United’s Secret Award Discount Still Works: Save Up to 25,000 Miles Roundtrip for Business Class Partner Awards

Two months ago I wrote about United’s unpublished business class partner award discount.

United has been charging less for partner awards than their award chart says they will, charging as though you were flying just on United (perhaps a technical glitch rollings back a big chunk of the Great Devaluation).

For US – Europe, business class awards are supposed to cost:

  • 57,500 miles if you fly United (115,000 roundtrip)
  • 70,000 miles if you fly a partner (140,000 roundtrip)

But many partner awards are still pricing at the United price, a savings of 25,000 miles on a roundtrip.

When this ‘discount’ first started pricing, it appeared to work only through March. But it works farther out in the calendar now as well.

Here’s an Austrian itinerary in April:

Here’s a Lufthansa itinerary in May:

And LOT Polish in May:

And it works for South Asia, too — partner awards are supposed to price at 80,000 miles one-way in business while United awards are 70,000. But you’ll find partner awards at the 70,000 price as well.

Get your premium cabin United partner awards while the discount is on! You can of course transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points instantly to United to off off your account.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Gary,

    A lot of us read you because we are home based in DC, as you are. I, for one, get frustrated when I see an intriguing blog title only to find, once again, it is about flights out of New York. Since New York is over 200 miles from DC, those examples, while interesting, might as well be able flights out of Miami, as they are of no use to me.

  2. I found some examples from east coast. BOS being another. did not find west coast at reduced rate after quick scan. Does this reflect that new partner charges are just not attractive on the short east coast hop?

  3. @Frank. I think Gary might have been using New York as an example. I bet IAD flights price out the same as NYC, there just has to be availability. And let’s face it, IAD to NYC is a pretty painless connection to get discounted partner business awards over water. A lot of people that read this blog would do IAD-LAX-NYC-EUROPE if it meant two lay flat transcons thrown in!

  4. Most likely you know that United and Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, LOT, etc.) are getting close friends, or at least are trying to become. This deal only works when transatlantic flight is operated either by United or one of the Lufthansa Group airlines. That does not look like a coincidence to me.

  5. The deal works from DC.

    The deal is not limited to Lufthansa group airlines (see also Turkish, for instance)

    United and Lufthansa have been joint venture partners for YEARS that is nothing new.

  6. @Disappointed I certainly did not find this on Flyertalk. I posted about this two months ago, where I found it from Dan’s Deals as hat tipped in the original thread. I search award availability Every Single Day as part of my award booking service. And this has been on my list to write for the past several days and never got around to it. Sorry to ‘Disappoint’ you.

  7. I noticed that the numbers weren’t quite what the chart advertised. South Asia to South Asia (Bangkok to Hong Kong) should be 17.5/30/40 but for a Thai airlines flight in Nov it’s 15/25/35. Still higher than the old award chart but wasn’t sure why there was a difference.

  8. I’m using this next month to fly BOM-ATL using 70k United miles on Lufthansa semi-business class. 🙂

  9. Thanks for the heads up. Was able to get 25k miles credited back. No status, so it took 2 different departments and 90-minutes on the phone. Could have done the same thing in much less time on the web site with the “Change Flights” option, but preferred not to pay $150 in change fees to keep the same itinerary.

  10. Remembering the original post from December, I actually looked in on this on United’s site last Friday, and the partner awards were back at the higher published levels. I was kinda miffed, but that’s an unpublished sale for ya.

    Then I see this post, and sure enough, the “sale” is back on. 2x business class tix IAD to Rome on Lufthansa via Munich, booked!

  11. Another strange observation: Why are Standard awards being offered for all-partner itineraries? I checked one of the NYC-FRA itineraries, and both Saver and Standard awards book into “I” class. Strange!!

  12. Looking at SIN – NYC (trying to finagle another FCT visit!) it varies flight, even on the same day. Some flights with partner legs price out at the new partner rate, some flights at the UA rate.

  13. Anyone successful in doing it for travel 10 or more months out? Will it also apply to SQ, which had to be done over the phone?

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