United‘s most recent award chart devaluation went into effect at the beginning of this month. We had warning about these changes, but it’s still unfortunate. A lot of redemptions saw price increases, but not all did. The awards that were the hardest hit are:
- Mainland US/Alaska/Canada to/from Australia New Zealand – United Business class prices increased to 80,000 miles each way and partner business class prices increased to 90,000 each way.
- Mainland US/Alaska/Canada to/from South Asia – United Business class increased to 75,000 miles each way and partner business class prices increased to 90,000 each way.
- Mainland US/Alaska/Canada to/from Southern South America – United and Partner Business class prices increased to 60,000 miles each way.
- Don’t hoard miles. Miles only have value if you actually use them for something, so don’t earn (or buy!) more than you need. Have an idea of the trips you want to take in the coming year and make sure you earn enough miles to book those trips well in advance. Once you have used the miles you have, start planning how you want to earn more for the next trip you want to book.
- Diversify. The more diverse your points and miles portfolio is, the better protected you will be from devaluations. If one program devalues and that’s where all of your miles are, you’re SOL. If you have miles in different programs, or better yet, as transferrable currencies, you can weather the devaluation storm much better and save your devaluated miles for a trip that wasn’t hit as hard.
- If you know about a devaluation, use your miles first. United gave us plenty of warning about this one, there’s really no reason to have not planned an upcoming trip with UA miles (unless you’re one of the lucky few that had an award that’s better off now). Airline and hotel programs don’t always give notice, so don’t waste when they do!