United Increases Award Change Fees for Non-Premier Members, Effective Immediately

Talk about a day of United devaluations! It’s still June 18th on the west coast, but I noticed that United has changed its award fees for non-Premier members on tickets issued on or after June 19, 2013.

Details in the screenshot below. Premier members are not affected by this change. This does not affect tickets issued on or before June 18, 2013!

ua award change deval

As you can see, before today, a non-Premier member could make free changes 21 days of more before departure, as long as the origin and departure stayed the same. This was a great benefit for all members of MileagePlus. It is now a $75 fee for non-Premier members to change an award ticket outside of 21 days before date of travel.

If a non-Premier member wanted to make a change within 21 days of departure, that used to cost $75. It now costs $100 for a non-Premier to make a change within 21 days of departure.

The worst change, though? If a non-Premier member wanted to cancel a trip and redeposit their miles, it used to cost $150. It is now an eye-watering $200 for a non-Premier to cancel an award and redeposit miles.

So while United will make it tougher to earn elite status with their new PQD requirement for 2015 status, they’ve now dropped the hammer on non-elites who want to redeem their miles.  As a former non-Premier member, I’ve taken advantage of making small changes to my award tickets outside of 21 days to departure, like making a connection shorter and inserting an extra city for 24 hours. Now you’d have to pay $75 for “any change to cabin, award type, carrier, date or time” within 21 days.

This is a huge devaluation, because this also affects non-Premier members with hoards of Chase Ultimate Rewards who want to transfer the points to United. (By the way, did you hear? There seems to be an increased bonus on the Chase Ink this week).

H/T to nobody, I even beat UA Insider on FlyerTalk to this news 😉

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  • Scott @ MileValue.com

    Bad day for United fans. United now has the most expensive award cancellation fees. BA charges $40.

    • AKold

      Aegean charges 20 Euros.

      I’m worried that AA is going to follow. Who cares about DL.

      • Jeff

        Me too. Strangely enough this makes it even better for me to MR to 1k next year on UA. O.o

        • AKold

          Need a roommate in Canada? 😀

          • Scottrick

            I call dibs. UBC is pretty close to Seattle :)

          • Jeff

            I live with my parents, but you are welcome to use my address. For the cheapest way to get residency the lowest tier just allows for using my address, priced at 10k UA miles per year. If you would like me to put you on my energy bill, that’ll be 30k UA miles per year. Of course, they’ll be a minimum spend requirement of $500 on food and beverages while you’re in Vancouver unless you add me as an authorized user on your Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. 😉

          • AKold

            How about I take you along on a YVR-JFK CX F one-way and we call it even?

  • Jeff

    That sucks. This after the PQD’s…

    • AKold

      Scumbag United: Makes elite status more difficult to attain, increases fees for non-elites the same day.

  • SuperKirby

    WIll this effect United Explorer or Club card holders?

    • Amol

      The Explorer card never had any say in this fee table, so yes for people who hold that card.

      The Club card only waives the fee for booking a flight within 21 days, and that fee is still the same at all elite levels (including non-Premiers). So, yes, these changes affect Club card holders as well.

      • SuperKirby

        Ahh yes, i forgot that was the Club’s card only benefit, no close-in booking fees. Cancel fees were always implemented. thanks.

  • disqust101

    Boo hoo. “Crock”odile tears over non elites paying more? You’d think mileage junkies would applaud such changes as it thins the herd. But no, it’s a “huge devaluation”. Gimme a break.

    • Amol

      How does this thin the herd, exactly? People are still going to be using Star Alliance miles to book *A saver seats. It’s a devaluation for anyone choosing to book those seats with UA miles, plain and simple.

  • Shane

    Who isn’t United trying to piss off these days? Sheesh.

  • http://saverocity.com/ Matt from Saverocity

    I’m about to change a United ticket too… and was a bit worried, but it’s good news (or more of a silver lining) that the changes don’t impact tickets issued before 6/19

    • Amol

      It would be a breach of contract if they changed the change fee for tickets made before the changes were announced. Don’t think of it as the airline being consumer-friendly, think of it as them following the law.

      • http://saverocity.com/ Matt from Saverocity

        I don’t think of it as either, I think of it is ‘phew! I’m happy to be alive.’

        • Amol

          Careful though, some changes cause a re-ticketing.