United Airlines Adds New Close-In Booking Fee
United Airlines announced in April that it would remove award charts and close-in booking fees. No award charts usually means a devaluation of points. But it looked like the bad news was balanced out with the good news of no longer having to pay close-in booking fees.
As announced, those changes went into effect on November 15th. But the good news regarding close-in booking fees doesn’t seem to be as good as expected. Yes, you no longer have to pay the $75 fee for booking within 21 days of departure, but we are now seeing a similar charge being added in miles instead.
New Close-in Booking Fee
If you try booking United awards within 30 days of your departure date, you will now see a price increase of up to 3,500 miles each way. This includes partner awards as well. And actually those awards have the higher fee. On United awards you might see an extra 1,500 to 2,500 miles for bookings within 30 days of departure.
But it gets worse. This new fee that is paid in miles, is affecting everyone, even those with top-tier United status or United cards.
United clearly portrayed the the removal of the $75 close-in booking fees as good news. But now we basically see the same fee being charged in miles. Some people will end up paying 3,500 miles instead of $75, which is still better. But elites were paying no fees at all and now they have to shell out more miles when booking close to their departure date. So this is barely good news for some, and bad news for others.