the surface this seems like a good deal, but it is eerily similar to what Delta charges for their domestic award flights.  The problem is that Delta also charges much more for other more expensive domestic routes.  And finding good Delta Business Class deals is becoming harder and harder to do (outside of their regular award sales).

The Points Guy confirmed that this is not a special sale.  And right now United Airlines hasn’t announced any increase in the cost of award flights.  But it is all a give and take.  And I don’t expect them to give us these “deals” without taking away lucrative options for booking expensive flights with fewer miles at some point.  And the price of United’s Everyday Awards already will occasionally price differently than what they list on their interactive award chart.  So it seems to be something they are already toying with.

Have you seen any cheaper than normal prices?  If so, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

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Jason Stauffer was a writer for Million Mile Secrets where he covered points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. His work has appeared in The Points Guy and NextAdvisor.

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