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
You can download the old chart in PDF here.
United Award Chart February 1, 2014 onwards
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.