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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 can’t change)
  • Origin/Destination within the same regions (carrier and cabin can’t 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, 6:13 pm
  #766  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: SFO/SJC
Programs: UA 1K & 2MM, Bonvoy Lifetime Plat, Hertz PC
Posts: 1,979
Ouch. This seriously hurts. I currently pay 70K miles to fly SFO-FRA-NRT-BKK-HKG (as an example) on LH F and TG F all the way through. Which is pretty awesome because I'm essentially paying 10K miles to upgrade from C to F (since it's 60K in C).

As painful as this is, and for me it halves the value of miles, we have been spoiled for a long time. It honestly makes no sense for F to be just 10K more than C on that route.

Unfortunately I was getting a great deal until now. I won't be getting it going forward. The balance of the value exchange has been altered, and ultimately we each have to determine whether it's changed enough to change our flying patterns.

And really, hands up anyone who didn't expect this to happen?
cricketer is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:15 pm
  #767  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Programs: Million Miler, 1K - Basically spend a lot of time on planes
Posts: 2,201
United is alive thanks in part to the billions from Chase. And where does Chase get their money from? Indeed, from the "despised" card holders.

Why are the card holders despised. I currently have three cards (churning) but I am also a multi million miler, CO Platinum & 1K for 10 years straight. I do both the butt in seat mileage accrual and the bonuses from the cards...

If that gets us despised, then you guys are seriously missing out on some free miles. If you think that today's blood bath is because of chase cards, you are most likely mistaken

Lastly, if you are a UA flyer, and mainly fly on UA metal, today was hardly a bloodbath at all. If you primarily fly *A carriers using UA miles, then ... today was not a good day
CO_Nonrev_elite is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:16 pm
  #768  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: EAU
Programs: UA 1K, CO Plat, NW Plat, Marriott Premiere Plat, SPG Plat, Priority Gold, Hilton Gold
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Originally Posted by dieuwer2 View Post
Yes, a restaurant or grocery store could get away with it if the DOJ had made it possible for there to only be three restaurants or three groceries stores in your entire town.
There is an economic reality to consider:

When FF programs were best, airlines were losing money and fuel was cheap.

It was never sustainable.

Originally Posted by Kraut View Post
What is making this more aggravating is I am trying to get 2 First award seats from SFO to FRA on United metal. I looked from February all the way to September and not one flight available for 2 saver awards (even though First is empty for a lot of flights)!!!
One can hope that will change on Feb 1.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Nov 1, 13 at 8:49 pm Reason: merge
raehl311 is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:16 pm
  #769  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Honolulu
Programs: UA 1K 1.7mm
Posts: 449
Does this change mean CPU's are no longer good between HKG-SIN after Feb1?
kenziid3 is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:17 pm
  #770  
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Originally Posted by CO_Nonrev_elite View Post
United is alive thanks in part to the billions from Chase. And where does Chase get their money from? Indeed, from the "despised" card holders.

Why are the card holders despised. I currently have three cards (churning) but I am also a multi million miler, CO Platinum & 1K for 10 years straight. I do both the butt in seat mileage accrual and the bonuses from the cards...
Some people on this board think that it is the card holders who ruined everything.

Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
There is an economic reality to consider:

When FF programs were best, airlines were losing money and fuel was cheap.

It was never sustainable.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
The fact that they were losing money is not necessarily due to FF programs.
I thought the main culprit was the high labor costs.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Nov 1, 13 at 8:48 pm Reason: merge
Dieuwer is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:20 pm
  #771  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: LAX
Posts: 548
banking miles is not really a good idea. so no more loyalty to any airlines, they change when they want, never think about their loyal customers. too bad UA, once i use all my miles, i will go cheapest airfares available, never pick UA as my preference.
cubachao is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:22 pm
  #772  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 194
need to burn my miles as fast as I can
lisa2926 is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:23 pm
  #773  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: EAU
Programs: UA 1K, CO Plat, NW Plat, Marriott Premiere Plat, SPG Plat, Priority Gold, Hilton Gold
Posts: 4,682
Originally Posted by dieuwer2 View Post
Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
The fact that they were losing money is not necessarily due to FF programs.
I thought the main culprit was the high labor costs.
Anything with a cost affects the bottom line.

The question is, do the costs of the FF program drive enough revenue to make having the FF program a net gain?

I can certainly see how the pricing they had for F partner awards wasn't working in that equation.

The prices went up. The miles are still worth something. At least UA hasn't gone the DL route and institute a bunch of chances to make the miles nearly unusable (crap award search calendar, no changes within 72 hours AT ALL, huge close-in and other booking fees... all on top of crappy redemption rates....)


Like I said, I don't fault UA on raising the F partner award prices. When I was booking the India award flights yesterday I very nearly spring for the F as the cost difference in miles was so minimal. The actual cost difference J->F couldn't possibly have been proportional.


I do fault them for messing with J that much, and for not providing inventory on their own metal.
raehl311 is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:24 pm
  #774  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: DEN
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Originally Posted by Kraut View Post
What is making this more aggravating is I am trying to get 2 First award seats from SFO to FRA on United metal. I looked from February all the way to September and not one flight available for 2 saver awards (even though First is empty for a lot of flights)!!!
Very true. I recently found two business saver awards on AC DEN via YVR to SYD. Actually wanted UA, but checked for months. Plenty of flights, but zero saver availability on UA metal in business class for months. Ended up taking the AC flights (thankfully). Yet another downgrade. Very sad.
RockyMntFlyer is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:24 pm
  #775  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: ATL
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Can you blame United when Delta reports a $1.3 billion quarterly profit? They have skypesos and are still raking in that kind of cash. Maybe I'd do the same
Richklhs is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:24 pm
  #776  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 194
GPU seems to be more valuable after 2/1, RPU seems to stay the same value
lisa2926 is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:25 pm
  #777  
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
At least UA hasn't gone the DL route and institute a bunch of chances to make the miles nearly unusable (crap award search calendar, no changes within 72 hours AT ALL, huge close-in and other booking fees... all on top of crappy redemption rates....)
It is a workaround, but I use the Alaska award engine to search for DL awards. Since AS only shows low-level awards that are actually bookable, it works pretty well.
Dieuwer is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:27 pm
  #778  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: GRR, USA
Posts: 3,292
Originally Posted by dieuwer2 View Post
Some people on this board think that it is the card holders who ruined everything.
The card programs recently helped to 'print' more miles just like beloved Federal Reserve and treasury just print more dollars....eventually they lose their value...and inflation kicks in ---- we've just witnessed about a decade's worth of inflation literally overnight....
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Old Nov 1, 13, 6:27 pm
  #779  
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
The question is, do the costs of the FF program drive enough revenue to make having the FF program a net gain?
This is a good question; however, during the days of losing money hand over fist, frequent flyer programs were nonetheless incredibly profitable for airlines--so much so that some spun off and sold their FFPs IIRC. Clearly, those programs were a net gain even in hard times.
exerda is offline  
Old Nov 1, 13, 6:27 pm
  #780  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: New York, NY
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Originally Posted by Richklhs View Post
Can you blame United when Delta reports a $1.3 billion quarterly profit? They have skypesos and are still raking in that kind of cash. Maybe I'd do the same
yeah but they improved the product and operations and decided they can compete on that, so they felt free to gut skymiles. and it worked because they're reliable and have a solid product.

UA in my opinion hasn't gotten operations to a level where it can compete. and they keep reducing amenities on the on-board product. so their draw was MP. with under 80% on-time (is that right? what's the latest number?) operations, a weaker (it's subjective i guess) soft and hard product, you can't gut the FF program which is the last remaining major attraction and expect to rake in the profits.

you need a competitive advantage to sell. and a route network doesn't work if you're constantly late.
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