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"Dynamic Award Pricing" by UA; questions, experiences, .... {Archive}

"Dynamic Award Pricing" by UA; questions, experiences, .... {Archive}

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Old May 1, 21, 8:07 am   -   Wikipost
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This is an archive thread, the active thread is "Dynamic Award Pricing" by UA; questions, experiences, .... (No Award Chart Nov 2019)

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, well 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 whats currently published in our chart. You may have already seen these prices, and youll be able to get them immediately.
  • Other award prices may be higher than what you see today, especially if youre traveling at a popular time. These prices will take effect immediately for travel November 15 or after.
  • Starting November 15, were removing close-in fees, so you wont 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 whats 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 whats listed in our chart, which you may have already noticed. After November 15, award prices may also be higher, especially if youre 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 21, 19, 8:55 pm
  #1066  
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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.
If you're spending 140k RT for partner J to europe, I'm sure you can convince yourself your'e getting outsized value. There are readily available 2.5-3.5k P/Z fares available that are not constrained to (often suboptimal) routing scraps you get with I-inventory. At a 2% cashback card, you're pretty much on-par with the "value".
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Old Apr 21, 19, 9:34 pm
  #1067  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Programs: Au: UA, Marriott, Hilton; GE
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Originally Posted by entropy View Post
If you're spending 140k RT for partner J to europe, I'm sure you can convince yourself your'e getting outsized value. There are readily available 2.5-3.5k P/Z fares available that are not constrained to (often suboptimal) routing scraps you get with I-inventory. At a 2% cashback card, you're pretty much on-par with the "value".
Not to quibble about the flexibility of tickets purchased with cash back, but they are hardly “on-par” with reward cards. It takes $150k spend to purchase a $3k ticket with 2% cash back. In contrast, if you earn 1.5 points per dollar on spend, you acquire that J ticket with $93k spend.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 4:08 am
  #1068  
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
Not to quibble about the flexibility of tickets purchased with cash back, but they are hardly “on-par” with reward cards. It takes $150k spend to purchase a $3k ticket with 2% cash back. In contrast, if you earn 1.5 points per dollar on spend, you acquire that J ticket with $93k spend.
Also, for 1Ks, you get free cancel/change on UA award tix. Try that with a P or Z fare.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 8:56 am
  #1069  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Also, for 1Ks, you get free cancel/change on UA award tix. Try that with a P or Z fare.
indeed. In general, for now, there are benefits (even for lowly plats), relative to revenue tickets, IF you can find the inventory.

I did recently book a trip that was ~~ 1 cpm, but I wanted the added flexibility, there's value in that. Lets just hope they don't screw us there too.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 9:33 am
  #1070  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Programs: DYKWIA, UA GS/2MM, But I'm a "Diamond Guest"
Posts: 2,067
I've decisively shifted my CC spending from the United Club Card to Amex cards and Chase Sapphire.

As an example, buying a $1000 ticket with the Amex platinum, I get 5000 points, vs. 2000 UA miles with the Club Card. The 5,000 Amex points give me $67.50 toward buying a United ticket. PLUS, I get miles and PQD for that ticket (because it's just like a ticket purchased with cash). Even in the past, it was almost impossible to get a $67.50 value with 2000 UA miles. The dynamic award pricing is likely to make it completely impossible.

When it comes to non-airline purchases, the Club Card only gives me 1.5miles/dollar spend; whereas I average around 3 points/dollar on the Amex/Chase Sapphire/etc. Again, 1 Amex or Chase point is more valuable than 1 United mile. So the return is nearly twice as much using non-United cards.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 7:28 pm
  #1071  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, MLife Gold, Marriott Gold, HHonors Gold, Caesars Diamond, Amex Plat
Posts: 4,991
Is there any sense of how this will affect award bookings made via *A partners using UA metal? Ive been looking at UA for saver business availability to know what my ANA options are for ticketing USA-TYO. Looking to book this August for July 2020.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 7:33 pm
  #1072  
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Originally Posted by Stgermainparis View Post
Is there any sense of how this will affect award bookings made via *A partners using UA metal?
Nothing but speculation. The inventory that UA opens to partners is the same as what's been used for saver inventory in the past. It's possible that could drop (not that it's been all that high in the first place). It's too soon to tell.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 7:57 pm
  #1073  
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I guess when we're wishing 330 days of high season for 2020, we'll see how the redemptions pricing and availability looks under this new scheme?

So like April or maybe even last March? We should be able to see late March 2020 in a couple of weeks.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 8:00 pm
  #1074  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
I guess when we're wishing 330 days of high season for 2020, we'll see how the redemptions pricing and availability looks under this new scheme?

So like April or maybe even last March? We should be able to see late March 2020 in a couple of weeks.
The awards are dynamically priced. You will see a moment in time which may or not be related to another moment in time.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 8:06 pm
  #1075  
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Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
I guess when we're wishing 330 days of high season for 2020, we'll see how the redemptions pricing and availability looks under this new scheme?

So like April or maybe even last March? We should be able to see late March 2020 in a couple of weeks.
Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
The awards are dynamically priced. You will see a moment in time which may or not be related to another moment in time.
Right. We'll get an initial idea, but changes like this one are generally rolled out gradually.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 12:06 am
  #1076  
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Originally Posted by porciuscato View Post
I've decisively shifted my CC spending from the United Club Card to Amex cards and Chase Sapphire.

As an example, buying a $1000 ticket with the Amex platinum, I get 5000 points, vs. 2000 UA miles with the Club Card. The 5,000 Amex points give me $67.50 toward buying a United ticket. PLUS, I get miles and PQD for that ticket (because it's just like a ticket purchased with cash). Even in the past, it was almost impossible to get a $67.50 value with 2000 UA miles. The dynamic award pricing is likely to make it completely impossible.

When it comes to non-airline purchases, the Club Card only gives me 1.5miles/dollar spend; whereas I average around 3 points/dollar on the Amex/Chase Sapphire/etc. Again, 1 Amex or Chase point is more valuable than 1 United mile. So the return is nearly twice as much using non-United cards.
My new Chase Sapphire card is on the way, so I'll be joining you.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 12:16 am
  #1077  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Programs: Au: UA, Marriott, Hilton; GE
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
My new Chase Sapphire card is on the way, so I'll be joining you.
Can't emphasize enough the reward value of the Reserve. It may not be for everybody, but if you travel and dine out, it is gold. 61% of my spend earns 3X, and it does add up.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 3:21 am
  #1078  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
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Of course WN is competitive on some routes; that is simply the nature of the industry. However, IME, the cheap flights tend to be on flights departing at 5:30 AM or 11:30 PM. On regional short hauls, the dynamics may be different, but those are routes where driving or a train are legitimate options. As a stockholder, I really go out of my way to fly WN, but I rarely find them to be the best option when I am spending my own money. Last week, I took a short notice flight from DEN-LAS. WN had a really cheap flight at 5:30 AM, but once you move into the daylight hours, UA beat them at every time slot.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 3:56 am
  #1079  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
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No offense taken. I don't make the rules; I simply play the game to my best personal advantage, as everybody should. If an airline wants to only reward their cash passengers, then they should stop pushing their credit cards so heavily as an opportunity to get "xx free flights" for "yy miles." For personal reasons, some people with elite status are offended by those of us who take advantage of the the airlines' marketing schemes. I am simply grasping what they offer me with open hands. FYI, many people who seek credit card bonuses also happen to be elite fliers with gold/platinum/diamond/superman status, etc. Those are the people who benefit most, because they typically earn status at their employer's expense, yet reap the benefits for their own account. When it comes to true "frequent fliers", the airlines are typically rewarding business passengers who paid for all their flights with OPM, but want to fly for free when it's on their own nickel. That is totally fine, and I would do it too if somebody else were paying for my business travel. Alas, I am self employed, so every travel dollar comes directly out of my own pocket. I will continue to play the mileage game for my own advantage, just as long as I consider it profitable. If it becomes more beneficial to switch to cash back cards, so be it. However, the airlines make a ton of easy money from credit cards, so they do not want to see people cancelling their cards every time that $95 fee is due. In the end, the "free" market will seek equilibrium...of a sort.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 4:07 am
  #1080  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 76
I was just looking for award flights to New Zealand, and every single business class seat over a 3-month window is 200K or more (one-way). I traveled there a few months ago, and I had NUMEROUS options around 80-90K, depending on departure city. The net result of these recent changes is clearly a big FU to united passengers. Moreover, the devaluation seems to apply to all partner flights. Anybody surprised?
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