The date of November 15, 2019 is coming up fast – otherwise known as the day that United’s award charts will go away and dynamic pricing will be in full effect. While United had originally said that partner awards would stay the same, there was some concern that this would not be the case. So, how will United’s dynamic award pricing affect partner awards?
United Dynamic Awards Are Coming – November 15
This all gathered a bunch of noise this week when it was discovered that United had added a little part to the webpage about the upcoming changes. Here was the added part (added sometime between the middle of April and late May):
This caused a lot of concern that United was not only going to implement dynamic pricing on partner awards but that they were doing it with no public warning other than this silently added section.
Gary from View from the Wing checked with United’s VP of Loyalty and was told that United will not be changing partner awards. However, he did say that this above section was referencing that a partner award price could change when combined with a United flight.
That Short United Flight Could End Up Costing You a Lot in Miles
This is the part that could end up being a big problem for many people. One of the great things about booking United awards is that you can take advantage of a single award amount to fly from a small regional airport to anywhere in the world (provided United actually releases award space on that first flight).
For many, myself included in the past, buying that same ticket would be very expensive because those flights from the regional airport to the hub are pretty pricey.
Dynamic Pricing Will Mess Up Pricing for Many Awards
If United is going to cause those United flights to cost quite a bit more in awards to more closely mirror the cash cost, that will end up making your partner award flight for international travel go up quite a bit as well.
For example, right now a partner business class award from the US to Europe is 70,000 miles one way. If United has that connecting United flight at a much higher-than-now price in miles, it could make that total award go up over 80K or more miles.
There are already many people that are finding some of their regular awards costing 10K or more in miles for partner flights than before. While United may be saying they will not change that actual partner award pricing – for now – there is little doubt that it will be on the block at some point.
In the meantime, that little connecting flight could be something that shoves the whole award up in price.
If this gets worse, it is going to make Chase -> United transfers not nearly as valuable as they are now.