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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 4, 19, 4:50 pm
  #721  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
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.
Having just relocated to a DL fortress hub, I am of course having to reconsider my loyalties... however, even as a mostly paid premium flyer, both the ability to get a non-useless agent within 60 seconds of dialing and the fact that *G fills in so many gaps where it is either impossible or prohibitively expensive to pay for an equivalent service (one-cabin delegated connections, short foreign hops, etc) are huge benefits of status which are not extended to you simply for purchasing a premium fare. It's also hard to ignore that the US3 FFPs, even after all of this, are massively valuable (in my opinion at least) when considered on a effective dollar-rebate basis and compared to foreign FFPs, hotel or rental car programs, etc. I can't think of another loyalty program where $12k (now 15, RIP) of business gets you many thousands of dollars of perks and benefits.

Ironically, as someone who can and will pay for a premium fare, GPUs feel more valuable because whenever I get PZ at booking the difference to the advertised Business fare is money in my pocket. And at the 600-1000 mile stage length, E+ and a fair shot at a CPU (plus all the other status benefits) are making me willing to buy Y instead of F, which is also a fair bit of money saved every time I fly.
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Old May 4, 19, 5:20 pm
  #722  
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
For me, each purchase decision is evaluated based on the overall value, which also includes the Frequent Flyer Program
+1. I recently bought a QF ticket to NZ via SYD because their 747 has the most comfortable coach seats I've experienced and because I can earn 100% of actual miles on AS. The trip duration was longer and the price was a bit higher than the competition, but I'm sold on QF's 747.
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Old May 4, 19, 5:26 pm
  #723  
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Ironically, as someone who can and will pay for a premium fare, GPUs feel more valuable because whenever I get PZ at booking the difference to the advertised Business fare is money in my pocket.
Maybe it's just my schedule, but I've had more difficulty finding PZ space this year than any of the past six since the merger. And with P+ having upgrade priority, I am extremely hesitant to waitlist a W into anything except a completely empty J cabin.
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Old May 4, 19, 9:04 pm
  #724  
 
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Having just relocated to a DL fortress hub, I am of course having to reconsider my loyalties... however, even as a mostly paid premium flyer, both the ability to get a non-useless agent within 60 seconds of dialing and the fact that *G fills in so many gaps where it is either impossible or prohibitively expensive to pay for an equivalent service (one-cabin delegated connections, short foreign hops, etc) are huge benefits of status which are not extended to you simply for purchasing a premium fare.
True, but it's easy to imagine that UA Gold + DL Gold is a more optimal situation than UA 1K.

Originally Posted by findark View Post
It's also hard to ignore that the US3 FFPs, even after all of this, are massively valuable (in my opinion at least) when considered on a effective dollar-rebate basis and compared to foreign FFPs, hotel or rental car programs, etc. I can't think of another loyalty program where $12k (now 15, RIP) of business gets you many thousands of dollars of perks and benefits.
While that's true, it's still not nearly the same landscape that it was five years ago, especially for high-mileage G/K or P/Z flyers. And going even further back: I used to be able to fly from the US to Asia on Northwest, upgrade with 50K CO miles RT, and earn about 38K miles for the trip as a CO Plat. And I never had to worry about making sure to spend a certain amount.

I'm still on the fence about even trying to re-qualify for 1K. I'm lucky enough to have lifetime Gold as a fallback, but obviously most people don't have that luxury.

Originally Posted by findark View Post
Ironically, as someone who can and will pay for a premium fare, GPUs feel more valuable because whenever I get PZ at booking the difference to the advertised Business fare is money in my pocket.
As a primarily leisure flyer, I can and will usually not pay for a premium fare. . And, of course, using GPUs means buying cheaper tickets, which means getting fewer PQDs, which makes it more difficult to re-quailfy. My spreadsheet is currently projecting that I need almost 200K PQMs to qualify for 1K this year... That's a lot of flying.
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Old May 4, 19, 9:13 pm
  #725  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
My spreadsheet is currently projecting that I need almost 200K PQMs to qualify for 1K this year... That's a lot of flying.
How do you need 200K PQM? I thought it required 100K?
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Old May 4, 19, 9:14 pm
  #726  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander View Post
How do you need 200K PQM? I thought it required 100K?
I need 200K PQM because I'm paying about 7.5 cents per PQM. I'm not limited by PQM; I'm limited by PQD.
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Old May 4, 19, 10:28 pm
  #727  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
And, of course, using GPUs means buying cheaper tickets, which means getting fewer PQDs, which makes it more difficult to re-quailfy. My spreadsheet is currently projecting that I need almost 200K PQMs to qualify for 1K this year... That's a lot of flying.
That's the conundrum of $15k PQD. How do you use all your GPUs and requalify? Even buying P fares, cpm are likely to be under 15 cpm.
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Old May 5, 19, 9:02 am
  #728  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
True, but it's easy to imagine that UA Gold + DL Gold is a more optimal situation than UA 1K.
I live in a non-hub and predominately fly domestic for business. Will fly 100k +, but will not hit PQD (15k), so think Gold on UA/DL is likely the best strategy for me. I get lounge access via Amex Plat and UA Club card for domestic travel and access to the club agents who routinely save me when travel goes sideways with weather, especially now the SDC is limited via the app. Once I qualify for Gold in both, if there is additional travel, will decide where to fly based on price/schedule/miles to get to the next level in either program based on likelihood to hit the next level.

As for my stash of miles, I found 2 BIZ saver awards this fall on Swiss to Athens so am taking my dad on a "bucket list" trip. Cashed out my lot of miles before any further devaluations could impact usage. Now I won't feel cheated on the past earning and the accumulation phase begins in the new paradigm. Have had success using the miles on PZ space upgrades/awards (international) but I have the flexibility to fly off peak and midweek, so am minimally hopeful that I may still be able to do that in the future.

Last edited by Lynnie_Bee; May 5, 19 at 9:04 am Reason: formatting
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Old May 5, 19, 9:25 am
  #729  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
True, but it's easy to imagine that UA Gold + DL Gold is a more optimal situation than UA 1K.
Oh, definitely, but I was mostly responding to the point that "status is not worth much" in favor of premium cabin Kayaking. For my situation, 1K has needed help from work travel I probably won't have anymore, so I don't know that I have enough leisure travel to do double-50k. I definitely could take more weekend trips just for the miles, but part of me thinks it's a better deal to just pay overwater Z rates (or equivalent) and go where/whenever we want. But if you try for a double 50k then you still are "focusing on status" - can't fly OW or pick up NK BFS segments, etc. To be honest, I think the one thing really tugging on the UA side is network.. *A is the best alliance and there are few substitutes for *G on things like NZ domestic flights. That and I can still fly UA nonstop to most places I want because their hubs are in important cities.

Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Maybe it's just my schedule, but I've had more difficulty finding PZ space this year than any of the past six since the merger. And with P+ having upgrade priority, I am extremely hesitant to waitlist a W into anything except a completely empty J cabin.
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
While that's true, it's still not nearly the same landscape that it was five years ago, especially for high-mileage G/K or P/Z flyers. And going even further back: I used to be able to fly from the US to Asia on Northwest, upgrade with 50K CO miles RT, and earn about 38K miles for the trip as a CO Plat. And I never had to worry about making sure to spend a certain amount.
Don't get me wrong - the dynamic awards and decreasing PZ space are absolutely cutting the value of MP and things are nowhere near as good as five years ago. I just have the perspective that even after all the cuts it's still a fairly rich land in comparison to other programs. Even a couple of GPUs clearing to Australia (where I can still find a reasonable amount of PZ; especially to AKL since it seems like all the profit is in the hold anyway) is easily $1,000 each. I don't have any issue seeing 1K giving me at least $4,000 in overall value, but sadly I don't think I'm going to be flying 11k organically hence this probably being my last year of top status barring a match to DL DM and MQD run

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
And, of course, using GPUs means buying cheaper tickets, which means getting fewer PQDs, which makes it more difficult to re-quailfy. My spreadsheet is currently projecting that I need almost 200K PQMs to qualify for 1K this year... That's a lot of flying.
I'm having this conundrum with my award miles which have been nearing 1MM. I was never reaching 1K with much room to spare, and at least W fares earn something. But with this huge devaluation, it seems clear that it's time to burn them on *A J and try to score LH F.
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Old May 6, 19, 10:06 am
  #730  
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So another data point: received an alert that the fare for my holiday flight (7 months away) dropped $200 or roughly approx. 35%. However the UA award price only dropped 1k from 40k to 39k miles.

So dynamic pricing means dynamic for United not for the customer. Even worse than we thought.
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Old May 6, 19, 2:12 pm
  #731  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
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I have a question. I heard that United is changing its award process on November 15th, where they won't post how many miles it takes to get to a destination.
Let's say I want to book a ticket for a date after November 15th. If I book it before November 15th, does that mean I am "safe" and it will cost the regular amount of miles (in my case, 60k round trip internationally)? Or are all the award flights that happen after November 15th going to cost an unknown amount of miles?
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Old May 6, 19, 2:18 pm
  #732  
 
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Originally Posted by stormpelt View Post
If I book it before November 15th, does that mean I am "safe" and it will cost the regular amount of miles (in my case, 60k round trip internationally)? Or are all the award flights that happen after November 15th going to cost an unknown amount of miles?
No. All flights after November 15th will cost whatever the computer happens to say it costs at that moment, even if you book them right now.
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Old May 6, 19, 5:57 pm
  #733  
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Originally Posted by stormpelt View Post
Let's say I want to book a ticket for a date after November 15th. If I book it before November 15th, does that mean I am "safe" and it will cost the regular amount of miles (in my case, 60k round trip internationally)? Or are all the award flights that happen after November 15th going to cost an unknown amount of miles?
If you're asking whether you lock in the price by booking now, the answer is yes. UA will not come back and ask you for more miles.
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Old May 6, 19, 7:06 pm
  #734  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
If you're asking whether you lock in the price by booking now, the answer is yes. UA will not come back and ask you for more miles.
Correct, but that number may not be the number that's on the chart (60K, apparently, for this redemption).
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Old May 6, 19, 7:13 pm
  #735  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Correct, but that number may not be the number that's on the chart (60K, apparently, for this redemption).
Right, unlike all previous award pricing changes, this one came with zero advance notice. UA following the DL playbook.
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