Rio on sale; great mileage run opportunity from United


UPDATE: The fare was pulled with the 1pm feed. 

Rio is an awesome city, well worth a visit to experience the beaches, culture and people ((see links below for details from my prior visit). Earlier in the week American Airlines apparently wanted to help Floridians visit, offering up ridiculously cheap fares. I’m not seeing those fares still on offer right now but United Airlines is now following on American’s heels. They have apparently decided that they REALLY want people to visit Rio, so long as you are starting in Orlando. There are fares available right now for less than $500 all-in between Orlando and Rio, with no minimum stay requirements and reasonably wide open availability.

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If you are feeling particularly creative and looking for a mileage run out of these fares it is not too hard to make something around 3.3 cents/PQM on United, thanks to routing rules which permit Denver to be used, at least on the outbound segment. Even without Denver getting 3.5 cents is pretty easy; just focus on the Houston routing as it is more miles than the Newark or Dulles options. The following is what I would earn as a 1K with a Denver routing:

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There is generally better availability on slightly shorter and more reasonable routings but the ability to route the return via Newark has some other, unintended benefits for me in terms of positioning costs.

One caveat to the earning potential is that the United N fare is the lowest they offer and, as such, does not earn credit in several partner programs. Asiana, US Airways and United all will give 100% credit for these segments. Lufthansa‘s Miles & More, Aegean and TAP Air Portugal will not accrue points for this trip.

The fare is valid on a pretty wide range of dates as well. Here are the United fare rules:

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Do keep in mind that Brazil requires a visa for visitors traveling on a US passport and it is not cheap to acquire. Still, the fare is awesome and the visa lasts 10 years, covering multiple future trips.

This is a great fare available for visiting a wonderful destination. And it probably won’t last long. I’ve got a couple on hold already and I’m looking at a few other options.

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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, LinkedIn and .

11 Comments

  1. not getting good price results in July, out of MCO or GIG, despite July dates being included in the offer date ranges, via your post.

  2. The fare is only good ex-MCO so don’t bother looking out of GIG. And it requires N inventory which is the absolute lowest of the fare classes so there will be limitations on when it is available. I’m also not seeing any July inventory but plenty scattered through the rest of the year. Even the $800 rates I’m seeing in July aren’t all that bad.

  3. Seth, trying to understand the UA elite program. As a 1k, will you be eligible for UDUs on all the domestic segments even though this is an international trip, or will you have to fly this whole thing in coach since you cannot use a GPU on N fare and no UDUs possible? Any other way to buy this fare and somehow upgrade I am missing?

  4. what is the spreadsheet you used to break down the cents/ PQM? is that tool available to the public?

  5. You are eligible for CPUs on the domestic flights, steve, but at the bottom of the fare hierarchy so I wouldn’t bet too big on them clearing.

    Click on the image, chris and you can get right to the tool I built/use. It is pretty powerful, actually. 😉

  6. Routings are interesting:

    ——-
    20FEB13**20FEB13/UA ORLRIO/NSP;WH/TPM 4375/MPM 5256
    LN FARE BASIS OW USD RT B PEN DATES/DAYS AP MIN MAX R
    46+NLN0R9LS 248 N NRF S18FEB 11JUL+ + – – R
    B19FEB –
    ADDON SPECIFIED UA0092 ADDON EFF28DEC12
    YY – MEANS TRAVEL VIA ANY CARRIER
    1 * ORL-UA/CO-HOU/CHI/WAS/EWR-RIO
    > PAGE 1/ 2
    >m
    FQR 46
    2 * ORL-UA/CO-HOU/CHI/WAS/EWR-SAO-RIO
    > PAGE 2/ 2
    >
    ———-

  7. TF makes a nice read too. Sadly JJ is explicitly excluded, so you have to slum it out in UA crappy Y.

    TF.TRANSFERS/RTGS

    UNLIMITED TRANSFERS PERMITTED ON THE PRICING UNIT
    FARE BREAK AND EMBEDDED SURFACE SECTORS NOT PERMITTED ON
    THE FARE COMPONENT.
    PAGE 1/ 1
    >

    1. I’m able to easily route it via DEN, Oliver2002, even though that’s not in the routing rules you’ve got there. Comes out to more than 7400 miles on the outbound.

  8. Seth, thanks again for the tweet about this fare, I pulled the trigger just before it died. So comes March 5th, ‘Ola Rio, cidade maravilhosa’!

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