Courtesy: United Media Hub

Remember during the pandemic when United thought it would be a great time to devlaue their rewards currency, MileagePlus?  

And that was just a year after United devalued MileagePlus which was two years after United massively devalued MileagePlus.

Oh, and then there was that time just last year when United devalued MileagePlus miles.

Well, hold on to your hat because it appears that Gary at View from the Wing has discovered yet another United MileagePlus devaluation – possibly just getting started or possibly just targeting long haul First Class.

The long and the short of it is that First Class flights to Europe (think Lufthansa – already only made available by Luftansa within days of a flight but still featuring the amazing First Class Terminal if you depart Frankfurt) are now pricing from 121,000 to 154,000 miles one way.

And then flights to Asia in F (ANA or a combination like this flight to Bankgkok I just searched have doubled since yesterday – pricing at 242,000 miles, up from just 121,000 miles by comparison.

united first class devaluation

As Gary points out, this hurts the value of the Chase co-branded United cards, hurts the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards, and hurts the value of Bilt points. How much, we don’t know – because we don’t know if the devaluation starts here or if it’s the first of coming business class award increases.

I used to take up a lot of ink when Delta devalued over and over and over. And eventually, while “hidden” partner charts remained and we could see the devaluations happening repeatedly, in the eyes of Delta nothing was being devalued because they weren’t being transparent about pricing in the first place.

And United has gone exactly the same way. They very much seem to believe that you can’t devalue a program with no listed prices.

Imagine going into a supermarket with no prices. Milk is $4 one day, $9 the next, and they act as if they didn’t raise prices because they never told you in the first place. Why do we tolerate it with airline “loyalty” programs??

Don’t forget, we also just saw a massive Turkish Airlines devaluation and so things are stinging across the Star Alliance, however, since MilesTalkers aren’t collecting United miles, but rather transferable points, it’s good to know we still have better options for First Class.

Take this flight from Chicago to Tokyo in First, now pricing at 242,000 United miles.

united devaluation

But you could still use Avianca Lifemiles and pay just 120,000 miles.

Or you could PROBABLY use just 85,000 Virgin Flying Club miles (you’d have to call and they are closed now so I cannot check). And of course that would be only 66,000 Amex points right now because of the 30% transfer bonus that you got notified about today using our Transfer Bonus Notification feature, right? 😉 )

Interestingly, Air Canada isn’t displaying the flight and they do sell First Class awards, so that’s a bit odd.

But heck, even Singapore KrisFlyer, a program that has devalued itself into oblivion for everything but it’s own First Class can beat United’s pricing by 85,000 miles!

As for that New York to Germany in First Class?

Recall United now wants 121,000 to 154,000 miles.

Still just 87,000 miles on Avianca’s Lifemiles.

Still 100,000 miles with Air Canada Aeroplan.

Long story short?

It looks like United has made their miles worth less overnight, increasing First Class awards by a large amount.

We don’t know if Business Class awards are next, and since they don’t publish award charts, it will take someone “discovering it” before we know, giving you zero chance to make any last minute bookings at the price you thought you were saving for.

Meanwhile, keep collecting those transferable points 🙂


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