Another weekend, another great mileage redemption opportunity courtesy of United.com. After a late night celebrating my friend’s bday in the hamptons last night, I woke up to Gary’s post this morning detailing UA awards to Hong Kong and beyond for only 4 miles per ticket. If I had more time I probably would have made several speculative bookings but I could see that the post had been up for some time so I headed straight over to the UA website. I decided that I wanted to start by booking my parents two tickets to Hong Kong as they’ve never been to Asia. I booked them two different first class itineraries, one completely on UA and one via Munich on Lufthansa. I then emailed my colleagues and told them to make their bookings ASAP, about 5 minutes later the deal was gone. Here are our results:
Booking 1 – United from New York to Hong Kong roundtrip – Quoted 8 miles in the total and 140,000 up top. Booking was ticketed and 140k instead of 8 miles were deducted from my MileagePlus account.
Booking 2 – Lufthansa connections via Munich to Hong Kong roundtrip – Quoted 8 miles in the total and 140,00 up top. Booking was ticketed and confirmed but no miles have been deducted yet (used my parent’s account which did not have enough for the 140k). However, one of the Lufthansa flights that was in First is now displaying as an Economy award on both UA and Lufthansa’s website.
Colleague 1 (Extremely Spontaneous):
He booked a roundtrip first class flight for this evening and ran to Newark immediately. He was ticketed and confirmed using 4 miles and $35.50. No miles were actually removed from his account. He checked in successfully hours ago and is now in-flight to HKG! I would say he got away with the 4 mile pricing as he does not have enough miles in his MP account for the standard award. However, I would be worried about the return, though I’m not too concerned as he has plenty of AA miles for a Cathay ticket if necessary. In all honesty, I think this was super smart. He got a definite flight today and probably has the highest probability of UA honoring his return ticket as he is already mid-itinerary. I’ll let you know as I hear updates!
Update July 16th – He arrived in Hong Kong about two hours late but had no problems at all at Newark, inflight, or post-flight. He’s currently resting up at the JW Marriott utilizing some of his award points. No miles have been deducted from his UA account at this time and he’s had no communication from UA regarding his flight back home on Friday. I’ll continue to update the blog as I hear further updates from him.
Update July 17th – Just spoke with him and he has not yet heard from United regarding his return flight on Friday. This was about three hours after the official response from UA (see bottom of this post). Will let you know as soon as he does!
Booked a first class flight to Hong Kong using UA and ANA. Ticketed and confirmed successfully for 4 miles but the full 70,000 were deducted. Additionally, his ANA piece was later downgraded to economy.
Booked three first class tickets to Bangkok via Frankfurt and Hong Kong using UA, Lufthansa, and Thai for 12 miles and $93.60 in taxes per passenger. Ticketed and confirmed and credit card charged, no miles deducted. He does not have nearly enough to cover the actual mileage cost of these tickets.
- It’s clear that for those MileagePlus members with enough miles to cover the tickets, UA deducted the normal amounts regardless of what the total line on the confirmation indicated. I am going to hold on to my reservation that was ticketed normally. Why? Unfortunately, I think those of us charged the standard award amounts have a very slim chance of UA actually honoring the 4 miles per ticket rates. I just can’t see them reversing out the normal number and then deducting only the 4 per ticket. I do however believe that we may receive compensation in the form of a miles gift so why not hold the reservation a little longer until there is some additional clarity. United will certainly allow you to cancel past the normal 24 hour deadline given the pricing discrepancy.
- Those members who don’t have enough miles will most likely be allowed additional time to come up with the miles or given the opportunity to purchase additional miles. Perhaps they too may receive a mileage gift for their inconvenience.
I’m usually an optimist but in this scenario I really think the winners will be those who took their flights today (especially with the normal price being displayed next to the incorrect price), though I definitely hope I am wrong!
Were you someone who was also able to take advantage of this glitch for an award today? Please share your experience!
Does anyone feel differently and think UA will honor the 4 mile price?
Good luck to everyone who got in on this juicy deal!
***Update colleague results here***
UPDATE – OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM UA as per FlyerTalk:
Hi Everyone, over the weekend, we discovered a united.com programming error that allowed customers to obtain Mileage Plus travel awards to and from Hong Kong for as little as four miles roundtrip per person, substantially below published levels, which we disclose to customers. We have since corrected the error and will be in contact with customers who have tickets issued at the incorrect award amounts. Customers will be given the choice to redeem at the correct mileage amount or re-deposit their award with all fees waived. We regret any inconvenience this has caused you, and appreciate your understanding.
Director, Customer Insights