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
*disturbing new trend. But yes, with no accountability (award chart) the sky is the limit.
IAD-BOS was 55K in economy and 75K in F when I checked 2 weeks back on select flights
They keep begging for us to do hidden city routings with absurdities like this. Yet they scream foul when we do.
Another Kirby move that penalizes loyal customers. If he wasn’t doing this when United desperately NEEDS loyal customers and simultaneously begging for another government handout, it might make sense. Matthew – why do you like this guy again?
Please, please we need your support so we can screw you again, again and again.
If you think that’s bad ~ you should see how they treat the flight attendants that get hurt at work. Its inhumane. Truly pure evil. They’re beyond ~ beyond! Shame Shame Shame…
I have seen this on AA as well recently… bad practices(consumer perspective) spread fast under the name of competitive advantage for these guys.
All the trouble to save 3000-4000 miles? This is in the Kyle catagory.
The issue is not about saving the miles, which I would never do. The point is another unannounced devaluation just days after United is taken out a loan against its MileagePlus program.
Just tried ORD- Zurich on Swiss… It’s 80.5K for October flights (both non-stop and one-stop partner flight itineraries originating from ORD). However, when you get into November and beyond, they all drop back to 77K mikes – including the non-stop. Wondering if it may be a “close-in” premium?
It is, within 30 days. This is a new “surcharge,” though.
I remember booking nonstop IAH-TPE on BR via MileagePlus several times in the past at 70k miles. Those days are long gone and so is my loyalty to UA but that’s nothing new. I utilize all their partner programs and go out of my way to make sure I don’t fly on UA metal anymore.
I did exactly the same thing. Great advice for some readers here. Well said, Tom.
Bad move UA – we have choice where we direct our card spending that backstops the program