By doing that you would be able to fly Lufthansa First Class at the old rates (135K to Europe/150K to Tel Aviv) instead of the new rates (220K to Europe/280K to Tel Aviv) by just changing the dates close to when you want to fly. You would pay a small change fee, but save a boatload of miles. Lufthansa typically only releases their first class award space within 14 days of a flight. Their first class is great with planes like the 747-400 that give you a seat as well as a real mattress next to it. Plus you get access to their first class terminal where you can indulge in kosher food and rare scotches before being driven in a luxury car right up to your plane as I wrote about in my Venice trip notes a few years ago.
The advice wasn’t without controversy.
United refused to confirm or deny and their Flyertalk liaison advised that I should take a more conservative approach (ha!).
Numerous Flyertalkers ridiculed the advice, though I’d wager that most of them had probably never even used that cancel without redeposit option.
One blogger reblogged my advice to which another blogger responded, “I would bet that the odds of this working as described are near nil….Repeating bad advice doesn’t make it true.”
And yet another blogger wrote “Dan is suggesting that before the travel date you cancel the trip…He seems convinced this will work for locking in the old rates. I don’t necessarily disagree, I’m just not as confident about United’s system working that way as he is.”
I then reiterated in a later post that I stood by my advice based on my experience with United awards but cautioned that we were in uncharted territory and that nobody could say for certain what would happen.
I made several reservations myself and finally got around to playing with them and what I found was fascinating. Not only can simple date changes be made without paying more miles (the intention of the original trick) but just about every other change can be done as well under the old award chart.
For example I have a one-way itinerary from Frankfurt to Cleveland via Newark on a Lufthansa 747-400 that was cancelled without being redeposited. It currently looks like this:
And as predicted by choosing change flights I can change it without paying any additional miles. In fact I could even change directions to have it go from Newark to Frankfurt without additional miles:
But I didn’t stop there. I tried changing my one-way into a round-trip and it only asked for an extra 67,500 miles per person for the return trip. In other words by just having one of these itineraries I am able to book awards under the old rates (67.5K each way) instead of the new rates (110K each way).
Compare that with the vile new award chart rates for a first class partner award for 2 passengers:
But why stop there? Next I tried changing the one-way Lufthansa ticket into a round-trip business class ticket to Israel. Those tickets used to cost 120K round-trip but are now 140K on United or 160K on partner airlines.
Once again, it priced it out as a ticket under the old award chart, asking for 120K per passenger:
Want to fly in your own private Asiana suite? That’s 240K per person now, but with an old ticket you can access the old rate of 140K per person:
Seemingly with any old award you can make a change online and access the old award chart. Pretty cool if you ask me!
Best of all as I booked several one-ways each of those can be transformed into round-trips to anywhere in the world at the old rates.
Did you use the cancel without redeposit trick? Were you too afraid? Let’s hear about it in the comments!