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United pulls its Star Alliance partner award chart as it transitions to dynamic pricing

April 28, 2020
4 min read
United pulls its Star Alliance partner award chart as it transitions to dynamic pricing
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United's been busy making adjustments to its MileagePlus loyalty program.

It started with great news when the carrier announced that it was extending all currently valid Premier status until Jan. 31, 2022. Additionally, UA lowered the Premier qualifying thresholds for the rest of the year and removed award change and redeposit fees for modifications made 30 or more days before departure.

And that's when the good news stopped.

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Last night, we were the first to report that the carrier will be capping how many Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) you can earn through Star Alliance partner tickets. This will make it much harder to earn status with the airline going forward.

And now, just a day later, the Chicago based carrier is making some negative changes to how you redeem your miles. Specifically, the carrier is removing its Star Alliance partner award chart in a move that will usher in dynamic pricing for all award tickets.

Related: United Airlines makes it harder to qualify for status with partner flights

On Nov. 15, 2019, United started pricing awards for flights on its own metal dynamically, and it's now setting the stage to do the same for flights operated by its partner airlines.

As of today, the Star Alliance award chart is extinct — it's already removed from the carrier's website. There was no advance warning like there was when United made the same move for its own flights.

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By removing the award charts, there's no telling how much an award will cost. United can change the price as it sees fit, and you'll have no idea if you're getting a good deal.

For the moment, the few partner awards we checked are still pricing at the lowest "saver" level from the now-extinct award charts. But it's anyone's guess when we'll start seeing the dynamic pricing applied to Star Alliance award tickets. Since these changes go into effect immediately, I'd make any speculative bookings you were considering now.

In explaining these changes, a United spokesperson offered the following statement to TPG:

"We announced in April of last year that all award pricing will be dynamic beginning November 2019. This change is consistent with other major carriers and allows us to align information regarding all MileagePlus award flights, whether it is for travel on United or one of our partner airlines."

Back when United announced that it was removing award charts for its own flights, we asked what does it mean for partner awards. At the time, the airline told TPG that they are, “looking more broadly at what best and the most effective way to move forward there." Clearly, they've decided that's what's "best" is to remove all award charts to "better align" the program.

Related: The day has arrived: United award charts are no more

Aside from the devastating news itself, the airline couldn't have chosen a worse time to make these changes. For one, it's not providing any advance notice. Devaluations are never a good thing, but I don't mind them as much when there's ample notice. And secondly, as airlines look to recover from the coronavirus, they're going to need to do whatever they can to get passengers back on their planes.

Since United's bleeding cash, I'd expect them to make their loyalty program more rewarding during this crisis, not less. After all, loyalty programs are large and important revenue streams for airlines.

But alas, here we are. Rest in peace, United's partner award charts.

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  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023