It’s been a tough week to be a loyal United Airlines fan. The devaluation to their awards chart was killer and pushed many frequent fliers to other programs. But if the devaluation didn’t upset you too much and you plan on sticking with them, there are still some positives to the United Airlines Mileage Plus program. Here are 3 positive things about United Airlines that I can think of.
- United Airlines Mileage Plus still does not charge a fuel surcharge for award redemption. This is an incredible benefit. Both Delta and American Airlines levy outrages fuel surcharges when redeeming on some of their partner airlines that can rack up hundreds of dollars in fees. Want to fly to Europe on British Airways’ First Class? Expect to pay over $1000 in taxes, fees and fuel surcharges. Want to fly any of the Delta Sky Team partner flights anywhere? Expect to add several hundred dollars in taxes, fees and fuel surcharges also. Think you’re exempt from fuel surcharges if you’re flying on Delta metal? Wrong again, add fuel surcharges if your flight is originating outside of the United States. So as you can see, the devaluation did hurt the redemption rate but at the end of the day, it may cost you more in miles to redeem a Star Alliance partner flight, but it will save you hundreds in cash compared to Delta or American Airlines.
- United Airlines is currently offering a 20% discount on Economy Class award redemption to Europe. That brings the total cost down from 60,000 miles to 48,000 miles. It’s not much but it’s better than nothing. Assuming United miles are currently worth about 1.4 cents/mile. That’s a savings of $216. You have to book by November 19, 2013 and travel between January 13, 2014 and March 11, 2014. You must travel on a round trip ticket on a United Airlines plane. No partner flights on any segments are allowed. Open jaws are permitted but stopovers are not. More information on the discount can be found here.
- And lastly, United Airlines just joined Delta, JetBlue and American as the only airlines that are authorized by the FAA to allow the use of personal electronic devices from gate to gate. And with WiFi being rolled out throughout their fleet, this will allow you to stay connected and be productive throughout the entire flight.
So, these factors aren’t earth shattering by any means but they are worth mentioning. For me personally, I’m still up in the air about United (pun intended). My initial reaction when I learned of the devaluation was to dump United Airlines and switch right over to American Airlines. But now that I had some time to think about it, there are still some great positives about the Mileage Plus program to consider. I still have to forecast my future travel plans and evaluate which frequent flyer program will work out best for me. Luckily, I don’t have to decide until the end of this year and these little perks will allow me to enjoy my relationship with United for just a little longer.