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Last second award availability is routinely fantastic on United flights and on certain Star Alliance partner flights. Use your United miles (or any other Star Alliance miles) to book a last minute trip right now to anywhere in the world for Christmas or New Year’s!


You could be in Sydney Harbour for the fireworks. United flies daily from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both routes have Saver award space this week in economy, business, and first classes for two passengers.Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 11.44.54 PM Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 11.45.41 PM

The flights are nearly 15 hours, so maybe you should fly First Class like I did last New Year’s Eve.

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Neither route has return award space January 1 – 12 of next year, but I would strongly expect space to open up on several of those days in the next week or two. Luckily United lets you book one way awards.

United charges 40k/67.5k/80k each way to Australia. It’s an expensive award, but Australia in January is fantastic.

For other destinations in South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia with award space right now, keep reading.

South America

The holidays are a great time to check out the Peruvian summer. I once arrived at 12:15 AM on Christmas in Lima. I had no idea that Christmas fireworks were a tradition there, and I was terrified the whole cab ride from the airport that one would fly in through the cab window. I was slouched in the back seat for thirty minutes because the driver liked his fresh air.

United operates the Houston to Lima route with flat bed seats in business class for only 35k miles each way. Or spend only 20k miles for steerage class each way.

Award space is excellent in both cabins starting next week and running through all of January.

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Peru is a great year round destination. It’s my favorite country in the world. See my Top Ten Things to Do, Eat, and See in Peru for my favorites.


How does Lufthansa First Class sound? I know I am looking forward to visiting the First Class Terminal in 2014.

Lufthansa only ever releases First Class seats to United MileagePlus 15 days before the flight. Award space for the next 15 days is excellent.

Now is a great time to book and fly Lufthasna First Class because it is only 67.5k United miles each way (or only 70k miles for two segments to Asia via Europe). February 1, 2014, the price rises to 110k miles one way!

Space is great out of JFK this week and the 747-400s operating the route are configured, so each First Class passenger has a seat and a separate bed next to the seat!

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Some days even have First Class space on two flights, so you can choose how much of the flight you want to be awake for.

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United has a strong route network to and within Asia, and most of the routes have award space in the next few days.

Here is the calendar for the Washington-Dulles to Tokyo flight for two passengers.

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United flies from Houston to Lagos, Nigeria daily with a Dreamliner. There’s some award space in Business Class on the plane, which is awesome because for the first few months the Dreamliners were in service, I never saw Business Class award space.

Unfortunately I don’t see December award space, but Lagos is probably lovely in January. (I have no idea.)

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So if you’re sitting on a pile of miles this Christmas and your family is driving you crazy ;), burn some United miles before the devaluation kicks in and travel anywhere in the world you want by New Year’s Eve.

One thing we can all be thankful for this year is United’s excellent last minute award space!

Getting United Miles

It’s too late to get United miles for this week, but get them for the next time you want to take a spontaneous trip.

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