Travel News

United Devaluation From The Other End

United devaluation
Written by Charlie

HT: Miles from Blighty

United Airlines has gone and done it again – they have pushed out another devaluation. The big one came in February of this year when they revamped their redemption chart to drastically hike the amount of miles required for premium cabins, especially on partner airlines.

United Devaluation … from the other end

Today, United Airlines has continued to go down the road of devaluation their mileage program and has followed in the steps of the Delta’s devaluation. This devaluation deals with how flyers earn their miles. As of March 1, 2015, United flyers will no longer earn award miles based on the miles flown but on the dollars spent. This is a huge blow to the many flyers who rack up miles flying on “cheap” tickets.

United devaluation

The new award miles earning chart – times the amount of the ticket

This is especially painful to the customers who bought the $1,700 first class tickets to Seoul that were available on Saturday. For those people who bought them to fly next year and earn miles, it drastically changes the amount of miles they were expecting to earn. A United 1K flyer would have earned over 50,000 award miles (with class of service and elite bonuses). However, now those same passengers (who bought tickets for travel in 2015) will earn a total of 18,700 miles – a difference of 35,000 fewer miles (less depending on the amount of government taxes in the ticket price)! I doubt that thousands of people bought tickets for next year under that fare, but for those that did to earn miles, the math certainly changes things now.

United devaluation

Potential earning in 2015 for Seoul first class tickets

The amount of award miles earned for the ticket will only include the ticket cost plus the carrier-imposed surcharged. Government imposed taxes/fees will not be included in the ticket cost.

Here is how the earning will shake out by elite level:

  • 5X earning for general members
  • 7X earning for Silvers
  • 8X earning for Golds
  • 9X earning for Platinums
  • 11X earning for 1Ks and GS members

You can visit this page of information to view the calculator to determine how many miles you will earn on your tickets with the new system.

The bad part is that United is taking another page from Delta’s handbook by saying “Changing the way you earn award miles, and giving you more ways to use them.” Really, United? How do you plan to make this better in the redemption category?

The one positive is that they are not touching the method you earn elite miles in – it will still be awarded based on distance and class of service bonuses. Another follow of Delta…


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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • “Changing the way you earn award miles, and giving you more ways to use them.” – we’ve come to accept (more than) half lies. allegedly “the truth, whole truth, and nothing but truth” only exists in court, and even that…

  • United has nosed out Delta dumb as the worst Airlines. What a race to the bottom, now it’s DL’s turn for a upgrade down.

  • It will no longer be a loyalty plan but simply a mediocre rewards plan. If we don’t have the incentive to stay with one specific airline then for me, my rewards will be from flexible credit card rewards and I will chase the very cheapest on ANY carrier, I’ll put up with economy and stop chasing status. Delta and United’s changes are only going to help out the smaller, cheaper carriers. For personal flights, No longer will I pay 1400$ for a united flight to help my status and mileage bonuses when I can get the same flight for 1000 or less on Acme Airlines. I’ll do the math each time, looking at ticket cost, the value of rewards earned, the comfort level of the flight and decide. They will also lose business travellers. Many would go out go out of their way to choose a certain alliance since their work was paying, but now, I suspect they will be more flexible and let their work choose for them.
    It sucks, we’ll overcome.
    I ditched my delta Amex, I guess now I can ditch the united card too.
    Everything go goes on my Barclays card which is so flexible and let’s me use my points on the very best value for points

    Bye bye united, we need to see other people. It’s really you, not me.

  • The thing I don’t understand is that they chose for revenue based earning to start after 1MAR2015 (at the bottom of I know that it doesn’t relate to PQMs, but wouldn’t the March start date just confuse people?
    But on the bright side, the BOS-ICN tickets will still earn in January and February.