United is offering an amazing round trip fare between a handful of cities, including New York and Los Angeles. This flight typically ranges from $350 upwards and the other cities have similar discounts, so this is a considerable deal for residents close to the following routes.
- New York to Chicago - $80
- Chicago to Los Angeles - $80
- New York to Los Angeles - $149
- Boston to Los Angeles - $149
All of the above routes can be reversed (e.g. Los Angeles to New York), although finding applicable dates can be difficult. Expect to fly mid-week and not on or around a major upcoming holiday, like Labor Day Weekend.
If you are willing to think further out, however, I did find the below route from New York to Los Angeles for six days over Halloween Weekend. That is traditionally a highly sought time period and $149 is an absolute steal. See the full details below.
How To Book
To book, I recommend using the United website or an aggregator service like Google Flights. Using the former, remember to click the "My dates are flexible" button on the left sidebar used for making a reservation. This allows you to choose a month to fly in and the length of your trip, taking you to the page shown further below. It is much easier than the trial and error method with specific dates.
If you choose to use Google Flights, follow a similar process by selecting entire months to see flight options. Something to consider is that Google Flights uses third party booking services, like Orbitz and Expedia, which I try to avoid for a myriad of reasons. If you prefer Google Flights though, find your dates and then just input them into United's tool.
Finally, keep in mind that while the above will earn PQMs toward United elite status, they don't earn PQDs - usually the more difficult to attain. United changed to a revenue based model for earning elite miles, so how much you spend on the flight matters more than the total distance flown. Not a big deal for normal flyers, but worth considering if status is your goal.
Also remember to take advantage of bonus points for booking airfare, like those you would get using the Chase United Explorer or Chase Sapphire Preferred cards. The Explorer card would also secure you United benefits like a free checked bag and priority boarding.