1 Day Until United Devaluation: What We Know, What We Don’t.

Update: United is delaying the implementation of the new award chart until Monday.
Book what you can today!


— DansDeals (@DansDeals) November 1, 2013


D-Day is upon us.  Come 02/01 and it will cost more United miles to go places. In some cases many more miles.

I made a chart within an hour of the changes being announced, so you can go there to see the details.

And I said my piece back then as well.

The pain is two fold as for the first time United will charge more to fly to may places and they will charge even more to fly on partner airlines.

The gist of the changes for departures from the US:
-US48/Canada awards don’t change.
-Alaska is broken out as its own category and will become much more expensive with coach now going for 35K instead of 25K and business going for 60K instead of 50K.
-Hawaii in coach goes up from 40K to 45K though business and first are surprisingly unchanged.
-South America is mostly unscathed.
-Europe in coach in unchanged but business on United goes up by 15K to 115K and first on United goes up by 25K to 160K. The real pain is for partner redemption with business going up by 40K to 140K and first going up by a whopping 85K to 220K
-Israel in coach goes up 5K to 85K. Business nonstop on United goes up by 20K to 140K and first on United via Europe goes up by 30K to 180K. Again, the real pain is for partner redemption with business going up by 40K to 160K and first via Europe going up by an insane 130K to 280K. That first class partner jump is the infamous 87% rate increase.
-See the chart for similar increases to Asia, Africa, and Australia.
-Round-The-World awards get really smacked with coach going up 20K to 180K, business going up 90K to 350K, and first going up 100K to 450K.

It’s worth noting that for flights from Israel to places besides North America there is actually some good news:
DDF user Drago has the entire changes wrapped up nicely in this spreadsheet
Among many other examples from his chart:
-Israel to Southern Africa in coach goes down from 70K to 60K.
-Israel to Australia or Japan in coach goes down from 90K to 70K.

So how can you fly United First class to Israel via Europe when United doesn’t fly from Europe to Israel?
United has announced that you can still use the United chart instead of the partner award chart if the partner award flight is in a lower class of service than the United flight. So if you fly United First Class from Newark to Frankfurt and then Lufthansa Business class to Tel Aviv you would pay the United First rate of 180K. If you fly United business from Newark to Frankfurt and then Lufthansa coach to Tel Aviv you would pay the United business rate of 140K.

How will changes to tickets booked before February 1st work?
Nobody knows. You can book travel now for travel over the next year to lock in lower rates.  However United is leaving this intentionally vague by just saying that their existing change policies will apply and that simple date changes will not trigger the higher mileage rate.

In other words if something would cause a ticket to be reissued then it would have to be repriced at the higher award rates.  Changing the origin or destination of a ticket will definitely require a reissue.  Changing the dates will definitely not require a reissue.

However everything else is very murky.

Will a change of airlines require a reprice?  Will a change of routing (connecting cities) require a reprice?  It may, it may not.  I guess just assume that it may and be happy if it does not.

Even more likely is that it will be YMMV with some agents doing it without requiring more miles and some asking for more miles.

In my beat the devaluation post I suggested using United.com’s often overlooked “cancel without redepositing miles” as a way to lock in Lufthansa First Class awards which are only released within 2 weeks of a flight. (For other awards you are better booking a flight that’s in a year from now and then making a simple date change.)

Some bloggers agreed that changing the dates that way shouldn’t require a reprice.  Others weren’t sure while others thought it would require a reprice.

I think that taking that route should work as it keeps the pricing information from my experience and shouldn’t need a reprice.  In other words I helped someone book a flight on United from Newark to Tel Aviv that they cancelled and wound up rebooking a few months later on USAirways and it only charged $50 for a simple change without repricing the itinerary.  But it needs to be stressed that we are in uncharted territory here and nobody really can say for sure what will happen.

Some DDF members have asked United and the answers have been everything from of course that would work to there’s no way that would work.

United’s Twitter presence was completely worthless in their response when I reached out to them.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, we’re talking about the same @United account that said they were excited about everyone threatening to boycott United and that they would implement said boycott ASAP!

The bottom line is that nobody can give you a definitive answer at this point, not even United themselves.

It’s worth noting that not all airlines show award availability on United.com.  Brussels, LOT Polish (which has lie-flat seating in business class on their 787s), and Singapore are notable exceptions that can only be booked over the phone with United (though can be researched on other sites like Air Canada’s Aeroplan and ANA).  So if you are looking to lock in cheaper tickets to Israel, pick up that phone and call!

And don’t forget that although United business class isn’t being hit nearly as hard as partner awards, it definitely makes sense to lock in the current rates via a Plan B redemption Best of all you can lock them in now even if there is only coach award availability!  By setting up a Plan B award today you can save yourself tens of thousands of miles.

Does this change my overall mileage strategy?
I find myself using my Starwood card more often than before but I’m not going to shy away from collecting United miles.  I’m sitting on over 5 million United miles and it stinks that they’re being devalued like this but I’m not about to burn them to the ground just because of inflation. They’re still wayyyyy better than Delta miles and you can still get an incredible value for your miles. And I don’t think we’ll see another United devaluation for quite some time.
I’d be more scared pouring miles into American and USAirways miles as their award chart is a real bargain at this point in time which makes it ripe for devaluation. So keep those Starwood points in Starwood and transfer them to American or USAirways on an as needed basis only.  Better to be safe than sorry and that’s the beauty of transferable points that aren’t locking into just one airline.

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54 Responses to “1 Day Until United Devaluation: What We Know, What We Don’t.”

  1. shimmy lakewood Says:

    does it pay to make a mileage reservation – do i lose anything
    im gold so i can cancel anytime before the flight ( in march) flying from ewr to yul in economy
    then reprice it after feb 4th?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Thanx Dan. How’s Austrian j is it like TK or at least better then LH

  3. wow dan! Says:

    5 million united mile!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!dos I c rite??!!

  4. Andrea Says:

    Dan what are your thoughts on what chase will do regarding this? Will they offer 20% (like Starwood) to transfer to united? They will be affected greatly by this devaluation!

  5. Adam Says:

    How the heck did you accumulate 5 MILLION United miles!

  6. Dan Says:

    @shimmy lakewood:
    EWR-YUL is 20K round-trip both before and after 02/01.

    I have several speculative bookings, but as a 1K I can cancel for free. Golds though should still have to pay something to redeposit.

    The new business class is very nice, much better than LH business.

    Even with the devaluation the United currency is still strong thanks to no fuel surcharges, one-way awards, and the Star Alliance.
    It’s just tough to use for partner first class awards.

    Not that hard really with the strategies I always talk about on this blog and on the forums.
    Lots of cards, lots of manufactured spend.

    It’s not like I stockpile them, I’ve used millions as well. They just add up when you play the game.
    Same way I have lifetime platinum status because of millions of earned miles on American. It’s a lifestyle choice 😀

  7. bostener Says:

    A sad news article with a title “9 days”

  8. Daniel Gershon Says:

    It’s a little silly to complain about devaluations, when this website likely contributed to United’s decision to devaluate their miles. We take advantage of too-good-to-be-true offers, and we should understand that widespread use of such deals will eventually lead to decreased valuations.

  9. Dan Says:

    @Daniel Gershon:
    United’s program is ridiculously profitable. The airline loses money while only the mileage program makes money. And it makes serious money, billions annually.

    This is just a money grab to wring more dollars out of the program.

  10. avi Says:

    How much will it be to fly domestic ?

  11. Avi Says:

    Dan I have a qustion you where talking at the end to be safe and leave your points in Stanwood so you can transfer when you need then. My question is what other points/miles can transfer to other places so is chase points a good one are there others??

    Thank you

  12. Love Chase Says:

    Hello Dan, looking to travel to TLV coach award, unsure about date. sometime in May. if remain with same route, just date will changed, would there be a change fee? is fee higher than cost of another 5000 miles? best way to go about it?
    How helpful are agents to help put together segments I identified?
    lastly, do airlines match status? (Platnium)

    Thank you

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Dan what r your thoughts on ba? Me (& prob the rest of the east coast/Midwest community) r petrified of a ba devaluation! It’s so amazing now & would b sad if it goes..

  14. jim Says:

    What United has done is outrageous and unthinkable!
    Award rates going up by 87% increase!

    I suggest all of you go to to Chase United credit card facebook page to voice your displeasure & disappointment!


  15. Love Chase Says:

    tried to price NYC- SLC
    Asking 40,000 miles
    should be 25,000 miles
    any idea?

  16. DDFer Says:

    Booked last week.

    Thanks as usual.

  17. harry Says:

    “United has announced that you can still use the United chart instead of the partner award chart if the partner award flight is in a lower class of service than the United flight.”

    Where is this announcement found? For this will actually make many flights very interesting. According to this it will be cheaper to fly JFK-ICN-BKK-SYD with JFK-ICN in first connecting in business (2 cabins)for 80,000 than just JFK-ICN in first for 120,000 or JFK-ICN-BKK for 130,000!?

  18. Dan Says:

    From this post, “-US48/Canada awards don’t change.”

    Anything with multiple transfer options (AMEX MR, SPG, Chase UR) is a good thing.

    @Love Chase:
    Change fee online is probably $50.
    United does a 90 day match called a challenge.

    Hopefully they don’t devalue?

    You’ll love it!

    You would need 80K for a one-way United First ticket to ICN, BKK, or SYD.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    Do u think aa merger would affect ba miles in devalue?

  20. nyc Says:

    Dan how much more will it be to Sydney from NYC after Feb ?

  21. Dan Says:



  22. SLC Says:

    Any idea why 40,000 for domestic?

    DL or UA

    asking 40,000 instead of 25,000


  23. TLV Says:

    TLV-NYC -OGG (stop over) one way

    which airline with lowest award miles?

    Can use AA, DL, UA

    Thank you

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Is the new Austrian bussines class already here or coming soon?

  25. thank you Says:

    DAN – i’m planning to fly with 2 from ewr-tlv next jan.
    whats best points to get at this point? i had been planning to go thru ana and use united…but it seems it will be many more points now. i can open any ccs as i’ll be flying in about a yr. i can fly business or 1st…doesn’t matter which.
    ana will be many more points now to fly united, right? i want to be hit with the least fees possible.

  26. Dan Says:

    Award space is capacity controlled.

    Only AA gives a stopover on a one-way.

    It’s live.

    @thank you:
    The ANA rate for travel on United isn’t changing.

  27. thank you Says:

    so is ana the best way to go right now? (i only want to fly from ewr and non-stop) does it have the least fees? i should get a bunch of chase cards and transfer it to ana? how many miles will i need to get for 2 roundtrip tickets on either first or business?

  28. thank you Says:

    also – if i need to be a special member, how do i become one? and will i need a united card to get the free first bag if i’m using ana points on united?

    thank you so much!

  29. Stan Says:

    1. so… United from EWR-FRA in business class, then Lufthansa FRA-TLV in business is 160k? 2. anyway around the $75 for booking close to departure (within 21 days or whatever)? united only releases their seats EWR-TLV days before departure.

  30. smay Says:

    I have an april 12 JFK – PARIS open jaw AMS – JFK “stopover” 4/22 then JFK – MAUI 8/20 all business class. First leg is Lufthansa. How can I use your strategy to change to first class or can I? Even on first leg only it would be a joy!

    I have plenty of United Miles to use if needed via UR.

    Thanks again for all your brilliant information!

  31. jp Says:


    Can I transfer Advantage points to SPG?

  32. Doug Says:

    How in the hell does one accumulate 5,000,000 United Miles?

  33. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, you could only have so many united points with many, many credit cards for various people in your family and various businesses if you are not a suit travelling to Asia every week.

  34. Jack Says:

    5m is only impressive if it was made in a short time. But if it took 5-10 years then it’s doable

  35. harry Says:

    Correct. But you would need 120000 for one way first to ICN on asiana.

  36. jp Says:

    Dan – please address reply # 31,
    Thank you

  37. harry Says:


    Come feb and awards to australia with start Alliance partners go up to 130000

  38. E Says:

    Have you been able to book US to Aus via Asia lately? I’ve been getting constantly shut down, not by the agents (who are surprised), but both their computers and rates desks

  39. Eliezer Says:

    How will this effect Ultimate Rewards points? I have been trying to sell 200,000+ points and the price has gone down considerably since back in September. then it was 1.775 cents, now they are offering less than 1.4 cents.

  40. Naphtali Says:

    Dan,United says round class business to Israel is 300,000 points.on line and by phone. Am I doing something wrong or is this quote correct??Thanks so much for your help??

  41. How Says:

    @jp: no

  42. Reb Moshe Says:

    agent just said that all booking before Feb 1st is grandfathered in to old charts

  43. Ari k Says:

    As a 1k member do you think it will trigger some kind of problem with united if i book 10-15 of these type of tickets, meaning canceling and rebooking later?

  44. Daniel Says:

    does plan B work on united flights from NY/NJ to HNL?

  45. Kachnik Says:


    of course not, why would you think so?

  46. How Says:

    New chart Pushed off until Monday 02/03 it seems

  47. oy vey Says:

    devaluation is on FEB 3! not FEB 1!

  48. netlevy Says:

    Redepositing fees
    Let say the plan of booking the flight now and change later doesnt work as they may end up charging more for the same flights after you try changing, will they then charge redepositing fees to redeposit the miles to your account?

  49. MORE UA NEWS Says:

    United will be dehubbing CLE. (significantly reducing flights)

  50. jim Says:

    where do i see the new list award rate for INDIA? S. kOREA & Hong kong?

    If I book now but have to change date later, I will be paying $75 date change for each passengers and award rate will remain the same?

  51. netlevy Says:

    Just tried to change my canceled flight to a new Date
    (booked JFK to HK in first class on Asiana airline) originally 140K miles, now the want 20K more miles!!!
    I asked to redeposit my miles in that case and she said that it would cost me $200!!!!!!!!!!!

    I did a HUCA tomorrow … will let you know the outcome
    Someone else with this situation?

  52. shlomo Says:

    united also raised the standard awards to oneway tlv 75 to 85k in economy and 150k to 175k in biz

  53. netlevy Says:

    HUCA works!
    I just called today and they said that since i booked prior to 2/2 then they will honor the old mileage!
    i had her noted this on the reservation so when i call back i will have no issues

    Dan you are the man!
    I will finally experience the FC of ANA and Asiana 🙂

  54. Leah Says:

    Yes, still hard to understand How to accumulate $5,000,000 miles
    Even if you do open a few credit cards for you and your spouse… Besides
    I have found that credit card companies in specific chase were not so willing
    to give multiple cards to the same person within a few months and
    I did speak to the reconsideration line, which eventually gave it to me. Dan, any thoughts?


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