United MileagePlus Award & Upgrade Changes Effective February 1, 2014 (Major Devaluation)


United made an announcement very late on Thursday night (11PM PST) about the changes to MileagePlus award and upgrade charts that both are effective on February 1, 2014.


These changes are very bad for MileagePlus members that use their miles for international business and first class awards on partner airlines.

United Award Chart June 15, 2012 – January 31, 2014

Download (PDF, 403KB)

You can download the old chart in PDF here.

United Award Chart February 1, 2014 onwards

Download (PDF, 443KB)

You can download the new chart in PDF here.

Please note that I plan to have side by side comparison between the old and the new award charts later today.

Here are some tidbits:

– My favorite intra-Asia business class return award goes up from 35K miles to 60K miles.

– North America to India 140K miles first class oneway that used to cost 75K miles.

– North America to Europe in business class on partner airlines up from 50K miles to 70K miles.

– North America to South East Asia from 70K miles oneway to 130K miles.

You need to have your partner award ticketed issued before February 1, 2014, to be eligible for the current award chart.

The only silver lining is that United still doesn’t charge those nasty fuel surcharges (YQ’s) on award tickets that many airlines collect for award ticket.

Intra-Asia & Northern South America Upgrade Changes


The following restrictions apply to upgrades on flights to/from Northern South America and within Asia departing on or after February 1, 2014: (1) Complimentary Premier Upgrades and instant upgrades are not applicable; (2) Regional Premier Upgrades (for any fare class) and Global Premier Upgrades (for flights booked in fare class Z, P, S, T, L, K, G or N) can no longer be requested on or after November 1, 2013; (3) There is no co-pay exemption for MileagePlus Upgrade Awards requested on or after November 1, 2013.

Complimentary or regional upgrades are going away on these routes for flights taken on or after February 1, 2014. You can only use GPU’s (Global Premium Upgrades) on these routes from then on.


The industry consolidation has lead to a smaller number of airlines that are in a stronger position to do customer unfriendly changes such as this.

If the merger between American and US Airways goes through (and maybe even if it doesn’t), the award charts on these two airlines will likely change as well. Let’s hope that those changes won’t happen before 2015.

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  • Jay

    Terrible news. But manufacturing spend is so easy this days.. devaluations were bound to happen to reign in the surplus of points.

    • Doubt that few thousand that are “manufacturing” miles and UA get’s paid for the issued miles by Chase anyway, would have any significant effect in grand scheme of things.

  • Katie

    Thanks for posting. I travel over Christmas every year, and it’s useful to know ahead of time how many points I’ll need to book 2014-15 Christmas travel. I think some of my family members will be able to slip in under the old chart. Luckily, none of the awards I had my eye on got destroyed. I’ve been waiting for this to happen, and it’s nice to get this much advance notice.

  • Flyboy

    Hi John, will they change the super saver award miles too?

    • I will have comparison charts available in the next few hours. The Star Alliance one is already done and will upload it soon.

  • Kenny C.

    Miles require for North & South Asia to Australia/New Zealand vice versa is reduced. It’s actually a good news for me. Not sure whether it’s a mistake.

  • Anirban Mukherjee

    I’m happy with the development that star alliance/partner award miles needed for Central asia – europe is reduced from 30K to 25K one way. Makes it closer to what AA mileage. Few positives amongst mostly negative impact for Mileage plus members.

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  • Craig

    I am confused I just got premier platinum status a few months ago and I’ve been upgraded automatically w some real cheap coach fares in the continental USA. If I was flying from ewr-tyo-sin. Or tyo-sin. I would have been upgraded on these flight as per the old system ??? But now I cannot ??? I’m about 75k miles away from becoming a million miler flyer with Ual once I do I will have premier gold for life is it still worth shooting for this thanks

    • Nope. The complimentary upgrades only apply for North American, Caribbean, Mexico etc.flights that have the domestic first class configuration.

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  • disqus_tTCyjAfeVj

    John: I was wondering how exactly United will calculate miles earned for those who do not buy their United tickets in US dollars. I’m a Gold Premier who buys his tickets in sterling.

    Here’s the reply I received from United:

    “For tickets purchased in a currency other than US dollars, we will convert the purchase to US dollars and then calculate the number of miles you will earn. At this time we have limited information available. Please watch for future email as we release new information when it becomes available.”

    Here’s my reply to United:

    “I must say I feared this might be the reply. Clearly, such a new provision creates yet another discrimination by United against non-US customers and with the recent drastic devaluation in miles required for rewards makes your programme
    even less attractive.

    I buy my United tickets in British pounds. Over the last 5 years, for example, the $US/£ exchange rate has fluctated between $1.01 = £1 to $1.75 = £1. That
    is a 73% fluctuation, which when combined with fluctuations in United’s
    fares over time will create a roulette situation for UK customers. This is plainly ridiculous, not to say discriminatory, especially when those without a US billing address for their credit card cannot buy United tickets on United’s website.

    Could you please pass my message on to a senior manager for response?”

    So far, no response from United.