Back in November, United Airlines announced that they will be devaluing their award chart and raising award redemption’s effective February 1st, 2014.
This date has now been pushed off by 2 days, to February 3rd. That means that through February 2nd, you can still book award travel good through the end of January of next year, using the old chart and thereby locking in the cheaper rates.
United is part of the Star Alliance which consists of 27 different airlines. Up until the devaluation, you can book award travel using United miles to fly on any of the 27 airlines at the same rate, no matter if you are flying on United airlines itself, or if you are flying on any of the other 27 partner airlines. With the new award chart, this will not be true for the most part.
Award travel to Europe in coach class will be staying at the same reward level (which is currently 60,000 miles for a round trip) but business class on United Airlines goes up by 15,000 miles to 115,000 miles round trip and first class on United goes up by 25,000 to 160,000 for a round trip. – If that isn’t bad enough, when booking this same award on one of the partner airlines, a business class redemption goes up by 40,000 miles for a total of 140,000 for a round trip and first class is going up by 85,000 miles for a total of 220,000 miles!
Award redemption’s to Israel goes up by 5,000 miles in coach class for a total of 85,000 miles for a round trip. Business class when redeeming on United goes up by 20,000 miles to a total of 140,000 for a round trip, and first class on United with a stop in Europe goes up by 30,000 to 180,000. For award redemption on a partner airline, Business class goes up by 40,000 miles for a total of 160,000 round trip and first class (including the coveted Lufthansa) goes up by a whopping 130,000 miles to 280,000 for a round trip. That first class ticket if booked now, is just 150,000 miles!
Award travel within the US (excluding Alaska/Hawaii) Mexico, Caribbean and Central America will not require any more miles under the new chart. Travel to Hawaii, is going up by 5,000 points in coach and travel to Alaska, is going by 10,000 points in both coach and business.
The bottom line is that this devaluation is very disappointing, but if you know your travel plans you can still hurry and book your award tickets now and lock in the lower rates.