United Airlines has many domestic and international destinations. As a result, it’s a popular airline for most United States-based travelers that accumulate MileagePlus miles to book award flights. But, unfortunately, most routes require more travel miles than just a few days or weeks ago, as inflation impacts the travel sector.
Domestic Award Flights Remain Mostly Unchanged
Let’s start with the good news. Most award flights within the United States are not experiencing noticeable price hikes. A one-way fare typically requires around 15,000 miles in economy and 30,000 miles in business class for a transcontinental flight.
Short-haul flights, such as between Los Angeles and San Francisco, start at 5,000 miles for a one-way ticket.
Additionally, domestic award flights usually incur $5.60 in taxes and fees regardless of the airline. Saver Awards require the fewest points and can also be an excellent way to book last-minute travel deals.
Europe Award Flights Are More Expensive
With consumer travel exceeding pre-pandemic levels, Europe is seeing the biggest crowds in several years. Transatlantic flights to Europe were some of the first to start requiring more points.
For instance, anticipate paying at least 40,000 miles in the main cabin or 80,000 miles in business for routes between the United States and Europe. That’s an approximate one-third price hike as the approximate cost was 30,000 and 60,000 miles, respectively, before the devaluation.
Additional Point Devaluation Examples
Here are some of the other long-distance routes that can require up to 50% more points.
- Flights to Australia: 55,000 miles in economy and 100,000 miles in business class (was 40,000 miles and 80,000 miles)
- Flights to Japan: 55,000 miles in economy and 100,000 miles in business class (was 35,000 miles and 55,000 miles)
- Flights to South America: 49,000 miles in economy and 87,000 miles in business class (was 33,000 miles in economy and 66,000 miles in business class)
While point devaluations are not uncommon, this is one of the most substantial for United Airlines. In addition, the carrier moved to a dynamic pricing model a few years ago which was also a monumental shift that harmed award travelers. The best practice can be to redeem your points sooner to avoid further devaluations.
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