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United devalues intra-Europe and intra-Asia business-class awards – The Points Guy



In April 2020, United MileagePlus removed its partner award chart. Partner awards continued pricing at the lowest Saver level from the last-published award charts for a while. But over time, United Airlines has slowly raised its unpublished partner award rates. Last month, United devalued first-class partner redemptions, increasing award prices up to 100%. Now, the loyalty program has struck again with another devaluation.

The most recent victim is business-class awards for partner-operated flights within Europe and Asia, as View from the Wing first reported.

For example, short-haul business-class awards within Europe now cost around 33,000 miles plus taxes and fees. That’s a lot compared to the economy-class award rate of 6,000 miles plus taxes and fees on the same route.

Meanwhile, longer business-class award flights within Europe — such as the following example from Zurich to Athens, Greece — price around 49,500 miles plus taxes and fees. Previously, you could book longer business-class flights within Europe for 27,500 miles.


Business class within Europe usually doesn’t get you much besides a blocked middle seat. So, I usually find it best to redeem miles for an economy-class award when traveling within Europe — or book a paid flight if redeeming miles would lead to too low of a redemption value. But if you want to fly in business class within Europe, see whether other programs you can access with transferable points can get you a lower award rate than United MileagePlus.

A representative for United previously told TPG, “Pricing for all fares, awards and revenue is highly dynamic and always changing.”

Related: How to get maximum value from the United MileagePlus program

United MileagePlus has also increased its unpublished partner award rates for flights within Asia. For example, now you’ll need to redeem 33,000 miles plus $25.20 to fly in business class from Tokyo to Seoul, South Korea.


And you’ll need to redeem 27,500 miles plus $47.90 to fly in business class on the short hop from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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It’s likely not worth flying in business class on the short hop between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur unless doing so would provide other valuable perks, such as lounge access. But if you want to fly short-haul business class within Asia, you’ll likely do better booking through another program.

Related: How to redeem miles with the United MileagePlus program

Bottom line

Short-haul business class usually isn’t worth booking — although sometimes lounge access and additional checked bags might make the math work out. So, although these increased award rates aren’t good news, they’re also unlikely to severely affect most award travelers. If you want to fly in business class within Europe or Asia, consider using an award search tool like to find the program with the best rates.

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