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One of the main questions folks had before the massive United award devaluation that went into effect earlier this week was whether awards they booked at pre-devaluation prices would be repriced at post-devaluation rates if they made changes to their bookings.
The reason this was important is because a lot of people were hoping to lock in specific awards on United and its partners that were going up drastically in price, such as business or first class to Europe or Asia, wherever they could find them and then change their tickets to different dates that opened up closer to their actual desired travel times.
United does not re-price awards if you keep the same routing and just change dates so a lot of people were hoping to book awards speculatively and then change the dates on awards for free and maintain the pre-devaluation award levels.
Well it looks like a lot of us are in for a little bit of luck, because it appears there will be even a bit more flexibility than that when changing awards booked pre-devaluation. Per UA Insider on Milepoint (Aaron Goldberg, the Senior Manager of Customer Experience Planning):
“Change clarification for itineraries booked before February 3: Many of you have also been asking about what kinds of itinerary changes will re-trigger a re-price to the new award chart, and I can share some additional follow-up details about that.
As a reminder, the existing change process will apply, and any change that requires an award to re-price will require an add/collect of the additional miles under the new award price structure.
Fees for change/cancel will still apply per our existing policies. Changes that will not trigger a re-price for itineraries ticketed before February 3, 2014 include:
Date/time (cabin, region, and award type can’t change)
Carrier on one or more segments (cabin, region, and award type can’t change)
Origin/Destination within the same regions (carrier and cabin can’t change)”
So not only can you change the date and time of your award, but you can actually even change carriers – for example, switching from United to ANA to Japan or Lufthansa to Frankfurt – as long as you book the same cabin and award type.
Plus, you can change your origin and destination as long as it’s within the same region on the award chart – so you could fly into Singapore instead of Bangkok, for example, or fly out of San Francisco instead of Los Angeles. The restriction here is that you can’t change carriers, so no switching from a United flight from Washington Dulles to Amsterdam to a Lufthansa flight from New York to Frankfurt. There might be a workaround here where you could make a couple different changes one at a time like switching origin/destination but keeping the same carrier, and then later switching carriers on your new route. At least, that would seem to adhere to the letter of the law here – but if any of you actually try to do this, please report back on your success here.
These rules are much more lenient than many conjectured – I only wish that United had clarified these rules before the devaluation went into effect so that more people could have booked more awards.
Did you book pre-devaluation United awards? How will these rule clarifications affect your plans?