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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 May 3, 19, 6:03 pm
  #706  
 
Join Date: May 2010
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Can you imagine how difficult it will be for UA to try and win back all the customers who are leaving now, once there's a recession and the seats aren't quite as easily sold for these ridiculous prices [coupled with diminishing service] we're seeing now?

What is the saying again about the cost of keeping a customer vs. [re]gaining a customer?
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Old May 3, 19, 9:46 pm
  #707  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
For paid premium cabin flyers, kayaking becomes an ever more attractive option.
Agreed, although personally I don't see the value in paid premium flights domestically in most cases, so this doesn't apply to me personally. Part of that, of course, is being based in Texas; there just aren't that many long domestic flights. However, for someone who fits that profile, I agree; there's not much sense in piling up a horde of any non-convertible award currency at this point.

Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
That's going mostly to AS and foreign carriers that credit to AS.
AS is an attractive option for passengers in SFO and SEA, but less so for most other places -- and, again, it mostly presupposes that you're paying for business class travel. The last remaining benefit UA offers me that other carriers don't is access to unlimited GPUs with a public bucket that shows whether or not they'll clear immediately. Even discount business class is much more expensive than W or R fares tend to be from Austin.

Originally Posted by PanAmWT View Post
For that kind of spent and flight pattern he can fly foreign *A airlines and accumulate miles in another *A airline that seem to be less likely to go into dynamic redemption in the near future.
They likely all will; it's only a matter of time. The ability to offer dynamic awards was a *A talking point last year; they're working on it.

Originally Posted by PanAmWT View Post
I have stopped using my MP visa cards (including a 3X UA card, the MP Select) and am concentrating using CSR and AX to divert my miles.
The only reason I'm keeping the Explorer card at this point is the ability to CPU award tickets. I'll re-evaluate after November 15, as if I'm no longer redeeming awards, the CPUs aren't valuable. (Early returns -- not so good. For the Sunday after Thanksgiving -- admittedly, a busy day, which is why I was looking for awards -- I found domestic Y awards at the low, low price of 45K one-way (vs a $506 cash price).

Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
There are a host of *A carriers that still use award charts and in some cases (e.g. SQ) provide more award inventory to their own customers than to UA.
In the short term, yes. In the long term -- SQ is a great example. How many times have they devalued their awards recently? Between the elimination of the online booking savings, and the frequent chart updates, KrisFlyer is basically MileagePlus with a hard three-year expiration.

If you don't think dynamic pricing will be coming to KrisFlyer, well -- I hope you're right, but I don't buy it for a second.
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Old May 3, 19, 10:16 pm
  #708  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
In the short term, yes. In the long term -- SQ is a great example. How many times have they devalued their awards recently? Between the elimination of the online booking savings, and the frequent chart updates, KrisFlyer is basically MileagePlus with a hard three-year expiration.
And a much less functional website, plus incompetent phone support.

It will be interesting to see if programs like AV, which seems quite happy to sell miles cheap and undercut the bigger programs on price, will continue to offer outsize value.
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Old May 3, 19, 10:51 pm
  #709  
nsx
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This week a family member asked me to find a short domestic flight with 2 weeks' notice. M+ offered the flight at 10k miles plus $80. The cash price was $104. This is a case where the new system is likely to produce a less insane result.
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Old May 3, 19, 10:57 pm
  #710  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
This week a family member asked me to find a short domestic flight with 2 weeks' notice. M+ offered the flight at 10k miles plus $80. The cash price was $104. This is a case where the new system is likely to produce a less insane result.
Agreed, but at $104, you're not getting good value out of the miles anyway, close-in fee aside.

Now, if anybody thought they'd go to, say, 2K miles or $104, I don't think there'd be so much doom and gloom in the thread.
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Old May 3, 19, 11:33 pm
  #711  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
This week a family member asked me to find a short domestic flight with 2 weeks' notice. M+ offered the flight at 10k miles plus $80. The cash price was $104. This is a case where the new system is likely to produce a less insane result.
$75 close-in fee (under 21 days) + $5.60 fee to TSA.

The $75 will go away later this year.
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Old May 4, 19, 7:34 am
  #712  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
For paid premium cabin flyers, kayaking becomes an ever more attractive option.
what's "kayaking"?
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Old May 4, 19, 7:40 am
  #713  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander View Post
what's "kayaking"?
Not being tied to any one airline. Doing a general search for flights (using combined search tool - Kayak, Google Flights, etc) and just picking the best combination of schedule, service, and price, without any loyalty / Frequent Flyer Program considerations.
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Old May 4, 19, 7:40 am
  #714  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander View Post
what's "kayaking"?
Taking the lowest fare across all airlines on any individual flight, rather than worrying about sticking to a particular airline / alliance.

It comes from the kayak.com multi-site airfare search engine.
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Old May 4, 19, 7:56 am
  #715  
 
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
Not being tied to any one airline. Doing a general search for flights (using combined search tool - Kayak, Google Flights, etc) and just picking the best combination of schedule, service, and price, without any loyalty / Frequent Flyer Program considerations.
Sounds kinda rational doesn't it?

Regards
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Old May 4, 19, 8:14 am
  #716  
 
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Originally Posted by scubadu View Post
Sounds kinda rational doesn't it?
Indeed, especially for people who are paying for premium class travel. (For people who are buying economy, there's still a pretty significant benefit to airline status, in terms of free luggage, improved seating, etc.).

The purpose of frequent flyer programs is to make customers make short-term irrational decisions in the hope of a long-term benefit. For some people, that benefit is free travel; for others, it's deeply-discounted travel (e.g., upgrades).

It seems that airlines may be forgetting this, because if the benefits prove to be illusory, customers will increasingly choose short-term rationality -- lower prices up-front.
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Old May 4, 19, 8:30 am
  #717  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
It seems that airlines may be forgetting this, because if the benefits prove to be illusory, customers will increasingly choose short-term rationality -- lower prices up-front.
I don't know so much forgetting as concluding that they can match any competitive advantage their limited competition can offer, be it a short term sale or newcomer buy-in. Given that, there's no point in subsidizing loyalty as they think they can gain as much as they lose.
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Old May 4, 19, 8:46 am
  #718  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Taking the lowest fare across all airlines on any individual flight, rather than worrying about sticking to a particular airline / alliance.
Not just lowest fare, but best combination of quality, price, and schedule.

The Chinese carriers are almost always cheapest to Asia, but they don't pass the quality filter. I've been paying considerably less to fly considerably better airlines (CX, BR, etc.)
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
It seems that airlines may be forgetting this, because if the benefits prove to be illusory, customers will increasingly choose short-term rationality -- lower prices up-front.
They think we'll fall for the marketing and ignore the reality. In other words, they buy into the PT Barnum view of consumer decision-making.
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Old May 4, 19, 8:56 am
  #719  
 
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Originally Posted by scubadu View Post
Sounds kinda rational doesn't it?

Regards
For me, each purchase decision is evaluated based on the overall value, which also includes the Frequent Flyer Program --- both status considerations + value of Redeemable Miles. I will still consider it, but it weighs less heavily now.

It also has knock on effects...credit card usage, participation in other M+ programs, etc.
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Old May 4, 19, 3:32 pm
  #720  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by Repooc17 View Post
The $75 will go away later this year.
Replaced by a mileage price increase of 15,000 miles.

And since I'm 1K and pay no fee, the price of the award just went up 15,000 miles with no cash savings.

So UA just changed my 25,000 mile close-in round trip tickets to 40-50,000 mile tickets. And last-minute invites for family/friends to travel with me was one of my big uses of miles.

Which isn't going to get me to spend 40-50k miles. Its going to get me to not fly at all, and also move my credit card spend away from UA miles.

I'm just glad that I've kept most of my points in Chase. Will burn down my United miles and push my chase points elsewhere.
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Last edited by raehl311; May 4, 19 at 3:49 pm
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