UPDATE: United has extended the devaluation until February 3. 2014 so you have this weekend to book award trips! Straight from a Unites representative “Booking an award where the mileage amount should have been reduced on February 1? If you book one of these awards on February 1 or 2, we will honor the reduced mileage amount. Although initial ticketing will be at the current, higher level, we will retroactively re-price your award to the lower mileage amount within 10 business days.”

If you are up to date in the travel, points, and miles world than you are already well aware that starting tomorrow, February 1, 2014 it will cost a significant more to redeem your United miles for international flights. For those that only redeem United miles for domestic flights, you are not affected, do not worry (keep in mind though, Hawaii is impacted)! But those that typically save up their miles for international flights, especially partner airlines, I suggest booking your flights today!

Here is a pdf of both the current awards chart and the new awards chart come February 1, 2014. Recap of the changes for flights to/from North America:

  • Hawaii coach class tickets are increasing from 40,000 miles to 45,000 miles (both United and partner metal)
  • Southern South America business class tickets are increasing from 100,000 miles to 110,000 miles (both United and partner metal)
  • Southern South America first class tickets are increasing from 135,000 miles to 140,000 miles (both United and partner metal)
  • Europe business class tickets are increasing from 100,000 miles to 115,000 miles (United metal)
  • Europe business class tickets are increasing from 100,000 miles to 140,000 miles (partner metal)
  • Europe first class tickets are increasing from 135,000 miles to 160,000 miles (United metal)
  • Europe first class tickets are increasing from 135,000 miles to 220,00 miles (partner metal) 
  • Middle East coach class tickets are increasing from 80,000 miles to 85,000 miles (both United and partner metal)
  • Middle East business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 140,000 miles (United metal)
  • Middle East business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 160,000 miles (partner metal)
  • Middle East first class tickets are increasing from 150,000 miles to 180,000 miles (United metal)
  • Middle East first class tickets are increasing from 150,000 miles to 280,000 miles (United)
  • Africa business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 140,000 miles (United metal)
  • Africa business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 160,000 miles (partner metal)
  • Africa first class tickets are increasing from 150,000 miles to 170,000 miles (United metal)
  • Africa first class tickets are increasing from 150,000 miles to 260,000 miles (partner metal)
  • Japan coach class tickets are increasing from 65,000 miles to 70,000 miles (both United and partner metal)
  • Japan business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 130,000 miles (United metal)
  • Japan business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 150,000 miles (partner metal)
  • Japan first class tickets are increasing from 135,000 miles to 160,000 miles (United metal)
  • Japan first class tickets are increasing from 135,000 miles to 220,000 miles (partner metal)
  • North Asia coach class tickets are increasing from 65,000 miles to 70,000 miles (both United and partner metal)
  • North Asia business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 140,000 miles (United metal)
  • North Asia business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 160,000 miles (partner metal)
  • North Asia first class tickets are increasing from 140,000 miles to 160,000 miles (United metal)
  • North Asia first class tickets are increasing from 140,000 miles to 240,000 miles (partner metal)
  • South Asia coach class tickets are increasing from 65,000 miles to 80,000 miles (both United and partner metal)
  • South Asia business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 140,000 miles (United metal)
  • South Asia business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 160,000 miles (partner metal)
  • South Asia first class tickets are increasing from 140,000 miles to 160,000 miles (United metal)
  • South Asia first class tickets are increasing from 140,000 miles to 260,000 miles (partner metal)
  • Central Asia coach class tickets are increasing from 80,000 miles to 85,000 miles (both United and partner metal)
  • Central Asia business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 140,000 miles (United metal)
  • Central Asia business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 160,000 miles (partner metal)
  • Central Asia first class tickets are increasing from 160,000 miles to 180,000 miles (United metal)
  • Central Asia first class tickets are increasing from 160,000 miles to 280,000 miles (partner metal)
  • Oceana business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 130,000 miles (United metal)
  • Oceana business class tickets are increasing from 120,000 miles to 150,000 miles (partner metal)
  • Oceana first class tickets are increasing from 150,000 miles to 160,000 miles (United metal)
  • Oceana first class tickets are increasing from 150,000 miles to 220,000 miles (partner metal)
  • Australia/New Zealand business class tickets are increasing from 135,000 miles to 140,000 miles (United metal)
  • Australia/New Zealand business class tickets are increasing from 135,000 miles to 160,000 miles (partner metal)
  • Australia/New Zealand first class tickets are increasing from 160,000 miles to 260,000 miles (partner metal)

As you see, almost all international routes are increasing for business and first class. For coach class only a few are increasing (flying to South America, Europe, Africa, Oceana, and Australia/New Zealand in coach will NOT be affected). Where they really get you are the partner flights. Those flights now are an insane amount for business and first class. This will really limit availability for those who are not looking to redeem an arm and a leg for an award flight. Also, many of the partner airlines have much better business and first class than United metal, which might make you consider just flying coach instead.

What happens if I book my ticket before the devaluation and need to change dates? United isn’t given any cut and dry answer for this, but what they are saying is saying that their current policy will still apply. This means you can still change the date of an award ticket (as long as it complies with their current policy) and you will not be charged the increased mileage rate. However, if you are looking to change destinations, most likely you be charged the higher mileage rates. Remember though, when changing an award ticket there are fees (current fee chart), although minimal. Remember, you can book 330 days out.

To read more about this, blogger View from the Wing has the best posts on this detailing all the in’s and out’s. If you are a United flyer sitting on a ton of miles you should read these posts:

I personally am sitting on about 5,000 United miles so am not affected much by this. However, I have about 300,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points where I thought I might transfer to United at some point. Luckily though, those points are flexible and I can redeem elsewhere if needed! And, I typically fly coach class anyways, so there are still many international routes not affected.

Did you book any United award flights due to this devaluation?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

  • Rob said,

    I booked at trip for July back in November, but have been tweaking it over the last week to make sure I didn’t get bitten by the new chart.

    I think I got full value from my 100K miles. Outbound one 19 hour layover to have dinner with a friend, Air Canada’s 787 business to Zurich and then Swiss to Paris in Eurobusiness. Continuing LH Eurobusiness to Reykjavik where my “open jaws” takes effect. Returning Stockholm to Geneva LH Eurobusiness and a 22 hour layover to enjoy late-July weather with a friend on the edge of the lake. Then a very civilized noon flight in AC business to Montreal and another afternoon layover, and finally AC business to Denver.

    That trip, plus burning my 90K USAirways points to Turkey and Japan in November, and I’ve got a year that’s returning more than full value for two years of concentrated accumulation of miles.

    Now to find a good use for my large pile of UR points and AA miles in 2015!

  • Rob said,

    Oh yes – the 5 days in Paris is my one allowed “stopover”. Couldn’t find any good way to work in the second open jaw, though… :)

  • Hua said,

    Woohoo, MileagePlus devaluation postponed until Feb 3!

  • Dimitri said,

    I did, however I was trying to improve on it yesterday night, and no use, I’m *G and still was told $25 change fee +20K miles if I want to make any changes to my one way europe trip in Biz :(

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