With few exceptions, the best way to use United miles for free award tickets is with their partners. Here’s how with All Nippon in First Class to Asia, South African Airways to Africa, Air Canada to the South Pacific, and more.
There’s a Twilight Zone episode from 1963 called “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville.” It’s about a man–William Feathersmith–who time-travels to 1910 knowing exactly where oil will eventually be discovered. He plans to reap the dividends. But when he gets there, to his horror, he realizes the oil is inaccessible to the drills of 1910.
Of late I think of miles. You’ve worked hard to have enough miles to reap dividends, and then you discover they’re inaccessible.