United changes award ticketing fees as of June 15, 2011

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.


  1. For Premier Executive members this is a huge plus. Currently if you add up the fees to book a ticket, change a ticket and cancel a ticket you get:

    $0+$150+$150 = $300

    On June 15th it will be:

    $25+$25+$25= $75 a savings of $225!

    This is a huge added benefit to Premier Exec members who will now have ability to take advantage of last minute itinerary changes to get on say Singapore Airlines much cheaper than before.

  2. Close in fees are total rubbish, i dropped aa because of them. I guess it is time to go with AC.

  3. @Andrew — There is a trick to get rid of the closing fee with AA, but I doubt it would work with UA since it doesn’t work with CO now…

  4. I’m happy about it. I remember all the pain I was trying to go through to book my IAD-ORD-LAX award on the IAD-LAX flight that opened up and UA wanted to charge $150 for removing the connection. I’d be much more likely in the future to part with $75 to make that change.

  5. Avoid the close-in fee… just book 50 days out, then call and change the dates to something closer.

  6. Just got burned by expensive last minute ticket price with Mileage plus. Paid >$1,000 + 50,000 miles for trip to Seattle that I could have had with Southwest for <$800 (w/ no miles). Probably charge me for bags now too… What a deal.

  7. What a joke! They charge us “close in” fees for using our miles less than 21 days out? Why would that warrant a charge? They should want us to fill their open seats as it gets closer to day of departure. And I’m usually trying to bood just a week or two out! Now I’m going to get dinged $75 for using the miles I saved up for long. These stupid miles are almost worthless now. Not happy!

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