Another Massive United MileagePlus Devaluation – Award Flights with Partner Airlines up to 173% More Expensive

Star Alliance Flugzeug

United‘s MileagePlus frequent flyer program is currently in the process of squandering all trust from frequent and infrequent flyers alike. After prices for numerous award flights were already increased last year, frequent flyers are now hit even harder. Over the past few days, numerous award flights have become between approximately 9% and 173% more expensive.

You read that right: In some cases, an award ticket now costs almost three times as much as before. This time, only redemptions with partner airlines such as those in the Star Alliance are affected. However, cheap award flights with United itself have been scarce lately anyway, making the devaluation even more significant.

Business & first class are now significantly more expensive

Over the past two weeks, there have been two major rounds of price adjustments. First, prices for first class were increased, followed by business class. The following values were compiled by users on Flyertalk, as well as Liveandletsfly and AwardWallet, and verified by us:

  • Business class within Europe:
    • Frankfurt – Copenhagen with Lufthansa: 27,500 → 30,000 miles (+9%)
    • Frankfurt – Athens with Lufthansa: 27,500 → 45,000 miles (+64%)
  • Business class on medium- and long-haul routes:
    • Bangkok → Tokyo with Thai Airways: 49,500 → 90,000 miles (+82%)
    • Frankfurt → Tokyo with Lufthansa/ANA: 82,500 → 140,000 miles (+70%)
    • Addis Ababa → Johannesburg with Ethiopian: 33,000 → 90,000 miles (+173%)
  • First class on long-haul routes:
    • Frankfurt – New York with Lufthansa: 121,000 → 154,000 miles (+27%)
    • Tokyo – Honolulu with ANA: 93,500 → 181,500 miles (+94%)

It appears that redemptions for economy class have not been touched (yet?). In doubt, it is advisable to book them sooner rather than later before another devaluation occurs there as well. After booking, they could still be cancelled free of charge.

The more expensive the regular award flights become, the more one should consider booking an “Excursionist Perk”. This would at least reduce the price for one of three segments to 0. Since that’s complicated to explain, it’s recommended to take a look at the following guide:


For years, United’s miles offered numerous attractive redemption options even outside the USA. Overnight, many acceptable options have now disappeared (the term Sweet Spots might be a bit overstated).

Ongoing adjustments by a few % may still be appropriate once a year. But the price increases now made by United MileagePlus are absolutely outrageous. We’re now almost at Delta’s level. Slowly but surely, I have to recommend everyone to burn their United miles as quickly as possible. At least economy flights within Europe still remain attractive for now.

Translated by Ditmar

Cover Picture: by Chris Leipelt on unsplash

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Comments (3)

  1. Antonio says:

    I was waiting to see APR 25 schedule to arrange a beautiful EVA J: TPE – Europe for 82.5K…. now it’s 140K.
    0 sweet spots anywhere in the world so, for me UA is completely dead

    • Peer says:

      The only remaining sweet spots are Economy flights within Japan and Europe

      • Antonio says:

        I will call it “the minimum award rate” instead sweet spot. For me a sweet spot is “average cash price in EIUR” > “average price in purchasing award miles for that route with standard offers”…
        Intra EU flights bought in advance are quite cheap. Maybe for Easter or August could work…
        Thanks suggestion though…

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