Big United Miles Devaluation – Coach Increases Slightly, but First Class Star Alliance Awards Almost Double!

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Thanks to Million Mile Secrets reader David for alerting me to a big change in United’s award chart.  The  new chart goes into effect on January 31, 2014.

Somewhat Good & Very Bad News

The good news is that flights on United metal (i.e. United flights) & partner airlines (Lufthansa, Thai, etc.) increase by a reasonable amount in coach, which is how most folks use their miles.

And there are NO changes for domestic travel within the US (excluding Hawaii & Alaska).  If you redeem your United miles for coach travel within the US, stop reading!

Sure, the amount of miles required for some flights increased slightly.  But it could have been worse!

The bad news is that awards on business class on Star Alliance partners (think Lufthansa or Thai, etc.) are ~30% more expensive.

And the really bad news is that First Class Awards on partner airlines like Lufthansa are MUCH more expensive than before!

I was expecting United to increase the number of miles needed for award tickets, but I wasn’t expecting them to double the amount of miles for travel on their partner airlines such as Lufthansa, Thai, etc. in First Class.

Analysis

There’s virtually no change for coach travel within the US.

United is pioneering a new approach where it costs much less for First Class and Business Class awards on United planes and much MORE if you book an award on their Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa, Swiss, Thai Airways, etc.

I can see the business reasons why United wants to charge you more for flying on their partner airlines (I don’t agree with them, but I can see why they’d do it).  United is also making it much, much harder for folks to redeem miles for First Class travel on their partner airlines.

ExtraAwardAvailabilityonLufthansa

This Isn’t Going to be Cheap Using United Miles any More!

The goal of this devaluation is to force you to redeem miles for travel on United flights only.  But that isn’t fair because United doesn’t fly everywhere and you get much more choice for international flights when you redeem United miles for flights on their partner airlines.

United Award Chart Changes

Link:   New United Award Chart (after January 31, 2014)

Link:   Old United Award Chart

You can book awards at the existing price until January 31, 2014.  So I’d lock-in as many awards as you can before then.  Remember that you have to pay to make changes to an award (if you have to change the date of travel etc.), but it could be worth it to save miles by booking before the award chart changes.

The new award chard is effective from January 31, 2014.

Summary of Changes

1.   Within the US

No change (12,500 miles one-way) for flights within the US on both United and partner airlines.  This is good news!

Flights between  the mainland US and Alaska will cost 5,000 more miles each way.

 2.   To Hawaii

Economy saver awards increase by 2,500 each on both United and partner airlines.  This is a slight increase and isn’t too bad.

 3.   To Europe

Coach awards remain the same (30,000 miles each way) on United flights.  Business class increases by 7,500 miles to 57,500 miles each way on United flights and by 12,500 miles to 80,000 miles each way in First Class.

Coach awards remain the same (30,000 miles each way) on Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa, etc. Business class increases by 20,000 miles to 70,000 miles each way on Star Alliance flights and by 42,500 miles to 110,000 miles each way in First Class.

This is clearly designed to get you to stop redeeming for First Class awards on partner airlines!

4.   To India

Coach award increase by 2,500 miles to 42,500 miles on United flights.  Business class increases by 10,000 miles to 70,000 miles aeach way on United flights and by 10,000 miles to 90,000 miles each way in First Class.

Coach award increase by 2,500 miles to 42,500 miles on Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa etc. Business class increases by 20,000 miles to 80,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partner flights

And increases by 60,000 miles to 140,000 miles each way in First Class.  It used to be 160,000 miles for a round-trip!

This is clearly designed to get you to stop redeeming for First Class awards on partner airlines!

5.   To South Asia (Thailand, Singapore etc.)

Coach award increase by 7,500 miles to 40,000 miles on United flights.  Business class increases by 10,000 miles to 70,000 miles each way on United flights and by 10,000 miles to 90,000 miles each way in First Class.

Coach award increase by 7,500 miles to 40,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa, etc. Business class increases by 20,000 miles to 80,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partner flights.

And First Class increases by 60,000 miles to 130,000 miles each way.  This is clearly designed to get you to stop redeeming for First Class awards on partner airlines!

6.   To Australia or New Zealand

No change to coach awards (40,000 miles) on United flights.  Business class increases by 2,500 miles to 70,000 miles each way on United flights and remains the same in First Class.

Coach awards remain the same (40,000 miles) each way on Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa, etc. Business class increases by 12,500 miles to 80,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partner flights.

And First Class increases by 50,000 miles to 130,000 miles each way.  This is clearly designed to get you to stop redeeming for First Class awards on partner airlines!

7.   To Japan

Coach award increase by 2,500 miles to 35,000 miles on United flights.  Business class increases by 5,000 miles to 65,000 miles each way on United flights and increases by 12,500 miles to 80,000 miles each way in First Class.

Coach award increase by 2,500 miles to 35,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa, etc. Business class increases by 15,000 miles to 75,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partner flights.

And First Class increases by 42,500 miles to 110,000 miles each way.  This is clearly designed to get you to stop redeeming for First Class awards on partner airlines!

Bottom Line

There is virtually no change for folks redeeming awards in coach on either United or their Star Alliance partners within the US excluding Alaska and Hawaii.

There is a slight increase in coach for international flights on United and slightly more for international coach on their Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa.

If you redeem miles for business class, you’ll see less of an increase if you use your miles for flights on United instead of their Star Alliance partners.

And the award chart is intentionally designed to make it VERY hard for you to redeem your miles for flights in international first class on United partner airlines such as Lufthansa.

Loss aversion is powerful and I’m sure many folks will be upset by the changes in the award chart.  Sure some changes are bad.  But getting upset over it isn’t going to help.  Instead it’s better to think back to all the good times you’ve had and focus on how to play the game with the changes!

PS:  I’m writing this from the hospital ER (everything’s fine, thanks for asking!), but I’m sure I’ve missed something with all the $$% interruptions in here.

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63 responses to “Big United Miles Devaluation – Coach Increases Slightly, but First Class Star Alliance Awards Almost Double!

  1. This is a destruction of Chase UR points indirectly and severe devaluation of United miles.

    SPEAK UP, and if enough of us speak up, they will listen

    Absolutely disgusting!

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

    twitter/united

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

  2. Your business interests are seriously clouding you analysis here. This is an annihilation of the value proposition for United miles. The Chase cards become significantly less attractive, and the Chase links you and others pimp are significantly less valuable to the reader.

    Just say it like is. “It could have been much worse!” Duh. There’s an infinite ceiling here. No need to put lipstick on a pig.

  3. How can you call any of that “good news”? This is the worst I have ever seen, there are much stronger words to use here than “disgusting”! To me they just destroyed their award program. And probably everybody else will follow. The end of the game as we know it…

  4. I think this definitely makes Chase UR pts a lower value. I have been accumulating them with multiple Ink 5X bonuses. I think a good thing to compare is how the new chart compares to say Korean awards.

  5. So this is effective Jan 31, 2014? Do you think there will be less availability of partner flights in business before that date? Thanks

  6. Ha! Ha!! This should hopefully push you scumbags to work hard!!! 🙂

  7. MMS, you wrote “I can see the business reasons why United wants to charge you more for flying on their partner airlines”. Why United wants more miles for partner redemption especially in First Class? Does United pay, for instance, Lufthansa some premium for access to their First Class seats or something?

  8. I think we all knew this wouldn’t last forever. This looks like the beginning of the end and I’m guessing that the “good news” he’s referring to is how long we were all able to take advantage of great awards in the past, and how they’re giving us three months to get our 2014 travel plans in order before the game’s over.

  9. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Start moving Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest. If you book far enough in advance you can use points at really low rates. My LGA/FLL was 8020 points roundtrip vs the 25,000 UA would charge. For domestic travel, SW really isn’t that bad. They even pass out cookies/snacks on their midcons.

    Most of us fly UA domestically so we can use our miles for international. Those days are gone.

  10. I want to fly jfk fra nrt on lh f may 2014, what would be the best way, since lh releases f awards only days before departure?.

  11. If you’re flying one segment via United and another via a partner airline, how would that work? For example, Newark to Rome via Frankfurt, with first leg on United then on Lufthansa?

  12. frequent churner

    Wow, look at all the people crying…end of the world as we know it. Jesus, just fly coach and use the spare UR points for a posh Hyatt hotel to sleep off the jetlag. There’s still great value in the chart for international travel. Or fly United metal, which will get you almost anywhere.

  13. Hey Darius – any idea what the changes to round the world redemptions are? Did they announce those?

  14. First of all, feel better!

    For what its worth, I’ve never seen United have a domestic r/t in coach for 12,500. The best I’ve seen (and booked once) was a 10,000 one way ticket. You might want to recheck that part of the post.

  15. While any program devaluation totally sucks, I don’t understand the whole idea of not being able to fly internationally. You still can, you are just going to have to slum it up in coach for nearly free next to the other people who have spent upwards of $1000+ each for that same privilege. Our family of 4 is flying from a small town Airport in the USA to Istanbul in June for under $150 RT total where without miles would cost us nearly $6000…and even after this devaluation we will be able to do so for the same amount of miles again just like we have done the previous 12 years with different amounts of points/airlines. I don’t know how you can claim an entire program destroyed when they still offer those of us who are playing the game essentially free flights anywhere on the planet…just no longer flying with the rich people who paid five figures for that same flight just because we spent money on a few different credit cards that we were going to spend anyway.

    Don’t get me wrong, this sucks…but it sucked when credit cards stopped letting us churn cards, when all these airlines keep merging and giving us less choices and less competition, when SW just devalued their program…but I’d hardly say the United program is dead or the end is near.

  16. I think this just tanks the game for those using miles for expensive first class itineraries. For people like me, who prefer coach awards to truly stretch my miles, this isn’t a dealbreaker whatsoever.

    Game on!

  17. Scott, you’re right, you still can fly for free. But the biggest value of the program is lost.
    Look at your Istanbul trip – for 60,000 miles you booked one $1000 value ticket.
    But… for 100,000 miles (66% more) you could book one $8000 value ticket. People seem to forget the real value of international business class tickets – their full flexibility (you can cancel them for a very small fee). Sure there are promos to find those J tickets for let’s say $2400. But such a ticket has absolutely no value for me at all, because if my schedule changes, I can’t cancel it. Too risky with my work. So I would have to pay a fully refundable business class which is way, way more expensive (that’s where ~$8000 estimate came from, often more). Also “so fly United, big deal” is simply not possible to Europe. Most of the time you can fly United to a hub city, but than you MUST take a local short fly which is always LH or something else. In this case you’ll be charged according to the partner chart.
    I’m just saying, FOR ME, this is a complete failure and I don’t see any bright side here, sorry.

  18. I am with Andrew here – how can you couch this in terms saying “it is not too bad”? This just sets a terrible precedent for the other airlines to follow – and the use of miles to obtain experiences which we wouldnt be able to afford otherwise would quickly come to a close.

  19. Andrew, you are correct that I am not maximizing the value of my points by booking coach travel to Europe for our family but that isn’t what I’m personally in the game for. For me and many others I know who play the miles game it allows me to see a place of the world with my family that we couldn’t see otherwise. We are college grads working in public K-12 education, and $6000 to just get somewhere isn’t an option because once you get there you still have hotel costs (yes we use miles there too as much as we can), transportation, food, etc. I can’t do $6000 to get there, but I can do $150 and spend money on various credit cards each year to get enough points.

    In addition, when you are booking for four people…400,000 miles every summer is not easy to get for United, hell even 240,000 is next to impossible for just United but luckily we still have a few other carriers left so we’ve been able to keep going year after year. Even if you had the miles, 4 RT First Class seats aren’t easy to come by to Europe in June/July.

    As I said, this does suck…and if you only are playing the game to fly first class or to get the most value per mile it REALLY sucks because United just basically put a stop to it…but I just don’t think it can be said that an entire FF program is destroyed or worthless because of this change. If it ruins it for you or anyone else here I feel bad but it is understandable. I mean they are giving away as you said an $8000 seat for basically two CC signups…nothing great lasts forever.

  20. United itself leaves a lot to be desired, we all knew that, but this is certainly bad news and also offers a hit to the Ultimate Rewards program. I just really hope AA doens’t follow suit, as this will certainly make traveling to Asia on a premium carrier (Cathay, Singapore) much more difficult. Remember how quick all the airlines followed the leader and raised their change fees earlier in the year? I’m afraid the same may happen with the miles redemption levels.

  21. Shorty, I fully expect the other airlines or soon to be airline to follow suit asap. The only think holding them back could be the whole lawsuit they are fighting. Think about it though…the CC bank gets the miles from the airline and you spend $2000 to get your miles. You do this twice. Now you have purchased $4000 on your card and have 100K miles…and you are going to cancel the card a year later.

    The CC made only a few percent off the $4000 you spent, the airline just made whatever they sold the miles to the cc bank for…and now you turn those miles around for an $8000 flight? This isn’t a win for the CC bank, or the airline…but when you book on the airlines metal at least they aren’t out a ton…but once you go on a partner they have to pay that partner and now the airline is losing big time…this is the result of that unfortunately.

  22. Saw this one coming months ago, had a strange feeling after the hilton deval. Luckily, sold over $6000 worth of UA to a mileage broker. Looks like I’ll be slumming it in coach from now on.

  23. Darius,

    These new rules still don’t seem to have taken affect. I tried to book tickets in march 2014. I still see the old awrads requirements. Any comments ?

    Raj

  24. Thanks for the quick and fairly comprehensive review of this ghastly UA devaluation–from the ER no less, Daraius. Andrew hit it on the head: the biggest value of the program is now lost.
    Burn baby burn!

  25. I don’t know what the big fuss is… Rents went up, housing went up, commodities went up…

    I mean the economy is better, so companies are spending more on flights for executives, so united does not need to have awards so cheap to fill the planes…

    the big credit card offers are not coming back…

    the more miles needed the more availability…

  26. I wanna cry …

  27. The scales are tipping in favor of cash back type cards. If I’m going to be stuck in economy, I might as well buy a ticket with cash on any airline/schedule/routing I prefer (not likely UA!), and earn RDMs and EQMs. My Chase UA card just went back in the drawer.

  28. Still in shock.

  29. I will be flying to India, and I see that now I need to earn more miles. 33% increase is too much.

  30. Yikes! So want do u recommend as a cash back card for everyday spend without annual fee?

  31. dividedmileageplus

    Not surprised, saw this coming for UA after the HHonors devaluation. Luckily for me unloaded $ 6k worth of UA to a mil eage bro ker …. Intl coach for me now :^(

  32. “The good news is that flights on United metal (i.e. United flights) & partner airlines (Lufthansa, Thai, etc.) increase by a reasonable amount in coach, which is how most folks use their miles.”

    This isn’t true at all – r/t to SE Asia went from 65,000 in economy to 80,000. This is a HUGE jump! Most destinations (europe, north asia, etc) went up 5 – 10K….SE Asia has jumped 15! Goodbye United Mileageplus Card…….total waste of a card now.

  33. dividedmileageplus

    Since when did MMS start moderating posts before posting? I’ve posted two comments today, both do not show up. Your comment is awaiting moderation. ??
    Questioning the two cards I signed up for last week clicking your links if this is the new policy. Don’t become the frugaltravelguy please.

  34. Sounds like everyone here is just spoiled. Everyone either flies first/business class for free or not at all? I’ve never flown first/business class. I can’t see the point of using so many miles on one flight when I can use less miles for more flights.

  35. It actually benefits me flying SE Asia to Australia – a reduction from 45k to 30k one way in J or 60k to 40k in F!

  36. My main and only airline program is United, so when you read my comments, please take that into consideration.

    First, be thankful they gave notice. I had a hotel program (Carlson) make a drastic change with their program rules over the summer with NO notice.

    Secondly, as I’ve stated months ago, FF programs are a dictatorship. If you don’t like it, lump it, is there feelings so no use in getting all worked up.

    Third, it’s blogs like this and dozens of other ones which gives you free advice on how to stay ahead of the curve when changes like this are made, so for those of you who are “hating,” quit crying lol. You’re not paying for a subscription to this blog.

    Finally, for those clowns who still think the USAIR-American merger would be a great thing for frequent flyers, wake up and smell the coffee. If that disaster ever takes place, they’ll give FF iin their progam a one year honeymoon and they’ll devalue their award chart so badly it will be worse than the 1929 stock market crash.

  37. So Gary @ VFTW is calling for ideas for a new term for MileagePlus.
    I ponied up my idea but moderation rejected the post.
    Time to get the word out.

    MileagePlus is now MileageSux

    I prefer spelling it with an ‘x’ – as its shorter, it looks a bit like a plus fallen over, and x marks the spot.

    What all ya MillionMilers think?

  38. I can’t believe that you are saying this is not a big deal as United has basically said that our alliance is not really an alliance…..you fly with us or pay the price for not doing so. Please don’t chocolate coat this Darius, in the past you seemed so much more realistic and sensible with your conclusions! and now that you are expanding or whatever your judgments are being clouded and or compromised? I have always valued reading your blogs in the past, since I started 2 years ago. It it is becoming now less profitable to spend so much time reading blogs and keeping track of everything……maybe that is good, because perhaps it has become too much of an obsession, but the truth is, this devaluation, similar to the Hilton devaluation, where I stay 200 plus nights a year, have become a definite minus in my thinking.

  39. First United added a spend requirement to maintain status which results in fewer miles earned due to lower bonus levels. Before we even begin to recover from that kick in the pants, they devalue the reduced miles. I fly regularly between Austin, TX and Las Vegas, NV. The fare on United is almost three times the fare on a discount airline. Up until now I have paid more to fly United because as a 1K I get upgraded on about half of the flights and get to fly Business when traveling on overseas awards. The money I can save flying the discount airline will easily pay for the coach fares to Europe. I can then choose the flights that are most convenient. My credit card points will still let me fly Business through the frequent flyer programs of the foreign airlines. I can even get credit with other Star Alliance partners for any United flights that I take. Lastly, my Chase United Club card goes. No more need for United Lounge and my Amex card already gives me more points on the purchase of a United (or any other Airline) ticket. Airlines have decided that they make more money by flying fewer flights and cramming more cattle into the same pen. They no longer need loyal customers and are slowly dismantling loyalty programs. The credit card programs are where the action is now.

  40. Arlington Traveler

    @ Rona I think you are overreacting. First, for the AVERAGE traveler there is no change. The most commonly redeemed reward by far is the domestic round trip coach award and that doesn’t change. In fact, if you exclude Hawaii, Alaska, and Southern South America there are NO changes to the award chart for trips within North America from the USA. Even those changes to Hawaii, Alaska, and Southern South America are modest. Finally, Darius is still being more reasonable than most bloggers who only pimp the credit cards which earn them a commission. Darius promotes those cards which are good deals, whether or not he get a commission.

    Second, programs like Singapore’s Krisflyer already do what Mileage Plus will do effective February 1st, which is they have two award charts. One for, Singapore only redemptions and one for Star Alliance redemptions. While Singapore has a great product, their award chart isn’t very useful to me living outside Washington, DC since it is not one of their gateway cities in North America. Plus with Singapore and just about every other program, you will pay fuel surcharges on top of the mileage requirements. So even if Singapore’s chart is roughly equivalent to United’s post February 1, 2014 chart, UA miles will STILL be more valuable because they don’t require you to pay a hefty fuel surcharge on top of your miles.

    Finally, I hear your frustration but there are some values to be found in HHonors. I earn most of my points through the HHonors Amex and guess what, you earn five points per dollar at gas stations, supermarkets, and restaurants. I may well shift some of my Chase United Club spending to HHonors after the devaluation, because cash plus points redemptions with HHonors can net you more than one cent per mile in some instances and when you earn five points per dollar, that will be better cents per mile when redeeming UA miles on * Alliance carriers.

    My destination of choice in premium cabins is Sri Lanka, and for now both AA, DL, and US continue to offer reasonable awards. The hotels and airlines are running at near or exceeding pre recession record load/occupancy levels. They no longer need to offer generous reward programs and as Gary with View from the Wing predicted the airlines are devaluing their programs, just as all the hotel chains except Hyatt already have. The secret is continuing to find the sweetspots in award charts and churning the right cards. Some of these carriers, may charge fuel surcharges and some cobranded cards don’t waive the annual fee the first month. For example, the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card is my newest addition. It will, net me 47.5K miles after spending 2.5k in 90 days and adding an authorized user. You have to pay the $90 annual fee, but it even at $90 the cheapest World MasterCard you can get. More importantly, Virgin Atlantic miles can be used on Delta, Virgin America and Hawaiian without fuel surcharges and the card earns 1.5 miles for every dollar spent.

    So @ Rona, don’t give up because the rules changed. Just learn how to play the points and miles games optimally under the new rules.

  41. United’s Newest Customer Unfriendly Campaign: Increase the Cost of Award Tickets,raising the mileage redemption levels for some awards over 60%. We don’t have to take this sitting down!
    -Retweet my Tweet here and send your own tweets to @United with the hashtag: #UnitedUnfriendly
    The more you post the quicker mainstream media will pick up on this story. Let’s get it trending!

    -Express your displeasure to Chase (Twitter: @Chase, @Chase Support) about these changes. Chase buys billions of dollars of United miles and isn’t likely to be happy that they’ve been devalued. They’re especially not going to be happy to lose customers to cards like the Starwood AMEX. If anyone has the power to put pressure on United it’s Chase.

    -Contact United CEO Jeff Smisek and let him know how these changes will affect your travel patterns and credit card spending. He can be reached at jeff.smisek@united.com

    -If you feel that an 87% increase is just flat-out unfair you can also file a complaint with the US DOT. Sure United is free to do what they want, but this devaluation simply doesn’t happen if Continental and United were still competing. Delta and Northwest miles have gone from being worthwhile to being worthless thanks to their merger. Let the DOT know that you feel an 87% increase in the cost of some awards is unfair to consumers and that you want to see the DOT keep fighting the American-USAirways merger in court. If that merger goes through you can be sure we’ll be seeing more painful changes like this one.

  42. I believe this will funnel the vast majority of international fliers into the United metal business or economy award seating. Therefore, this will make it more and more difficult to find availability on those flights. I believe this will in the long run be the biggest issue. Compound this with the upped change fees, various award mile changes, spend required for elite status, loss of upgrades in “regional” international markets (see Wandering Aramean),the new limited segment rule, and silly things like requiring you to pay double for a seat change (moving from a paid bulk head seat to a economy plus will result in you paying the fee all over again if there is a difference in fees). If you look at the sum of the changes for the year then you really start to wonder what the real value of a United is now.

    I am also starting to wonder what the US airlines really think of these alliances that they are in as they are continually devaluing them in this years activity. American/US Air has been silent because of the merger but I expect that they will match or one up the changes made by Delta and United once the merger has been completed. I am guessing that as the mergers have happened and the profit has grown over time that the US airlines feel they can handle the larger international operations more and more on their own without or with less partners/alliances.

    I know for me I have already changed my behavior to some degree with the Delta SPG crossover rewards. I search more and more for Delta metal flights so that I can bank more SPG points on international flights. Although this a benefit for a smaller audiance, I much prefer the carrot approach than the stick approach that United just laid down on their partner changes. To be fair Delta has been treating some partners as if they were not partners at all.

  43. Arlington Traveler

    @vc, I think you are overhyping the issue availability on UA metal. First of all, availability on UA metal is not bad. Plus, they tend to release a ton of premium seats at the last minute (okay three days in) because they simply can’t sell all their premium seats. I also think the use of * Alliance in Y under the new award chart is quite reasonable. In many cases, Y redemptions on UA and * Alliance are the same and where * Alliance will be more it’s modest. The real issue is * Alliance redemptions beyond the America’s which is very expensive.

  44. Cry all you want, but if you did not see this coming, then you are blind. The point value between 1st/ business class awards and coach awards was out of line with the purchase price. When FF awards were introduced, the airlines purposely made 1st and business class awards obtainable by setting the hurdle quite low. This allowed the airlines to market these awards to their most loyal customers, the ones that racked up miles the old fashioned way (they had to fly to earn miles). Then came the credit cards, making miles easy to obtain. Then came the internet, allowing for the sharing on knowledge for how to obtain miles. Then came bloggers, like Darius, who posted photos flying first class for free (could be seen as thumbing your nose at the airlines)! I just wonder why it took United so long to increase the premium awards. I benefit from free awards as much as anyone, but I fly coach, as I have a family of 4. I just hope the airlines don’t increase the 25k domestic coach awards anytime soon, but I know that it is coming. I don’t think that the free flights and hotels stays will end, however they will all become more expensive over time, and I will just keep working on accumulating the miles and points, then spending the miles and points.

  45. Agree with @vc who said “I believe this will funnel the vast majority of international fliers into the United metal business or economy award seating. Therefore, this will make it more and more difficult to find availability on those flights. I believe this will in the long run be the biggest issue.”

    My husband and I travel only once a year internationally and have usually redeemed for coach to Europe (which were on UA partner flights due to routing). 4 years ago we flew business for the 1st time (on AA metal) thanks to earning all the miles via cc signups. Since then, we have not been able to travel internationally, but now have 2 trips on UA awards (involving partners) in business class coming up in Nov. and April. We booked business class because we were able to get so many free miles from cc signups, so it seemed like a no-brainer. Our future bookings will probably be back in coach and I think there will be plenty of travelers like us who will make the same decision, thus increasing the competition for those coach award seats. I expect to have more difficulty finding low saver level availability.

  46. Pingback: To tell or not to tell? The answer should be yes! | Miles For Family

  47. Anyone have an email address for Chase? I think thats the place to go, they are the one’s whose credit card products are hurt by this.

  48. I used to think that United had the best website and easiest way to book award tickets. But after this, I am going to give up my Chase United credit card and flying on United.

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  51. First of all with all the comments I was starting to think it was game over. Then I read some more and find out this only effects saver and standard award business ticket flights.

    I always pay for coach seats then use my miles to upgrade to business or first my miles go further and I pay cheap coach seats and get to ride in style. This hasn’t changed. The upgrades are still the same amount of miles. This doesn’t effect me at all.

    For those of you who cash in all your miles for free business flights… then yes this effects you but instead of just “slumming” in it coach like many of you said you will now have to do, just purchase coach seats and use your miles for business class upgrades.

  52. Wow, this sucks… so if I book using current award chart now and then have to change, I will only have to pay the fee, not the miles difference as well, correct? thanks!

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  54. This just made my day from great to worst. I was just planning a trip to India via Madrid in Business class. Although I don’t have enough miles now, but I expected to have just enough by the time I booked the award ticket. Well my dream of traveling in Business class goes down the drain.
    I just came to know about this devaluation and my dream is broken. There is no way I would get to 80k miles requirement for Business class and since United does not fly from Madrid to India, I will have to shell out lot of miles. United was my most preferred airline but now they have just dethroned themselves.

  55. Guys, at least you have credit cards, for those UA 1Ks like me that live in Italy, we have to fly much more, as we don’t have United credit cards that give miles. I usually accrue my miles by flying Italy to Canada, the most I can do is 5000 each way (so 20000 roundtrip including bonus). I spend them flying Y to South Asia, now it will take me 15000 more miles to get there, that’s almost one more Italy Canada roundtrip I have to do! And the price hasn’t gone down!

  56. I made a round trip award booking for two on united for my delhi trip in business class (SFO-DFW-FRA-DEL-FRA-DFW-SFO). I do not have any stopover or open jaw. Except that I am staying in Delhi for few days. I booked this flight before the devaluation happened. Can I now add a stopover of few months at SFO and then one way flight to Cancun, Mexico? Will my entire trip be re-priced? How much fees/miles will it require?

  57. I noticed within your article about the United miles Devaluation (http://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/11/01/big-united-miles-devaluation-coach-increases-slightly-but-star-alliance-awards-double/) that you said the following:

    1. Within the US
    No change (12,500 miles round-trip) for flights within the US on both United and partner airlines. This is good news!

    Is this an error? I am seeing that the one way saver award would be 12500 miles, and the round trip saver award would be 25000 miles.

  58. With the increase for Hawaii coach awards, am I correct that if you redeem star alliance partner miles on United flights (e.g., Lufthansa, US Air) that the mileage required is still what their charts require for roundtrip Hawaii-mainland–40k?

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