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.
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.
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…