United is already a fantastic program because it delivers Star Alliance award flights with:
– taps into the pretty big award pool of Star Alliance (i.e. compared to many Skyteam flights)
– no fuel surcharges
– incl. Lufthansa First Class award flights 14 days out
– allows one-way redemptions for 50% of mileage needed
– has access to additional transatlantic partners such as Aer Lingus
– you can fly from the US to Asia via Europe even from the West Coast – that often means 3 International First Class flights for the price of one
But today I changed/booked a intra-Europe award and I'm still amazed by what the computer/multiple agents allowed:
– 14 flights in one award
– hitting the same airport twice on the outbound/inbound
– routing criss-crosses the continent randomly
– one open jaw and one stop-over in a rather random place in Europe (not a Star Alliance hub at all)
– using 6 different airlines incl. Croatia Airlines (never really heard of them before I admit)
United awards stay the most valuable award out there by it's written and unwritten rules. I just hope they do not become more stringent in the future.
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