United Airlines no longer publishes award charts so technically there is no longer such thing as a devaluation. Nevertheless, partner award space tends to follow a uniform price and I’ve noticed a disturbing new trend concerning nonstop flights on partner airlines.
United Airlines Now Charges A Premium For Nonstop Partner Award Flights
Let’s say you want to travel from Newark to Frankfurt this week using United miles. You’re looking at 36K miles per ticket in economy class or 80.5K miles in business class, which is a 3.5K-mile increase over what United was charging last time I checked.
What if I was starting in Chicago, though? By adding a United segment, you can get the same Lufthansa flight for 33K in economy class or 77K in business class.
Now that doesn’t help you if you are in Newark, but how about in the other direction?
Well, fly nonstop to Newark and you’ll pay 36K or 80.5K:
Add an extra segment to Chicago and the price drops to 33K in economy or 77K business:
Since you have to collect your bags anyway, well…you get where I am going.
To be clear, be careful. I’d never put my own MileagePlus account at risk since I have top-tier status, lifetime status, and a lot of points. However, this may be more attractive to others.
Same issue for other regions as well, by the way.
For example: Los Angeles to Tokyo nonstop on ANA is 92K miles in business class, a new all-time high.
But begin in Las Vegas and connect to the same flight in the same class of service and you pay 88K instead.
Whether this is due to the United segment on the reservation or simply as an intended premium for nonstop service doesn’t really matter. The point is that United incentivizes throw-away ticketing by charging more for flight A plus B than flight A alone.
Note this only appears to impact economy and business class award tickets: first class tickets price the same with or without an extra stop. This price increase is effective for flights booked within 30 days of travel.
United could just as soon crack down and charge more for all itineraries…that’s what happens in the accountablity-free world of no award charts. But be warned that prices increased without notice and think twice about buying miles during the current 100% bonus miles promotion. You’ll now need to pay even more for the premium of a nonstop partner intercontinental flight.
Will the increase in pricing on on nonstop partner award flights on United Airlines change your redemption habits?
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image: Star Alliance