New United award fees

Here comes UA with a bunch of award junk fees for any ticket issued on or after May 15. The first thing to note is that it’s now $25 to book an award over the phone, which is the only way to book Star Alliance awards, for example. The other major change is that changes and cancellations are now $150, up $50 from the $100 it used to be. Lastly the close in ticketing fees have gone up, which really make one question the value of a last minute award.

Fortunately these fees are still waived for 1K members. Of course these fees suck, but it’s not like they were totally unexpected considering UA recently raise their fees for cancelling revenue tickets. Delta has already added a round of junk fees, and I’m sure plenty more airlines will follow.

There is one thing I’m a bit relieved about. I’ve been predicting (as have many others) fuel surcharges on awards, so in a way I’m happy to see more fees, none of which are fuel surcharges. The way I usually look at it is that the airlines do all the fees at once, so if this means no fuel surcharges on awards in the near future, I’m kind of happy. That’s my biggest concern, since you can say bye-bye to the value of award tickets for a large part, in my opinion, if we saw $400+ “fuel surcharges.”

Comments

  1. I wonder if UA would get in trouble if they added fuel surcharges to the cost of their “free” tickets. After all, fuel is part of the cost of doing business, just like anything else that keeps the airline going (labor, aircraft, …). Do any US-based (and thus regulated) airlines collect fuel surcharges on award tickets?

  2. This is something I’m really starting to wonder. I’ve been predicting for a long time that US airlines would add “fuel surcharges” to award bookings, which, as much as I hate it, can’t really be held against them. Almost every international airline does it, so we can’t really expect the US airlines not to, especially considering their situation.

    I don’t know of any US airline that currently has fuel surcharges on awards, but let me do some research (ok, fine, ask on FlyerTalk) about whether or not it would even be legal. I just don’t see why they wouldn’t have them otherwise.

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