Has United launched a promo for travel between Boston and Narita?

With JAL launching their Boston – Narita flights in the coming days there are a number of promos out there on the route. Other oneworld carriers are offering bonus miles and discounted redemption rates for the route. And it appears that United might also be matching, at least on the bonus miles side. Even more interesting is that the bonus miles are PQMs for elite status.


Sounds great, right? Well it is, assuming it is actually valid. But reading the T&C of the promo it isn’t completely clear that the bonus is going to work out. The very first section of the fine print includes this nugget:

Itineraries with connecting flights into or out of Boston and Narita are eligible for this promotion; however the bonus award miles only apply for segments between Boston and Narita.

And, unfortunately, that seems to be vague enough that the bonus might not actually apply. See, there are no actual flights between Boston and Narita on United Airlines. So unless all connecting flights between them are eligible the promo is actually useless. Some of the historical promos that the company has offered with similar language have required the segments to be on non-stop flights between the cities, so there is some precedent here.

Oh, and it only applies to tickets purchased after 1 April 2012 and only if you register for the promo.

Also, they don’t actually have the promo listed on the main promo page, so it isn’t clear if this is supposed to be some sort of secret deal or what.

Maybe it will work and maybe it won’t. If you want to give it a try go ahead and register here.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. “See, there are no actual flights between Boston and Narita on United Airlines. So unless all connecting flights between them are eligible the promo is actually useless.”

    Although there are no non-stop flights between BOS and NRT, the wording suggests that all SEGMENTS between BOS and NRT qualify for the bonuses. So on an XXX-BOS-ORD-NRT-YYY trip, the BOS-ORD-NRT segments would earn the bonuses, but XXX-BOS and NRT-YYY would not.

    The promo does state: “the bonus award miles only apply for SEGMENTS BETWEEN BOSTON AND NARITA.” (emphasis added)

    1. They’ve used that same language in the past to mean only non-stop segments. It is quite confusing. The similar bonus promos out for IAD-MAN/DUB don’t include it which makes it even more confusing.

      Also, they do not address how they would know if you are actually flying between BOS and NRT to give the credit if it is not a non-stop flight. When I was pricing tickets the other day I got BOS-TYO as a BOS-SAN + SAN-TYO fare. WOud that count? All the segments were between BOS and TYO and there was no stopover along the way. Plus, I didn’t put anything special in the system to try to trick it; that just happened to be the cheapest fare it offered me. But would it count since I didn’t have a BOS-TYO fare?

      It is very vague, not the sort of situation you want to be in when going after a promo.

  2. I agree with gobluetwo. The wording is “segments between Boston and Narita.” And while you can’t have one (nonstop), you could have two or three or more segments between those airports. What you aren’t allowed is a bonus for flights beyond Boston or Narita if the BOS-NRT portion is part of a larger itinerary.

  3. It’s not too difficult to get like 17K r/t for $1K, the question is wether or not this is stackable.
    Like a multi city BOS-NRT-BOS-NRT-XXX (via BOS). Do you have a link to the promotion page? I can’t seem to find it.

    1. Click the image or the “Register Here” link and it should take you to the promo page. It can only be earnt 3x during the promo period.

  4. Any bets this promo is just evidence of a pending announcement of a new BOS-TYO nonstop?

  5. I don’t see United having a TYO-BOS non stop, BOS hasn’t had TYO service ever, I find it hard to believe it could suddenly support two daily flights. And the promo ends in late summer, and United won’t even have their first 787 by then, which is the only plane I can see having a chance on that route.

  6. I think this is fairly clear. (I’m making these segments up, so I don’t know if you can fly my proposed routings, but that’s not the point.)

    If you fly BOS-LAX-NRT all your segments count for the promo.

    If you fly IAD-BOS-LAX-NRT, only the BOS-LAX and LAX-NRT segments count.

    The other reading implies that there’s no promotion at all, which doesn’t make any sense.

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