June 30, 2017
United is Devaluing its Award Chart on November 1, 2017
United announced a host of devaluations to its MileagePlus award program yesterday. The bad news is that the cost of certain award booking is increasing. The good news is that the price increases are relatively minor on most routes, and we have four months advance notice. The changes are set to take effect November 1, 2017. Before I get to the actual changes, I first want to thank United for having the courtesy to give four months advance warning and not follow Delta’s footsteps, which drastically devalued its program overnight with no warning back in April.
United is changing its current Standard level award pricing to ‘Everyday Awards’. While Standard awards currently have a set price depending on the route you’re traveling, the price of Everyday Awards will fluctuate based on the demand of the route. Theoretically, those will be priced higher on busier travel dates and lower on less busy dates. United has published an updated award chart outlining the highest possible award price for Everyday Awards. Note that the fluctuating award prices only apply to flights operated on United, Partner Award pricing won’t be fluctuating based on demand.
Most Everyday award price increases are around 5,000-10,000 miles so I’m not too concerned about this. I also never book award tickets at Standard prices anyway (I only book awards at the Saver level).
Saver level awards will still be available. These award prices are changing on certain routes as well, but they won’t fluctuate dynamically like Everyday awards. You can find United’s complete Saver level award chart here. Here’s a few of the price changes:
- Saver award prices on United’s Premium Transcontinental routes and flights to Hawaii in Business Class are increasing by 10,000 miles.
- United flights from the US to South Asia are increasing by 5,000 miles.
- Some Star Alliance partner awards are increasing by 5,000-10,000 miles.
- Short-haul intra-region Saver Economy awards on flights outside the US are getting cheaper (think Europe).
Overall the price increases aren’t too bad. Be sure to checkout the updated award chart for all the award prices.
United is introducing a $125 redeposit fee for passengers who don’t show up for their award flight and later request a refund of their miles. This is a reasonable change. Just cancel your award flight ahead of time to avoid this fee.
These changes could have been a lot worse. United’s MileagePlus program still offers tremendous value when booking Business and First Class awards. You’ve got four months to book your United awards before the new prices kick in November 1, 2017!