With cuts coming left and right in the world of airline loyalty programs, I must admit I no longer wince in pain when a new devaluation announced. The question of devaluation is not if, but when and how much. United has finally published its 2015 partner earnings charts, set to take effect on 01 March 2015 when United begins conferring award miles based on fare paid rather than miles flown. The chart is confusing but all you need to know is that in most cases you are going to take a substantial cut in earnings when you travel on a partner airline.
I do not have an assistant or the time myself to reproduce a highy convoluted chart, so for reference please see the one created by Lucky — it nicely summarizes the changes.
Here’s the gist of the changes–
- If your ticket is issued on United stock (your ticket number begins with 016), your points will be rewarded based upon the fare paid as I outlined here, no matter what partner you fly on.
- If your ticket is issued on a partner airline, you will earn miles according to the new chart above.
- Most cheap and mid-range fares that used to earn 100% (i.e. 1 mile flown = 1 mile awarded) will drop to 50% — this includes travel even on joint-venture partners like Lufthansa and Air Canada.
- Some deeply discounted fares on Miles & More Group carriers (Adria, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Brussels, Croatia Airlines) will actually start earning miles again — from 0% to 50%, so that at least there is one small consolation.
- Some pricey first and business class fares will actually drop in earnings on ANA, Lufthansa, Swiss, and SAS.
- United flights issued by other carriers will earn miles based upon the price of the ticket.
I could curse United and whine about how customer-unfriendly these changes are, but I won’t bother — in an era of limited competition, robust economic growth, full planes, and cheap oil prices, we cannot expect otherwise. We just cannot…
All I can do is repeat my mantra that my points are a depreciating asset and that if you are sitting on a pile of AA or US miles, you better burn them now because Doug Parker is licking his lips in anticipation of the massive devaluation that will soon come to AA, be it later this year or early next year.
Hopefully this will be the last devaluation for some time with United, though there is not much left to cut.