United MileagePlus Flight Purchasing Fail | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on February 1, 2018

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While I do not fly as much as I used to, I have managed to largely stay loyal to United Airlines for many years. I figured that at some point I would attempt to purchase flights with those miles so I wanted to gather them up. After having been largely unsuccessful at planning trips using miles, I started using the miles to buy meals at Newark airport. I have a good amount of miles though, so I would really like to purchase flights.

It all goes downhill from here.

My issue is essentially this – United.com will not allow you to create one reservation with one segment paid with miles and one segment a regular flight purchase. This is what happened when I entered my preferred travel dates and told United.com to “search award travel” and then chose flights that worked for me.

Why. I know from other shopping that the return flight for 2 people doesn’t cost anything near $1,264, so why would I pay for that many miles?

One step earlier in the process, here’s the screen presentation after I’ve chosen one segment.

I have already chosen flights that will cost 25,000 miles. There are NO options available on all of United.com for me to spend less than an additional 25,000 miles for 2 tickets, so why am I not getting a message here, telling me that and allowing me to proceed to search for the return flights as I would normally, while not shopping for award travel? This should not be so complicated.

Let’s fix it!

Here it is. I have greyed out the page and created a pop-up so the situation is incredibly clear.

I could be redirected to the same version of the page I see when I’m looking to purchase flights with actual dollars and not miles.

Is United banking on the fact that this is frustrating and so most people will give up and just buy the flights they want? Come to think of it, I have not heard anyone tell me that any one airline is amazing at this.

If you know of one, let me know! I would genuinely like to hear about it.

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