Booked air ticket to China using United miles and Chase UR points: some tips

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I used the UA miles for my own ticket, it’s not UA saver economy all the way, but I felt it’s ok. The full ticket price was about $1100, and I spent 115000 miles (80k + 35k). Since I was short for about 1200 miles, initially I was worried shell out $75 for those miles, but my Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points came to rescue, I did 2000 miles transfer, and it completed the transfer instantly.

Some tips looking for mileage ticket
Initially I thought all the tickets were out as I searched a few months ago, and could not find any for the date I wanted. This time when I search, it showed me the ticket was available for Tuesday instead of Saturday. Since I also need to buy tickets for my wife/kid, I checked the ticket price on Expedia too (United website was not always working). And I found a ticket/schedule could work in both cases. The only downside is the start time was a bit early (5am), but it’s still manageable. So I did all 3 purchase in a hurry, and by doing that I left out the “lap child” my younger daughter.

Buy award ticket for the right person
Today when I tried to add her, since I only have an award ticket, I could not. And probably due to I bought my wife’s ticket via Expedia, it took almost 2 hours to add my younger daughter. So lesson learned here, next time I should use award ticket for my older daughter. Another reason is the miles accumulated will be more meaningful for me instead of her (I could accumulate miles by flying the China round trip). But anyway, I am going to get Frequent Flyer number for my older daughter, since she is starting travel with us. Actually next week we are travelling to Disneyland, so she will earn some miles in Southwest.

Chase Sapphire with Ultimate Rewards
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A side story is we looked at the ITA software (a Google subsidiary nowadays) price too, and found Air Canada offers the lowest air fare from STL to PVG for the time we looked initially. The downside is we need to stay overnight at Toronto both ways. We actually looked at the Canada electronic travel document (eTA) because both my wife and I are US permanent residents (Green Card holders). But they did not approve my application quickly. And then we found the United deal via the mileage ticket and Expedia.

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