Beat The Mileage Devaluations; A Last Chance To Enjoy Star Alliance First Class Awards On The Cheap

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United miles are being devalued on 02/01
Book by 01/31 to beat the devaluation.

Don’t have dates set in stone yet? You can make date changes for just $50-$100 even after 02/01 and you won’t have to use additional miles. (Officially changes within 21 days are $100 though most people report being charged just $50 online or via the United Callback number)  If you change the routing though you’ll probably need to pay the new rate.

The harshest part of the devaluation is for partner first class awards. These tickets typically cost $20,000 and represented a ridiculously good value, which is precisely why we’re seeing big increases in the required miles.

Lufthansa typically only releases first class awards within 2 weeks of a flight. So how can you lock in current pricing if you want to fly in 10 months from now and try out their sweet First Class Terminal?
You can actually book a Lufthansa First class award on the route that you want and then cancel the award without redepositing the miles!

Within a year from the date of ticketing you can rebook the award for a different date on the same route and just pay a $50-$100 date change fee,  you won’t have to use more miles.  Don’t wait until 01/31 to book something though as lots of people will have that same strategy.

For example below is the cancellation screen for a one-way ANA First Class Suites award to South Asia for 70K miles.  Come 02/01 and it will be 130K miles.  But just use the change ticket later option to pay a date change fee later without having to use more miles:









It’s also worth noting that not all airlines show award availability on  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).

Finally 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!
Hyatt points are being devalued on 01/07.
Book by 01/06 to beat the devaluation.

Don’t have dates set in stone yet? You can make date changes over the phone until 02/15 and you won’t have to use additional points.  After 02/15 you would have to rebook at the higher rate. It may be possible to make a change directly with the hotel after 02/15 instead of calling Hyatt without paying the higher rate…YMMV.

Note that Hyatt is making some improvements like adding a cash and points option on 01/07.
Additionally some hotels will get cheaper on 01/07 like the Hyatt Regency Maui, Lake Tahoe, and Huntington Beach.
Southwest points are being devalued on 03/31.
Book by 03/30 to beat the devaluation.

You can always book speculative trips with Southwest points at the current rates as there is no fee to cancel and redeposit your points later on.  Southwest award trips are best booked when there is a sale as they are based on the current fare, so wait for a good sale and lock in several trip options without being locked into any of them.


Among other airlines, Air Canada, Alaska, Delta, and Korean also have upcoming devaluations.  And you can take it to the bank that a combined American/USAirways will have one very soon as well.  Other hotel programs like Hilton and Starwood have already been devalued recently, so I don’t anticipate major changes there.


A trip to Paris in Lufthansa First Class with 4 nights at the Park Hyatt is currently 135K United miles plus 88K Hyatt points.  Soon it will be 220K United miles plus 120K Hyatt points.  That’s still better than using millions of Capital One points for the same trip but it definitely stings badly.  Luckily business class tickets weren’t hit nearly as badly and only 6 Hyatt hotels got elevated to the new category 7 redemption level.

What will you be locking in before the devaluations?

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71 Comments On "Beat The Mileage Devaluations; A Last Chance To Enjoy Star Alliance First Class Awards On The Cheap"

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Is there any way to book singapore from JFK-FRA and lufthansa from FRA-LON in 1st class with 60,000 UA miles?


On the cancel and change later strategy, does the future potential route have to have the same exact connections and metal as the original route? Thanks


You can’t book Singapore First with United miles.
Unless you got in on the glitch I blogged about last year 😀

At any rate it’s 67.5K one-way to Europe in first class on a 3 class plane.

Officially I’m being told that the route and airline have to remain the same.
Nobody will know if they may be lenient with regard to route and airline changes until it’s too late. May become a YMMV situation.


Dan.we are in Hawaii thanks to you at the end of our tel aviv trip.we would like to book a return hnl ewr tlv ewr and back to this possible to get the end hnl trip? Also there is no business class from ewr to tlv and back on United direct.any ideas to lock in? Thanks!



Absolutely. And well done!
Were you at a DD seminar?

Lock in a connecting flight and just keep checking daily for the nonstop.


I know that the flight from JFK-SIN stops off in FRA but is there a way to fly just the first leg (apparently Singapore’s 1st is better than Lufthansa) or should I just go for Lufthansa, which I can only reserve 2 weeks in advance.


Of course you can book just the first leg, see my trip report:

But if you want SQuites it’s gotta be with Singapore miles.
If you want to use United miles stick to Lufthansa.


Thanks for the response. So as long as route, metal and connection stays the same, you have official confirmation this strategy will work and not incur more miles later on?


no.I hope to attend one in the near future.any plans for the five towns?
That is what I was planning to book with a stopover.I hope to go to tlv In the summer.I thought I would just have to pay the change fee.but not go up to the 140k miles. You think I will have a problem bc it is a different route?


@Dan: Dan, the JFK-FRA-SIN route (SQ25) is no longer bookable with UA miles on any class of service.[This has changed since you last flew with them.]


Ok, I haven’t really been following this story, and I’m a bit confused. Will this also affect bookings on coach and business with partners? I’m planning on booking a United business class flight to TLV with ANA in the near future.


Dan, If you book a last-minute 24-hour saver on United to Israel for 40,000 coach, can you still cancel and rebook for a later date with having to pay the regular 60,000? Do you have to call in or can you do it online?


Can Swiss first be booked through United?


Book and change is $50-$75, but how much is outright cancel?


I do.

Sounds like you’re doing pretty well even without it!

Better to do a Plan B business redemption on a date with United coach avaialbility to lock it in at 120K.
See post update.

Even when you call to book?
Try getting an agent to long sell?

Click on the devaluation link in the post for all the info.

Not following your question?

No, Lufthansa miles only.
In fact effective 01/01/14 you’ll need to be Lufthansa/M&M elite to book it.

Happy I flew it when it was still bookable with partner miles a few years ago. But there are other options that are just as good/better.

$150 for a non-elite.


@Dan@Dan: That post only seems to discuss booking partner flights with United Miles. What about vice versa?


Is there any way to book with United miles now in business or first to Israel for Sukkos from NY? I haven’t seen any availability even in coach to do a Plan B.


This doesn’t affect that at all.

If there’s no saver availability there’s nothing to do.
Just have to keep checking though those flights probably won’t open much closer in.


Dan you posted “You can actually book a Lufthansa First class award on the route that you want and then cancel the award without redepositing the miles!”

How early before the flight do I have to modify the reservation? Can I change the flight an hour before departure? I’m assuming that once you enter the terminal, you won’t be able to change your ticket?


How does it work with booking LH.If i book something before the deval when they show availability, but want to fly months later, do they open up space on the flight down the road to book me in since i already had a ticket? If not and i need to wait to see if space opens up before i actually want to fly, what do i do with my original booking? Does it just stay in my account as not flown and i can change the dates when space does open up?



@dan “But there are other options that are just as good/better” like?


Any time before departure, even after checkin.
Perhaps even after departure but don’t risk that 😉

Depends where you want to go.


@dan”Depends where you want to go” Sorry I thought I mentioned it I am trying to get to Zurich.


At least ba is not changing & i could still go from nyc 2 chicago for 15k points round trip with no last minute booking fee


If I book first class on LH and cancel will I have any priority in finding first class availability when I re-book? or am I in the same class as anyone and have to wait till saver availability shows up on united?



I am thinking of booking a roundtrip at the end of the schedule (E. G. Dec. 2014). I want to add a free one way as well. My question is: should 1. I book trip as 2 one ways and book outbound as soon as schedule opens or 2. should I wait for the return leg to be bookable so I can book as a roundtrip with free one way. I’m worried I’ll lose the space if I do option 2 since trip is right around xmas/new years. Thanks!


Dan, do Platinum members pay the change fee? I thought we have no fees on award tickets.

Marco Polo

Aside from having status, will i have to pay the close-in fee to book LH availability now for a later flight?


Well obviously it’s going to be hard to beat Swiss for that 🙂

But Lufthansa and Singapore First are great.


Same as everyone.

1 is probably going to be simpler.

Plats and higher don’t pay any fees.

@Marco Polo:
No, just the date change fee when you book the new flight.


Good Cathay to yvr is still 12.5k BA /AA.


A great bargain. Even better in business or first.


Can I change the name of the passenger also when I rebook ?


Hi Dan, Are the M&M miles going the devalued?


And how would you book a Ticket to Hungary end of April beginning of may? rather with United or M&M Lufthansa? it looks like the fees on M&M are $399!?


Can you please notify us when there is a Southwest sale, so that I can take advantage before the devaluation… Thanks in advance!


could I book a tkt to tlv in united global first to fra and then lh to tlv now for 75k and then change then to lh first all the way? bc im nervous that later nothing will open up better to at least lock in uniteds global first…

Richard H

You say that within a year from the date of ticketing you can rebook the award for a different date on the same route and just pay a change fee. Does this mean that I could effectively use today’s award chart for a trip that I want to take in 2015? For example, book today for a September 2014 travel date and then sometime before that, change it to May 2015, which would be within the one year period of the original award booking?



They haven’t yet.

United doesn’t charge fees.
With M&M you’ll want to fly flights on USAir or Lot Polish.

Officially, no.

@Richard H:
Officially it would have to be completed within a year of the original ticketing date, YMMV.


How do you get the miles not to be redeposited after cancellation? will they refund the $$ spent upon cancellation?


Click on the picture in this post.


Sorry Dan you really do cover a topic well! Thanks for everything


How do I book USAir or Lot on line or do I have to call in?
I have alot of UR and 55K M&M


@Dan: I want to fly to TLV In may with another person and there are no open bussiness saver awards the day I want but there are coach saver that day on partner Flights so my question is is it better to book a coach partner flight for that day and try to change it to bussiness if it opens up and it would be the same 60,000 points as today and how much wuold the change fee be for that or I shuld better book a bussines saver on any available date and try to change it to the date I want?


is it worthwhile to “chap” an AC biz MIA YYZ TLV (dreamliner) one way for 60K, (since its nov and the calendar doesnt go that far yet to do a return, and worry about a return later?


Dan I would like to lock in one of these rates from TLV-NYC-LAX, however there is no availability when looking at TLV-LAX only TLV-NYC, how do I go about locking in the whole journey?


If you book a LH ticket to Frankfurt and build in a stopover for a day or two before the second leg of the trip, when you rebook the ticket, does the ticket need to follow the same stopover length and open jaw structure or does it need to just say the same cities and airlines?


Dan, to clarify on my question from before: If I find a saver reward one-way now to israel(for a flight tomorrow – since they are usually only available 24 before the flight) can I book it, and then immediately cancel it for $75 to lock in the lower miles? How will I rebook again?

Yisroel Hakohen

TLDR lol


if i book a Lufthansa trip to fra F class with United and redeposit it will i be able to rebook for September 2014 (i saw something that will only be available to m&m members?
or since i have such booking in my account
Thanks for your help
and if yes what happens if come September 2014 no availability
will i loose my points ?


Dan I booked 2 tickets TLV-JFK in LH F and then canceled without redepositing the miles and I was charged twice $75 and twice $78.17 when I canceled I was refunded the $75 and not the $78.17 why would that be?


I have 12k Hyatt points and only planned trips in the near future is to LA, or can always go for a night in NY. Anything worth booking immediately before the devaluation?



I’m planning a trip to Miami first week of February and trying to figure out where I can stay with UR? Should I transfer to Hyatt? Are there nice Hyatts there? Better option? Is there a way to book and beat the devaluation if I don’t have the Hyatt points yet (only UR?).



Hi Dan.
Was looking forward to booking JFK/TLV (coach) with 40,000 united points. After the de-evaluation what will be the new price?


Does this mean that the prices for points will go down


Do the 2 free nights that you get when you sign up for hyatt chase card work on category 5 Hyatt’s as well? Specifically the Hyatt Regency in Hawaii?


Will domestic united flights that are 10k or 12.5 each way become devaluated as well? what would the milage be after 2/1 ?


@Dan, I have lots of Hyatt points but no status. I want to book club and suite room using points but most of the Hyatt online sites only shows Standard room and some shows club room. Many don’t show club or suites room with points. How can I book club or suite room with Hyatt points? Does Hyatt allow club or suite room award reservation?.what’s the trick? Thanks for your help


I just realized that I let 135,000 united miles expire – first time ever – what can I do to get them back


@Dan, thanks for the tip. If I book now for Sept, but change my mind in Aug, is there any way to get the points deposited at that point?


if i book lets say via Munich and then change either direct or via Zurich will they charge additional miles?



What is the fee to change the return leg of a roundtrip biz award before the devaluation if I keep origin/destination the same but change route, airline, and stop-over city. Am I correct that it is $75 for non-elites? If I change one segment from econ to biz would that change fees at all? Thanks!!


Call and ask?





Find a car rental from before they expired and have them credit miles from that rental to your account.

Unknown at this point.

$50 or $75. Online usually 50.
If you change the class then all bets are off.


Hi..Im not sure where to post this, but just noticed something on AA’s website which I thought I would pass along. The AA cc offer is normally 30K AA miles, but I noticed when I logged in, the offer increased to 50K AA miles.


Dan can u do me a favor and write a post with guidelines for not getting in trouble with banks. I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now how things work. How much is too much? I have a sapphire ink and British airways card and wanna know if I should sign up for more cards? if I have 10 cards from chase won’t they get suspicious? and how do I reapply for cards. If I cancel my sapphire today can I apply again next year and get the bonus? How do I accrue tons of points if each card is only a one time offer? are there different policies for different banks? I don’t have any cards from city bank. Is there anything wrong with doing a 3bm and get 3 cards and cancel them in 6 points and start again in a year?


Hi Dan I know I asked the question already but I’m still trying to figure it out!
How do I book USAir or Lot on line or do I have to call in?
I have alot of UR and 55K M&M


I’ve been trying to find dates for a few different Park Hyatts that are moving to Cat 7s and availability with points is very tough. Does Hyatt ever open up awards for Plats/Diamonds?


@Dan: sorry Dan but USAir Doesn’t fly to BUD!
do all flights that I book with M&M have big fees?


Hi Dan I want to book three first-class tickets including my son who is now 3 years old from ICN-ATL. I found Asiana Airline do not allowed to purchase a first class ticket for children under 7 with mile. Now I am thinking to buy lufthanja but am not sure it’s okay. Do you know any airlines I can purchase first class ticket for my family?


Another Question, if I reserve ICN-MUC-FRA-ATL and cancel without redepositing miles, can I use it for the route like ICN-FRA-ATL later? Thanks!


Dan, how do you know that upon rebooking of the ticket additional miles won’t be needed/charged? I just spoke with a supervisor at United, about booking LAX -> TLV with Lufthansa specifically, and she said if I cancel without redepositing the miles and rebook once the chart has changed (in 21 days) then I would also be responsible for the difference in miles along with the change fee.


Dan, do you know if adding an infant after 2/1 to a reservation booked pre-devaluation would cause the ticket to reprice at the new levels?

Our baby is coming in mid-Feb but our travel dates aren’t yet firm (for obvious reasons!).