Update: Today is the last day to book United awards with their published award chart before the chart is eliminated tomorrow. It’s unknown if or how saver award pricing will change.
Originally posted on 11/10:
I’ve blogged about using United Plan B for business class saver awards many times over the years.
In short, it allows you to redeem for a business class saver award ticket when there is only saver award space available in coach. In other words, if you see a saver coach award from the US to Tel Aviv for 42.5K miles you can call United and redeem 75K miles for the business class saver award ticket and be seated in coach. You’ll be waitlisted for the business class seat and have priority over regular upgraders as you are considered a displaced business class passenger as you paid the rate for the business class seat.
You can tell when a saver award is available on United.com from the search results:
With only a coach saver award available, you can use the miles required for a business saver award and be waitlisted as a displaced business class passenger. You’ll get a refund of the difference between coach and business if you wind up sitting in coach on the longhaul flight:
On this coming Friday, November 15th United will eliminate their award charts. The price for any given flight will be whatever the search engine tells you it is, based on dynamic pricing.
You can view United’s current award chart here, saved on DansDeals servers for when United deletes their charts.
There are 2 possibilities here.
- United may eliminate the concept of a saver award. If this happens it’s hard to see how a Plan B award would be bookable. How would you book a saver coach award or saver business award if there are no saver awards?
- United may keep the concept of a saver award, but just not publish what the award will cost.
Taking a look at current dynamic pricing, United uses the saver award label whenever an award prices out at the saver level or below the saver level.
For example a Newark to Fort Lauderdale saver award is 12.5K miles:
But dynamically priced awards under 12.5K miles are also called saver awards:
Theoretically this can stay going forward, except the level at which an award is a saver award will no longer be published and may vary from route to route.
I booked a Global Services expanded award ticket today, which is when a Global Services member can book a saver award in coach based on T class availability and in business class based on PZ class availability (Read more about that alphabet soup here). My domestic coach award was 12.5K miles and I asked the agent how that will work starting on Friday. The agent said that they will still be able to open up saver award space, but the rate will be dynamic, though she seemed unsure of how exactly that would work. And she had a few choice words for the United executive who decided to eliminate the award chart.
Now I have no idea how they will figure out how to price a saver award when there’s no award chart to reference, but I’m hopeful that there will still be an internal award chart that isn’t published.
If that’s true, saver award benefits like expanded United cardholder saver award space, expanded Platinum/1K saver award space, and expanded Global Services saver award space will stick around.
And it should mean that Plan B awards would stick around as well.
Which will it be?
If I had to make a bet, I think saver awards, expanded saver awards, and Plan B awards will survive the award chart elimination.
But we won’t know for sure until Friday.
What’s your guess for the future of saver awards, expanded saver awards, and Plan B awards?