I’ve written about first class for 10,000 miles per segment with US Dividend Miles, but I’m surprised that a lot of readers didn’t know about doing a similar thing with United miles. Hopefully this post will be useful for those who didn’t know this before.
If you look at the United Airline award chart, there are a few sweet spots that are here. I’ve edited the chart to show the regions that are particularly good:
The awards that I am mentioning here are Australia to Oceania (I’ve highlighted the wrong box). What’s important to keep in mind is that Oceania is a huge region with United, which includes Guam, Saipan, Papeete (French Polynesia), and Rarotonga (Cook Islands). Just like with my USDM post, United allows routings via Asia because there is no direct flight from Guam to Rarotonga. This would be 25,000 miles in business class. For example, I can do Guam to Sydney via Singapore and Nagoya in Sinagpore Business class for 25,000 miles.
The other region that’s worth working with is from Japan to Oceania, which is only 20,000 miles in business class. Here is an itinerary from Tokyo to Singapore to Sydney in Singapore Business class, and Auckland to Rarotonga in economy class (Air New Zealand rarely release business class space to Oceania and Pacific Islands).
With both itineraries, you “could” leave at any city within the itinerary which means either way you can fly Asia – Australia/NZ for 20-25k miles one way.
But if you’ve read my post with US Airways, you should know that Guam to Sydney/Rarotonga is only 30k miles in business and 40k miles in first. So why would I book with United Miles? I’d do it because United allows stopovers in Asia for these routings. For example, here the previously mentioned Japan to Oceania routing. With a roundtrip, you can have a stopover in Singapore, and fly United Business First, Singapore long-haul business class, Air New Zealand Business Class, and ANA 787 Business Class all for just 40k miles. It’s an amazing redemption to visit many places and try many products at the same time.
Likewise, I can pay 50k miles with United to have a stopover in Taipei. I can fly Air China Business Class, Air New Zealand Business Class, and EVA Air’s Hello Kitty Service in business class, which is another fantastic value and pairs well with a lifemiles redemption. Furthermore, you can also treat each of the segments as individual flights. So you theoretically, you could two trips using these segments.
On your first trip you could fly LAX-SYD (with other miles), then fly SYD-GUM on this itinerary, then fly back using Lifemiles. Then on your second trip, you could North America-GUM using lifemiles, GUM-TPE-AKL on this itinerary, and then fly back to North America with other miles.
I’m surprised not enough people know about this. It’s not even a mistake or tricked route, but rather just a sweet spot in the United Award Chart. This unfortunately will be changing with the United devaluation, so if you do want to make a redemption like this get on it now!
As always, if you plan on dropping a segment you cannot check bags. Feel free to ask if you have any questions!