This morning I was one of the first bloggers to write about the significant devaluation of United Miles and their new award charts.
United has also release some clarification on Flyertalk about the new award charts:
Do these rates apply for tickets purchased after Feb 1 or for travel after Feb 1?
That is, if you purchase a ticket now, to fly Mar 15, will that be new or old pricing?(United Response): Hi mitchmu, the new award pricing takes effect for bookings made on or after Feb 1, 2014 for all future travel dates. If you purchase a ticket now for travel on March 15, and no changes are made to the itinerary, the current pricing will apply.
Wow, the biggest % jumps are in Star Alliance First class. The miles required for these routes moved significantly. Why would these routes be affected so much more (on a % basis), then the other classes of service?(United Response): Hi TravelinSperry, you raise a fundamental question. Frankly, the levels at which we currently offer these awards, particularly in the premium cabins, have not kept up with the increased cost from our partners to United. It’s been several years since we’ve adjusted our award pricing, and in many cases what we’ve been charging for awards has gotten highly out of sync with what it costs United to supply partner award seats to our customers. Being able to book premium-cabin award travel across 30+ MileagePlus partners is of course a strong benefit of the program, and we wanted to maintain access to these itineraries instead of restricting them altogether—an approach other programs have taken.
Aaron – if I book an award in Jan 2014 and then make changes in Feb or beyond (in routing, airline, origin, destination, etc), will it be repriced according to new mileage reqs. or will I keep the old pricing on that ticket?(United Response): Hi DWFI, Our existing change process will apply. Changes to awards that require a change in date do not result in a change to the award price. Any other change will require an add/collect in miles and fees for changes or cancellations will still apply as per our existing policies.
Finally, a note about mixed-carrier Saver Awards. Although there will now be two charts, it will be still be possible to combine United/United Express and MileagePlus partner award flights on the same itinerary. However, the MileagePlus partner award cabin level will need to be lower than that of the United-operated segment(s) in order to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. So, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United Global First, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Business or Economy (as they typically already are) to take advantage of the United Saver Award price. Similarly, for a US to Europe itinerary where the long-haul segment is in United BusinessFirst, the intra-Europe connecting segment would need to be in Economy to take advantage of the United Saver Award price.