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Changes to MileagePlus Award and Upgrade Policies - Eff. 3-Feb-2014

Changes to MileagePlus Award and Upgrade Policies - Eff. 3-Feb-2014

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Old Jan 8, 16, 4:42 pm   -   Wikipost
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New UA Award/Upgrade Chart (vs. Current Chart)

Changes took effect for travel booked starting February 3, 2014. See UA Insider's post linked here for more info about the date change. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/22263212-post2366.html

Awards with *A partners now cost more than similar awards flown only on UA metal.
  • F awards on partners went up 40-80%
  • J awards on partners went up 20-40%
  • F and J awards on UA metal (or mixed carriers where UA metal is in premium cabin followed by partner segment in lower class) as well some Y awards increased by 5-20% (US to Europe in F up 19%, US to Middle East in F up 20% for example)

See below for the round-trip increases on partner metal :
US ✈ Southern South America: +10,000 J, +5,000 F

US ✈ Europe: +40,000 J, +85,000 F

US ✈ Northern/Central/Southern Africa: +40,000 J, +110,000 F

US ✈ Middle East: +5,000 Y, +40,000 J, +130,000 F

US ✈ Central Asia/India: +5,000 Y, +40,000 J, +120,000 F

US ✈ South Asia: +15,000 Y, +40,000 J, +120,000 F

US ✈ North Asia: +5,000 Y, +40,000 J, +100,000 F

US ✈ Japan: +5,000 Y, +30,000 J, +85,000 F

US ✈ Oceania: +30,000 J, +70,000 F

US ✈ Australia/New Zealand: +25,000 J, +100,000 F

RTW: +20,000 Y, +90,000 J, +100,000 F

Changes to upgrade policy for intra-Asia and northern South America flights
  1. Complimentary Premier Upgrades and instant upgrades are not applicable
  2. Regional Premier Upgrades (for any fare class) and Global Premier Upgrades (for flights booked in fare class Z, P, S, T, L, K, G or N) can no longer be requested on or after November 1, 2013
  3. There is no co-pay exemption for MileagePlus Upgrade Awards requested on or after November 1, 2013
  4. The above changes do not apply to Copa-operated flights.


Questions and Answers

Q: If I book an award in January 2014 and then make changes in February or beyond (in routing, airline, origin, destination, etc), will it be repriced according to new mileage requirements, or will I keep the old pricing on that ticket?
Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Our existing change process will apply. 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.
Additional details on changing tickets booked prior to 2/3/14 per UA Insider:
Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Changes that will not trigger a re-price for itineraries ticketed before February 3, 2014 include:
  • Date/time (cabin, region, and award type can't change)
  • Carrier on one or more segments (cabin, region, and award type canít change)
  • Origin/Destination within the same regions (carrier and cabin canít change)
Full details are in post #2588 http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/22283437-post2588.html

Q: Do these rates apply for tickets purchased after Feb 3 or for travel after Feb 3? That is,if one purchases a ticket now, to fly on Mar 15, will that be new or old pricing?
Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
The new award pricing takes effect for bookings made on or after Feb 3, 2014 for all future travel dates. If you purchased a ticket prior to then for travel on March 15, and no changes are made to the itinerary, the current pricing will apply.
Q: How will award pricing apply to mixed-carrier Saver Awards?
Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Updated handling for mixed UA-Partner United/partner award itineraries: As we shared with the initial announcement, the Star Alliance/Partner partner award pricing will apply to Business or First awards for itineraries that include at least one flight segment operated by a MileagePlus partner carrier in Business or First.

However, as a customer benefit we have made an exception for most itineraries which require connecting onto a MileagePlus/Star partner in First or Business for a short distance. Specifically, if a United/Copa award itinerary contains a connecting segment on a MileagePlus/Star partner that is wholly within one MileagePlus award region, then the United award price will apply.
  • For example: IAD-FRA in United BusinessFirst connecting to FRA-FCO in Lufthansa Business, will be priced at the United mileage award amount.
  • Note that this exception will not apply to a few specific regions and routings, such as intra-Africa connecting segments and certain fifth-freedom routes (e.g. BKK-KUL operated by Lufthansa)
(reverted to J.Edward's rev)
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:29 pm
  #616  
 
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Originally Posted by pinguy View Post
Maybe it's just me but it's been about a decade since I've been on an airplane with a bunch of empty seats. Oh to have the eighties back when you could book a red eye on a wide body and get five empty seats in the middle to lay down and sleep.......
I was on a DXB-IAD (777) just last week, on which I had a set of 3 E+ seats to myself...so did the person in the set of seats in front of me... and the one in the set of seats behind me.

Great flight...lie flat ghetto style.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:29 pm
  #617  
 
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Originally Posted by exerda View Post
If you want to see empty seats, require premium cabin seats be purchased for cold, hard cash. No upgrades, no awards. Removing the awards and upgraders isn't going to magically create demand for paid F.

Or are you saying that revenue / inventory management is totally incompetent at what they do in terms of releasing award and upgrade inventory?
I'm saying ALL airlines no longer fly routes that are not filled with PAX. Not really a statement on FF miles/awards.....just sayin.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:30 pm
  #618  
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Hi everyone, as promised, some updates and clarifications for you:

Originally Posted by TravelinSperry View Post
Wow, the biggest % jumps are in Star Alliance First class. The miles required for these routes moved significantly. Why would these routes be affected so much more (on a % basis), then the other classes of service?
Hi TravelinSperry, you raise a fundamental question. Frankly, the levels at which we currently offer these awards, particularly in the premium cabins, have not kept up with the increased cost from our partners to United. Itís been several years since weíve adjusted our award pricing, and in many cases what weíve been charging for awards has gotten highly out of sync with what it costs United to supply partner award seats to our customers. Being able to book premium-cabin award travel across 30+ MileagePlus partners is of course a strong benefit of the program, and we wanted to maintain access to these itineraries instead of restricting them altogetheróan approach other programs have taken.

Originally Posted by DWFI View Post
Aaron - if I book an award in Jan 2014 and then make changes in Feb or beyond (in routing, airline, origin, destination, etc), will it be repriced according to new mileage reqs. or will I keep the old pricing on that ticket?
Hi DWFI, Our existing change process will apply. 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.

Originally Posted by mitchmu View Post
Do these rates apply for tickets purchased after Feb 1 or for travel after Feb 1?

That is, if you purchase a ticket now, to fly Mar 15, will that be new or old pricing?
Hi mitchmu, the new award pricing takes effect for bookings made on or after Feb 1, 2014 for all future travel dates. If you purchase a ticket now for travel on March 15, and no changes are made to the itinerary, the current pricing will apply.

--

Finally, a note about mixed-carrier Saver Awards. Although there will now be two charts, it will be still be possible to combine United/United Express and MileagePlus partner award flights on the same itinerary. However, the MileagePlus partner award cabin level will need to be lower than that of the United-operated segment(s) in order to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. So, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United Global First, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Business or Economy (as they typically already are) to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. Similarly, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United BusinessFirst, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Economy to take advantage of the United Saver Award price.

Aaron Goldberg
Sr. Manager - Customer Experience Planning
United Airlines
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:31 pm
  #619  
 
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Originally Posted by pinguy View Post
That's not a logical statement. Everybody has reasons for doing what they do even if they don't agree with your reasons. More than half the PAX on planes don't even have a FF account.
+1 --- We think we're more important than we really are.

I saw a statistic not too long ago that the FT type flyer accounts for 4% of airlines passenger base. 96% of airline passengers may have never heard of flyertalk, milepoint, etc.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:33 pm
  #620  
 
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It is unfortunate, but I guess this is just the nature of business when a supplier feels that you don't have any other attractive choices on the open market for their service.

Could a restaurant, grocery store or auto manufacturer get away with treating their clientele like this? The simple answer is no. People would decide that the service no longer has value and look for a better provider.

The trend at United is troubling if you're a frequent or even semi-frequent traveler. Fewer F and E+ seats on planes, credit card holders getting priority access, the much discussed changes in the United Club are all decreases in service. Smisek's mentality is that we will all gripe about the changes, threaten to leave, never fly United again etc., but that ultimately most of us will stay. It's obvious that he believes that with all things being equal (with United's win for the race to the bottom), we won't change to AA or DL, we'll stay loyal to UA.

I'll be leaving, but the transition is going to be tough. I will finish up 2013 as a 1K with 135,000 bis miles. The major downside for me is I have almost 900,000 miles in my MileageMinus account. Pre-booking award trips prior to February 1st will be a challenge and should hopefully save me something, but goodbye to F. I guess the remaining miles will get me through until I have enough miles on the next airline I become a frequent flyer at, so that I can again begin to book award travel again.

It's great to feel loved. Thanks Jeff.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:34 pm
  #621  
 
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I really don't mind the increase in the price of F awards. I always thought it was ridiculous that I'd get a J award for 140k and the F award was only 180k or so. That just never made sense and I can see why the airline needs to fix it.

What gets my goat here is the increased price to fly partners. UA doesn't fly everywhere. And even when they DO fly, they may not have many seats. Case in point is just yesterday I booked J seats for the wife and her friend to visit India. There was absolutely no saver availability whatsoever on United metal, so they're going on Lufthansa. Now United is not only withholding inventory from me, they're penalizing me for it.


The only small silver lining I can see here is that if UA metal J awards are more expensive, it gets easier to use GPUs.

I would also be less upset if the corresponding price increase on J saver awards led to more saver award inventory being opened up.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:34 pm
  #622  
 
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Finally, a note about mixed-carrier Saver Awards. Although there will now be two charts, it will be still be possible to combine United/United Express and MileagePlus partner award flights on the same itinerary. However, the MileagePlus partner award cabin level will need to be lower than that of the United-operated segment(s) in order to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. So, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United Global First, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Business or Economy (as they typically already are) to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. Similarly, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United BusinessFirst, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Economy to take advantage of the United Saver Award price.
Thanks for the clarification. This at least makes the UA GF awards still useful.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:35 pm
  #623  
 
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Hi everyone, as promised, some updates and clarifications for you:




Aaron Goldberg
Sr. Manager - Customer Experience Planning
United Airlines
Aaron,

I think you guys made the right move conceptually, but the proof will be in the execution of how you treat your most loyal, revenue generating passengers. UA is forcing a major concession on part of your passenger base, I just hope you don't forget to treat your revenue generating passengers with kid gloves.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:36 pm
  #624  
 
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Thanks for the clarification Aaron.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:36 pm
  #625  
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Finally, a note about mixed-carrier Saver Awards. Although there will now be two charts, it will be still be possible to combine United/United Express and MileagePlus partner award flights on the same itinerary. However, the MileagePlus partner award cabin level will need to be lower than that of the United-operated segment(s) in order to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. So, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United Global First, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Business or Economy (as they typically already are) to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. Similarly, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United BusinessFirst, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Economy to take advantage of the United Saver Award price.
Good to have confirmation of that--it only makes sense. However, how easy will this be to select when booking online? Will the award search engine have separate columns now for "United Saver (with partner flights)" and "Star Alliance Saver" (or something to that effect)? Or will we need to call to book? Or do something convoluted like a multi-destination search (buggy) or book at the higher rate, then do a change to the award (for those eligible for free changes) to downgrade the partner flights and get a mileage refund?

This is most important on BusinessFirst awards connecting to *A partners, since as you say a saver GlobalFirst award is going to already work out correctly in most cases.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:36 pm
  #626  
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Originally Posted by djtsukasa View Post
I bet Barclays has the
Just because you are or aren't an elite has no bearing on how you redeem your miles. Most of the people that primarily travel on miles (like chase cardholders) are the non-elites because those flights don't earn miles to make them elite.
Au contraire, elites are more likely to be savvy about the best redemption values - that is to use miles for international C/F travel and often on partners that provide better in-flight experience than UA,AA,DL. The millions of non-elites who use mileage cards (including my parents) redeem for North America travel and international economy class - this is bourne out by published statistics. The fact that a few thousand non-elite churners are able to game the system to leverage signup bonuses for C/F international travel does not change the fundamental underpinnings of how these programs operate.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:36 pm
  #627  
 
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
the new award pricing takes effect for bookings made on or after Feb 1, 2014 for all future travel dates. If you purchase a ticket now for travel on March 15, and no changes are made to the itinerary, the current pricing will apply.

Aaron Goldberg
Sr. Manager - Customer Experience Planning
United Airlines
Better book your travel today for next summer. If those flights were hard to find last week, they are going to be impossible to find next week.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:37 pm
  #628  
 
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Finally, a note about mixed-carrier Saver Awards. Although there will now be two charts, it will be still be possible to combine United/United Express and MileagePlus partner award flights on the same itinerary. However, the MileagePlus partner award cabin level will need to be lower than that of the United-operated segment(s) in order to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. So, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United Global First, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Business or Economy (as they typically already are) to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. Similarly, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United BusinessFirst, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Economy to take advantage of the United Saver Award price.
At least this is good news for those like me wanting to travel to ATH and IST where UA doesn't fly. It would be nice if they would allow intra-region partner flights at the same level as the long-haul UA flight. In other words, a TATL flight in BusinessFirst and MUC-IST in TK short-haul business would price on the UA chart.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:37 pm
  #629  
 
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post

Finally, a note about mixed-carrier Saver Awards. Although there will now be two charts, it will be still be possible to combine United/United Express and MileagePlus partner award flights on the same itinerary. However, the MileagePlus partner award cabin level will need to be lower than that of the United-operated segment(s) in order to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. So, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United Global First, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Business or Economy (as they typically already are) to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. Similarly, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United BusinessFirst, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Economy to take advantage of the United Saver Award price.
That's actually a reasonable interpretation of an otherwise unreasonable devaluation.
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Old Nov 1, 13, 2:37 pm
  #630  
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Finally, a note about mixed-carrier Saver Awards. Although there will now be two charts, it will be still be possible to combine United/United Express and MileagePlus partner award flights on the same itinerary. However, the MileagePlus partner award cabin level will need to be lower than that of the United-operated segment(s) in order to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. So, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United Global First, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Business or Economy (as they typically already are) to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. Similarly, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United BusinessFirst, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Economy to take advantage of the United Saver Award price.
That's still disappointing.. If I want to fly USA-FRA-ZRH on a combo of UA and LH, you'll charge me for wanting to keep the whole itin in business, vs. business on UA and Y on LH.

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