United Guts Its Award Chart

It’s hard to say with a straight face that we didn’t see a devaluation coming, but the changes in the new United award chart are absolutely eye-watering.

First, the not-so-bad news … the current award chart is good for redemptions made until January 31, 2014.

The bad news: a new award chart comes into play for redemptions made on or after February 1, 2014.

Here are the main changes from a Mainland US perspective:

ON UNITED METAL

*Note: all of these are one-way prices

to Mainland US/Alaska/Canada: no change, but itineraries between Alaska and the Mainland US or Alaska and Canada will be charged an additional 5,000 miles on saver awards or 10,000 miles on standard awards.

to Hawaii: Economy saver awards rise from 20,000 miles to 22,500 miles. Intra-Hawaii connections rise from 5,000 miles to 6,000 miles.

to Southern South America: Business saver awards go from 50,000 miles one-way to 55,000 miles. First saver awards go from 67,500 miles one-way to 70,000 miles.

to Europe: Business saver goes from 50,000 miles to 57,500 miles. First saver goes from 67,500 miles to 80,000 miles.

to Northern Africa: Business saver goes from 60,000 miles to 70,000 miles. First saver goes from 75,000 miles to 85,000 miles.

to Central/Southern Africa: Business saver goes from 60,000 miles to 70,000 miles. First saver goes from 75,000 miles to 85,000 miles.

to Middle East: Economy saver goes from 40,000 miles to 42,500 miles. Business saver from 60,000 miles to 70,000 miles. First saver from 75,000 to 90,000 miles.

to Central Asia: Economy saver goes from 40,000 miles to 42,500 miles. Business saver from 60,000 miles to 70,000 miles. First saver from 80,000 to 90,000 miles.

to South Asia: Economy saver goes from 32,500 miles to 40,000 miles. Business saver from 60,000 miles to 70,000 miles. First saver from 70,000 miles to 80,000 miles.

to North Asia: Economy saver goes from 32,500 miles to 35,000 miles. Business saver from 60,000 miles to 70,000 miles. First saver from 70,000 miles to 80,000 miles.

to Japan: Economy saver goes from 32,500 to 35,000 miles. Business saver from 60,000 miles to 65,000 miles. First saver from 67,500 to 80,000 miles.

to Oceania: Business saver goes from 60,000 miles to 65,000 miles. First saver from 75,000 to 80,000 miles.

to Australia/New Zealand: Business saver goes from 67,500 miles to 70,000 miles.

ON STAR ALLIANCE METAL (warning: this is bad)

*Note: all of these prices are one-way

to Mainland US/Alaska/Canada: no change, but itineraries between Alaska and the Mainland US or Alaska and Canada will be charged an additional 5,000 miles on saver awards or 10,000 miles on standard awards.

to Hawaii: Economy saver awards rise from 20,000 miles to 22,500 miles. Intra-Hawaii connections rise from 5,000 miles to 6,000 miles.

to Southern South America: Business saver awards go from 50,000 miles one-way to 55,000 miles. First saver awards go from 67,500 miles one-way to 70,000 miles.

to Europe: Business saver goes from 50,000 miles to 70,000 miles. First saver goes from 67,500 miles to 110,000 miles one-way.

to Northern Africa: Business saver goes from 60,000 miles to 80,000 miles. First saver goes from 75,000 miles to 130,000 miles one-way.

to Central/Southern Africa: Business saver goes from 60,000 miles to 80,000 miles. First saver goes from 75,000 miles to 130,000 miles one-way.

to Middle East: Economy saver goes from 40,000 miles to 42,500 miles. Business saver from 60,000 miles to 80,000 miles. First saver from 75,000 to 140,000 miles one-way.

to Central Asia: Economy saver goes from 40,000 miles to 42,500 miles. Business saver from 60,000 miles to 80,000 miles. First saver from 80,000 to 140,000 miles one-way.

to South Asia: Economy saver goes from 32,500 miles to 40,000 miles. Business saver from 60,000 miles to 80,000 miles. First saver from 70,000 miles to 130,000 miles.

to North Asia: Economy saver goes from 32,500 miles to 35,000 miles. Business saver from 60,000 miles to 80,000 miles. First saver from 70,000 miles to 120,000 miles one-way.

to Japan: Economy saver goes from 32,500 to 35,000 miles. Business saver from 60,000 miles to 75,000 miles. First saver from 67,500 to 110,000 miles one-way.

to Oceania: Business saver goes from 60,000 miles to 75,000 miles. First saver from 75,000 to 110,000 miles one-way.

to Australia/New Zealand: Business saver goes from 67,500 miles to 80,000 miles. First saver goes from 80,000 miles to 130,000 miles one-way.

This is incredibly flyer unfriendly of United. One of my family’s most frequented destinations is PNQ, a small airport in India that has only Lufthansa for Star Alliance service. The idea of Star Alliance is that partners are there to supplement United’s service. Now United flyers are being punished for using Star Alliance. Even Delta doesn’t have different pricing for their partners.

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Amol (@PointsToPointB) joined HMT in 2012. An ardent manufactured spender, he's an American Executive Platinum, Delta Platinum, and United Platinum.
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  • richklhs

    And onto the Avios bandwagon we go!

  • David

    I’ve been comfortable for the last 2 years with collecting UR and SPG pts, and it’s given me flexibility for air and hotel bookings. How does the deval affect earning strategies…I think AX MRs get a bump, and it may just be correct to buy LMs and US miles as much as possible? Or no?

  • Chris

    I don’t have any miles on UA, but I feel like I am going to throw up thinking about what is next for all my US miles……and probably every other airline that isn’t at that level yet.

    • shay peleg

      I would use your Us miles fast

  • MilesAbound

    “Even Delta doesn’t have different pricing for their partners.”. You forgot to add “yet” to the end of that statement, and “, American and US Airways” to the beginning.

    • shay peleg

      Delta won’t change it because they actually prefer if you fly partners as it is cheaper for them. In the star alliance it is more expensive for an airline to put you on partners.

  • ROB

    Absolutely disgusting!

    jeff.smisek@united.com needs to hear from everyone

    twitter/united facebook united airlines

    Two tier award charts? What’s the purpose of being in an alliance, then??

  • Darrin Earl

    Obviously this is bad news for everyone… but it is MUCH worse news for people aiming to book premium cabins.

    For all those travel bloggers booking the crazy, rule-stretching FC awards spread out over multiple alliance airlines… well, get back to generating more sign up bonuses and manufactured spend!

    For us mortals with families, I’m just happy economy tickets didn’t get jacked too badly.

    • Wayne

      yup me too. US to Europe Economy RT is still 60k.

  • Anirban Mukherjee

    I’m happy with the development that star alliance/partner award miles needed for Central asia – europe is reduced from 30K to 25K one way. Makes it closer to what AA mileage. Few positives amongst mostly negative impact for Mileage plus members.

  • who cares

    Must be such a challenging day for the manufactured spending crowd. So sad to have to churn one more credit card and a few more VRs to get the same product (for free). Go ahead and close your chase cards. leaves room for me on the flights I want.

    • Scottrick

      I earn the majority of my United miles through travel on United. This doesn’t make me any happier than it would for those who use manufactured spend, and it does make me question my loyalty to flying United in the future.

      • who cares

        absolutely a blow for the BIS crowd. it also sucks for the types of flights that I usually redeem on. not saying it isn’t a bad situation, but it’s comical to see the outrage from the manufactured spenders (including the author of this post).

        • Scottrick

          I wouldn’t be surprised if MS had a part in their decision, but that might indicate that United needs to alter their credit card marketing efforts, not their redemption levels.

        • Amol

          I don’t manufactured spend for United miles.

      • shay peleg

        Stop flying united that is the best way to show your anger

        • http://www.mileageupdate.com/ MileageUpdate

          And go where? AA ? They are the next shoe to drop.

          • shay peleg

            AA would be slower to drop the shoe knowing how they are

    • Amol

      It’s a blow to Premier Golds who lost their 100% bonuses and get 50% and for Premier Plats (like myself) who get 75% instead of 100%

    • disqust101

      As part of that MS crowd, that is exactly my sentiment. Ok, so it takes another month or two of MS – big deal. We get millions a year. And availability gets better. Other than partner F awards, barely worth complaining about.

  • shay peleg

    I truly hate united now

  • Alan

    Welcome to the ‘First costs a shedload more points so I think I’ll be quite happy with business’ club, guys! This is the sort of premium all the other airlines (apart from AA/US) charge – will it mean you’ll have to slum it more in business for the trip reports in future?!

  • erin2326

    Have read conflicting things on this, but do you know if United’s super-generous stopover redemption rules (as brilliantly explained on this site in September) are also changing?

    • erin2326

      This new 4-segment restriction also seems quite unpleasant, esp. when departing from small or out-of-the-way cities.

      • Scottrick

        Four segments one-way seems reasonable to me for most purposes, especially if your destination is a major airport. If both origin and destination are out-of-the-way airports, then you might have an issue (e.g., AMA-DEN-SFO-ICN-DPS wouldn’t work).

        However, booking round-trip travel gives you an extra stop in each direction, saves on booking fees (if any), and also opens up the opportunity to book a stopover. I normally recommend booking international awards round-trip.

        • erin2326

          Yeah, that’s precisely the issue unfortunately, family visits from the Midwest US to a regional airport in Europe. Perhaps I’ll switch membership to A3 in the end, which actually serves the latter destination via ATH…unfortunately its program’s earning levels aren’t as high for domestic US flights, but such is how it goes. Thanks for your response and the great coverage!

    • Scottrick

      I’ve seen no changes announced to their routing rules.

      • erin2326

        Via the original announcement on FT: Changes in stopovers coming Feb 1.

        A stopover is permitted on roundtrip award travel only. One stopover is permitted, unless otherwise noted. Additional mileage may be required for Saver Awards within the continental U.S., Alaska and Canada. For travel booked on or after February 1, 2014, a stopover is permitted only on certain roundtrip itineraries. Additional mileage may be required.

        • Scottrick

          UA Insider references the new award chart, and searching that award chart, the only reference I see to stopovers is that they are not permitted on itineraries of 700 miles or less using the reduced mileage award. That seems perfectly fair to me.

          • shay peleg

            I was reading the flytalk forums . It seems they did change the routing rules to become harder to get crazy awards.

  • Harry

    “Even Delta doesn’t have different pricing for their partners.” But don’t hold your breath. Now that Delta sees what a real carrier can get away with, they are sure to follow!

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