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