Posted by William Charles on November 16, 2019
Airline Rewards

Published on November 16th, 2019 | by William Charles

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United Replaces Cash Close In Booking Fee With Miles Close In Booking Fee

United used to charge a $75 close in booking fee for award bookings made within 21 days of travel, when award charts were removed yesterday that fee was removed but replaced with a miles close in booking fee of 2,000-3,500 miles. To make matters worse this now applies to bookings made within 30 days of travel (previously 21). In addition elites now have to pay this fee as well (previously some elites were excluded). It seems that the fees are as follows:

  • 3,500 miles for partner award flights
  • 2,500 miles for bookings within seven days
  • 2,000 miles for bookings between seven days and 26-27 days
  • 1,500 miles for bookings between 26-27 and 30 days

United was previously claiming that they would be removing close in booking fees, this is just another reason I focus on what loyalty programs actually do rather than what they say they will do. This is actually an improvement for me as I’d prefer to pay the relatively small amount of miles over the $75 fee, but for elites and those that highly value United miles this is a devaluation. I think the biggest issue people will have with this change is how United has handled it.

Hat tip to OMaaT



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Jags
Jags

At least UA is valuing their miles at $0.02+ compared to the $75 fee. This might be your best way to spend United Miles…

ZZ
ZZ

It’s 2000-3500 miles one way. For round trip, it will be doubled.

Paul
Paul

UA screws its elites yet again.

Mikey
Mikey

I’d take that deal from American if offered. 👍

Unfriendly Skies
Unfriendly Skies

Don’t forget that if a RT is fully within 30, you pay double close in. So can be 7K instead of the old single $75. Pathetic!

Hey
Hey

They could’ve simply just added those extra miles Into the price of the booking as the award chart meant nothing anyway now.

Now they have to face with with bad PR. Could’ve saved lots of headaches.

chris
chris

getting #oscared once every day, twice on Sunday.

John
John

Fee to use miles is paid in miles. Nearing a catch-22 here.

Sam
Sam

Wait so they didn’t make this better.

James Bond

Clever United marketing department. United marketing implied they were dropping the dreaded close-in fee entirely and now they decide to slap on a mileage based fee……LOL. Most of my United redemptions are international with a mix of United and partner airlines, so it looks like 3,500 miles for a one way!

Ray
Ray

DoC, it’s 3.5k each way so 7k round trip. It’s basically forcing you to redeem some portion of your miles for 1 cpp which honestly is how much I value UA MileagePlus now. Kirby turned it into a junk currency.

quasimodo
quasimodo

glad I redeemed all my excess UAL miles last month for a partner business class tkt.

YoniPDX

Ditto, booked a pair seats last week MEL-YVR-PDX on AC – even tho close in awards are not option with DW PTO.

I think that more devalue dominoes will fall esp with partner awards –

Chucks
Chucks

All this does for me is not give a crap about miles earning on United. One of the best options were often last-minute award tickets for redemption. Besides some crazy signup bonus, I’m not really interested in UA miles. I’m not going to spend on a United Card, I’m not going to give any preference to United flights, I’m not going to try and hit status on United.

What’s the point of a loyalty program that doesn’t inspire loyalty?

Mikey
Mikey

I wonder how CHASE and the other card issuers feel about this move. I‘ve always charged the close-in fee on the card of that airline if I have it. An overlooked aspect of this change is the loss of revenue to credit cards and the banks that issue them. Many flyers with a CHASE issued United VISA put the $75 charge on that card. I would assume that, like baggage fees, those charges in the aggregate are substantial. If American instituted a similar change both CITI and Barclays would lose millions.

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