An Update on United Airlines' New One-Way Award Program

Last week I promised I would provide more details on United's new one-way award program.

Simply put, I like the new program.

Per my conversation with a reservations agent, stopovers will still be permitted on United roundtrips and Star Alliance awards--for now at least.

This means that in addition to the benefits of being able to book a one-way award (when an outbound might be prohibitively expensive but the return flight cheap, for example) we will still be able add an additional destination on roundtrip flights--a huge perk when planning a multi-city trip.

The following restrictions exist on one-way award tickets:

I find the "indirect routing" requirement interesting. What constitutes an indirect routing is not defined and just last night I was offered a one-way routing on from PHL to ORD through IAD and BUF. That doesn't sound like a direct routing to me.

I predict that as the one-way program is further developed, eventually we will see stopovers phased out and one-way awards permitted for all Star Alliance carriers. For now, though, don't worry: we can still book our stopovers.

I commend UA for adding this new award option and applaud them for making these bookings available online--quite a feat for United's IT team.

Don't forget about cash + miles awards either.



[email protected] February 5, 2010 at 07:18 pm

The "indirect" part puzzled me too, because the routings I got for YOW-TUS were YOW-ORD-xxx-DEN-TUS, where xxx was one of MCI, DFW, OKC, MEM, CID, OMA, et al. I settled on MCI and am hoping to standby it into YOW-DEN-TUS.

I think in that sentence they may be defining indirect to mean backhaul as opposed to saying that neither indirect nor backhaul routings are allowed.

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