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Earlier this year United MileagePlus announced a devaluation to their program. We covered the changes to the MileagePlus program at that time.

The November 1st deadline is quickly approaching, and these changes will finally go into effect. If you’re sitting on some United miles and haven’t pulled the trigger on a trip, you want want to soon. Here are five United MileagePlus awards to book before November 1st :

Thai First Class for 40,000 miles

This is one of the sweetest of the sweet spots on the United award chart. Thai First Class is known for it’s incredible in-airport experience, including a complimentary spa treatment. Only the Lufthansa first-class terminal might be as renowned as the Thai experience. Their A380 and 747 first class products aren’t too bad, either.

thai first class spa

Image courtesy of Thai Airways.

The Southeast Asia – Australia/NZ awards are taking a major price hike of 50%. Starting November 1 you’ll pay 60,000 miles for the same route.

Premium transcontinental awards

United’s premium service (p.s.) routes (such as San Francisco to Newark) will see a major price hike. Personally, I see lie-flat business class as a waste of miles for cross-country flights, but there may be many who disagree with that assessment.

The price is going from 25,000 miles to a whopping 32,500 miles each way. So if you want to fly in a lie-flat bed in business across the country, book before Wednesday.

Business class to Australia and New Zealand

United is bumping the price on its premium cabins to the land down under by 10,000 miles starting on Wednesday. For United-operated flights this comes to 80,000 miles, while StarAlliance partner flights will cost 90,000 miles one-way. This isn’t a huge change, but if you’re looking at taking a trip next year, I’d book sooner rather than later.

I flew United First and Asiana business class to Sydney via Seoul at the beginning of this year for 80,000 miles. It was both my first trip in a premium cabin and my one chance to fly in the nose (seat 1A) in a United 747. Now you’ll pay the same to fly strictly business. Although if this is the new Polaris hard product, it’s probably just as good, if not better, than the former United Global First.

Premium cabins to Hawaii

Hawaii is taking a major hit. Business class will be going from 40,000 miles to 50,000 miles. Which is sort of insane, as you aren’t even leaving the country.

Then again, it’s not, since you can fly from EWR to HNL in about the same time as EWR to IST. Living on the West Coast, this was hard for me to wrap my head around. Eleven hours in economy to get to Hawaii? No thanks.

Business class to southern South America

United is bumping the price on flights to southern South America (which includes Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia) by 5,000 miles. Not a huge change, but something to book soon if you’re considering a trip.

Do note that United is not operating any of its new Polaris hard product on South America routes. Eventually, United plans to retrofit its 767s with the new product, but I don’t expect this to happen quickly. The first retrofit was completed in September.

United is introducing everyday awards

Don’t forget about this new wrinkle. United is moving away from their Standard awards and instead replacing them with “Everyday” awards. If I understand this correctly, these awards will have variable pricing between with a cap that is roughly the same as the current standard awards.

We’ll have to wait and see how many awards United prices at a more competitive cost. If most hover around the former standard price, I won’t give them a second thought. Saver awards, as far as I understand, still operate the same.


Overall, the United MileagePlus devaluation wasn’t as bad as it might have been. But United still gutted some of the better redemptions offered by their award chart, which is a bummer.

If you want to book any of these awards, do so before Wednesday!

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