This week United announced that it will be raising the mileage redemption levels for some awards over 60%. That is a huge buzzkill in the miles & points world, but it's almost expected at some point across all loyalty programs. United specifically upped the mileage needed for some of the most popular redemptions such as Hawaii and First Class partner awards. By doing this, United has created a whole new chart for redemptions on partner airlines instead of keeping its all-encompassing old award chart that was good for awards on both United and partner airlines.
The only good news is that the new award prices will go into effect for tickets booked on or after February 1, 2014. You sill have several months to book award tickets at the old chart level until January 31, 2014, so plan to book your ticket before that date if you are looking into a trip using United Miles to any of the award zones that have a price increase.
I created a chart that quickly shows where and how much the mile increases will occur over United's saver award chart. You can take a look at the larger version here.
I am not going to go into detail about all the changes (there are plenty of other blogs where you can read about it), but I will break down the general across the board changes:
Domestic economy travel within the US: Unchanged. If you mostly redeem miles for flights across the U.S. you're okay.
Economy international travel: Small increase. Look at paying a couple thousand miles more for the most part, but no big deal.
Business/first class international travel on United flights: Increase, a little more than economy awards. You will end up paying 10k-20k more miles, but no real reason to fret because who really wants to fly United first class anyways.
Business/first class international travel on Star Alliance flights: Huge 20-60% increases. Expect to blow your whole account balance on one Lufthansa first class trip to Europe.
Here are links to the current chart and the new chart:
Overall this is a extremely flyer unfriendly move by United and they certainly will receive a large extent of backlash from frequent flyers. Depending on how you use your United miles this will either be a huge blow (international business/first class partner awards) or really just a small nuisance (domestic and international economy awards). Since I really use my miles for international travel, I will probably look at burning most of my United miles before the award increases and consider jumping over to AA for more of my international business/first class award travel.
Let me know what you think of the infographic in the comments below - or share them around if you really want to help me out
Either way, thanks for reading – hope you found them valuable!