Friday, January 31, 2014

Last Day Before United Airlines MileagePlus Devaluation!

UPDATE 1: According to this FlyerTalk post about the MileagePlus devaluation, the effective date for the new award chart has been postponed to February 3, 2014. If you were planning to book an award that was supposed to have a reduced mileage requirement starting on February 1, 2014, United will still honor the reduced amount in the interim, but the difference will be retroactively credited to your account within 10 business days. Looks like they may be having some implementation issues, and I can't blame them since this is a major overhaul to the way award itineraries are priced. In the meantime, keep burning those miles on premium class partner airline awards!

UPDATE 2: According to this Flyertalk Post, United is being somewhat more generous than previously thought with regards to mixed itineraries. For premium class awards on United metal with a short partner connection tacked on in the same class of service and within the same region, the United-only mileage requirement is being charged, not the partner mileage requirement. In addition, for itineraries booked prior to February 3, 2013, certain changes are being allowed without triggering a mileage re-price. See the FlyerTalk post for details.

Just a quick reminder that today is the absolute last day before the massive devaluation of United Airlines miles takes place on February 1, 2014. I wrote about this more extensively in my previous post when the devaluation was first announced back in November of last year. Virtually all long-haul premium class awards on partner airlines will be effected by these changes, with some redemption requirements increasing by almost 100%. Here is the chart I compiled that documents all the changes on one-way routes to and from the Mainland U.S., Alaska, and Canada. Increases are highlighted in red:

For other regions, take a look at the old and new United Airlines award charts:

Although premium class awards on United Airlines metal have milder increases, note that if any leg of your itinerary includes partner airlines in the same class of service, the miles requirement will automatically be bumped up to partner award levels. However, if the partner legs are in a lower class of service, then the United Airlines only award level prevails. This is a bit confusing, and I'm slightly skeptical that all the awards will be pricing out correctly come February 1st.

My suggestion would be to burn as much of your United Airlines miles right now on premium class partner awards, even speculatively, since the cost of booking these awards in the future far outweighs any cancellation fees, in my opinion. From what I have seen in the past few weeks, premium award space on partner airlines is drying up fast, but there are still quite a number of good options out there, especially if you are willing to travel during off-peak dates. Good luck!

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