10k One Way Award Redemptions on United and Delta

The standard award cost for domestic flights is 12,500 miles for both United and Delta, however, there are some flights that will only cost you 10,000 miles one way in economy for these carriers.
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United
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For United award redemptions, flights under 700 miles will cost you only 10k miles one way in economy. This includes mainland US and Canada. To know which city pairs fall under the mileage threshold, a great tool to use is the United 700 mi radius search created by Wandering Aramean.

When I selected my home airport, I saw all cities which are eligible:IAH 700mi Radius

To see if there was any award availability, I searched on the United website and selected Houston (IAH) to St. Louis (STL) (as an example since this was under 700 mi one way) and I found availability for the 10k miles. As a note, you can not have any stopovers on these low level awards.

10k IAH-STL

 

Delta
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Delta recently announced that there will be “one way award tickets beginning as low as 10,000 miles plus taxes and fees, available through Dec. 31, 2015 for travel in select U.S., Mexican and Caribbean markets. Customers can now fly to several popular Award destinations with a 21-day minimum advance purchase.”

Unfortunately they aren’t specific about which flight or mileage threshold will qualify for the reduced mileage. I tried to search from IAH to nearby cities but I had no luck. The Frequent Miler did a post where he was able to find some 10k award availability for a few city pairs.
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Using BA Avios as an Alternative
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For short haul flights like the ones mentioned above, a cheaper alternative could be using British Airways Avios. The airline has award redemptions that are distanced based so the shorter flights are cheaper. Here is the BA award chart that will go into affect April 28, 2015. The economy mileage redemptions have not changed so we can still reference this chart for this post.

BA Avios award chart 4.28.15

 

Using the above example of the flight from IAH-STL, it could potentially be cheaper to use Avios. To check how many avios it will cost one way, another great tool to use from Wandering Aramean is the Avios Calculator. You can plug in your city pairs and it will tell you the mileage cost one way. As shown below, the flight to St. Louis connecting in Dallas will be 9k avios. This is slightly cheaper than 10k and I’d much rather use these miles. Of course if you have a preference of which airline you fly or if you want nonstop vs a connecting flight, then this may sway your decision.avios iah-stl.
To learn how to obtain Avios, Mommy Points has a good summary of your different options.
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