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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, weíll 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 whatís currently published in our chart. You may have already seen these prices, and youíll be able to get them immediately.
  • Other award prices may be higher than what you see today, especially if youíre traveling at a popular time. These prices will take effect immediately for travel November 15 or after.
  • Starting November 15, weíre removing close-in fees, so you wonít 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 whatís 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 whatís listed in our chart, which you may have already noticed. After November 15, award prices may also be higher, especially if youíre 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 Premierģ 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 8, 19, 10:11 am
  #751  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 9,105
Originally Posted by sfcharles1 View Post
that says it all. Once again the loyal customer comes last.
UA is a business, not a charity. If a public corporation isn't working to increase returns for its shareholders, its officers are breaching their fiduciary duty.

Originally Posted by sfcharles1 View Post
And put the other miles to get status on other non-American carriers, whose loyalty plans and customer service are better.
Customer service? Sure, although I find customer service for 1Ks to be mostly fine. In-flight service is very hands-off, instead of obsequious, but that works fine for me. As for the loyalty plan, though: I'd be curious what loyalty plan would be better for a US-based flyer who (a) mostly flies domestic and/or (b) isn't likely to attain relevant status in multiple programs.

MileagePlus redemptions are going down the toilet, but my upgrade percentage this year is over 85%. Sure, a couple of those have been instrument-supported, but there are a lot of CPUs in there also.

Originally Posted by sfcharles1 View Post
I now keep United because of the hub, nothing more.
I would rather connect up front than fly nonstop in the back. If I lived in SFO, I doubt I'd fly UA much at all.
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Old May 8, 19, 10:32 am
  #752  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Programs: Star Alliance, AmEx Platinum, AmEx Gold, Bonvoy, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton,
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Excellent reply.

i donít think itís a cut and dry as you might suggest. Being good to your most frequent flyers brings them back, and they are the bigger spenders. Paying attention to them (us) is most certainly performing fiduciary duty in a pound wise way. Cutting benefits to the people who keep you in business is perhaps the penny wise thing to do,... but it drives loyal customers away. It certainly has me. I am cutting 150,000 miles away from ual this year, and Iíve spoken to many others who are doing the same.

in the end, you may very well benefit by getting more upgrades in this case. Thatís good. But I wonít play the game any more. And very possibly, when they cut back on your upgrades you will look elsewhere as well.

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Old May 8, 19, 10:48 am
  #753  
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Originally Posted by sfcharles1 View Post
And put the other miles to get status on other non-American carriers, whose loyalty plans and customer service are better.
I'm no fan of the continuing devaluations, this latest one in particular, but which "foreign carrier" offers a better loyalty plan overall than UA? Most non-US programs are considerably less rewarding in terms of both miles awarded and status perks.
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Old May 8, 19, 11:17 am
  #754  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
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I suppose it depends where you have a base. I like British Airways. Very useful miles... though they are devaluing too. °.......os!

KLM/ AirFrance is as quirky as can be, but once you have status, itís easy to keep. Also decent lounges throughout Europe.
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Old May 8, 19, 11:18 am
  #755  
 
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Originally Posted by sfcharles1 View Post
i donít think itís a cut and dry as you might suggest. Being good to your most frequent flyers brings them back, and they are the bigger spenders. Paying attention to them (us) is most certainly performing fiduciary duty in a pound wise way. Cutting benefits to the people who keep you in business is perhaps the penny wise thing to do,... but it drives loyal customers away. It certainly has me. I am cutting 150,000 miles away from ual this year, and Iíve spoken to many others who are doing the same.

You're cutting 150K miles due to this devaluation in particular? Or due to the cumulative effects of the erosion of 1K benefits?

UA has definitely been trying to reward bigger spenders, as opposed to frequent flyers. Not only is GS still a world better than 1K, but dollar-based earning plus PQD requirements make the point clear.

Originally Posted by sfcharles1 View Post
in the end, you may very well benefit by getting more upgrades in this case. Thatís good. But I wonít play the game any more. And very possibly, when they cut back on your upgrades you will look elsewhere as well.
Oh, you're right about that, 100%. For me, remaining with UA is rational in the short term, despite the cutbacks in the MileagePlus program. Earning additional miles via the credit card, Hertz, etc. -- not so much. It's purely a calculation that UA currently provides me the most benefit for the least out-of-pocket cost. This calculation is going to be different for each person -- I meant it when I said that I would probably rarely fly UA if I lived in SFO, because I have no desire to be #27 on every upgrade list.

Now, if I fail to reach the PQD threshold this year -- entirely possible -- then I may match to another carrier. The problem is, AA is the logical alternative for a Texas-based flyer, but I don't really care to fly USAir. DL seems to have focused on providing a quality product, but SkyTeam is awful. (SkyPesos are also awful, but perhaps no worse than the new MileagePlus). It's not a great time to be a low-yield frequent flyer.
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
I'm no fan of the continuing devaluations, this latest one in particular, but which "foreign carrier" offers a better loyalty plan overall than UA? Most non-US programs are considerably less rewarding in terms of both miles awarded and status perks.
Right, that was my point -- and that's doubly true for mostly-domestic flyers. I could attain *G on OZ (well.......) or NH or AV or whatever, and I'd gain United Club access but I'd lose out on the upgrades and E+ seating when I'm not upgraded. If I were SFO-based and flying mostly TPAC, or EWR/IAD-based and flying mostly TATL, or whatever, it might be a different story.

AS remains a viable alternative for people who do a lot of travel up-and-down the west coast and fly their partners -- but because they're outside of an alliance, there may be more year-to-year variation in who those partners are.
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Old May 8, 19, 11:23 am
  #756  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
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Well if youíre a San Francisco-based Customer, you are competing against Google and Apple, which have special contracts with UnitedÖso the average 1k is up against a lot to get upgrades...
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Old May 8, 19, 11:28 am
  #757  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
DL seems to have focused on providing a quality product, but SkyTeam is awful. (SkyPesos are also awful, but perhaps no worse than the new MileagePlus). It's not a great time to be a low-yield frequent flyer.
Yes, ST is horrible. When your list of "best" partners includes AF, AM, and MU, that's a serious problem as an international traveler.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Right, that was my point -- and that's doubly true for mostly-domestic flyers. I could attain *G on OZ (well.......) or NH or AV or whatever, and I'd gain United Club access but I'd lose out on the upgrades and E+ seating when I'm not upgraded. If I were SFO-based and flying mostly TPAC, or EWR/IAD-based and flying mostly TATL, or whatever, it might be a different story.
The upgrade benefits in particular are much more generous than any foreign carrier of which I'm aware (except possibly CM).
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Old May 8, 19, 11:42 am
  #758  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: HNL
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
Things must be better at HNL, because my RPUs never clear for SFO<->OGG, at least for the daytime flights. That beings said, I will take an exit row or E+ seat on UA any day over WN.
No, not really - you generally have to buy F out of HNL if you want to sit up front - but the prices are often enticing and I bite more often than not. With that said, the new $199 rt WN flights to San Jose aren't even on my radar simply because I've never had a good experience on WN
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Old May 8, 19, 11:51 am
  #759  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
No, not really - you generally have to buy F out of HNL if you want to sit up front -
+1

Have you been able to find PZ inventory for RPUs?
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Old May 8, 19, 11:56 am
  #760  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Northern California
Programs: I want to be free! Free!
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This change is a disaster, period. I thought the partner award chart would be the saving grace here but unfortunately this change entirely breaks the ability to book mixed itineraries. For instance, NH has availability LAX-HND-CTS for 35k, but because SFO-LAX is priced at 17k on its own instead of the lowest level, the .bomb can't even assemble the itinerary under a single booking.

The effective price increase we are already seeing is, in my experience, a 2-3x hit and a commensurate devaluation.
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Old May 8, 19, 12:06 pm
  #761  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Originally Posted by aCavalierInCoach View Post
This change is a disaster, period. I thought the partner award chart would be the saving grace here but unfortunately this change entirely breaks the ability to book mixed itineraries. For instance, NH has availability LAX-HND-CTS for 35k, but because SFO-LAX is priced at 17k on its own instead of the lowest level, the .bomb can't even assemble the itinerary under a single booking.

The effective price increase we are already seeing is, in my experience, a 2-3x hit and a commensurate devaluation.
Huh?

If you're seeing a 17K price, presumably it's not a saver award, so it was never going to be combinable with the LAX-HND-CTS award at the 35K level. Is this flight before or after November 15? Keep in mind that these changes don't even go into effect until then.

You should be able to book this itinerary for 52K using multi-city search, if you're so inclined. That's worse than 35K, but not 2-3x worse.
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Old May 8, 19, 12:07 pm
  #762  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Originally Posted by sfcharles1 View Post
<snip>
i donít think itís a cut and dry as you might suggest. Being good to your most frequent flyers brings them back, and they are the bigger spenders. Paying attention to them (us) is most certainly performing fiduciary duty in a pound wise way. Cutting benefits to the people who keep you in business is perhaps the penny wise thing to do,... but it drives loyal customers away. It certainly has me. I am cutting 150,000 miles away from ual this year, and Iíve spoken to many others who are doing the same.

Yea... you know many keep saying that (usually ones that are angry/unhappy) and literally have been saying some version of these words for as long as I've been on FT. The sky is always falling and there is always a percieved "day of reckoning" coming for the major carriers.

And yet... moving forward in time, the planes of all the big three continue to be packed to the gills and by all indications the elite ranks continue to swell (almost to bursting capacity). These carriers are generally somewhat profitable year in and year out, where previously they were always on the verge of or actually in bankruptcy.

And FTer's have been swearing for years they were going to "quit this game" and no longer chase status or they are moving their business to another carrier.

And yet... the UA, AA, and DL forums on FT seem to be as active and growing in number of users and posts as they ever have been.

Maybe a day of reckoning for these carriers will come, I certainly don't know, but to date, there is exactly zero real evidence (complaints on FT are not "real" evidence) that day is any nearer than it was when I joined FT many, many years ago.

Regards
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Old May 8, 19, 12:25 pm
  #763  
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Originally Posted by scubadu View Post
Yea... you know many keep saying that (usually ones that are angry/unhappy) and literally have been saying some version of these words for as long as I've been on FT. The sky is always falling and there is always a percieved "day of reckoning" coming for the major carriers.

And yet... moving forward in time, the planes of all the big three continue to be packed to the gills and by all indications the elite ranks continue to swell (almost to bursting capacity). These carriers are generally somewhat profitable year in and year out, where previously they were always on the verge of or actually in bankruptcy.

And FTer's have been swearing for years they were going to "quit this game" and no longer chase status or they are moving their business to another carrier.

And yet... the UA, AA, and DL forums on FT seem to be as active and growing in number of users and posts as they ever have been.

Maybe a day of reckoning for these carriers will come, I certainly don't know, but to date, there is exactly zero real evidence (complaints on FT are not "real" evidence) that day is any nearer than it was when I joined FT many, many years ago.

Regards
I don't think anyone is "quitting the game" or they wouldn't be here. Nor - in most cases - are people going to boycott UA. Rather what is being communicated is that some elites (myself included) who previously went out of our way to direct travel spend to UA because of the MP program - both for the elite perks and the miles. With the recent changes in MP (as well as the accumulation of prior takeaways), many of us have concluded that we will reconsider this practice and may shift business to the competition.

No one can predict the financial effects for UA of these individual decisions. However we do know that UA publicly admitted that the disastrous rollout of Basic Economy cost the company at least $100 million. Make no mistake - when elites discover that they have to use 2x-4x more miles for the same family vacation trips they booked in the past they will not be happy. And despite industry consolidation there are many options at most UA hubs or co-terminals (excepting perhaps IAH) so few are locked in to UA. Also I expect that spend on Chase UA cards will drop to zero, as people discover they can do better with 2% cash back cards or simply transferrable points (chase, amex, etc)

For me, and I suspect many elites, the relative ease of use and value received from UA miles was a significant factor in my travel decisions. No longer.

Last edited by Boraxo; May 8, 19 at 12:31 pm
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Old May 8, 19, 12:26 pm
  #764  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: HNL
Programs: UA 1K3MM, MR LT Plat, Hilton Gold
Posts: 1,804
Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
+1

Have you been able to find PZ inventory for RPUs?
Yes, I have found PZ inventory to/from HNL-SFO and LAX, but I often don't have travel flexibility to take advantage as I'm traveling for business and not leisure. It does exist and I'm pleasantly surprised when I find it.
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Old May 8, 19, 12:59 pm
  #765  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Huh?

If you're seeing a 17K price, presumably it's not a saver award, so it was never going to be combinable with the LAX-HND-CTS award at the 35K level. Is this flight before or after November 15? Keep in mind that these changes don't even go into effect until then.

You should be able to book this itinerary for 52K using multi-city search, if you're so inclined. That's worse than 35K, but not 2-3x worse.
It's next year. Whether or not your challenge is correct hinges on whether UA would've have saver award inventory under the chart regime -- the 17k is somewhere in the middle. But you do have a point.
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