In my post this morning I mentioned how I thought it was funny that they didn’t include the word “increase” when describing the changes, though they did include the word “decrease.” Well, it does appear that they listened, since they added/revised these bullet points:
• Some United and Star Alliance™ Award amounts will go up; however many popular award routes, including North America to Hawaii and the Caribbean, will remain the same.
• Some Mileage Plus Upgrade Award and Star Alliance™ Upgrade Award amounts will increase.
So I was expecting a mild devaluation, which is only natural over time. I was especially expecting it because they recently liberalized their award rules, now allowing one open jaw AND one stopover on awards between regions, and making the routing rules themselves more generous, allowing one to go 15% over the maximum permitted mileage for a given city pair.
Well, it appears my prediction was wrong for the most part. United actually lowered the cost of many of the most popular awards. A few of the highlights:
- Awards under 700 miles each way are now 20,000 miles roundtrip
- The cost of business class awards to Europe went down 5,000 miles per roundtrip (105,000 to 100,000)
- The cost of business class awards to most of Asia went down 5,000 miles per roundtrip (125,000 to 120,000)
Now, there are some increases as well:
- The cost of economy class awards to Europe are up 5,000 miles per roundtrip (55,000 miles to 60,000 miles)
- The cost of business class awards to the Middle East are up 5,000 miles per roundtrip (115,000 miles to 120,000 miles)
- The cost of standard awards has largely increased, especially business class, to more than double the “saver” cost
- The cost of many co-pays are up
So it’s not that all the changes are good, but on the whole it’s at least a wash. I’d say for those that want to maximize their miles (those that use their miles primarily for international premium cabin saver awards) come out ahead here
So on the whole I give United a thumbs up on this. They could easily have increased award prices across the board, justifiably, since it’s been a while since they’ve had an increase, not to mention they just made the routing rules more generous.