Can’t Find Saver Award Availability? There’s One Must-Have Credit Card That Can Help You Out


The Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Visa is the only card that gives expanded award availability. As long as there is 1 seat on the plane you can redeem standard level miles for it.

But more important than that is the incredible amount of additional saver award space it gives you access to.

While throwing together the Chicago DDF DO last week I found a flight option for AJK from NYC using 10K United miles (the 7.5K Avios flight options didn’t work for him)

Alas he had just cancelled both his and his wife’s consumer and business United cards. And the flight I found only had saver award availability for cardholders.

The United card is crucial for anyone who collects United miles.  If you have elite status you can only get elite upgrades on award tickets if you have a United card.  If you don’t have elite status then the expanded award availability alone makes the card an absolute must.

While the card doesn’t directly help with business class saver award availability (only Platinum, 1K, or GS status helps for that), it does make Plan B business class saver award availability easier as that award requires there to be coach saver availability. Read more about Plan B here.

So, just how much extra saver award availability is there?

Below is a look at the saver award space for 2 popular routes through March (Saver awards typically become available within a couple months of the flight).  Flight results are shown from one flight on the date listed.

For example on March 22nd United is willing to sell a cardholder up to 9 coach saver award seats for 42.5K miles but there are no saver awards available for non-cardholders, so they would have to swing for the 85K standard level award. Cardholders can redeem those saver award seats for anyone, even if they don’t have a United card.  Additionally United will be willing to sell a cardholder a 70K Plan B business class award but would not sell that award to a non-cardholder as there would be no saver award space to book at all.

Availability for a cardholder:










Availability for a non-cardholder:










(Want to learn how you can see how many seats are bookable for cardholders and non-cardholders on I explained it all on this post about Expert Mode)

Note that saver award availability is very fluid, the results below are accurate as of 12:30am this morning.

Newark-Tel Aviv (Number of available saver award seats):
01/12: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 6
01/18: Cardholders: 3, Non-cardholders: 0
01/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
01/24: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 7
01/27: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
01/29: Cardholders: 7, Non-cardholders: 0
02/02: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/03: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/05: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 6
02/05: Cardholders: 2, Non-cardholders: 0
02/09: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 3
02/10: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
02/15: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 3
02/17: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 4
02/18: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 0
02/19: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 0
02/20: Cardholders: 7, Non-cardholders: 0
02/21: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 0
02/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 6
02/24: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 0
02/25: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/28: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/01: Cardholders: 3, Non-cardholders: 0
03/02: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/03: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/04: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/09: Cardholders: 2, Non-cardholders: 0
03/17: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/22: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0

JFK-Los Angeles (Number of available saver award seats):
01/12: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 4
01/13: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 6
01/14: Cardholders: 5, Non-cardholders: 3
01/17: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
01/18: Cardholders: 2, Non-cardholders: 0
01/20: Cardholders: 3, Non-cardholders: 0
01/21: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 2
01/22: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
01/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
01/24: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
01/29: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 3
02/01: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 1
02/05: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 4
02/06: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
02/11: Cardholders: 5, Non-cardholders: 0
02/19: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 6
02/20: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 2
02/21: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
02/25: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 7
02/26: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/27: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
02/28: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 4
03/01: Cardholders: 7, Non-cardholders: 0
03/05: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/06: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
03/12: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/16: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
03/18: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 2
03/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 7
03/30: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
03/31: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0

How do you find expanded award availability? All you need to do is login to your account before you search for award flights. Never use the remember me option when logging in.

How do you know if your card is properly linked to your account? Just login on and then hover over the words “Mileage Expiration”

If your card is properly linked you will see the following message that your miles won’t expire as long as you remain a cardholder:











If your card isn’t properly linked then you will see the following message that your miles will expire if you don’t have activity every 18 months:















If you have a United card but don’t see the non-expiring message just add the card to your account here and it should be linked within 48 hours.

Other card benefits:
Besides for the signup bonus of 30K miles for spending $1,000 and another 5K miles for adding a free authorized user and the expanded award space, there are other really nice benefits of the Explorer card:
-Primary CDW insurance in every country in the world.
-First checked bag free.
-Priority boarding so that you’ll have space for your carry-ons.
-No foreign transaction fees.
-2 free transferable United lounge passes per year.
-10K mileage bonus every year that you spend $25K, a 40% mileage bonus which means you’ll have earned 1.4 miles per dollar everywhere.
-Spending $25K in a year also waives the requirement to spend $3K on United flights to get Silver status, $6K on United flights to get Gold status, and $9K on United flights to get Platinum status. You only need to fly the 25K, 50K, or 75K miles like in the good old days.
-Double miles on United purchases.
-Elite members can get upgrades on coach award tickets on upgrade eligible routes if they have a United card.
-Miles don’t expire as long as you are a cardholder.

The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

-You can also get the business version of the Chase United Explorer card which also qualifies for expanded saver award space. Just click on “Are you a business owner” in the top-right of the Explorer card link.

-Want a 2nd free bag, a 50% mileage bonus per dollar spent everywhere, United club access for you and your entire family, post-security terminal access without a ticket, priority baggage handling and priority security access, and waived award expedite fees? The United Club card comes with all of that.  Just click on the MileagePlus Club tab at the right side of the Explorer card link.

The Explorer business, Club, and the now defunct Presidential Plus card also give expanded saver award availability.


Other Chase cards you can apply for at the same time include the Chase British Airways (50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a year and the annual fee is waived for a limited time only), the Chase Freedom (which has no annual fee, gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories, and 10% bonus points in 2015 if you have a Chase checking account), the Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, no fee the first year, free primary car rental insurance including in the US and Israel, plus 2-2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), the Chase Marriott (with 50K signup points plus a free night upon signup and a free night every subsequent year upon renewal),the Chase Ink Plus (50K signup points, 5 points per dollar on telecom/office supplies, 2 points per dollar on hotels and gas) and the Chase Ink Cash (which has no annual fee and gives 5 points per dollar on telecom/office supplies and 2 points per dollar on dining and gas).

Leave a Reply

46 Comments On "Can’t Find Saver Award Availability? There’s One Must-Have Credit Card That Can Help You Out"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

Sort by:   newest | oldest

Doesn’t the United club card work as well?


Dan I have the united card,last year they waved me the annual fee ,even though it was my second year holding this card,this year though I tried several times an they say that they have a new policy that they don’t give credit of the annual fee amount they charged at all.
Would you cancel the card?
Would you downgrade?
If I downgrade would it have the benefit to expend saver awared ?


Dan you mentioned United mileage plus Explorer “visa”, will it work on the master card?(old continental card that they switched to United I recently had problems because I didn’t have the visa, like bag fees etc.)



Get a United business card so that you don’t lose the expanded availability in the meantime?

If you downgrade or cancel you’ll lose the expanded availability.

Yes. The Mastercard is discontinued so I didn’t mention it. All of those cards will be converted over to Visa anyway.

Regular joe

Does the MileagePlus CLUB card come with expanded save award availability as well ?


@Regular joe:
As the post says, yes.


Why would you use United rewards? Just use Avios. Duh!


That’s a very ignorant statement. Each program has their strengths.

Using Avios to Israel without paying fuel surcharges is very difficult. And flying JFK-LAX would cost the same in either program, but United has nonstop options from both EWR and JFK and United allows free connections while Avios do not.

For a flight from Chicago or NYC to Toronto though, yes Avios would be much better.


Pardon my ignorance but I thought by expanded availability United/Chase meant that cardholders would have access to the XN bucket, even if they didn’t have elite status. Accordingly elites and non-elites with the Explorer card would see the same number of seats in XN. Is this right? Or are you saying Explorer cardholders would see more seats in XN than elites?


But The busniess will also come with an annual fee
Isn’t ?


Where did I imply that Explorer cardholders would have better access than elites?

They both have access to the same JN, YN, and XN award space.
Plat/1K/GS also get IN award space.
Definitions here:

Waived for the first year.


@Dan: You didn’t imply, but you didn’t explicitly say one way or the other that I saw, so just clarifying. I don’t have the card and it would’ve been a reason to apply. (I know the upgrades on award tickets are another but I so rarely get upgrades on paid tickets it isn’t worth having to pay another annual fee). Thanks for clarifying.


If I can’t get them to waive the annual fee and I have the United Consumer card, will I lose my miles if I obtain a business version before canceling the consumer card?


Between the waived PDQ, the elite upgrades, and the club passes, I don’t see how an elite could not have the card.

I’ve gotten many upgrades on awards thanks to it.

You don’t lose your miles for closing an airline/hotel card.


Thank you for this post Dan. Last night I was booking seats for a late-summer trip to Europe and finding very little Saver space…I wish I had had this card.


Apply now and you’ll have access in a week or so.


I canceled my united credit consumer credit card at the end of may 2014. how long do i have to wait before opening a new card for bonus miles?


As long as you open a new United mileage number you don’t have to wait at all to get another bonus.
You can merge your United accounts together afterwards.


So after I cancel the card my miles will expire after 18 months? Starting from cancellation or when I got them? Also, can I then get the business version to keep them going indefinitely?


My wife and I each got a targeted offer of 50K plus 5K for an authorized user, so we’re planning to each get a card with each other as authorized users. That’s 110K for a mere $4000 total spend. Can we/should we check the “are you a business owner?” box (assuming that it’s there)? What are the pros and cons? We each own a sole proprietor business.


What’s the chase United Explorer Mastercard is that and different than the Visa?


If I am an additional user on my dad’s united club card do I still have access to these benefits? Specifically the expanded awards?


From last activity.

You can.

See previous comments.



@Dan: Different circumstances perhaps. I fly almost exclusively transcons at popular times and there are many elites, so I was only once upgraded last year on nearly 2x month RTs. They’re always paid as I can get good rates with careful planning – $300ish – so using miles to buy them wouldn’t make sense, and even if I did, and had the Explorer card, I’d face the same unlikelihood of an upgrade. And that’s assuming I fly out of Newark, which I do with decreasingly flexibility because the rates have been better lately to/from JFK, where there is no CPU on paid or award tickets. When I do use miles, it’s for internstional travel, again no CPU. So that benefit really doesn’t matter for me.

Waived PQD I get with my existing MP card, so that isn’t a factor, and lounge passes are meaningless to me – I fly nonstops and am often last on the plane. In the luckily rare cases of delay or cancellation, it’s always dinner time, which isn’t available in the club, so I go to a restaurant or bar. I’ve actually held onto a friend’s explorer lounge pass for the last four months or so and never found a use for it. It’s hard to see the value of the club.

Individual circumstances and preferences I guess. But it has been tricky to find saver seats, which is why I asked. More saver seats is very compelling.


Have you addressed the issue of phantom availability on United. A couple of times I have planned a trip based on the availability of certain flights only to find out when I go to actually book that the flights dont exist. This only happens on partner airlines. Is there a way to avoid this outside of calling first?


Any tricks for getting free upgrades to econ+ on long int’l flights, for non-elites? I’m very tall.



Dan, what are options for dealing with the af after the first year! Can you downgrade to anything?

Business card

What and is there a benefit to the business card to the regular one?

Joe S

If I booked a flight with a United card to get a free bag, and then canceled the the card and applied for a new one, is there a way to get the free waived bag to show up online again without having to get someone at the airport to manually override the charge? United customer service said if it doesn’t show online, I have to do it at the airport. Thanks.


How many months ahead do you think they provide this availability? I am trying to book either TLV-ORD or LON-ORD for 7/30/2015 and cannot find anything from TLV and nothing decent from LON. Am I too early or too late?


Ive recently been wondering about this, thank you very much for clarifying!

In your article you mention that you booked or were going to book a ticket for AJK to Chicago for 10,000 one way on United.

1. Isn’t there a fee for booking within 3 weeks of the trip, or is there a way of avoiding it?

2. Is not always the standard 12.5k to fly domestic?


Hey Dan is this the best cc for miles to israel? Do you recommend?


can i get the bonus from a amex starwood cad if i already got it a year ago?


Dan, you mentioned the Marriott card. I signed up at the end of August when they were offering 70,000 points for, I thought, a $1000 spend (which I made.) I didn’t receive the points and they are now saying it was a $2,000 spend which I didn’t meet. Any advice? Has this happened before? Any way of proving what the offer was back then? Thanks!

Leon Manoucheri

does the 50,000 bonus points from the Marriott rewards expire?
also which is better: starwood or Marriott card?
Thank you


@Dan: What’s the advantage of the business card over the personal card?


Thanks so much Dan! This was the info I needed to book tickets to Hawaii in August 2015 for my family of 6.


I don’t have the united card but have a couple thousand miles from flying that are set to expire this month, how can I extend my miles life?


max 1.5 per q for main holder including AU, or each Au can add 1.5k/ quarter?


meanwhile i still have explorer MC does it same avilabity as
the visa?


10K for EWR-ORD?


“Saver awards typically become available within a couple months of the flight”

Both of those are answered at a DansDeals seminar 😉

United miles are excellent for Israel.


Seminar secrets 🙂


I have downgraded to the free united card is that good enough?


I don’t think you got to my question.
Does the 50,000 bonus points from the Marriott rewards expire?
also which is better: starwood or Marriott card?
Thank you


If you downgrade to the United Mileage Plus card to avoid the annual fee from the Explorer version. Do you think you will see the additional award space?


Off topic questions.. according to “22 things you should know about Avios” you said there not to book lap child when flying domestic, just add lap child at counter free of charge. Did u notice when u actually enter lap child they “DO” charge 10% of the points?
Question #2 Can i pay for luggage with American Airlines Gift card? and will they credit me the rest?