United Airlines Has Devalued Its Partner Award Chart, removing the award chart entirely and increasing many awards by 10% for awards for flights starting July 1, 2020.
This comes after United accepted a $5 billion bailout courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, in the form of a $3.5 billion grant and a $1.5 billion low interest loan, and after United tried its hardest to cheat passengers whose flights had been cancelled out of refunds (see United Schedule Change Refund Policy: 25 Hours and United New Schedule Change Policy: Refund After 1 Year) before the DoT forcefully reminded all airlines that they were required to refund passengers for flights that airlines have cancelled or significantly changed the schedule of.
In a nutshell, expect to pay 10% more for all awards. Since United has removed its award charts, here's an approximation of what to expect:
|Between Continental U.S. and:||Class||Partner Flights to 6/30||Partner Flights from 7/1|
|Mexico, Central America||Economy||17.5K||19.5K|
|Northern South America||Economy||20K||22K|
|Southern South America||Economy||30K||33K|
|Japan / Oceania||Economy||35K||38.5K|
Example 1: ANA First Class from the U.S. to Japan Increases to 121K Miles
If flying ANA roundtrip, a better deal is redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles: 120,000 miles roundtrip for ANA First Class. But with Virgin Atlantic desperately seeking investment to keep from going under, less risk-inclined travelers may want to book with miles that are more likely to be in existence for their booked trip. See What Happens to Airline Partner Award if Frequent Flyer Program Goes Bankrupt?
Unfortunately, United's partner award chart devaluation means that the one way cost for ANA First Class between the U.S. and Japan will increase from 110,000 MileagePlus miles each way to 120,000 miles each way–making a one way with United miles the same as a roundtrip with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles.
Meanwhile, ANA Business Class one way to Japan will increase from 80,000 miles to 88,000 miles each way.
Example 2: SWISS Business Class from the U.S. to Europe Increases to 77K Miles
ANA Mileage Club miles can be a great way to fly business class to Europe (see ANA Miles Award Sweet Spots: Europe, Africa, Asia), as it's just 88,000 miles roundtrip, but if you're not flying Star Alliance carriers on both the outbound and return, you may end up using Aeroplan miles or United MileagePlus miles. With the United partner award chart devaluation, SWISS Business Class or other non-United Star Alliance Business Class increases from 70,000 miles to 77,000 miles one way–just 11,000 miles less than ANA charges for the roundtrip.
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