The Other Shoe Drops: United Saver Award Pricing Jumps To Asia, Australia, And The Rest Of The World; Updated Hidden Award Chart Pricing

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The other shoe has dropped.

In April, United hired a new CEO of MileagePlus from Comcast with no airline experience.

On May 1st, the airline raised saver award pricing on coach flights to Europe. On May 17th they raised saver business class flights to Europe, though on the 18th they lowered some of them that were priced too high. On May 29th they raised rates to South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

I warned then to lock in current pricing for other destinations.

And now, a month after the devaluations started, United has raised saver award pricing to the rest of the world.

You can see the May 18th hidden award chart pricing here and May 29th pricing here.

A round-trip saver award on United to Australia now costs 110K miles in coach or 200K miles in business class.

How much did that round-trip saver award cost over the years? A quick search of DansDeals posts shows:

  • 2006: 60K coach/90K business
  • 2007: 80K coach/100K business
  • 2012: 80K coach/135K business
  • 2013: 80K coach/140K business
  • 2022: 80K coach/160K business
  • 2023: 110K coach/200K business

The counter argument from the airlines are that tickets cost more in today’s dollars than they used to, so mileage rates have to go up as well. But still, some of the sudden increases are just egregious.

Here is United’s June 1st hidden award chart pricing caps, as best as I can tell for now after searching dozens of routes today:

United flightsPartner flights
Mainland US5K-15K Coach
25K-30K Business
30K-35K Premium Business
Canada10K-14K Coach
25K-30K Business
16.5K Coach
33K Business
Alaska15K-17.5K Coach
30K-35K Business
35K-40K Premium Business
Hawaii15K-25K Coach
40K-50K Business
50K-60K Premium Business
Mexico5K-20K Coach
30K Business
20K Coach
38K Business
Central America10K-20K Coach
30K Business
22K Coach
38K Business
Northern South America20K-30K Coach
35K Business
22K-33K Coach
51.2K Business
Southern South America41K-45K Coach
80K Business
49.5K Coach
88K Business
Europe30K-40K Coach
80K Business
33K-44K Coach
88K Business
121K First
Africa45K Coach
80K Business
49.5K Coach
88K Business
143K First
Middle East40K Coach
80K Business
44K Coach
88K Business
154K First
Central Asia31K-40K Coach
80K Business
49.5K Coach
88K Business
154K First
South Asia55K Coach
100K Business
60.5K Coach
110K Business
154K First
North Asia50.9K Coach
100K Business
53.1K Coach
110K Business
132K First
Japan 55K Coach
100K Business
60.5K Coach
110K Business
121K First
Oceania45K Coach
85K Business
49.5K Coach
93.5K Business
121K First
Australia and New Zealand55K Coach
100K Business
60.5K Coach
110K Business
143K First

Flights within a month of booking are still subject to a mileage surcharge ranging from 0-4,000 miles each way. In general you should always book one-way travel to lower those surcharges and maintain maximum flight flexibility.

Here is what appears to have changed today. The Japan changes are particularly brutal.

  • Saver flights to Oceania (French Polynesia, Guam, Palau, etc) on United have gone from 35K to 45K in coach and from 38.5K to 49.5K on partner airlines in coach. Saver business on United has gone from 70K to 85K and partner airlines has gone from 88K to 93.5K in business.
  • Saver flights to Japan on United have gone from 35K to 55K in coach and from 38.5K to 60.5K on partner airlines in coach. Saver business on United has gone from 70K to 100K and partner airlines has gone from 88K to 110K in business.
  • Saver flights to Australia and New Zealand on United have gone from 40K to 55K in coach and from 44K to as high as 60.5K on partner airlines in coach. Saver business on United has gone from 80K to 100K and partner airlines has gone from 99K to 110K in business.
  • Saver flights to North Asia (China, South Korea, Taiwan, etc) on United have gone from 35K to 50.9K in coach and from 38.5K to 53.1K on partner airlines in coach. Saver business on United has gone from 70K to 100K and partner airlines has gone from 88K to 110K in business.
  • Saver flights to South Asia (Hong Kong, Maldives, Singapore, Thailand, etc) on United have gone from 40K to 55K in coach and from 44K to 60.5K on partner airlines in coach. Saver business on United has gone from 75K to 100K and partner airlines has gone from 99K to 110K in business.

Of course it’s worth noting that you’re often much better off using other partner award miles for booking flights.

There are exceptions of course, as expanded saver award space for United cardholders and elites can only be booked with United. Plus while United’s awards are refundable for free at any time before departure, other airlines can charge up to $200 for award changes or cancellations.

US airlines still have internal award charts, but they no longer publish them so that they can devalue without needing to provide any notice.

For that reason, I have been writing for well over a decade to accumulate bank points and not airline miles whenever possible.

That way when an airline devalues, you aren’t stuck with that airline’s miles and have other options to choose from. You can open airline cards for the signup bonus, but you everyday cards should earn flexible points over an airline card.

If you do use a United card for everyday spending, you should stop now. The card is fine for free bags and benefits, but is a poor value for spending.

The much bigger devaluation post-COVID is that there are fewer saver awards available across the board and that standard award pricing continues to climb to absurd levels, but that’s the case for all airlines.

To their credit, United does make many more saver awards available to their cardholders and elite members.

Like I showed last time for flights to Europe and to the Middle East, partner airlines like Turkish, ANA, Air Canada, and Lifemiles can save you a bundle of miles!

See this ultimate transfer guide to know where you can transfer your points to.

For example, instead of flying to French Polynesia using 45K United miles in coach or 85K in business, you can use 35K Air Canada miles in coach or 55K in business:

 

Instead of flying to Australia using 55K United miles in coach or 100K in business, you can use 50K Air Canada miles in coach or 75K in business:

 

The same coach round-trip is 75K miles or the same business class round-trip is 120K ANA miles. ANA requires round-trip travel, while all of the other airlines above allow one-way travel at half the round-trip rate. It can take 1-2 days to transfer points from AMEX to ANA (1:1 ratio) and transfers from Marriott to ANA (60K:25K ratio) can take 2-20 days.

 

 

The same flight down under using Avianca Lifemiles is 40K miles one-way in coach or 80K in business class:

AMEX cards with transferable Membership Rewards points include:

If you, a member in your household, or an authorized user has one of the following Chase cards, you can transfer points into miles:

Chase no-annual fee cards that are fantastic for earning points, but require one of the cards above for points transfers include:

  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card has a 75K signup bonus and earns 5 points per dollar on cable, TV, telecom, cellular, office supply stores, and gift cards from office supply stores, plus 2 points per dollar on dining and gas ($0 annual fee). Read more here.
  • Chase Ink Unlimited has a 75K signup bonus and earns 1.5 points per dollar everywhere ($0 annual fee). Read more here.
  • Chase Freedom Flex has a 20K signup bonus, plus 5 points on rotating categories, 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and 3 points per dollar on dining and drugstores ($0 annual fee). Read more here.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® has a signup bonus offering 3 points per dollar on up to $20K of spending in your first 12 month, afterwards earn at least 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and 3 points per dollar on dining and drugstores ($0 annual fee). Read more here.

If you or a friend has one of the following Citi cards, you can transfer points into miles:

  • Citi Premier has a 60,000 point bonus for spending $4,000 in 3 months, 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels, travel agents, groceries, gas, and dining. $95 annual fee. Read more here.

Citi no-annual fee cards that are fantastic for earning points, but require one of the cards above for points transfers include:

  • The Citi Double Cash card offers 2% cash back or 2 points per dollar spent everywhere that can be transferred into ThankYou points. If you also have a Citi Premier Card you can transfer points into miles. No annual fee. Read more here.
  • The Citi Custom Cash Card offers 5 points per dollar on up to $500 in purchases in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle. This is marketed as 5% cash back, but will actually come in the form of 5 ThankYou points per dollar spent! Eligible categories include Restaurants, Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Select Travel, Select Transit, Select Streaming Services, Drugstores, Home Improvement Stores, Fitness Clubs, and Live Entertainment. You will also get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. No annual fee. Read more here.
  • The Citi Rewards+ Card offering 25,000 points for spending $1,500 in 3 months. This card can’t transfer points on its own, but can transfer points if you have one of the Citi cards above. This card automatically rounds up rewards earned on every purchase to the nearest 10 points, meaning you earn 10 points on a $0.50 Amazon balance reload. Earn 2 points on $6K in annual spending at supermarkets, and a 10% points rebate when you redeem points, up to a 10K points rebate per year. If you also have a Citi Premier Card you can transfer points into miles and get a 10% points rebate on transferred or redeemed miles. No annual fee. Read more here.

Capital One cards with transferable points include:

Marriott cards with transferable points include:

HT: bmw, via DDF

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28 Comments On "The Other Shoe Drops: United Saver Award Pricing Jumps To Asia, Australia, And The Rest Of The World; Updated Hidden Award Chart Pricing"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

Al

Ready to call it massive now?

Dov

@dan mind to make a summary post which airlines allow you to hold a an award reservation, while transferring points?

Dave

Are these only for saver awards?
For example EWR-NAP there’s no saver. Any way to get lower then the united Mileage rate?

Ale

Quick question I got 4 one way award tickets for a flight from SFO to Central America. On the second leg which is IAH – XPL, I see a business class upgrade for $125/ seat. It seems super low ($125) but is that worth it? Is the UA IAH business lounge for international flights super nice? Thanks for the insight.

Chayim

How much in advance is typically the best time to book a united mileage business class flight?

David

Can you use United miles to book an Air Canada flight, if yes, on which website do you book it on United or Air Canada? What about the opposite, how do you use Air Canada miles to book a United flight?

NH

Is the next hike on domestic?

Dirah

@dan
Thanks for the heads up in previous posts.
Thanks to that, B”H booked in next years worth of Australia travel before the shoe dropped.

Michael

I wonder if they will start offering more sign up bonus points

joel

why does booking as 2 one ways save you on the close in fees ? dont you then pay it on both directions ?

Yakov

I paid for economy class tickets from New York to Tlv the same price I’m paying today.

Bobo Bolinsky

The price increases are not the worst part of it. On top of the (now) higher prices, all the routings suck. Nonstops are gone, one-stops that used to have a single, reasonable layover now push you through 2 or 3 stops for hellish long layovers, 8 hours plus 11 hours plus 15 hours… The price increases are bad. What’s been done to award routings is much, much worse.

Bonvoyer

Thankful to have booked saver awards to Australia back in March.

Newbie

Hi Dan
Did you ever put out a chart of airlines award cancellation fees?

Ely

So brutal! Comcast Xfininity has raised their pricing by 10% year over year. This will be the next Delta “skypesos”.

Joe

Customer satisfaction has always been the lowest priority for Comcast.

Hiring someone from Comcast to fill a customer retention role would be ironic if it were accidental, which it surely was not

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