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Earlier this month we saw American Airlines promoting a series of one-day sales in which some of the deals on offer were surprisingly good. Today it’s United’s turn and while it looks like today United won’t be running a series of offers like American did, today’s flash sale may be worth a closer look.
United’s ‘National Plan For Vacation Day’ Sale
I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of ‘national plan for vacation day’ and to be completely frank, it sounds more than a little ridiculous (especially during a pandemic) but if it persuades airlines to offer good fares I guess I shouldn’t complain.
- Tickets must be purchased at least 14 days prior to departure, but no later than January 26, 2021.
- Roundtrip purchase is not required.
- Travel may not begin until February 9, 2021, and must be completed by May 26, 2021.
- The fares being promoted are valid for travel on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
- Fares are valid in the Economy (Coach) cabin on United/United Express carriers and certain codeshare operated flights only. Some flights may be operated by the following airlines, doing business as United Express: Air Wisconsin, CommutAir, ExpressJet Airlines, GoJet Airlines, Mesa Air, Republic Airlines, or SkyWest Airlines; or may be operated pursuant to a codeshare agreement, such as Silver Airways.
- The cheapest fares are for Basic Economy tickets
- No minimum stay required
- Passenger is responsible for all taxes, fees, baggage fees, and surcharges applicable to award travel, including, with respect to government imposed taxes and fees, September 11th Security Fee of $5.60 per one-way trip that does not include a government defined stopover, US Customs, Immigration and APHIS User Fees of $16.95 for each international arrival in the U.S.; and non-U.S. government ticket taxes, fees and airport charges may add up to $300 per ticket as of January 1, 2021. Such taxes, fees and surcharges must be paid at the time of ticketing and are subject to change.
- Any valid unused award ticket may be returned to the MileagePlus Service Center, for a service charge, up to one year from the date of issue. Award seats are subject to availability and capacity-control restrictions apply.
Full terms and conditions can be found on the promotion page.
- Boston – New York (EWR) – $29 or 3,000 miles
- Charlotte – Washington D.C. (IAD) – $29 or 3,000 miles
- Chicago – Pittsburgh – $29 or 3,000 miles
- Dallas (DFW) – Houston – $29 or 3,000 miles
- Hartford – Washington D.C. (IAD) – $29 or 3,000 miles
- Las Vegas – Los Angeles – $29 or 3,000 miles
- Las Vegas – San Francisco – $29 or 3,000 miles
- Los Angeles – San Francisco – $29 or 3,000 miles
- Los Angeles – Palm Springs – $29 or 3,000 miles
- Nashville – Chicago (ORD) – $29 or 3,000 miles
There are a variety of other routes offering fares for $29/3,000 miles and you’ll also find routes on which one-way fares cost $79/6,000 miles, $99/7,000 miles, $109/7,500 miles, $119/8,000 miles, and $129/8,500 miles.
Ok, yes. This sale is based on Basic Economy fares and it requires a traveler to book today so there’s little time to make plans so it’s far from perfect…but it’s not bad either.
I’d happily “suffer” Basic Economy if it meant that I could fly between LA and San Francisco or LA and Palm Springs for $29, and I’m sure there will be people thinking that Chicago – San Diego for 8,500 miles is a pretty reasonable deal and that Miami – San Francisco for 8,500 miles isn’t bad either, so there are definitely some interesting deals to be found in this sale.
Be aware that anyone considering booking a fare in this sale should first check what fares are being offered by other airlines on the same routes as it’s possible that there are some equally good fares out there that don’t book into Basic Economy. They may not be easy to find but given the state of the airline industry right now I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that there are some very good Main Cabin transcon fares for around $250.
Book Using The Right Card
Make sure you get the best deal out of whatever fare you book by using a card that gives you a good return on your travel spending and, preferably, one that also comes with good travel protections.
The Platinum Card from American Express and the Business Platinum Card from American Express both earn 5 points/dollar for spending made directly with airlines while the Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns 3 points/dollar for just about all travel spending. Also, and this is key, all three of these cards offer good trip delay, trip interruption, and trip cancellation protection.
The Amex Green Card earns 3 points/dollar for just about all travel spending but doesn’t offer the same level of protection as the Platinum Card or the Sapphire Reserve, and although the Citi Prestige Card matches the Platinum Card with its earnings of 5 points/dollar on spending made directly with airlines, the fact that it offers no travel protections at all makes it a less appealing option.
For the rest of today, United Airlines is offering domestic fares starting at $29 or 3,000 miles for one-way travel. Travel may not begin until February 9, 2021, and must be completed by May 26, 2021, and the best deals are only available on select days of the week.