How To Check For United Saver Award Space Availability With Partner Airlines And Save A Bundle Of Miles!

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A reader commented on a recent post about a 25% transfer bonus from Citi to Lifemiles that he hasn’t seen award space on Lifemiles from NYC to Chicago or Miami in months. But if you’re flexible you can do better than searching for award space on the Lifemiles site.

United miles are easily transferrable from Chase Ultimate Rewards and offer the ability to make free changes up until the time of departure. They also offer free cancellations up until 30 days prior to departure, which combined with free changes means you can always cancel for free.

However you can often save miles by using partner award miles to book United flights. That’s especially true now that United charges more miles for close-in flights, while partner airlines do not.

In this post I’ll compare rates to Avianca Lifemiles, Turkish Airlines, and Air Canada. Other good partner booking options to look into include ANA, Aegean, Asiana, and Singapore. You should always compare partner rates before transferring points to make a booking. And of course you should compare the cost to booking a paid ticket or using bank points to pay for a paid ticket.

You need a free Lifemiles account or a Turkish Airlines account to search awards on those sites.

You can open a Turkish Airlines mileage account online (Hint: Your password must be exactly 6 numbers or else it will give an error). You can book Star Alliance awards with Turkish miles here (Sign in on their homepage and then come back here to click this link again). You can’t search for partner awards from their home page. Search for one-way at a time for best results.

There are caveats to booking with partners. A big one is that United offers their cardholders significantly expanded saver award space and partner airlines don’t have access to that space. Another big one is that if you need to make changes or cancellations, it can be very difficult with partner award miles. And if the airline makes a schedule change or cancellation, it can be very hard to get accommodated on a another option with partner award miles.

Another caveat is that United makes it easy to find award space using their calendars, but partner airlines don’t typically have award calendars.

But that’s no problem, you just have to start your search on United.com to find saver award space before checking partner sites.

To do so, go to United.com (Use in an incognito window to ensure that you’re not signed into an account), search for a one-way flight with miles, and click on flexible dates along with your desired month of travel:

 

Click on the X to avoid logging into your account:

 

You will then get the saver award calendar that applies to non-cardholders and partner airlines.

If you only want nonstop flights, just click on show only nonstop flight availability. Solid blue lines indicate dates with saver award space in coach, while dotted blue lines indicate dates with saver award space in first class.

From Chicago to LaGuardia on August 12th there are flights for 14.2K and 17.2K United miles. If you click on details you can see the fare class. X is a saver award which is bookable with partner airline miles, while the YN class is not a saver award and can only be booked with United miles as partners can only book saver awards.

 

You can hop on over to Avianca Lifemiles to book those flights for 7.5K miles:

Or Turkish Airlines for 7.5K miles:

Or Air Canada for 10K miles:

 

 

Cleveland to Newark on August 15th is available with a saver award for 15K miles in coach (X class) or 27.6K miles in first class (I class):

 

Then you can hop on over to Avianca Lifemiles to book those flights for 6.5K miles in coach or 15K in first class:

 

Or Turkish Airlines for 7.5K miles in coach or 12.5K miles in first class:

 

Or Air Canada for 6K miles in coach or 15K miles in first class:

 

 

Miami to Newark on August 12th is available with a saver award for 15K miles in coach (X class):

 

Avianca Lifemiles charges 10K miles:

 

Turkish Airlines charges just 7.5K miles:

 

Air Canada charges 10K miles:

 

Los Angeles to Newark on September 18th is available with a saver award for 9.7K miles in coach (X class) or 35K miles in first class (I class):

 

Avianca Lifemiles charges 13.5K miles in coach or 25K in first class:

 

Turkish Airlines charges just 7.5K miles in coach or 12.5K miles in first class:

 

Air Canada charges 12.5K miles in coach or 25K miles in first class:

Maui to Denver on August 16th is available with a saver award for 24.6K miles in coach (X class) or 52.6K miles in first class (I class):

 

Avianca Lifemiles charges 22.5K miles in coach or 40K in first class:

Turkish Airlines charges just 7.5K miles in coach or 12.5K miles in first class:

 

Air Canada charges 22.5K miles in coach or 35K miles in first class:

Newark to Tel Aviv on August 16th is available with a saver award for 44.6K miles in coach (X class) or 77.6K miles in business class (I class):

 

Avianca Lifemiles charges 42.5K miles in coach or 78K in business class:

 

Turkish Airlines charges just 32K miles in coach or 47K miles in business class:

 

Air Canada charges 40K miles in coach or 70K miles in business class:

  • You can transfer Chase points to United at a 1K:1K ratio instantly or Marriott points to United at a 60K:27.5K ratio.
  • You can transfer Citi points to Turkish at a 1K:1K ratio, Capital One to Turkish at a 2K:1.5K ratio, or Marriott points to Turkish at a 60K:25K ratio.
  • You can transfer AMEX, Capital One, or Citi points to Lifemiles instantly at a 1K:1K ratio, or Marriott points to Lifemiles at a 60K:25K ratio.
  • You can transfer AMEX or Chase points to Air Canada at a 1K:1K ratio instantly, Capital One to Air Canada instantly at a 2K:1.5K ratio, or Marriott points to Air Canada at a 60K:27.5K ratio.

If you, a member in your household, or an authorized user has one of the following Chase cards, you can transfer points into miles:

Chase no-annual fee cards that are fantastic for earning points, but require one of the cards above for points transfers include:

  • Chase Ink Cash has a record high 75K signup bonus and earns 5 points per dollar on cable, TV, telecom, cellular, office supply stores, and gift cards from office supply stores, plus 2 points per dollar on dining and gas ($0 annual fee). Read more here.
  • Chase Ink Unlimited has a record high 75K signup bonus and earns 1.5 points per dollar everywhere ($0 annual fee). Read more here.
  • Chase Freedom Flex has a 20K signup bonus, plus earn 5 points per dollar on up to $12K in groceries for 1 year, plus 5 points on rotating categories, 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and 3 points per dollar on dining and drugstores ($0 annual fee). Read more here.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited has a 20K signup bonus, plus earn 5 points per dollar on up to $12K in groceries for 1 year, at least 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and 3 points per dollar on dining and drugstores ($0 annual fee). Read more here.

If you or a friend has one of the following Citi cards, you can transfer points into miles:

  • Citi Premier has a record high 80,000 points for spending $4,000 in 3 months, 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels, travel agents, groceries, gas, and dining. $95 annual fee. Read more here.

Citi no-annual fee cards that are fantastic for earning points, but require one of the cards above for points transfers include:

  • The Citi Double Cash card offers 2% cash back or 2 points per dollar spent everywhere that can be transferred into ThankYou points. If you also have a Citi Premier Card you can transfer points into miles. No annual fee. Read more here.
  • The Citi Custom Cash Card offers 5 points per dollar on up to $500 in purchases in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle. This is marketed as 5% cash back, but will actually come in the form of 5 ThankYou points per dollar spent! Eligible categories include Restaurants, Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Select Travel, Select Transit, Select Streaming Services, Drugstores, Home Improvement Stores, Fitness Clubs, and Live Entertainment. You will also get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. No annual fee. Read more here.
  • The Citi Rewards+ Card offering 15,000 points for spending $1,000 in 3 months. This card can’t transfer points on its own, but can transfer points if you have one of the Citi cards above. This card automatically rounds up rewards earned on every purchase to the nearest 10 points, meaning you earn 10 points on a $0.50 Amazon balance reload. Earn 2 points on $6K in annual spending at supermarkets, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, and a 10% points rebate when you redeem points, up to a 10K points rebate per year. If you also have a Citi Premier Card you can transfer points into miles and get a 10% points rebate on transferred or redeemed miles. No annual fee. Read more here.

Capital One cards with transferable Membership Rewards points to miles include:

  • Capital One Venture offering a bonus of 60,000 miles for spending $3,000, 2 miles per dollar everywhere. Global Entry/Pre-Check Membership. $95 annual fee.
  • Capital One Spark Miles offering 50,000 miles for spending $4,500 in 3 months, 2 miles per dollar everywhere. Global Entry/Pre-Check Membership. $0 intro annual fee, then $95 annual fee.

AMEX cards with transferable Membership Rewards points into miles include:

  • AMEX Blue Business Plus
    • Earns 2 points per dollar spent everywhere on up to $50K in annual spending. 
  • AMEX Platinum Business
    • Earn 1.5 points per dollar on eligible $5K+ transactions, $200 in annual airline fee credits, $200 in annual Dell credits, Marriott and Hilton Gold status, 35% points rebate on paid airfare redemptions, Global Entry/Pre-check, AMEX Global lounge collection access.
  • AMEX Gold Business Card
    • 25% points rebate on paid airfare redemptions, earn 4 points per dollar on your most common spending categories each billing cycle.
  • AMEX Platinum Consumer Card
    • Earn 5 points per dollar on airfare, $200 in annual airline fee credits, up to $200 in annual Uber credit, Uber Eats pass, up to $100 in annual Saks credit, Marriott and Hilton Gold status, Global Entry/Pre-check, AMEX Global lounge collection access.
  • AMEX Gold Consumer Card
    • $10 monthly Grubhub credits, $10 monthly Uber credits, Uber Eats pass, earn up to 4 points per dollar.
  • AMEX Green Consumer Card
    • $100 in annual CLEAR credit, earn up to 3 points per dollar.
  • AMEX Everyday Preferred Consumer Card
    • Earn between 1.5-4.5 points per dollar everywhere with 30+ monthly transactions.
  • AMEX Everyday Consumer Card
    • Earn between 1.2-2.4 points per dollar everywhere with 20+ monthly transactions.

Marriott cards with transferable points to miles include:

Leave a Reply

73 Comments On "How To Check For United Saver Award Space Availability With Partner Airlines And Save A Bundle Of Miles!"

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

Pete Weiss

Great post for newbies. Gonna send this to a couple people. Thanks!

chaim

it looks like air canada charges a47 dollar booking fee from the pictures in your post . Is that correct?

Zaltz

Does it make sense that I can’t find any saver award flights (x) on turkish?

HoKo

Dan are you aware of any way to get the UA Gateway card if I’m over 5/24 and don’t have any existing United cards? I’d love to have access to the expanded United Award availability.

Zaltz

I searched from ord to bru on Sep 5.
On united it shows it’s a saver awards, but couldn’t find it on turkish
(I see on lm it’s 30k)

Tyvm!!

CLE Rocks

Does this mean that your transferring the miles to the partner airlines in order to book?

Let’s go!

Is checked bag free if booking United flight with partner miles? Does it matter if you pay any associated booking fees with United CC?

Ralph

I just tried routes from dtw- ewr and nothing shows up on Turkish
I even called them and they said they don’t know why

Ralph

Why do you not post my posts?

Ralph

Sorry I didn’t realize my bad

Ralph

Can you please check your system on Turkish to see if you can find any one way from Dtw-ewr for 7500 please in Aug

Bt

Great post(especially how to avoid them forcing you to log in)!
Would love to see ones on DL and AA as well.

Zaltz

When buying united saver award with partner miles, does it book basic economy or regular ?

Seltzer

Awesome post and extremely clear. Thank you. When is it ever better to use air Canada miles over LM due to the booking fee? Is AC more user friendly to make it worth the fee extra miles/dollars?

Javk

What’s the point in avoiding to sign in?

Danfan5773

CMIIR, I think it’s just to make sure that you don’t get extra saver award availability if you have United credit cards.

Chaim F

I need to book LGA (New York City) – YYZ (Toronto). What’s the best way to get saver awards for that?

R

Turkish isn’t showing availability even though something is bookable on Avianca and Aegean

Michael

I opened a lifemiles account and saw this:
Promo: 115% bonus when you transfer miles
For every LM 1,000 you transfer, they will get a total of LM 2,150. Valid through Aug 20th, 2021.

However it looks like their is a $15+Tax fee for every 1000 miles block of transfer..

Does anyone know more information? And if it’s worth?

Burdaku

Thank you for sharing
So for the current existing points with UA, how can I transfer these points? I can transfer the points for Credit Card partners to airlines but can I also transfer UA points to a credit card partner and then again from there transfer to another airline?

zow

@Dan, did the two LAX-EWR Saver Award I class seats on 18SEP get swooped up? They’re still showing on United.com, but I don’t see them with I search on Turkish.

zow

Showing up on AC…is there a bug with Turkish? Will Turkish book if I call?

ralph

I spent Alot of time searching different routes on Turkish Miles and Smiles it seems like certain cities work like cle-ewr or mia-ewr however DTW-EWR has no opening at all even in to 2022 when Lifemiles has a few
Stinks for us Detroiter’s
I tried calling again to see if it was a glitch and the incompetent agent just said sorry theres no availability

FBR

Thanks for the great post! I see X class on United EWR-ZRH-GVA with Swiss Airlines but it doesn’t show up on Turkish (using your link that you posted above). Instead they give me a flight on LH to FRA with a connection on Swiss to GVA. If I search just EWR-ZRH on Turkish the flight I want comes up, so is there a way to get them to book that with the connection to GVA as 1 award?

Another question – how long is the transfer time from Marriott to Turkish? I don’t have cap1 or citi so I want to know how long I’ll be holding my breathe :).

Thank you!

Jay

swiss flight depart sat night 9.55 from newark. shabbos ends 8 pm (erev sukkos).
whats latest arrival to airport to go thru TSA, check in swiss etc to make it witn no risk of missing flight?

Does UA refund no redposit fee $125 during covid time? (going to TLV)

Mogul

I can’t seem to figure out how to search on Turkish for Star alliance flights. Everything I try only gives me Turkish flight results. I’ve also tried using the link you posted in the comments but it’s not working for me.
Trying to book tlv-ewr on Aug 18, United shows a saver award.

zow

are you logged into your TK miles/smiles account?

Mogul

Yes. But I figured it out, you need to click on your name, then miles redemption, then book star alliance.

Mootkim

If Partners cant book YN fare, why in the first example is it giving options for the 6 oclock flight that showed YN fare and not X?

Gary

After logging in, I entered the link you posted: https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-us/miles-and-smiles/account/book-star-award-tickets/ but it is not showing the availability that I see on the United site. Is there a another trick? Do you need to use a certain browser? Thanks!

Chaim

Do i need to log in to my lifemiles account to see the saver award flights?

Simon

How is finding availability on United website connected to availability on Avianca Lifemiles ???I was doing what you described yesterday myself . Your first step is great- fully agree if you are booking on United . Than i go to Avianca and dont see this flight !!’. End of story .
I bought great tickets using my UR ( instant transfer ) to United ,but didn’t see anything good on Lifemiles ( Kris was OK also ,but harder to cancel )
Please explain !
Tyvm

Avi

Anyone have luck booking United flight with Turkish points for someone else not the account holder?

ish chai

Dan, does this work also with Skyteam partners?
as instead of Delta for NYC TLV can I use AM, AZ, AF/KL , KE , SU?

sammytorah

thanks dan your the man!!!
just confirming when we book with the partners its still a united flight, right?

Vinny

Trying to book award ticket using turkish. At checkout, after putting in my credit card info, I don’t see a submit/continue/paynow button. I tried different borwsers but no luck. Any advice here?

Avrohom Jacobs

Trying to book with Turkish but getting to the payment page there is no conuite button

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