Award booking surprise

Old Jan 12, 19, 5:42 am
  #1  
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Award booking surprise

I recently booked a round trip award flight in business at the standard award rates - 137k award miles for the outbound segment and 155k award miles for the return. The original itinerary was CLE-EWR-FRA and the reverse on the return. I had to make a modification to the return segment to leave from MUC instead of FRA. When looking at the flights ex-MUC, I noticed the standard rates were lower for just about every flight. In the end, the new return flight I selected (MUC-EWR-CLE) was 124k award miles, saving 31k award miles. The 31k award miles were immediately redeposited into my MP account. Interestingly, when I originally booked the flights, the return flight I ended up changing into ex-MUC was showing as 155k award miles. Out of curiosity, I checked the rates on the outbound segment which I didn't need to change. Sure enough, the exact CLE-EWR-FRA outbound itinerary I originally booked was now showing as a standard award of 106k miles. I "changed" into the same outbound itinerary and saved another 31k award miles, which were immediately redeposited into my MP account. All of the changes I made were processed without error and I have receipts and confirmations showing the updated award miles used.

Should I be concerned this was error of some sort? Something just doesn't feel right here.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 8:09 am
  #2  
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All is good. The standard rates are now dynamically priced. Always worth checking and looking for refund opportunities
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Old Jan 12, 19, 8:38 am
  #3  
LBJ
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Everyday Awards

Everyday Awards are a new type of air travel award with pricing that varies from flight to flight. They replaced Standard Awards on November 1, 2017. Everyday Awards offer expanded availability on flights operated by United, United Express and Copa Airlines and are subject to capacity controls. While seats for award travel may not be available on certain flights, there are more seats available for Everyday Awards than for Saver Awards.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 9:32 am
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An award ticket to FRA is almost 300K for 1 person ??? That is crazy I just did a mock booking on AA and it was 57.5 K each way in Business class.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 9:40 am
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Originally Posted by dgparent View Post
An award ticket to FRA is almost 300K for 1 person ??? That is crazy I just did a mock booking on AA and it was 57.5 K each way in Business class.
For last seat availability, yes. Saver awards are much cheaper.

AA isn't offering 57.5k for last seat availability.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 10:45 am
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Originally Posted by dgparent View Post
An award ticket to FRA is almost 300K for 1 person ??? That is crazy I just did a mock booking on AA and it was 57.5 K each way in Business class.
And a similar mock booking on UA will show you 60-70K each way (60K if United metal, 70K for partner) - presuming that there are saver seats available like there clearly were for your mock booking on AA.

If there's no saver, you end up in Standard/Everyday award category, which is up to 155K miles each way - but with much greater availability.

At the classic "1 cent per mile", 300k is still only $3k, which is likely a lot less than actually buying a similar ticket.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 11:00 am
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
At the classic "1 cent per mile", 300k is still only $3k, which is likely a lot less than actually buying a similar ticket.
Classic? According to whom? Most of the blogs value UA around 1.5 cpm. I prefer not to redeem under 2, and 3-4 is eminently achievable.

That said, the flexibility of the Every Day redemptions may make them appealing to those who have big piles of points (or really don't want to spend the cash on a relatively expensive ticket).
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Old Jan 12, 19, 11:08 am
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When UA 1099s you, they value them at 2c.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 11:50 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by dgparent View Post
An award ticket to FRA is almost 300K for 1 person ??? That is crazy I just did a mock booking on AA and it was 57.5 K each way in Business class.
Believe me, it was painful to spend even 230k miles, but there were no saver awards available unless I wanted three layovers where one of them required an airport change and the other one was for 11 hours. I'm definitely going to keep an eye open for saver awards opening up or decreases in the everyday awards. The cost of the flight in cash would be $7,100, so it works out to 3 cpm for this award ticket, which I think is good.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 12:36 pm
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Originally Posted by BasedinCLE View Post
Believe me, it was painful to spend even 230k miles, but there were no saver awards available unless I wanted three layovers where one of them required an airport change and the other one was for 11 hours. I'm definitely going to keep an eye open for saver awards opening up or decreases in the everyday awards. The cost of the flight in cash would be $7,100, so it works out to 3 cpm for this award ticket, which I think is good.
The problem I have with such fantastical CPM claims is that with a bit of flexibility, you can generally find J fares for thousands less than that. For example, I see DTW-MUC for $2500 RT in business on UA and you can mix DTW-FRA (LH non-stop) with MUC-DTW return for about $3000 total. Sure, driving from CLE to DTW is somewhat inconvenient (but you are also trading that for a non-stop on the outbound), but most people would readily do that to save $4K. Further, almost no one really values these flights at $7K and would pay that much out of pocket other than the mega-rich. Can you really say these flights are truly "worth" that much to you. You can't really argue the "experience" is worth that much when they are charging thousands less for flights on the exact same equipment depending on when and where you depart from.

Last edited by LBJ; Jan 12, 19 at 1:41 pm
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Old Jan 12, 19, 1:36 pm
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
When UA 1099s you, they value them at 2c.
I have never received a 1099 ... since I do not believe that UA has my SSN, I am pretty sure it is impossible to 1099 me. Is there something I am missing?
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Old Jan 12, 19, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by timbre View Post
I have never received a 1099 ... since I do not believe that UA has my SSN, I am pretty sure it is impossible to 1099 me. Is there something I am missing?
Miles earnt through frequent flyer programs are not taxable, however if you (for example) win some in a competition then they are taxable, and United will require an SSN/W-8BEN/etc and will issue a 1099.

When they do this, UA values the miles at 2 cents/mile, although there have been reports of people being able to reduce this by basing value on things like merchandise purchases where are generally well below 1 cent/mile value, or even just on the fact that United will frequently sell miles for well below 2 cents/mile.
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