Mileage Plus Platinum, 1K and Global Services members have access to additional Saver award inventory in premium classes as an elite benefit. Effective Feb. 1, 2013, United Airlines is making a change to the number of Saver award seats that will be available to elite members when they are redeeming for award flights in United Global First and United First on aircraft with three cabins. The change will not extend to first class awards booked on two-cabin aircraft and elite members will continue to have access to additional availability of business and economy class Saver awards.
Previously, eligible elite members could redeem award flights in fare class ON, which is the same fare class used for upgrades. Now, the ON fare class is reserved exclusively for upgrades and elite members will only be able to redeem for Saver awards in O class in United Global First and United First on three-cabin aircraft.
Bottom line: This change won’t have a huge impact but it will effect Platinum members and above who like to redeem miles for first class flights on international flights. There will now be fewer flight awards available for first class seats on three-cabin aircraft. On the other hand, there will be more seats available for first class upgrades.