Very Strange Cheap United Fare to London, and Even Cheaper Deal From New York

Airfare Spot wrote about a $529 roundtrip fare between Chicago and London on United with travel available October, November, and January through March.

They actually mention prices “as low as $412” but I haven’t found anything sub-$500 on United between these two cities.

The fare, though, is very real I find it using airfare metasearch site Momondo.

Momondo is great for searching a variety of different travel sites and showing the lowest fares. Increasingly for international travel some of the more obscure booking sites have had prices well below what you’ll find on the airline’s site or major travel booking sites.

I went to compare pricing using the ITA Software matrix and found that on Saturdays only they’re showing sub-$600 prices.

It’s not unusual to see a $70 price discrepancy which is why I’ll highlight the deals that Momondo is coming up with. However I’m actually finding these $529 fares most days in the first quarter of 2017 and not just for Saturday departures. That’s weird.

United’s $597 price is a $91 base fare each way, filed as a ‘K’ fare. It doesn’t have a day of week restriction, so appears that some websites are seeing K inventory for departures throughout the week.

Since this appears to be a K fare it’s worth highlighting that you can credit the miles for these trips to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and earn more than you would any other way.

While a non-elite MileagePlus member crediting United flights to the revenue-based MileagePlus program will only earn 5 miles per dollar on the cost of the ticket excluding taxes, nearly all United fares earn 100% of flown miles when crediting to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (.pdf). That means you earn 7906 miles roundtrip instead of ~ 1900 based on the fare.

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.

Of course United elites will likely still credit to MileagePlus for:

  • The elite qualifying miles
  • Access to United’s economy plus extra legroom seating

If you don’t care about the miles or flying United, there’s an even better fare out of New York as Airfare Spot also notes. Outbound travel in January and February, with returns possible also in early March, are bookable for just $361 roundtrip on Norwegian.

Copyright william87 / 123RF Stock Photo

Norwegian has really introduced cheap fares to a number of US transatlantic routes. And oddly it’s worth searching their website in different currencies — because you get different prices.

Here’s a sample itinerary:

That converts to $361 US dollars.

The same flights come out to $411.70 when booked directly on the US website. So use the UK site and pay with a credit card that doesn’t add foreign transaction fees.

The airline charges for advance seat assignments, drinks and food. They limit carry on bags to 10 kg and they charge for checked bags. But they’ve got brand new Boeing 787s and this fare is incredibly cheap.

London’s cheap now, but these fares are especially cheap. And I’m fascinated to see how pricing is evolving, how different pricing is appearing in different places — whether different sites in the same country, or different pricing in different currencies.

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. Momondo shows fares from new OTA sites that come and go daily, which sell Bulk/net fares at a zero markup, against the airlines rules that net/bulk fares can not be sold online

  2. Frankly I think he gets a commission through Momondo, so that’s probably why he has been pushing their links so much. I’m sure he’s aware of the sketchy nature of the OTAs that Momondo uses, and I doubt he’d ever use Momondo himself.

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