United Awards to Book Before Wednesday’s Devaluation

United MileagePlus devalues awards November 1. There are several awards whose prices go up enough that you’ll want to hurry to make your bookings before Wednesday if possible.

  • There’s a new award chart and changes to the saver awards that most US customers book aren’t draconian (not good, but could have been much worse, indeed I’m told there were some advocates inside United to make it worse).

  • Extra miles awards that get you access to more seats will be priced dynamically, with a published maximum price. There will be some cases where prices are lower than today, but net net I don’t expect this to be good for members in terms of the awards they’d actually book.

    For instance a domestic one way economy currently priced at 25,000 miles (for elites and co-brand credit card holders last seat availability) can go up to 32,500 miles, a 30% increase.

  • And there will also be a no show fee of $125 that applies even to elites who want to redeposit miles after failing to show up for an award flight and not cancelling in advance.

Some of the changes:

  • Premium business class domestic goes from 25,000 to 35,000 one-way. That’s Newark – Los Angeles and San Francisco and Boston – San Francisco.

  • Premium cabin Hawaii goes from 40,000 to 50,000 miles. That means a domestic saver award can be as much as 100,000 miles which feels insane.

  • Transatlantic business class on United flights (versus on partners) goes from 57,500 miles to 60,000 miles each way. That’s not a huge change, but it’s also strange when paid prices of premium cabin travel have generally fallen somewhat (there are more discounts than ever before and saver awards are the ultimate discount seats).

  • United business class to South Asia similarly bumps up from 70,000 to 75,000 miles and United business class to Australia and new Zealand goes from 70,000 to 80,000 miles each way.

What I’m going to miss most: Australia – Hong Kong for 40,000 United miles one-way in first class.

You can fly Thai Airways, for instance, Sydney – Bangkok… and even Sydney – Bangkok – Hong Kong (grabbing the incredible first class ground experience in Bangkok in the process, the Thai Airways spa is really unmatched in an airport).

The cost to move to North Asia instead of South Asia is just an incremental 10,000 miles or 50,000 miles total each way.

Be sure to book this award by Tuesday October 31 Australia – South Asia goes from 40,000 to 60,000 miles one way and Australia – North Asia goes from 50,000 to 75,000 miles one way.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Just had a United signup bonus post the other day and I’ve been grappling with a Latin American United redemption, maybe linking to a couple 1-way AA redemptions for positioning purposes. I personally find it much easier to handicap a horse race. Am I wrong or are there few chart changes for travel south of the border? Any current avenue to trial book via these incoming chart routing rules for comparison to today’s chart? Does the excursionist feature remain unchanged?

  2. I booked HKG-BKK-SYD in Thai F for 40K in September 2018. Can’t wait! I also booked SYD-SIN-HKG in SQ Suites which should be great.

  3. Jack, I saw some availability maybe a week ago and didn’t pull the trigger. Did you book recently? I couldn’t find anything in Thai First (let alone Singapore biz or first) for May nor September 2018 =*( newbie here to non-economy awards, would appreciate any feedback. 🙂

  4. It appears the rates for travel post 1 NOV have already gone up. I tired to book a RT Okinawa to Tokyo in Dec for 2 pax, and it is 32,000 miles instead of the 20,000 miles it was before. Bummer.

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