Well, it looks like some changes are coming to United’s award chart starting April 27. Fortunately it’s just about the mildest “change” I’ve seen in the airline industry in a very long time, and might actually be positive.
On the plus side, awards to parts of South America are actually getting cheaper. Previously United just had all of South America as one region, but now they’re splitting it up into “Northern” South America (which will be cheaper) and “Southern” South America (which will be the same price it was before). Business class awards from the US to Japan go up by 5,000 miles and Africa is being rezoned to actually make many awards there cheaper, so all in all these aren’t negative changes. They just completely align United with Continental.
Also, as Gary points out, it appears as if United will continue to allow stopovers on roundtrip awards. Much like Gary, my biggest concern with one-way awards was that they essentially mean the end of stopovers, which is one of my favorite award features. At least United PR claims nothing is changing for now. That being said, I’m not optimistic at all. When United has the IT in place to book one-way awards on Star Alliance partners, I have to imagine all awards will be booked as one-ways, much like American does now. When that happens I’m betting we’ll see no more stopovers.
(Tip of the hat to Gary)