The gripe about airline miles has always been a simple one: they’re never easy to use when you want to. It’s not always abundantly clear where someone is even supposed to begin their flight search, let alone the best practices for finding seats. United is just about ready to change that.

Inspired by Delta, United has created an improved interactive map, which shows all the places you can travel using points on the dates of your choice. It’s a huge help in giving travelers ballpark ideas of how far miles can take them, and getting seats booked!

United Airlines Interactive Award Map

Got United MileagePlus Miles and want to go somewhere using them? If economy will do, it’s easy to do with the new interactive map! Yep, unfortunately, much like Delta’s interactive tool, this only includes seats in the economy cabin, for now, but even still, it makes travel better. For business, you’ll still need to search the old fashioned way.

United’s new ‘interactive map’ allows you to input your starting city, add filters like “beach destination”, “beer and breweries”, “snorkeling”, “romantic” and instantly be presented with prices using miles for one way, or round trip flight options.

Going further, you can add filters like…

  • maximum miles (filter by how many miles you can spend)
  • non-stop only (helps to weed out frustrating itineraries)

Sometimes it’s that simple, right? Got miles and willing to go where they’ll take me!

Of course, it’d be fantastic if United decided to add premium economy and business class to its interactive award search filters, but a start is a start. Now that the easy to use, interactive tech is in place for United’s economy flights, adding the other cabins would be simple, if United becomes inclined.

Hot tip: searching from United hub cities will almost undoubtedly give more options than searching from smaller regional airports.

Miles Should Be Easy

Throughout the pandemic, airlines were extremely aggressive with credit card offers, often awarding up to 100,000 points as a welcome bonus. United’s new Quest Card did exactly that. But people grow tired of points balances they can’t get through.

Adding new tools which help stoke travel inspiration and turn it instantly into something bookable is the way forward. Airlines will be cautious to show all the places where miles can extract top value at a moments notice, such as a map of all the places seats using points are available for international business class, but the day may come.

History is known to repeat itself, and the years following significant travel downturns, such as those following 2001 and 2008, are almost guaranteed to bring stellar loyalty offers. Couple them with easier ways to use points, and United Airlines might be onto something.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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1 Comment

  1. Until they make Domestic First/Business Award seats available in conjunction with International Business Awards flights, IMHO their scheme is flawed. And yet there are 4 First/Domestic seats usually taken a matter of days after a flight go on sale. Somebody advised me they’re usually Early Booking Non-Rev Senior Staff, Captains and Families and Management.. Oh the Old United Staff First Policy, still exists.

    When you take this policy into account plus lack of Internation First Class, and Premium Partner Awards. Mainly . LH, NH and SQ I’m sticking with AA and OneWorld.

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