35 Responses

  1. jetsetr
    jetsetr at |

    Error – “Resource Cannot Be Found:” http://wandr.me/images/blog/UA2014Charts-Final.docx

    1. jamesb2147
      jamesb2147 at |

      Did you try from the blog itself or an RSS reader?

  2. Carl
    Carl at |

    As an HNL resident, just when i thought it couldn’t get any worse, you inform us that the ex-Guam flights are no longer CPU eligible when often they were not even full up front even after the CPUs were applied. The hits just keep on coming. Good lord i hope the US-AA takeover fails.

  3. Julian
    Julian at |

    So what is your plan for next year? Still going for 1k, plat, or another program?

  4. Clayd333
    Clayd333 at |

    Is there any value in loyalty anymore? Your thoughts on hotel loyalty really are starting to apply to the airlines too.. If I can fly to Dublin, Istanbul or Milan for $500 or to Asia for $750 why am I jumping through hoops to deal with these programs? Once I am there I can fly where I want for cheap.. I have a company and earn a ton of points easily so I will still play the game. But it is making less sense for all but the ff mile junkies to play…

  5. jamesb2147
    jamesb2147 at |

    Might want to put a note somewhere that to get the download, you have to already be on the Wandering Aramean blog (or something).

    I use Digg’s RSS reader and clicking through the link to the Excel sheet left me with a big, fat 404 error. I suspect it’s to do with using ASP, but I don’t know anything about it.

  6. Steve L
    Steve L at |

    Seth, I think you’re one of the most level-headed of the travel bloggers, and I’m glad your post did not degenerate into the self-serving indignation displayed on many other blogs.

    There’s no doubt that this is a massive devaluation of UA’s mileage program with respect to premium class travel on partner airlines. But the truth is that such awards were tremendously under-priced before, and now has been aligned with their true market worth.

    Do a quick Google search and you will find countless bloggers and online commentators advise maximizers to always redeem miles for premium class travel, as that’s where one get the most bang for the buck. And further, they will admonish you to avoid United’s substandard business and first class at all costs and instead book on partner airlines. Now these same people now profess shock and disbelief that the price of premium class travel on partner airlines has been increased to meet its demand.

    If award pricing was set correctly for the various categories of travel, travelers would be indifferent between redeeming their miles for economy travel on United or first class on Lufthansa.

    The idea that somehow because an item has been historically mis-priced means that we are entitled to buy it forever at the low price is preposterous. If anything, we should be happy that we were able to get in on such a good deal for so long.

    1. Andy Shuman (@FREETRAVELBOOK)
      Andy Shuman (@FREETRAVELBOOK) at |

      Mis-priced? Compare with what–Delta or Emirates? In my opinion, the strength of MileagePlus WAS that first class awards were reasonably priced, and that it was NOT impossible, albeit hard enough, to find them on partners with superior product. Calling a 140,000-mile award ticket to Asia “mis-priced” is a MIS-statement, to say the least.

  7. Joelfreak
    Joelfreak at |

    I think you are giving too much credit to bloggers…the everyday person does NOT even know about FF blogs. This is an example of the death of alliances, and what happens when compeition doesn’t exist. Surely a devaluation was warrented, but UA doesn’t see ANY way its customers are going to fight back at this point. DL miles are more worthless, AA is a crapshoot, and US is…well, who knows. I just wonder if something like this will wake up a lawmaker about ‘currency’ manipulation. If tons of people were counting on their once in a lifetime trip to * via their credit cards, something like this will make them wake up and complain.

    1. Kris
      Kris at |

      Please tell me you are kidding about currency manipulation. Not only does United own any MP points you may have in your account, they didn’t even change the currency, they just increased prices, like thousands of stores do every single day.

  8. Nick
    Nick at |

    I wonder if social media blowback even enters their thoughts when they make these changes. This may hurt UA in ’14 their miles are worth less than Sky Pesos for some destinations at times in ’14.

    1. Kris
      Kris at |

      The vast majority of people use their miles for domestic awards. I’d be shocked if these changes impact more than 5% of the customers out there. And many of those that it does impact are probably not even making money for United.

  9. DavidB
    DavidB at |

    And to add insult to injury, UA is making US-based members spend a certain minimum amount to keep elite status…which is meaning less and less these days. I can see another wave of migrations to A3!

  10. ffi
    ffi at |

    Seth,
    you are being too nice to UA/ your old CO folks.
    UA HAS GUTTED their program, much like Aeroplan did a while ago and BA as well.
    I never thought that UA miles would be worth less than DL but in some instances that is coming close
    AA is now the best option to India / Asia even with their arcane rules on regions.

    1. Matteo
      Matteo at |

      Waiting for Aeroplan to follow suit. They followed United co-pay. Sure this is the next step. FF programs show 2014 to be dreadful.

  11. Steve L
    Steve L at |

    @joelfreak said “the everyday person does NOT even know about FF blogs”

    The everyday person is not redeeming miles for first class travel on LH, nor is she crying about the end of the world at the devaluation.

  12. Joelfreak
    Joelfreak at |

    @Steve L But I know ALOT of teachers, mothers, etc that were banking on their FF mileage to take them somewhere, and now thats shot to hell. MANY of them were looking for at LEAST J, if not F.

  13. 1 Nobember 2013 – a day to remember - Miles From Blighty

    […] is a lot of analysis of the changes on the internet – but you might care to visit The Wandering Aramean – who has done some good research […]

  14. ffi
    ffi at |

    J has only gone up 50% so the teachers may be fine.
    But those of us spoilt by J and F can no longer go in F on partners.

    I have always thought of miles as 2 cpm due to opportunity cost of cc spend. Once they price miles at 1 cpm redemption ultimately, cash back is the way to go. This raises the prices on awards to be closer to the cash cost of buying J, with lower availability.

    Steve L is right about mispricing and market worth. But that is an important tool for loyalty. In the past when you could get UA miles mainly by flying, and max 60k miles a year from CC, then the miles were a long term reward for flying. The bankruptcies changed that in the 2000-2010 era.

    Now that the miles are just a rebate from CC companies, the driver has been the alliances and ease of travel in comfort. UA may not know how many flew UA just for its partners awards. I certainly did. Now I have to reevaluate the need for loyalty to UA (much as we have with DL)

    On the whole the “high value flyers” may not have much of a choice. Most of last minute business travel is done by biz flyers and they do not have much of a choice with fares in hubs anyway.

    And you are coming close to the mark on “Status”.
    It will not be worthless, but certainly worth a bit less on airlines as well.

  15. Thinley
    Thinley at |

    United’s Newest Customer Unfriendly Campaign: Increase the Cost of Award Tickets,raising the mileage redemption levels for some awards over 60%. We don’t have to take this sitting down!
    -Retweet my Tweet here and send your own tweets to @United with the hashtag: #UnitedUnfriendly
    The more you post the quicker mainstream media will pick up on this story. Let’s get it trending!

    -Express your displeasure to Chase (Twitter: @Chase, @Chase Support) about these changes. Chase buys billions of dollars of United miles and isn’t likely to be happy that they’ve been devalued. They’re especially not going to be happy to lose customers to cards like the Starwood AMEX. If anyone has the power to put pressure on United it’s Chase.

    -Contact United CEO Jeff Smisek and let him know how these changes will affect your travel patterns and credit card spending. He can be reached at jeff.smisek@united.com

    -If you feel that an 87% increase is just flat-out unfair you can also file a complaint with the US DOT. Sure United is free to do what they want, but this devaluation simply doesn’t happen if Continental and United were still competing. Delta and Northwest miles have gone from being worthwhile to being worthless thanks to their merger. Let the DOT know that you feel an 87% increase in the cost of some awards is unfair to consumers and that you want to see the DOT keep fighting the American-USAirways merger in court. If that merger goes through you can be sure we’ll be seeing more painful changes like this one. To Europe
    Business class increases by 7,500 miles to 57,500 miles each way on United flights and by 12,500 miles to 80,000 miles each way in First Class.

    Business class increases by 20,000 miles to 70,000 miles each way on Star Alliance flights and by 42,500 miles to 110,000 miles each way in First Class.

    This is clearly designed to get you to stop redeeming for First Class awards on partner airlines!
    4. To India

    Coach award increase by 2,500 miles to 42,500 miles on United flights. Business class increases by 10,000 miles to 70,000 miles aeach way on United flights and by 10,000 miles to 90,000 miles each way in First Class.

    Coach award increase by 2,500 miles to 42,500 miles on Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa etc. Business class increases by 20,000 miles to 80,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partner flights

    And increases by 60,000 miles to 140,000 miles each way in First Class. It used to be 160,000 miles for a round-trip!

    This is clearly designed to get you to stop redeeming for First Class awards on partner airlines!
    5. To South Asia (Thailand, Singapore etc.)

    Coach award increase by 7,500 miles to 40,000 miles on United flights. Business class increases by 10,000 miles to 70,000 miles each way on United flights and by 10,000 miles to 90,000 miles each way in First Class.

    Coach award increase by 7,500 miles to 40,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa, etc. Business class increases by 20,000 miles to 80,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partner flights.

    And First Class increases by 60,000 miles to 130,000 miles each way. This is clearly designed to get you to stop redeeming for First Class awards on partner airlines!
    6. To Australia or New Zealand

    No change to coach awards (40,000 miles) on United flights. Business class increases by 2,500 miles to 70,000 miles each way on United flights and remains the same in First Class.

    Coach awards remain the same (40,000 miles) each way on Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa, etc. Business class increases by 12,500 miles to 80,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partner flights.

    And First Class increases by 50,000 miles to 130,000 miles each way. This is clearly designed to get you to stop redeeming for First Class awards on partner airlines!
    7. To Japan

    Coach award increase by 2,500 miles to 35,000 miles on United flights. Business class increases by 5,000 miles to 65,000 miles each way on United flights and increases by 12,500 miles to 80,000 miles each way in First Class.

    Coach award increase by 2,500 miles to 35,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa, etc. Business class increases by 15,000 miles to 75,000 miles each way on Star Alliance partner flights.

    And First Class increases by 42,500 miles to 110,000 miles each way. This is clearly designed to get you to stop redeeming for First Class awards on partner airlines!

  16. Michael D
    Michael D at |

    Whether or not a frequent flyer program is gutted depends upon why you (in the general not a pejorative sense) are flying that airline. Sure more perks for less EQM/PQM is better. But where is there a better alternative? And if there is a better alternative why are you not already there?

    Awards are still a good deal. Not as good, not the best; but still a good deal.

    If you buy first or business on three class flights out of your own pocket, upgrades for miles and dollars are a good deal. If your never going to pay more than 15 CPM for any flight than it isn’t.

  17. Steve L
    Steve L at |

    A mis-priced item can only continue to be mis-priced if few people buy it. Once it becomes sold and bought in large quantities, the sellers will no longer tolerate the hit to their bottom line, and market forces will bring the prices back in line.

    The cliche that “bloggers have killed all the great deals” is true in a generalized sense. The internet has been the great equalizer. It has made prices transparent and good deals accessible to everyone. Everyone is able to research the biggest bang for their buck. But it has greatly reduced the chance that anyone can get in a true steal, since anything that’s an unbelievable bargain is quickly and widely posted, tweeted or blogged about, ending in a quick demise.

    I’m sad as anyone about the disappearance of the business/first class gravy train, where for 135,000 miles I can scarf down caviar in a flat bed next to some sop who paid $10,000 for the same seat. But I’m taken aback at people who think enjoying such extravagances cheaply is their entitlement, as opposed to a luxury that they had found for a steal.

  18. Eric
    Eric at |

    So Seth, what are the immediate changes? I’m noticing some funky language coming back around even simple 4 segment trips from Europe to SE Asia

  19. Will the United devaluation change your credit card strategy? - FlyerTalk Forums

    […] There value for domestic itineraries (within lower 48 states) remains the same, though flights to Alaska and Hawaii are more expensive now. sbm12 had a good post about on his blog: http://boardingarea.com/thewandering…released-ouch/ […]

  20. entrada
    entrada at |

    How would an award where the US portion was on UA metal (LAX-ORD) connecting to an LH flight to FRA be priced?

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  22. MileagePlus Devaluation for Me | Stephan Segraves - badice.com

    […] won’t go into the details of the changes to the MileagePlus reward charts, Seth has done a good job of that. The quick summary is this: United raised reward rates and in the case of rewards on partners, the […]

  23. Oliver
    Oliver at |

    > How would an award where the US portion was on UA metal (LAX-ORD) connecting to an LH flight to FRA be priced?

    Costs the partner price, assuming the LH flight is in the same or higher class than your UA flight.

  24. Full Summary of United Devaluations & New Developments…plus my personal exposure - Point Me To The Plane

    […] The Wandering Aramean highlights that there are rule changes to upgrades as well: […]

  25. Tim
    Tim at |

    Seth,

    There is a rumor over on Flyertalk that UA will be forcing a co-pay starting in January to use GPUs.

    Do you know anything about this?

    Thanks!

  26. Make Your United Partner Reward Bookings Now! | Stephan Segraves - badice.com

    […] If you want more information on the devaluation and what different flights will cost, Seth has a great breakdown here. […]

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