United Award Fees
We wrote about the changes United Mileage Plus made to their award chart in last month’s issue of InsideFlyer and now the program has announced changes to award fees, effective June 15, 2011. The close-in booking fee will be reintroduced for most Mileage Plus members. General United Mileage Plus members who book an award flight less than 21 days before departure will be charged $75.
Premier and Silver members will be charged $50 and Premier Executive and Gold will be charged $25. The close-in fee will continue to be waived for 1K, Global Services, Platinum and Presidential Platinum members.
The award change fee will be reduced from $150 to $75 for general members, to $50 for Premier and Silver members and to $25 for Premier Executive and Gold members. All 1K, Global Services, Platinum and Presidential Platinum members will receive a fee waiver.
All members can make award changes like changing the date or flight time (different flight number) at no charge, but for Mileage Plus redemptions, you must pay a fee to change the origin, destination, carrier(s) and routing. OnePass members can make changes for free as long as the change is made at least 21 days in advance and the origin and destination stay the same–the routing and carrier can change.
The fee to cancel an award and redeposit the miles will be $150 for general members, $125 for Premier and Silver members, $100 for Premier Executive and Gold members and the redeposit fee will continue to be waived for 1K, Global Services, Platinum and Presidential Platinum members. Visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?4514 for information on all the fee changes.
Bottom line: For Mileage Plus and OnePass members, some fees are going up, some will be going down and others will remain the same. In explaining the changes, Scott O’Leary, UA Insider, posted the following statement on milepoint, “Whether it’s having high fees in some areas and none in others, or having lower fees across the board–we’ve found the bottom line result to be about the same. Our goal with this new structure is to ensure that our most commonly used fees are as low as possible and that our Elite members are rewarded with tier-based discounts. We’ve seen a lot of feedback on this, and hopefully this explains where we’re coming from.”
While none of the fee changes are major, the change that may have the biggest negative impact on general members and low-level elites is the reintroduction of the close-in award-ticketing fee. Some members intentionally wait until the last minute to book flight awards since more inventory may open up close to the day of departure. Now, members will again be required to pay a fee for booking within three weeks of the flight date.