United is discounting short-haul awards booked by August 31 for travel through January 7, 2011. Instead of the usual 12,500 miles one-way or 25,000 miles roundtrip, they’re charging 8,750 one-way or 17,500 roundtrip.
This applies to awards booked at least 7 days in advance of travel (no discount on last-minute award bookings), and is for flights that are 700 miles or less each way and only within the Continental U.S. or between the U.S. and Canada.
That’s a better value for those awards, of course, and I’ll take the discount. It’s for coach only, and I can certainly stand coach on a short hop. But it’s still not the way I’d tend to use my miles, and the discount isn’t “what it once was.”
Back around 2005 and 2006, United and American offered short-haul awards — flights 750 miles or less — for 15,000 miles. Continental offered 20,000 mile awards for flights of 1500 miles or less.
They’ve raised the price and reduced the distance of these awards in bringing them back, and they’re for a limited time only. Still, charging fewer miles is better. And interesting to see United not playing total lame duck, especially with their boss man planning to step down with the Continental merger.