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New United Airlines mile redemption frustration — temporary?

by on Wed September 21, 2011 • No Comment

The vigilant frequent flyers at FlyerTalk have noticed since August it’s become much more challenging to redeem United Mileage Plus miles at the ‘low’ award level (25,000 miles for a domestic roundtrip) than ever before, with most advance seats going for the 50,000 mile level.

There are dozens of pages of observations in this thread, but here’s a summary…

  • United agents on the phone acknowledge the availability is lower than they’ve ever seen
  • The site is doing a better job of showing availability because it has more robust partner search capability. You can freely transfer your United miles back and forth to Continental.
  • One source close to United says the issue is temporary. Because of the merger with Continental, next year’s schedules will be volatile as fleets are crossed over and planes swapped. They don’t want to be caught giving away too many advance free seats on a route. The source says it should clear up in about 6 months.
We hope this doesn’t turn into the kind of issue seen with the Delta / Northwest merger. In that case availability dropped to the lowest in the industry and never recovered. For now, we will trust the source though our sense is the uber-generous availability the United side was known for will tighten up some, but not nearly as badly as Delta.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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