United Award Accelerator devalued!

I wrote about the United miles accelerator a few months ago, which allowed you to essentially purchase miles on a reservation for 2.1-2.2 cents.

However, it seems that United has devalued the rate at which you purchase miles through their Award accelerator. I looked up three separate reservations today that I already had and they were giving me back really awful mile purchase numbers:

New United Award Accelerator Numbers

United Award Accelerator New Numbers

Award Accelerator

United Award Accelerator New Numbers

Award Accelerator

United Award Accelerator New Numbers

Award Accelerator

The cost of accelerating now is between 2.6 and 2.8 cents.

  • 7000 miles for $182 – 2.6 cents
  • 10000 miles for $280 – 2.8 cents
  • 14000 miles for $364 – 2.6 cents
  • 15000 miles for $420 – 2.8 cents
  • 20000 miles for $560 – 2.8 cents
  • 30000 miles for $840 – 2.8 cents

The reservations that were giving me prices at 2.8 cents was a partner reservation with USDM (with a United segment) and an LM ticket with United segments. The 2.6 cent accelerator itinerary was a SEA-MIA mileage run cheap vacation on United ticket stock and metal.

I was checking this option because I was considering toping up my account for a last blowout of my United miles account, but given that they are significantly pricier than I expected I will just do a simple redemption from Oceania to Japan and 12+ hours in business on nice Asian airlines.

I’m not surprised that this happens given that this has ALWAYS been a cheaper way to purchase miles rather than directly with the purchase offers. This Flyertalk thread which has a number of data points from other members on the cost of the United Award Accelerator both for PQM (Premier Qualifying Miles) and RDM (Redeemable Miles) does show many members having higher prices on purchasing miles through United Award Accelerator.

Theoretically this could be seasonal fluctuations, but I do recall last year that my reservations went between 2.1 to 2.3 cents, and they were never round numbers, as in I had the option to purchase exactly 12,969 miles, the length of my itinerary. So I do think there has been a chance of a change in the algorithm determining the price of miles through the United Award Accelerator, which is why I’m considering this a devaluation.

In any case, I’m pretty much done with United after the devaluations.My account will have approximately 107 miles in it and that will be it. It makes it especially easy given that United miles are pretty difficult to earn in Canada!

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  1. Hmm, it’s possible. I had an itinerary with 16k for $368 in Dec, then $418 after Jan 1st, and now $448. So 2.3 to 2.6 to 2.8cpm…

    Hopefully it’s temporary, just with the awards crunch now. Although I wouldn’t hold my breath for it.

  2. Any time I’ve had a reservation for somewhere far away, it’s been around 2.1-2.3 cpm. Shorter trips, any time I’ve looked in the last year or two, have been higher (2.6-2.9 cpm). I currently have a SYD reservation that’s coming up at 2.1 cpm so I’m not sure if this is true.

  3. UA has always quoted worse CPM for short-hauls … the longer the haul, the better the CPM, and the current best quote is 2.3cpm and usually worst ones around 2.9

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