United Partner Awards Pricing at Lower Levels on Some Routes

Feb 3, 2015

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – United MileagePlus Explorer Card

United recently implemented new changes to its award charts, where certain Star Alliance partner awards priced at a higher level than awards on United Airlines. For instance, from the US to Europe, a saver United award is 57,500 miles one-way in Business Class, whereas a low-level Star Alliance award in Business Class should be 70,000 miles one-way.

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United partner awards are pricing out at the same level as United awards on certain routes.

However per this Flyertalk thead, it appears that Star Alliance partner awards are still pricing at the same level as United awards for the time being. This means that depending on the route, you could save 12,500 miles each-way.

Lufthansa New York (JFK)-Frankfurt for only 57,500 in Business Class
Lufthansa New York (JFK)-Frankfurt for only 57,500 in Business Class

For example, this flight from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt on Star Alliance partner Lufthansa in May is pricing out at 57,500 miles for Business Class, but according to the award chart it should be 70,000 miles.

Turkish Airlines New York (JFK) to Istanbul for 57,500 miles one-way
Turkish Airlines New York (JFK) to Istanbul for 57,500 miles one-way

Another example of the incorrect pricing is on Star Alliance partner Turkish Airlines from New York (JFK) to Istanbul for 57,500 miles one-way, whereas it should again be 70,000 miles.

It’s not clear what’s causing these lower redemption levels, whether it’s a glitch in the booking system or a promotion that United just hasn’t advertised yet. It’s also not clear how long the lower prices will be around, so if you’re planning a trip and can take advantage of the discount, book sooner rather than later. However, be warned that if you book these awards at the lower levels, you run the risk that United could pull the extra miles retroactively.

If you’re short on United miles, you can earn 40,000 bonus United miles after spending $2,000 on the United MileagePlus Explorer Card within the first 3 months.

Have you booked a United award at these lower levels? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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