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How to Use United’s Excursionist Perk to Score a (Nearly) Free Flight

United Excursionist Perk

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Whether or not you’re reserving an insanely low cost mistake fare or utilizing factors and miles, everybody needs to beat airways at their very own recreation. Right here’s your probability.

There’s a mind-blowing however little-used hack inside United’s MileagePlus program that you need to use to your benefit. It’s referred to as the United Excursionist perk, and it really works like this: If you guide a round-trip flight utilizing United miles, you’ll be able to add one other one-way flight for no further miles. There are some essential restrictions round this – we’ll get into them shortly – however that’s the gist of it.

Whereas it’s not precisely a secret inside the frequent flyer group, this perk may be robust to understand and even more durable to make use of for max worth. We’re going to stroll you thru it.

And we’ll present you a good way to take advantage of out of it: Stack this perk with a fantastic worldwide flight deal like those you discover right here or by means of Thrifty Traveler Premium, e-book a budget connecting home flights you want utilizing United miles, and add on one other flight for (almost) free!


How the United Excursionist Perk Works

Different journey websites like View from the Wing and Journey is Free have achieved a fantastic job explaining simply how this perk works – and why United’s choice to eliminate its award chart has truly made the Excursionist Perk higher than ever.

However let’s take a step again. Boiled down, it really works like this:

Should you e-book a roundtrip flight utilizing United miles, you’ll be able to add in one other, one-way flight for no further miles. You simply should pay the taxes and costs on the flight, and that’s it.

That stated, there are some guidelines about that free flight.

  • It should happen between the 2 segments of your round-trip flight, not earlier than your departing flight or after you come back.
  • It have to be in a unique area than the place your journey first started. Ex: In case you ebook a round-trip from the U.S. to Europe utilizing miles, your free Excursionist flight can’t be within the U.S. – however it may be in Europe.
  • Your Excursionist flight have to be inside one area. Ex: You would fly from one European metropolis to a different, however not from Europe to Africa or Asia.

Right here’s a take a look at how United splits up the globe into separate areas, which limits simply how far you’ll be able to go.

Keep in mind that in case you don’t have a stash of United miles, you’ll be able to switch them out of your Chase account instantaneously. So playing cards just like the Chase Sapphire Most popular or Chase Sapphire Reserve may also help bolster your stability of United miles.

Now, let’s check out how this perk works in motion.

Excursionist Perk in Motion

There’s a really simple approach to put this into motion. Let’s say you guide a round-trip fare utilizing United miles from Denver (DEN) to Munich (MUC). That ticket will usually run you 60,000 United miles. Utilizing the Excursionist perk, you may add in a one-way flight to the superb Portuguese metropolis of Lisbon (LIS) and nonetheless pay simply 60,000 miles. You’ll simply have to pay the award taxes and costs for the flight.
United Excursionist Perk
And that’s no small feat. That flight from Munich (MUC) to Lisbon (LIS) sometimes prices at the least 15,000 United miles, plus charges. Because of the inter-regional guidelines of the Excursionist perk, that’s near nearly as good because it will get.
United Excursionist Perk
You may as well mix it with an open-jaw routing. An open jaw flight is once you fly from Airport A to Airport B, however return from Airport C again house to Airport A. So utilizing your European instance, you should use the Excursionist flight to sew that open jaw collectively without spending a dime by flying from DEN to MUC, MUC to LIS, and LIS again to DEN. You’ll merely e-book two a method flights (DEN-MUC, LIS-DEN) and add the Excursionist flight in between.
United Excursionist Perk
Even this manner, you’re nonetheless utilizing simply 60,000 miles for 75,000 miles value of flights. As soon as once more, that Excursionist flight prices you zero miles.

United Excursionist Perk

In each examples, you’re utilizing 60,000 United miles to unlock a free flight that usually prices 15,000 miles. And that’s nice.

However you are able to do a lot better. And it’s all because of the truth that United has began promoting home flights as little as 5,000 miles every method.

The Greatest Bang for Your Buck

Keep in mind these guidelines in your Excursionist flight above? Go look once more and also you’ll discover one thing is lacking: There’s no requirement that you simply spend a specific amount of miles to get it.

There’s additionally no requirement that your Excursionist flight connects with the round-trip. You might guide a home flight inside the U.S., after which tack on a flight inside Europe without spending a dime. Or inside Africa. Or Southeast Asia.

And that opens up an unlimited candy spot. You possibly can ebook a round-trip flight within the U.S. for as little as 10,000 miles, and get a flight that usually prices 15,000 to 17,500 miles for nothing. That makes this good for when it’s worthwhile to ebook positioning flights, these home flights to assist join with an extended worldwide journey.

There’s a simple approach to put this into motion. Let’s return to that journey from Denver (DEN) to Munich (MUC).

One of many elementary guidelines of utilizing factors and miles is that you must use money when flight costs are low cost. And as luck would have it, we lately despatched Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers a tremendous deal to fly from Colorado to Germany for simply $297.

Let’s say you reside in Los Angeles (LAX) and have to get to Denver (DEN) to hop on the flight to Germany. Use United miles to guide that positioning flight for as little as 10,000 miles round-trip. And you may nonetheless add on that Excursionist flight to or from Lisbon (LIS) for zero miles! 
United Excursionist Perk

Thrifty Tip: Your money charges will probably be greater once you depart main European airports like London-Heathrow (LHR), Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG), and even Munich (MUC), so fly again to these airports as an alternative to avoid wasting cash.

You’ll have to ebook the opposite one-way flight, or else discover your means again by practice or automotive. And it might take some searching to get the most cost effective charges on a home fare that line up together with your journey throughout the Atlantic Ocean.

However whether or not you pay 10,000 miles or 20,000 on your positioning flights inside the U.S., you’re getting much more bang in your buck by unlocking the Excursionist perk this manner. And it lets you see one other place for zero miles.

United Excursionist Perk

All this journey for 10,000 United miles and an affordable fare throughout the Atlantic!


How one can Guide a Fare with an Excursionist Flight

Although United’s Excursionist perk might be troublesome to understand, it’s straightforward to make use of when you perceive the way it works.

The great thing about this perk is that it really works mechanically on United’s search engine – no telephone calls, particular buttons, or Twitter DM’s are required for it to kick in. The trick is to make use of United’s multi-city search perform.

United Excursionist Perk

Make sure you’re looking for an award ticket, and click on the multi-city search choice.
United Excursionist Perk

From right here, it’s so simple as typing in your flights in the appropriate order. Going again to our instance: Flight #1 is the primary half of your round-trip, LAX-DEN; Flight #2 is your Excursionist flight, LIS-MUC; and Flight #three is the return leg of your round-trip, DEN-LAX. You’ll have to click on “Add one other vacation spot” to sort within the third and remaining flight.

United Excursionist Perk
Click on via to look, and decide the primary half of your home journey.  Then prepare to select your Excursionist flight. Sure, that is actual life. You’re reserving a flight for zero miles.

United Excursionist Perk

And it’s actually that straightforward. Spherical out the second half of your home flights and also you’re finished. With a bit of luck, you simply spent 10,000 United miles and received a free flight that usually prices 15,000 miles or extra.

Fast Tricks to Maximize the United Excursionist Perk

Now that you understand how it really works and the best way to do it, there are some things to remember to take advantage of out of this nice profit.

  • Because of the regional restrictions on Excursionist flights, just some areas stand out as a terrific place to make use of this perk. On the prime of the listing are Europe, Central and South Africa, and South Asia. Because of their measurement, these areas provides you with probably the most bang in your buck.
  • You possibly can fly for a couple of hours in enterprise class utilizing the Excursionist perk, too! You’ll simply have to e-book that round-trip fare in home top notch – however discovering these fares for a low quantity of miles might be difficult.
  • Paying a bunch of award charges and airport taxes could make it robust to return out forward, even whenever you’re paying zero miles. Construction your itinerary to keep away from flying out of large European airports, and also you’ll pay fewer charges.


Backside Line

The United Excursionist perk deserves its day within the solar. Whereas it may be robust to know, it’s well worth the work. As soon as you set it into apply, you’ll really feel such as you beat United Airways at its personal recreation.

However there’s no telling how lengthy this loophole will work – United might eliminate it at a second’s discover. So use it quickly!


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Lead photograph courtesy of Colin Brown by way of Flickr

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