HOT FARE SALE: Several US Cities to Asia on United for Less Than $500 Roundtrip

Via Secret Flying which means I’m not sure who actually found the fare, United has a sale that’s truly unique and worth a look for several cities in the US to several cities in Asia. The fares are strikingly great, you’ll want to pounce now if interested in flying to Asia between September and December.

These fares are available from Newark, Chicago, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Houston. So mostly from United hubs, which is unusual, fares like this are almost always used to attack the hubs of other airlines.

You can fly roundtrip for under $500 to Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Taipei, Manila, or Jakarta.

View of the Petronas Towers from the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

AirfareSpot notes San Francisco – Vietnam is actually as low as $419 roundtrip and The Flight Deal says you can also fly United Portland, Austin, or San Antonio to Vietnam for $582 roundtrip.

Sub-$500 fares are even easy to find, here’s an availability calendar for Chicago – Vietnam:

And a sample itinerary, outbound is all on United and the return is a combination of United and ANA.

Here’s the fare breakdown:

While a non-elite member crediting this flight to United’s revenue-based MileagePlus program will only earn about 1865 miles, this is a United ‘K’ fare which earns 100% of flown miles when crediting to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (.pdf). That means you earn over 17,000 Singapore miles for the trip!

While Singapore miles do expire after 3 years (not 3 years of inactivity), you can top off a KrisFlyer miles account with transfers from American Express, Chase, Citi, and Starwood.

The Chicago – Ho Chi Minh City roundtrip is fare basis KLX0ZAM8. (Incidentally, ‘SGN’ is the fastest growing airport in the world.)

  • Travel must be Monday through Thursday for each transpacific flight.
  • This is available for outbound travel September 1 through December 9
  • Must fly transpacific on United or ANA. Intra-asia segments may be on other Star Alliance airlines.
  • There doesn’t appear to be a minimum stay requirement however there’s a 12 month maximum stay.
  • 2 stopovers are permitted, one in each direction, for an extra $100 each (though the stopover may not be in Guam presumably to avoid cabotage issues)
  • 6 transfers are permitted in each direction (1 in Canada, 2 in the U.S., and 3 in Asia)
  • There’s a $300 change fee

View from the Presidential Palace Museum

Since these fares aren’t eligible for United 1K member Global Premier Upgrades, the only way to upgrade is with miles and that’s 30,000 miles and $600 cash co-pay each way — mitigating the fantastic value of the fare. So if you ticket this, you’re going to wind up flying economy.

Since we don’t know for certain how United will feel about such a deep discount airfare sale, whether they might get seller’s remorse, I’d wait a few days after buying tickets before making additional non-refundable travel plans around the fare.

In theory an airline refusing to honor a sale like this would have to reimburse any out of pocket costs you incurred but there’s not much history with enforcement of that particular DOT statement so I’d still not test it.

View from the club lounge of the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. ORD-CAN has been for $493 on Hainan 787 for a little while. Plus Hainan probably has better product than United and gets you some more miles on Alaska.

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