Yes, it is true…beginning February 1, 2014 United Airlines will begin to require more points when redeeming miles for an award ticket. Previously it didn’t matter whether you were traveling on United or one of their partners in the Star Alliance. Now it does matter! Also, rates for Business Class and First Class prices have really gone up, particularly First Class has really skyrocketed. They now have divided their award chart into two award charts – those flying on United metal and those flying on a partner’s metal. What I had loved about the Star Alliance is the great airlines that I could fly using my UAL points – now I’ll be penalized when I do.
If you are planning on redeeming UAL points, book it sooner than later. All trips booked by January 31, 2014 will use the older award chart and the next day, it will be the new award chart. Also, you cannot make any changes to your trip on Feb. 1st because it will then put you into the new award chart.
Here is the link to the current award chart and here is the new one for you to compare. As far as I can tell, the changes are affecting international travel as well as to Hawaii and Alaska. If you fly within the 48 contiguous states you should be okay.
Final word – book before February 1st if you are planning a trip.