Do United Airlines Miles+Cash Weekend Fare Specials Earn Miles?

Reader Jon sent in the following question about the weekly “United Specials” fares that require departure late Friday or anytime Saturday, with a return the following Monday or Tuesday.

Every Tuesday United comes out with their weekend fare specials. For these specials they offer a cash only fare, as well as a cash + points fare. When I looked up the fare class of the miles + cash option, I’ve noticed that it’s actually coded as ‘Y’ class. So here’s my question: If I book one of these flights with miles + cash, will I receive 150% PQM for a Y class ticket, or will I receive 0 PQM because it’s treated like a reward ticket?

Cash or Cash+Miles Specials

Cash or Cash+Miles Specials

The short answer is that you don’t earn either Premier Qualifying Miles (PQMs) or redeemable miles for the miles+cash option on United’s weekend special fares, as they are indeed treated as an award ticket. The cash-only weekend specials do, however, book into a revenue fare bucket (usually “L”) and earn PQMs and redeemable miles.

I see why Jon asked the question since United shows “Y” as the fare class when you click into the fare rules and restrictions when booking a miles-plus-cash ticket.

Miles+Cash fare rules and restrictions

Miles+Cash fare rules and restrictions

But when selecting flights, it shows the actual booking class of “X” (or “XN” in this case), which is a non-mileage accrual bucket.

Example of Miles+Cash booking

Example of Miles+Cash booking

Plus, when you arrive at the summary page before paying, the fare clearly shows up as an award ticket with no actual airfare, just taxes and a service fee.

Miles+Cash fare summary

Miles+Cash fare summary

Are United’s weekend specials a good deal? Maybe in some markets, but I honestly have never booked one. The mileage discount from a typical domestic saver award of 25,000 miles roundtrip is nice, but I’d be more likely to pay the cash-only and save those miles for a more valuable redemption.

Also, if you do book one of these, some Flyertalk members have been successful in getting a same day change to an alternate flight outside of the day-of-week restrictions (Fri/Sat outbound, Mon/Tue return) that these fares require at booking. I’m not condoning it, but it’s a useful nugget of information. 😉

– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.

Related:

List and Description of All United Airlines Fare Classes

United Same Day Change and Standby Policy Refresher

Airfare Pricing Buckets and Airline Fare Basis Codes Explained

The NEW United Airlines Upgrade and Award Fare Buckets

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