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Changes To UA MileagePlus Coming On NOV 15, 2019 (Dynamic UA Awards - No More Chart)

Changes To UA MileagePlus Coming On NOV 15, 2019 (Dynamic UA Awards - No More Chart)

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Old May 12, 19, 7:59 am   -   Wikipost
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Award travel updates

Introducing a broader range of award prices

Updates to award travel are on the horizon. For flights on or after November 15, 2019, we’ll no longer publish an award chart listing the set amount of miles needed for each flight.

The details:
  • Some award prices will be lower than what’s currently published in our chart. You may have already seen these prices, and you’ll be able to get them immediately.
  • Other award prices may be higher than what you see today, especially if you’re traveling at a popular time. These prices will take effect immediately for travel November 15 or after.
  • Starting November 15, we’re removing close-in fees, so you won’t be charged the extra fee of up to $75 for booking last-minute award travel.
  • A flexible award travel calendar is available on united.com or in our app.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is changing?

    For travel on or after November 15, we will no longer publish an award chart listing the set amount of miles needed for award flights. Award pricing will now fluctuate based on a variety of factors, including demand. Additionally, starting November 15, we will no longer charge a fee of up to $75 for award flights booked within 21 days of departure.
  • When will these updates take effect?

    The award pricing changes apply immediately to flights on or after November 15, 2019. Until then, award prices will be the same as or lower than what’s currently published in our award chart.
  • How many miles will I need for award travel after November 15?

    Award prices will now fluctuate based on a variety of factors. Some air awards will be available for less than what’s listed in our chart, which you may have already noticed. After November 15, award prices may also be higher, especially if you’re traveling at popular times. Use our flexible award calendar to get a monthly view of the award prices for a specific destination.
  • Why are you making these changes?

    Increasing award prices for the most in-demand flights allows us to offer better returns for our shareholders. If your award travel is flexible, these updates will help you make the most of your miles.
  • How will these updates affect award travel availability?

    United MileagePlus members with Premier® status and qualifying United Chase Cardmembers can continue to book award travel without blackout dates. For other members, most award flights that are available today will continue to be available after these updates take effect.
  • Do the lowest-priced awards have any extra flight restrictions?

    No. Our lowest priced awards do not have any added restrictions; the fare rules for all award travel apply.
  • How can I find the lowest priced award for my travel?

    The award calendar on united.com or in our app will continue to show the lowest available price for your destination.
  • Will I earn miles on my flight if I book an award?

    No. As with current award bookings, award travel in the future will not be eligible to earn miles with MileagePlus or any other loyalty program.
  • What if I need to change my existing award?

    If you need to change your award ticket, you will be issued a new ticket for which new pricing and additional fees may apply.
  • What if I purchase a close-in award before November 15

    The close-in booking fee will still apply to all tickets booked within 21 days of departure prior to November 15, 2019. We will not refund fees paid prior to November 15, even if travel occurs on or after November 15.
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...l-updates.html
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Old Apr 17, 19, 11:04 am
  #616  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Please Stay On Topic

The topic of this thread is UA upcoming change to "dynamic awards"

The best credit card deals or the best card to use instead of Chase cards or the practices of those make use of credit deals are interesting subjects but there is a forum for those discussions, https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/cred...-programs-390/

Numerous OT posts have been removed, let's return the discussion to UA"s change to "dynamic awards"

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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 17, 19 at 12:25 pm
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Old Apr 17, 19, 1:37 pm
  #617  
 
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With dynamic pricing of awards UA will not only be able to adjust for demand, but they will also be able to discriminate by factors important to UA business.
I can see 'sales' on awards based on holding a UA credit card (or even by type of card), membership in UA Corporate Preferred, status, etc.
I have already taken advantage of discounts on awards due to my holding an MP CC.
This sort of thing may expand in ways that are surprising to some, but solidify relationships with partners.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 2:23 pm
  #618  
 
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
You know, the ones who have 40+ credit cards primarily for the sign up bonuses and have corporate cards that they "max out" each and every month so that at the end of the year they've accumulated 2,000,000 miles. They then book a ton of award travel never spending a nickel with the airline. Meanwhile us loyal elites who do 100,000+ BIS each and only earn a measly 150,000 miles are lucky if a milage upgrade we applied clears! The influencers get the caviar and us loyalist get the scraps. What a deal!

Look I'm not faulting them. Heck, I've got a couple of credit cards in my name partly for that purpose. What I do have a problem is how BISness travellers aren't getting prioritized over the plastic-necks!

Safe Travels,

James
Most likely the airline is prioritizing whatever makes them the most revenue.

I don't know about UA's financials but it's well publicized that AA makes more money selling miles than cash tickets. (This is sometimes mischaracterized as they make more money selling miles than flying people around -- which is ridiculous because miles are just an alternate form of payment). Someone who opens sufficiently many credit cards may very well be a better customer to the airline than someone who takes a couple of trips a month.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 2:47 pm
  #619  
 
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Originally Posted by 8MiHi View Post
With dynamic pricing of awards UA will not only be able to adjust for demand, but they will also be able to discriminate by factors important to UA business.
I can see 'sales' on awards based on holding a UA credit card (or even by type of card), membership in UA Corporate Preferred, status, etc.
I have already taken advantage of discounts on awards due to my holding an MP CC.
This sort of thing may expand in ways that are surprising to some, but solidify relationships with partners.
We already saw something similar to this recently (this year?) when UA reduced the number of award miles for trips to Europe for Premier Members and CC holders. IIRC the number of miles required dropped by 30K if you were both a 1K and had the UA CC. Providing dynamic pricing will enable to run more of these promotions more often, particularly when they notice load is getting soft. I'd be curious to hear from fellow FTers if there are any good strategies to spot dynamic award deals aside from popping open a 30 day calendar and scanning through the available points required.

In any event, I've started a thread to track these deals much like the other threads created to track ToDs, CPU/GPU/RPU clearance experiences, etc : UA Award Travel Offers (TOP)

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Apr 17, 19, 8:12 pm
  #620  
 
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My first response to this, when I began to envision DL-style 250,000-mile awards, was "it's over." If a mile can never get me more than $0.015 in value, I'll cancel my Chase cards and get a card that earns more in cash back. In fact, I called Chase to cancel my old United Platinum Class card. It offers 10k EQM for the first $10k in UA spend, but I gave up status after 10 years as a Premier around the time that silly CFO announced that elites are too "entitled." It also gives 2x miles on gas station, grocery, restaurant, and home improvement spend--which is almost everywhere I spend! But I can get $0.03-0.06 cash back in these categories with other cards. If reasonable premium awards are a thing of the past, I'll quit trying to earn miles. I figured I'd keep my Club card for now, to see how valuable the Premier Access and UC prove to be if I'm no longer earning miles on the card.

Chase tried to talk me into downgrading to the United TraveBank card, which gives a fixed $0.015 per dollar spent, redeemable only (but immediately) for UA travel. I told them I'd sleep on it.

But then I tried to book a few dummy awards, and saw that I can still find 70k J partner awards to Europe well past 11/15. If these stick around, I'll keep earning MP miles. When these become 300k awards, I'm likely off to Cash-Back land.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 3:38 am
  #621  
 
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Originally Posted by CJ99 View Post
But then I tried to book a few dummy awards, and saw that I can still find 70k J partner awards to Europe well past 11/15. If these stick around, I'll keep earning MP miles. When these become 300k awards, I'm likely off to Cash-Back land.
This is my basic thinking also. I watch 90k J partner awards to Asia. After the program change announcement both the quantity and the quality of saver award availability was reduced dramatically, but there is still some options out there.

Going forward: award redeemers are going to have to be more flexible with dates, accept less favorable (more segment) routings, and accept flying on less desirable *A partners. A burden for some, and a big come down for those of us who are used to they way things used to be.

SL
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Old Apr 18, 19, 4:09 am
  #622  
 
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Originally Posted by SunLover View Post

This is my basic thinking also. I watch 90k J partner awards to Asia. After the program change announcement both the quantity and the quality of saver award availability was reduced dramatically, but there is still some options out there.

Going forward: award redeemers are going to have to be more flexible with dates, accept less favorable (more segment) routings, and accept flying on less desirable *A partners. A burden for some, and a big come down for those of us who are used to they way things used to be.

SL

Oddly, I have found more UA metal savers (I) than usual to NRT/HKG out near the end of schedule. In addition, I am finding plenty of O-space on NH. I book these flights every year to BKK and have never had more UA metal available this far out in I. The one thing I can't find right now, which is usually available, is O-space on TG on the 380 from NRT-BKK.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 6:05 am
  #623  
 
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Originally Posted by SunLover View Post

This is my basic thinking also. I watch 90k J partner awards to Asia. After the program change announcement both the quantity and the quality of saver award availability was reduced dramatically, but there is still some options out there.

Going forward: award redeemers are going to have to be more flexible with dates, accept less favorable (more segment) routings, and accept flying on less desirable *A partners. A burden for some, and a big come down for those of us who are used to they way things used to be.

SL
I guess I should clarify that I’m also monitoring availability of multi-seat Y awards to Europe. Since kids came along, that’s where most of my redemptions have been, and that’s where a cash-back card may allow me to “travel for free” better than a mile-earning card. For the moment, I’m hedging my bets: I’ve moved restaurant and gas spend to my Citi Costco Visa.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 9:44 am
  #624  
 
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
Most likely the airline is prioritizing whatever makes them the most revenue.

I don't know about UA's financials but it's well publicized that AA makes more money selling miles than cash tickets. (This is sometimes mischaracterized as they make more money selling miles than flying people around -- which is ridiculous because miles are just an alternate form of payment). Someone who opens sufficiently many credit cards may very well be a better customer to the airline than someone who takes a couple of trips a month.
Much of the profit from selling mileage is due to breakage -- miles that will never actually be redeemed for any awards. The real profit is from the casual flyer and card applicants who never get around to actually using their miles. The card churner types who actually use their miles are not the real profit center here. Especially if they are making lots of calls checking for award availability or booking complex itins. (more call center expense for the airlines).
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Old Apr 18, 19, 11:01 am
  #625  
 
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Originally Posted by SunLover View Post

This is my basic thinking also. I watch 90k J partner awards to Asia. After the program change announcement both the quantity and the quality of saver award availability was reduced dramatically, but there is still some options out there.

Going forward: award redeemers are going to have to be more flexible with dates, accept less favorable (more segment) routings, and accept flying on less desirable *A partners. A burden for some, and a big come down for those of us who are used to they way things used to be.

SL
Yes and no. It's true that award pricing is less predictable than it used to be and I'm starting to see a lot of J award price out well above the 100K mark. Heck, I've even seen some Ozzie award J space climb above the 200K points mark! I have also seen some really good bargains especially if you keep a careful eye. Case in point SFO > Asia (i.e. ICN, HND) in Polaris J is now going for 70,000 miles in early 2020. I'm also seeing 60K Polaris J awards to Europe from New York (i.e. DUB, LHR, ZRH,GVA) in early 2020 as well.

What's really needed here are some good people keeping their eyes peeled for award availability and reporting any good deals they found. This is precisely why I started the United Award Deals thread as I suspect there'll be the occasional award flights which go for less than what the current Saver Rates are. Redeeming these awards will no doubt offer excellent value for money and will allow us savvy travellers to avoid the point surcharge the rest of the point collecting public experience!

The key challenge will be finding ways to quickly identify these sale routes. My thinking is to use the award search functionality and specify origins and destinations that UA doesn't serve, making note of the routings which trigger these promo award prices. For instance, searching EWR to VIE yields several 60K mixed-cabin J awards with Polaris J being offered on EWR > LHR, EWR > GVA and EWR > ZRH with the other segment to VIE being in OS Y. This one search was able to spit out 3 destinations in Europe in early 2020 that have this promo price.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Apr 18, 19, 11:06 am
  #626  
 
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
this promo price.
AKA "the pre-11/15 saver price," which had already been raised a couple of times in the past 5 years.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 4:52 pm
  #627  
 
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Chase UA CC coming up for renewal again, the only reason we have kept it for the past few years is for access to better/more award flights. With the new version is this still the case?...is availability better for card holders?....the only other reason to keep it was the free bag, but we haven't flown UA in 5 years so it seems like a waste.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by wise2u View Post
Chase UA CC coming up for renewal again, the only reason we have kept it for the past few years is for access to better/more award flights.
...
we haven't flown UA in 5 years so it seems like a waste.
The better award availability -- which will likely still exist, in some form -- only applies to UA-operated flights. So, if you haven't flown UA in the last five years, you haven't been getting anything out of it.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 5:01 pm
  #629  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
AKA "the pre-11/15 saver price," which had already been raised a couple of times in the past 5 years.
United Airlines Newspeak.
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Old Apr 19, 19, 11:11 am
  #630  
 
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UA exec touting the elimination of milage reward charts to analysts during earnings conference call:

Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella, whom American AAdvantage reported up to when they were devaluing and moving to revenue-based earning, bragged about the carrier’s elimination of award charts and MileagePlus’ win in the FlyerTalk awards. He believes the move is good and also that they’ll win the same award next year.
https://viewfromthewing.boardingarea...earnings-call/
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