Among the many higher prices rolled out today on the United Airlines MileagePlus award chart comes one superb reprieve. Direct flights 800 miles or less outside North America now cost 8,000 miles in economy class. In many cases, that’s a superb value.
The rise of budget and ultra-low-cost carriers has fundamentally changed the way airlines price one-way trips. For years, one-way trips were often just as expensive or even more expensive than a round-trip ticket. Saturday-night stay and other gimmicks were added.
That was then, this is now.
Thus, this attractive one-way pricing will tend to be most valuable for last-minute purchases. But let me show you one example.
Tomorrow, say you want to go from Frankfurt to Vienna. Austrian flights start at $406 one-way and only go up from there.
But how about mileage space?
Hmm.What’s better $656 or 8K miles + $125?
Keep in mind that if you’re not a MileagePlus elite member you’re hit with a $75 close-in booking fee (reflected in the $125 above). There are government taxes as well (also reflected above). But you still come out ahead. Way ahead!
I wrote about a similar trip here.
That’s Europe. The same logic applies in Africa, Asia, and Australia.
The point is simple: if you’re booking a pricey last-minute ticket, always check award space. You may end up coming out way ahead even if it is not the most sexy use of your miles.
When I used to live in Germany, I frequently took advantage of then-Star Alliance member’s bmi to travel frequently within Western Europe for 4,500 miles one-way. I miss those days, but this sort of restores them. Oh, I’m sounding like Gary Leff now! 😉