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United MileagePlus Devalues Partner Awards AGAIN

Most travel loyalty programs recognize that this is the time to reward loyal members rather than devaluing program benefits. And then there is United MileagePlus …

United devalues ​​partner prices shortly before departure

United MileagePlus no longer publishes award tables, which means that there will be no transparency in the event of changes in award prices. Well, it looks like United has in the past 24 hours increased the cost of award tickets from partner airlines booked within 30 days of departure.

Specifically, The cost of MileagePlus partner award tickets booked within 30 days of departure has increased by 3,000 to 4,000 one-way miles.

United has again increased the cost of partner award tickets

For example, a one-way Lufthansa award ticket from Chicago to Frankfurt costs:

  • 33,000 miles in Economy Class more than 30 days, 36,000 miles in Economy Class less than 30 days
  • 77,000 miles in Business Class more than 30 days, 80,500 miles in Business Class less than 30 days

A one-way All Nippon Airways award ticket from Chicago to Tokyo costs:

  • 38,500 miles in Economy Class more than 30 days, 42,000 miles in Economy Class less than 30 days
  • 88,000 miles in Business Class more than 30 days, 92,000 miles in Business Class less than 30 days

An Ethiopian Airlines one-way award ticket from Newark to Addis Ababa costs:

  • 44,000 miles in Economy Class more than 30 days, 48,000 miles in Economy Class less than 30 days
  • 88,000 miles in Business Class more than 30 days, 92,000 miles in Business Class less than 30 days

This is the third devaluation of the partner price

That’s bad enough, but what makes it worse is that this is the third partner award ticket depreciation in less than a year:

Now we essentially see that both guidelines are stacked – not only have United downgraded the cost of partner rewards by around 10%, but there are higher costs within 30 days of departure.

In other words, a Business Class award ticket from Chicago to Frankfurt MileagePlus on Lufthansa:

  • It used to cost 70,000 miles
  • Then it cost 73,500 within 30 days of departure (as of November 2019)
  • Then it costs 77,000 miles, no matter when you booked (as of April 2020)
  • Now it costs 80,500 miles within 30 days of departure

Expect to pay more for Lufthansa award tickets within 30 days of departure

This change cannot be justified

United pays the same amount when reimbursing award tickets between airlines, regardless of whether you book a partner award ticket shortly before departure or well in advance.

It’s not that United is passing on increased costs that are incurred. Rather, United is assuming people are willing to pay more to fly with award tickets at the last minute. So the program sees what it can achieve by increasing its redemption margins.

I understand airlines are in a tough spot, but devaluing miles for loyal members doesn’t seem like the right approach here. It doesn’t matter that the program has just been leveraged on a billion dollar loan …

This is another disappointing change from United MileagePlus

Bottom line

United MileagePlus has downgraded partner award redemption for the third time in less than a year. This is also the second time this has happened during the current pandemic.

The price increase does not reflect any increased costs United incurs, so this is pure greed. This is very disappointing with MileagePlus …

(Tip of the hat to live and let’s fly)

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