United to Introduce One Way Star Alliance Awards

Oct 26, 2010

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While not officially announced, a source at United has told me that they will indeed be allowing one-way awards on Star Alliance partners beginning October 29th.  This move matches AA, who currently allows one-way awards on all partner airlines. Currently, you can only use United miles to book one-way awards on United flights, so for many this will be a huge enhancement- giving flexibility. I for example used 50,000 United and 62,5000 AA miles to book an open jaw trip to Rio and home from Buenos Aires for this New Years. Award availability both ways was not available on either carrier, so I would have been out of luck (or using twice as many miles), if one way awards were not available.

However, as one hand giveth, the other taketh. When AA instituted one way awards on partners, they took away the ability to book stopovers. So for example, if you fly JFK-Budapest on British Airways, you can’t stop and enjoy London for a couple days, like you can with most other airlines. Many feel that this will also be the same with United, though I haven’t gotten confirmation.

While I love to fill my awards with stopovers, I also love the flexibility of mixing and matching one-way awards on different alliances. This opens up more doors for redeeming at saver levels, which is all I ever do.

However you look at it, I think its crazy that Delta doesn’t even have one way awards on Delta flights. Right now, if you want to go one way, you have to pay the round trip price, which may even be at a higher tier.

What are your thoughts on the impending introduction of Star Alliance one-way awards?

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