United Airlines is shaking things up when it comes to how far miles can take passengers. An email went out to MileagePlus members at the end of June announcing that award flights are now going to cost more miles. The changes will come as part of the airline's plan to transition from its Standard Award tier to the new Everyday Award tier. The changes will only affect in-demand flight routes. Routes with relatively low demand will maintain their lower rates. All changes will become effective on November 1.
What MileagePlus Members Should Know About New Pricing for Award Flights
The big thing to know about the new price changes coming to award flights with United Airlines is that prices will now vary from flight to flight. The costs for award tickets for individual routes will be posted daily.
The current rules make it so that a traveler who purchases an Economy seat will have to pay 25,000 miles for a one-way Standard Award ticket. That number jumps to 50,000 miles for a Business Class Standard Award ticket.
This won't be the case under the new policy. An Economy ticket under the Everyday Award tier will cost as much as 32,500 miles. That price will increase to up to 50,000 miles when a Business Class award ticket is purchased.
The bottom line is that flights on popular domestic routes are simply going to cost more going forward. The silver lining is that United has promised to cap the charge for one-way coach seats for flights between the lower 48 states at 32,500 miles.
Additional Changes to Know About
The way award flights are priced won't be the only thing that changes when United's new policies kick in. Cancellation fees will be increasing almost across the board. These fees will be charged for any ticket cancelled less than 60 days before a flight's departure.
Premier Platinum members will go from having waived cancellation fees to having to pay $50. Premier Gold members will have their fees bumped from $25 to $75. Premier Silver members will have their fees bumped from $50 to $100. General members will have their fees bumped from $75 to $125. Only Premier 1K members will have cancellation fees waived.
Staying Ahead of the Price Changes at United
There are some ways you can still maximize your MileagePlus miles when flying domestically after the new price changes go into effect at United on November 1. Of course, it may take just a little more time to find and book your flight if getting the best deal is a priority. Here are some ways to get airfare deals using your MileagePlus miles:
- Book off-peak flights
- Keep an eye on United's awards calendar
- Try to book using Saver Award travel
- Use a MileagePlus card from Chase to gain unrestricted access to Everyday Award seats and expanded Saver Award availability
Price increases for award flights from United Airlines were more or less inevitable. The good news is that taking just a little bit more time to plan your travel routes and look for deals can help you maximize your reward miles and get where you're going without encountering hassles.