Award Fee Changes - Eff. Jun. 15, 2011

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Old Apr 14, 11, 10:01 am
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Award Fee Changes - Eff. Jun. 15, 2011

Hi Everyone, About a month ago, I shared with you the details of our award chart changes for Mileage Plus and OnePass taking effect on Jun. 15, 2011. Today, I’ll share the details of the award fee changes that will take for awards redeemed on or after the same date. I'll also do my best to highlight some of key points along the way. Here they are:
  1. Close in Booking Fee: This fee will apply to awards redeemed less than 21 days before departure. They’ll be $75 per person for general members, $50 for Premier and Silver members, $25 for Premier Executive and Gold members, and will continue to be waived for 1K, Global Services, Platinum and Presidential Platinum members.
    Worth noting: For OnePass members, there’s no change. For Mileage Plus members, this is the re-introduction of the close-in booking fee, but with Elite-based discounts.
  2. Award Change Fee: This fee will apply to award changes that are not considered ‘simple changes’. They’ll be $75 per person for awards redeemed by general members, $50 for Premier and Silver Elite members, $25 for Premier Executive and Gold members, and will continue to be waived for 1K, Global Services, Platinum and Presidential Platinum members . Also starting Jun. 15, we’ll offer Mileage Plus members a flat change fee of $75 for awards issued prior to Jun. 15. The Elite discounts, however, will only apply to awards issued on or after Jun. 15.
    Worth noting: For OnePass members, there’s no change. For Mileage Plus members, this is a reduction of 50% or more, depending on your Elite status.
  3. Simple Award Changes: Simple award changes will remain complimentary across both programs; however, the definition of what a “simple change” is will continue to be different between our two programs for the time being. Specifically:
    For Mileage Plus redemptions, the origin, destination, carriers and routing would have to remain the same.

    For OnePass redemptions, the change would have to be made at least 21 days in advance and the origin and destination must remain the same. The routing and carrier, however, may change.
  4. Mileage Re-Deposit Fee: This fee will apply to awards that are cancelled and re-deposited. They’ll be $150 per person for awards redeemed by general members, $125 for Premier and Silver members, $100 for Premier Executive and Gold members, and will continue to be waived for 1K, Global Services, Platinum and Presidential Platinum members.
    Worth noting: For OnePass members, this is an increase for general, Silver and Gold members. For Mileage Plus members, the fee is the same for general members, but will decrease for Premier and Premier Executive members.
Whether it’s having high fees in some areas and none in others, or having lower fees across the board – we’ve found the bottom line result to be about the same. Our goal with this new structure is to ensure that our most commonly-used fees are as low as possible and that our Elite members are rewarded with tier-based discounts. We’ve seen a lot of feedback on this, and hopefully this explains where we’re coming from.

United.com and continental.com will be updated later this afternoon with these details. Thanks as always for your feedback.

Scott O'Leary
Managing Director, Customer Solutions
United Airlines
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Old Apr 14, 11, 10:21 am
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Thank yu for posting the specific details of how the new policies differ from the current policies of each program.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 10:25 am
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Thank you for posting this and clearly defining the changes.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 10:42 am
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I agree with my co-mod XYZZY, thanks for clearing defining the changes and how they impact the legacy programs.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 10:51 am
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I really like the award change fee reductions for those of us who are unfit to walk the red carpet.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 10:53 am
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All in all these are good changes.. except for UA continuing to have a separate definition for "simple changes". I'm curious UA Insider, does it cost UA a lot more money in time/labor to change the routing/carriers on a ticket than on CO?

It doesn't impact me directly as a 1K but I help out several friends with their travel and I've always wondered why UA requires the same routing to make free changes.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 10:57 am
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Are these fees still based on the status of the account the miles come from?
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Old Apr 14, 11, 10:59 am
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I'll be the first to say it. to any fees at all.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 11:07 am
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It doesn't impact me, but the close-in booking fee for award tickets is bogus.

In my opinion this is a major devaluation of miles. Often one gets the biggest bang for his/her buck by using miles to pay for tickets that are close-in.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 11:11 am
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Overall these appear to a net positive for UA members. However, re-implementing close in booking fees on the UA side is garbage.

It doesn't impact me directly, but it does my partner, family and many many others out there. Removing them a year or 2 ago was a great benefit, especially considering people also had to pay a $25 fee to speak to an agent to book their Star/partner awards.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 11:12 am
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Originally Posted by FightingIlliniUAL View Post
I'll be the first to say it. to any fees at all.
...espcially to the re-intro of the close-in booking fees.


So does the "award change fee" apply to all the things that you can't make changes to under 'simple award changes'? In other words, if you want to change the origin, destination, carrier and/or routing of your award ticket, then you have to pay the award change fee?
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Old Apr 14, 11, 11:16 am
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What I like most about these fees is that Scott introduced them to us so clearly, and ahead of the general announcement. As much as I have fees, I have to say Thank you, Scott.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 11:16 am
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
  1. Award Change Fee: This fee will apply to award changes that are not considered ‘simple changes’. They’ll be $75 per person for awards redeemed by general members, $50 for Premier and Silver Elite members, $25 for Premier Executive and Gold members, and will continue to be waived for 1K, Global Services, Platinum and Presidential Platinum members . Also starting Jun. 15, we’ll offer Mileage Plus members a flat change fee of $75 for awards issued prior to Jun. 15. The Elite discounts, however, will only apply to awards issued on or after Jun. 15.
    Worth noting: For OnePass members, there’s no change. For Mileage Plus members, this is a reduction of 50% or more, depending on your Elite status.
  2. Simple Award Changes: Simple award changes will remain complimentary across both programs; however, the definition of what a “simple change” is will continue to be different between our two programs for the time being. Specifically:
    For Mileage Plus redemptions, the origin, destination, carriers and routing would have to remain the same.
Don't Mileage Plus awards currently afford free changes even if the carrier or carriers change, so long as the origin, destination, and routing remain the same? It was always my understanding that if, for example, I had an award booked for LAX-NRT nonstop on UA metal but wanted to switch to, say, an NH-operated nonstop from LAX-NRT, either on the same date or a different date, that change would be free.

Edited to add: as a Premier Executive, I just got an e-mail from Mileage Plus which states: "Importantly, please note there is still no charge for changing the date or time of your award ticket as long as your routing does not change."

Contrary to that e-mail and contrary to previous practice, will I now incur an "Award Change Fee" for changing carriers, even though my routing doesn't change?

Last edited by SAT Lawyer; Apr 14, 11 at 10:14 pm
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Old Apr 14, 11, 11:24 am
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I understand the concept of fees as a way to encourage better consumer behavior. However, the "re-introduction" of the close-in booking fee is ridiculous. Since when are "discounted fees" considered a reward for loyalty?
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Old Apr 14, 11, 11:31 am
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Originally Posted by trm2 View Post
Are these fees still based on the status of the account the miles come from?
That is hw it has been in the past, and there has been no change noted in that regard.
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