Last Chance To Book Many United Awards Before Devaluation

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

Times up!  If you have been sitting on your heels and living in a blissful denial of the United devaluation that kicks in on February 1st, then it is time to wake up!  Seriously, now is the day that you need to think long and hard about any award you might want in the next 11 months using United miles, and book those trips today if they are ones that will be impacted by the devaluation.  There is no reason to have to shell out more miles beginning Saturday when you could simply lock the trip in now.  The biggest hits will come to those who like to fly premium cabins across the oceans, especially on United partners.  However, there are some awards that are increasing in price even within the United States.

20140130-082338.jpg

I’ll do a final rundown of some of these changes, and I advise you to get to booking today.  I would not wait until tomorrow, the very last day, unless you really have to.  You never know if a kid will get sick, a computer will go haywire, or United will have some issues on their end.  You know, life getting in the way. 

Award price increases within the United States:

  • Saver economy awards to/from the US or Canada to Alaska will be 17.5k miles each way, up from 12.5k miles each way.
  • You will no longer have a stopover on a domestic award ticket for an additional 10,000 miles.
  • Economy saver redemptions from the US/Canada to Hawaii increase 2.5k miles each way. Business and first class Hawaii saver redemptions remain the same, though standard redemptions do increase.
  • Intra-Hawaii flights on partners increase 1,000 miles from 5k to 6k.

Award price increases for travel outside the United States:

  • Saver awards from US/Canada to Southern South America remain the same in economy at the saver level, but increase 5k each way for business, and 2.5k each way in first.
  • Saver economy awards to Europe remain the same (30k each way), but increases 7.5k miles each way in business (to 57.5k each way), and increases 12.5k miles each way in first (to 80k each way) on United operated flights.
  • Partner awards to Europe also remain the same in economy at 30k miles each way, but increase 20k each way in business (to 70k) and increase a whopping 42.5k each way in first (to 110k)!
  • Saver economy awards from the US to Australia/New Zealand remain unchanged at 40k each way, increase 2.5k miles each way in business (to 70k), and remain unchanged in first class (80k) on flights operated by United.
  • Partner awards from the US to Australia/New Zealand remain unchanged in economy at 40k each way, increase 12.5k each way in business (to 80k), and increase a tremendous 50k each way in first to 130k.
  • Economy saver awards from the US to Japan increase 2.5k each way (to 35k), increase 5k in business each way (to 65k), and increase 12.5 each way in first (to 80k) on United operated flights.
  • Partner awards from the US to Japan in economy increase 2.5k each way (to 35k), increase 15k each way in business (to 80k), and increase a very high 42,500 each way in first.
  • The partner award pricing also applies to Business/First Awards for itineraries that include travel on both United and at least one partner when at least one flight segment on a partner is in Business or First.  This means if you fly United in a premium cabin overseas, you want to make sure your shorter segments operated by partners are in a lower cabin than your United operated flight to avoid the partner pricing chart.

You Will Be Able to Change Dates:

The only change to awards booked before February 1st that has expressly been stated to be allowed without the award re-pricing at the higher rates is a date change.  UA Insider on Flyertalk has shared that, “changes to awards that require a change in date do not result in a change to the award price. Any other change will require an add/collect in miles and fees for changes or cancellations will still apply as per our existing policies.”  Say for example you way to fly from Chicago to Frankfurt in business class on Lufthansa in 2014, but you aren’t yet sure of what date you want to go.  You can book a flight that has availability on that route now for 100k round trip, and then then change the date later without having to pay the new price of 140,000 miles.  The trick is there has to be availability for the exact flights you had on the new dates.  That likely means keeping the same route, same carriers, and same cabin.  It is possible there will be a tad more flexibility on that than has been advertized, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Transfer From Ultimate Rewards 1:1 Instantly:
Remember that you can transfer Chase Ultimate Reward points to United 1:1 instantly to secure some United award tickets before Saturday.  This is usually an instant transfer, but again don’t wait until the last second just in case there is a glitch in the system.
I think I have booked everything I can think of for the next 11 months, but I’ll be thinking hard about it one more time, and will need to finally make a decision about routing and carriers for my upcoming trip.
Enjoy these last two days at the old award chart prices!  What have you locked in before the award chart changes?

Comments

  1. On the date change tactic you mentioned, is there a max date you can change to. For example, if I book today for 12/2014 travel, and come some time around 11/2014, can I change the date for travel on 10/2015 (assuming there are award seats available)?

    • Al, good question. All tickets have a one year expiration date basically, so you can’t change to a date more than a year beyond when you originally booked. For example, if you book on 1/31/14 for a flight on 6/1/14 but then want to change it for later. The latest you could change to would be 1/30/15 (or it could be 1/31/15), but either way, not passed then.

  2. Do you have any thoughts of my following rookie scenario? I have multiple single-leg LAX-Hawaii sitting in my account left over from my Europe Roundtrips. one is in April 2014, and one is Septebmer 2014 which I know for sure I can’t take either due to busy work schedule. Should I call United and pay the $75 change fee to move these two one-ways to later and try to book the return leg now? or what if I leave them and try to move them after the devaluation?

    Thanks!!!

  3. Booked ord-fra LH business and fra-bkk TG first.
    If LH f opens up before travel date, can I change to f with change fee but no additional miles since I already paid miles for F resumption?

    • Sam, my understanding is changing from business to F won’t price at the old levels. You can try and find out, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *