Save $25 or More on Last Minute United Award Bookings

Anyone without United status is charged a hefty $75 fee to book an award within 21 days of departure. There are two tricks to reduce or eliminate this fee.

Trick 1- Transfer your Ultimate Rewards to a Status-ful spouse's United account

Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to your United account or your spouse's.

Save $100 or More When Canceling a United Award

Normally canceling a United award incurs a $150 per ticket fee if you don't have United status, but I know two tricks to reduce or eliminate that fee.

Ordinarily, when you cancel a trip, you get back the miles and the taxes you paid less a $150 fee. So if you had a Pittsburgh to LAX economy award ticketed, you'd get back your 12,500 miles and $2.50 taxes, but you'd pay $150.

The net result is equivalent to buying 12,500 miles for $147.50.

Free First Class Next Month: The Best Current Card Offers

Hey there, you're reading an outdated post! The updated series from April 2015 can be found here.

What is an Open Jaw? How Can an Itinerary Have Two Open Jaws?

When I say that United awards can have one stopover and two open jaws, it elicits a lot of confusion. Some people don't know what an open jaw is while others can handle one conceptually, but not two open jaws. Hopefully I can clear it up.

A roundtrip United award is made up of two oneway segments.

An open jaw happens when the origin of one of those two oneways does not match up with the destination of the other.

For example, consider a roundtrip United award with the two oneway segments LAX -> JFK and JFK -> LAX.

Free First Class Next Month: Signing Up for Airline and Hotel Programs

Hey there, you're reading an outdated post! The updated series from April 2015 can be found here.

This is the second post in a monthlong series. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete.

Review: London to Los Angeles in United BusinessFirst

I recently returned from the Euro Cup on a long routing, most of it in United BusinessFirst.

Kharkiv to Vienna to Frankfut to London to Los Angeles

More than three quarters of the trip was the 5,456-mile flight from Heathrow to LAX. I had the pleasure of flying the 11+ hour flight on a 777 in United BusinessFirst, the unfortunate name of United's international business class product. (The real first class product is called United Global First.)

United's business class on its 777s is arranged in a 2-4-2 pattern.

Five Hours Left (?) on Great Singapore Airlines Award Space

Singapore Airlines First Class and Business Class space is hard to get with United and US Air miles. Except right now, there is a glitch you can exploit, and the space is widely available.

A Quixotic Quest to Silver United Status

Or: Did You Earn United Status Without Knowing It?

I have Silver Status on United. See! ---------->

It just posted a few days ago even though my last paid flight with United was in March. What was happening? I had earned Silver Status in March, but United's errors--human and computer--had kept my status from updating to Silver.

There are two requirements to reach United Premier Silver status: accrue 25,000 Premier Miles and fly four United or Copa flights.

Eight Hours in London and Thirteen Hours in Frankfurt

Yesterday I talked about how to book awards with layovers of up to 23 hours to see even more cities en route than would be allowable with normal stopover rules. Is it a good idea?

I'll review two recent 23 hour layovers I had, which were actually eight hours in London and thirteen in Frankfurt.


In London, I had to fly into Gatwick and out of Heathrow to make sure I could get an en route stopover in Tampa on an AA award.

Anatomy of an Award: 23 Hour Layovers

Recently I had two clients of my Award Booking Service want to add a few 23 hour layovers onto their United award from Cleveland to South Africa. All the legacy US carriers have a rule in place that on international layovers, under 24 hours is just a layover, but over 24 hours is a stopover.

This distinction is crucial since no US carrier allows more than one en route stopover internationally.