You may notice that something's missing if you're trying to find an award chart for United Airlines flights. The carrier officially no longer publicly shares award charts for United-operated flights. Customers were notified last spring that the change would kick in on Nov. 15.
What does that mean for you if you routinely book award flights with United? The quick answer is that you'll now have less transparency to work with when booking award flights. An invisible award chart means that United can basically charge whatever it wants to for award flights going forward. What's more, prices can change as frequently as United decides the airline should! In fact, United has stated that there won't be any minimums or maximums when it comes to prices for award flights.
United wants customers to know that award prices could actually be lower than what was previously published. Of course, the carrier is also bracing customers for the reality that some prices could be higher. United will continue to publish its featured awards each day. Additionally, customers can still bet on the fact that Saver Awards will provide the best rates.
How will passengers be able to find out how much award flights cost now that United has stopped publishing charts? You will be able to find out the exact amount of miles you need during the booking process.
One piece of good news to come out of the whole thing is that United has decided to remove close-in fees. That means you'll no longer be on the hook for that dreaded fee of $75 if you book award travel at the last minute. Of course, some travelers will see this as merely a small comfort if they are forced to pay more for reward travel in the overall picture.
The other piece of news that might bring you some comfort is that United isn't making any changes to award charts for partner airlines. We'll keep you posted if that changes. It looks as though partner redemption rates are higher than they were prior to Nov. 15. That's because United has reserved the right to change partner rates when matched with United flights with different award prices.