The “new” United is making some changes to award ticketing fees as of June 15, 2011, to align the two airlines more closely. UA Insider breaks down all the changes here.
The first change is that United is re-introducing close-in award ticketing fees. Awards redeemed less than 21 days prior to departure will be subject to a $75 per passenger fee for general members. There are discounts for elites, as Premier/Silver members are charged $50, while Premier Executive/Gold members are charged $25. 1Ks, Global Services, Platinums, and Presidential Platinums are excluded from this fee. This is basically United adopting Continental’s policy, so this is obviously a bad move for consumers. And not to rant, but the concept of a close-in ticketing fee really ticks me off, especially after they eliminated it.
On the plus side, the cost of “non-simple” award changes is going down. United previously charged $150 per change per passenger for everyone except 1Ks and Global Services. Now the fee structure will be the same as the close-in ticketing fee, at $75 for general members, $50 for Premier/Silver members, $25 for Premier Executive/Gold members, and no charge for the top tier elites.
Lastly, United will be changing the re-deposit fee for awards. While the price remains the same for general members at $150, the cost will now be $125 for Premier/Silver members, $100 for Premier Executive/Gold members, and remain free for top tier elites.
On the whole the changes are a wash. But you know what I admire more than anything else? The no-BS approach that UA Insider takes to sharing this news. He clearly outlines the changes in policy, and even explains that it’s probably a wash for us. And that I respect a lot.