In what seems to be an ever-more common occurrence nowadays, United sneaks in a massive devaluation. That’s not hyperbole, by the way. United’s Mileage Plus redemption devaluation is truly next-level awful.
For a while now, United Mileage Plus has been a revenue-based program, meaning that you earn miles based on the amount of money you spend – not based on the number of miles you fly. However, unlike Southwest Rapid Rewards, Mileage Plus isn’t revenue-based on the redemption side, at least not yet. A while back, they did do away with their award charts, presumably in an effort to become revenue-based on the redemption side. However, that hasn’t happened yet. Rather, they just decided to change the minimum amount of points needed to redeem for a flight.
United Sneaks in a Massive Devaluation
Yes, the fact that United has no award chart kind of makes complaining about redemption values mute. But, even without the chart, United maintained a certain minimum threshold needed for award flights. For example, flights from Newark to Honolulu typically required a minimum of 45,000 miles. And while this minimum remains, United has greatly increased it. By how much, you ask? Roughly 30%.
Coming back to that Newark – Honolulu city pair, that same award flight now costs 53,700 miles. Ok, that’s not quite a 30% increase, but it’s close enough. Things get even worse when you look across the Atlantic. In this instance, we’re seeing Economy award rates jump from 30,000 miles to 40,000 miles, while Polaris award rates are soaring from 60,000 miles to 80,000 miles. Insane!
That United sneaks in a massive devaluation shouldn’t surprise anyone. Sure, it would be best if United was forthcoming with its customers, but this kind of behavior is normal nowadays. Of course, this is why it’s best not to keep too many miles in any particular program. Rather, it’s best to hold your points or miles in a transferrable currency, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards. Then again, I shouldn’t be one to talk – I have several hundred thousand miles in Alaska Mileage Plan, American AAdvantage, and HawaiianMiles.