Travel News

How United’s Dynamic Award Pricing May Affect Partner Awards

Written by Charlie

The date of November 15 is racing towards us and, with it, the new United dynamic awards. How could these dynamic awards affect partner awards?

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

Link: United Airlines Dynamic Awards

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

United’s dynamic award pricing can already be seen on many of their own flights – this is the US to Japan

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.

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About the author

Charlie

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.

2 Comments

  • So United discovered that people were getting value and felt the need to put a stop to it. Sigh. Genuine question here: are they really that myopic that they think people will continue to find their program worthwhile with even more devaluations like this?

    • I honestly cannot imagine what United’s management is thinking. They have already dissed Chase for having more valuable cards and pulling customers from their own cards and now they double down by cutting their award chart? With airlines making more money from credit card deals than flying most passengers (all?), I have no idea why they are taking this path.

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