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It’s just a part of the miles and points world – award charts are going to change, and most of those changes are going to be negative.  There’s a reason I have an entire category of posts called “devaluations“!  Today it is United’s turn to devalue things.  Thankfully these changes are not QUITE as bad as they could have been, but still will have an impact if you’ve got a big stash of United miles (or Chase Ultimate Rewards).  For additional information on the devaluation, you can see: Live and Lets Fly, View from the Wing, Frequent Miler or One Mile at a Time, or the official release by United.  But here is my take on 4 of the worst changes

5 United devaluations in 2017

  • Adding an unlimited upper bound to awards – instead of having just “Saver” and “Standard”, starting November 1st, Standard award will be replaced by the new “dynamic”
  • Increased Saver awards on United metal – awards from the US to Australia/New Zealand, Central/Southern Africa, Central Asia , Japan and Oceania, North Asia, South Asia, Southern South America and Europe are going up by 5-10K one way.  Some of these changes are in business and some even in economy (US to Europe in economy going from 57,500 to 60,000 miles – glad I already booked that 250,000 mile trip to Europe!)
  • Increased award cost on partner metal – awards on partners are also going up, but not as drastically
  • Increased cost for “premium” transcontinental awards – award costs are going up from Newark to LAX or SFO or Boston to SFO and all flights to Hawaii.  Hawaii saver business class goes from 40,000 to 50,000 (one-way).
  • Adding additional fees for changing and canceling your award – these changes take place for awards booked on or after October 6, 2017.

You can find the new United award chart here (pdf)

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2 good United changes

There are a few good things with this announcement.

  • Short-haul saver flights within a region – Any nonstop flight within a single region of 800 miles or less will now only cost 8000 miles.  This is comparable with using British Airways Avios, though there are some domestic flights cheaper than Avios – I got a nonstop for only 2300 miles.
  • Better availability? – Maybe I am being optimistic but the change to dynamic awards may make more awards available and settle in to a more “equilibrium” price.  Yes, prices may go up but in a lot of times I’d rather be able to book the flight at all than have nothing available (which is how things usually work for United award availability now – SEE: Why is United availability so awful?).  I’ve noticed WAY better award availability on Delta since they went to revenue(ish) pricing and the prices have not been bad either, with many domestic routes discounted under 12,500 miles.  We had plenty of availability finding 8 seats on Delta from Seattle to Cincinnati and roundtrip from Cincinnati to Sacramento.  Try THAT on American or United

And I guess there’s something to be said as a “good” change that it could have been a lot worse!

Readers what’s your take?  What was the worst devaluation in your mind?

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