Improper Pricing on United Devaluation Awards…for the better!

I booked a first class Lufthansa ticket to Europe via a connection in Frankfurt just prior to the United devaluation. As per my post last week – Two Partner Tricks for the United Devaluation – Booking Now, Flying TBD, I figured why not make a booking now, cancel, and then give myself the opportunity to experience the Lufthansa First Class lounge later in the year when I was ready to travel. No longer having my 1K status, I should have been charged a $75 last minute fee (Lufthansa doesn’t release their 1st class award seats to partners until just a few days prior to travel), and I guess I sort of was…

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Look familiar? United’s had similar pricing errors like this over the last year where the fee is included in the breakdown but not in the total. I saw this both on their website and in the confirmation email. I’ve been checking my pending transactions to see what they would actually charge, but there’s been nothing from United. Though I did confirm with Lufthansa that the flights have been ticketed. Today, I received a call from Untied telling me that there was a pricing problem on my recent award redemption. I was given the option to cancel the flight and redeposit the miles fee free or pay the $77.50. I asked if I could cancel the flight and not redeposit the miles and not be charged the fee. I was given the OK to do this which means the whole situation worked out pretty perfect. I now have a LH first itinerary via Frankfurt, didn’t pay the $75 last minute ticket fee for the initial itinerary, and can now re-ticket for other LH First flights later in the year.

Anyone else (without premier status) experience the same?

Comments

  1. Same thing- sort of -happened to me. Sort of. Booked on-line, charged $50 for close-in booking as a United Silver (via Marriott Plat). Cancelled the ticket on-line via the ‘cancel now, use later, thing on the United web site. (Thanks for the heads up on that, by the way)

    Got the $50 back via a statement credit on Amex, AND got a credit back from United for ‘canceling’ the ticket. Now I guess what they charge me when I go back to re-ticket the Lufthansa ticket down the road reap sins to be seen. But if it’s $50, I’ve already got a credit for that, plus another credit if I have any Amex airline credit left.

    I imagine you’ll get charged a ‘close in’ fee when you go back to re-ticket, assuming it’s within the time limit. Who knows, maybe Lufthansa will open up more first award space farther out now that they’re getting more miles for the redemptions . . . ?

  2. I bet United will later charge you the difference in Miles, and at that time charge you the 75.00 also since it will be very hard to find a LH first class not within the close in travel time. Just FYI.

  3. United’s already said that they won’t upcharge the add’l miles as long as you keep routing/city pairs in place. This includes the LH flights in first (or any class, for that matter) as well.

    They even went so far to say they’d allow changes to the date and CARRIER as long as the other criteria remains the same . . .

    Probably no getting around the close-in ticketing fee, though, when the time comes to reticket . . .

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