I want to go back to Ireland… on a United award sale to Europe

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My wife and I visited Ireland in March of last year.  We rented a car and just drove and drove throughout the island, stopped, ate, and slept wherever we felt like.  It’s an enchanting place and among other things it has the most delicious soft serve ice cream in the world!  We really want to go back, but we’d love to do it for the same amount of miles as we did before.  We used miles to purchase our tickets during a United saver award sale to Europe.

What exactly is an award sale?

If you’re really knew to collecting miles and points, you might be wondering what an award sale is.  It’s exactly what is sound like.  Many airlines place their redemptions on sales from time to time, being to specific cities, or specific markets. United tends to do a broader award sale every 6 months, and in between in may throw in several award sales to specific cities.  Keeping up that trend, we should have one coming out within the next two months.

Some Pros

  • You save valuable miles for future redemptions
  • Because of the date availability constraints, you’ll likely be heading out on a trip that you weren’t necessarily planning previously

Some Cons

  • Premium class tickets are usually excluded
  • Usually apply only to roundtrip tickets
  • Available for specific dates, thus requiring flexibility from the purchaser
  • Apply only to United-operated flights, not routings that contain partner flights

Booking our tickets to Ireland

My experience during an award sale was actually a year and a half ago.  In November of 2015 United announced an award sale from the US to Europe. Normally an economy roundtrip ticket goes for 60k miles, and now it was at 45k miles.  In our case, this would save us 30k miles for two tickets! Though we weren’t really planning on going to Ireland at that moment, we discussed which country that is on the western side of Europe we’d most like to visit.  This would guarantee that even though we’d be flying economy, the trip wouldn’t be one of the lengthier ones.  Ireland was the perfect fit at the time.

How can you earn the 90k mileage needed for two in one of these award sales?

As of 5/18/2017, you can take advantage of the following credit card options:

  • United MileagePlus Explorer card50k miles bonus after spending $3,000 within 3 months of opening the account. This card comes with a $95 annual fee (not waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees.  Also, with this card you can enjoy priority boarding, 2 annual United Club passes ($118 value) and a free first checked bag.
  • United MileagePlus Explorer Business card: 50k miles bonus after spending $3,000 within 3 months of opening the account. This card comes with a $95 annual fee (not waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees.  Also, with this card you can enjoy priority boarding, 2 annual United Club passes ($118 value) and a free first checked bag.
  • Take advantage of all the methods to earn United miles I’ve highlighted here and how to meet credit card minimum spend requirements here.

In conclusion, it’s great to purchase tickets with miles.  It’s even better to purchase tickets with miles with a discount.  So watch out for a sale sometime soon and don’t miss out!

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