Prices of United award seats are going to skyrocket starting 2/1/14 – and what you should do about it

Get ready to pay more for award seats.  United is going to charge more for some award seats starting 2/1/14.  In some cases A LOT MORE.

What you need to know
The Bad news first:
The really bad: the number of miles needed for a first class *partner* flight is skyrocketing
The bad: business class partner flight go up as well, not as much
The good: economy and Western Hemisphere are mostly left alone
Book flights by January 31, 2014 for travel through the end of 2014 to get the current prices
A senior manager from United posted the following letter on Flyertalk (link) explaining the changes.
Here is a fantastic explanation of all the details from MileValue (link) so I wont go through the same here.
What’s the game plan?  Time to earn and burn?
1) if you mostly use your points for coach flights (25k miles domestic / 50k international).
     Don’t worry, this doesn’t affect you much. Phew.
2) if you are planning some business/first class travel with many stops like I posted here – (NYC to Hong Kong & Bangkok for 90k miles).  You should worry.
We have only 3 months and there is work it do. It’s not much time.  You should start planning how you will use your miles now.  Or, if you want to rack up some miles and redeem them for the deadline, here are some options with credit card offers.

 

Earn up to 150k United Miles in 3 months
First let’s think about the timing starting today.
+ 2 weeks to get a new card delivered
+ time to spend whatever is required by the card (Christmas is coming, put all your shopping and bills on the cards)
+ time to get your miles (you may have to wait until the end of your billing period)
= 3 months should be just enough time if you move quickly.
An aggressive plan could get you 155k United miles by applying for all 3 cards of the below cards.  They are all issued by Chase so my guess is you can probably get at least 2 cards if you apply for them on the same day.  I recommend, however, that you figure out how many miles you need to get the reward you want, and just get one card if that is enough.
a) Chase Ink Bold Business Card – 50k points after $5k spend (can be transferred to 50k United Miles)
b) Chase Ink Plus Business Card – 50k points after $5k spend (can be transferred to 50k United Miles)
c) Chase United Mileage Plus Explorer 55k miles after $2k spend
Want to see how I earn enough points and miles to travel for free? Read this first.  Be one of the 10s of 10s of people who subscribe to receive email updates whenever I post a new article. Enter your email address in the top left corner of the site (mobile users scroll down) and that’s it.  Cancel anytime.  Follow me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, or RSS feed.

About TheRewardBoss

Want to see how I earn enough points and miles to travel for free? Read this first. Be one of the 10s of 10s of people who subscribe to receive email updates whenever I post a new article. Enter your email address in the top left corner of the site and that’s it. Cancel anytime. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or RSS feed. Take a Free Lyft.

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