United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

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DPEMD
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United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by DPEMD »

Does anyone know what happened to United Airlines miles during their last bankruptcy? Were they wiped out? Were they devalued? Is anyone cashing them in now before they potentially go bankrupt? If you are cashing out, how are you using your miles? Thanks in advance for answers.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

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Topic moved to Personal Consumer Issues.
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ResearchMed
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by ResearchMed »

DPEMD wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 8:40 am Does anyone know what happened to United Airlines miles during their last bankruptcy? Were they wiped out? Were they devalued? Is anyone cashing them in now before they potentially go bankrupt? If you are cashing out, how are you using your miles? Thanks in advance for answers.
You might want to discuss this further on www.FlyerTalk.com

... on the United Airlines sub-forum, or perhaps on a sub-forum about "awards".

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stan1
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by stan1 »

No, United frequent flier mileage was not zeroed out after the last bankruptcy. They continued operations. Going back many years now we also know that TWA miles transferred to American and Pan Am miles transferred to Delta.

I'd be more concerned about mileage devaluation which happens with and without bankruptcy. For example a 20,000 mile ticket becomes a 30,000 mile ticket.

If you aren't planning to fly much for a few years it might make sense to liquidate a depreciating asset.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by Stinky »

stan1 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 9:33 am I'd be more concerned about mileage devaluation which happens with and without bankruptcy. For example a 20,000 mile ticket becomes a 30,000 mile ticket.
This ^^

When people start traveling again after the virus fear subsided, I’ve got to think that airlines will want to fill as many seats with paying passengers as possible. “Devaluation” of frequent flyer miles is one way to minimize the number of seats used by non paying passengers.
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DPEMD
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by DPEMD »

stan1 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 9:33 am No, United frequent flier mileage was not zeroed out after the last bankruptcy. They continued operations. Going back many years now we also know that TWA miles transferred to American and Pan Am miles transferred to Delta.

I'd be more concerned about mileage devaluation which happens with and without bankruptcy. For example a 20,000 mile ticket becomes a 30,000 mile ticket.

If you aren't planning to fly much for a few years it might make sense to liquidate a depreciating asset.
Outside of travel any suggestions on how to use them?
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

I am in a similar position, but with all airlines. United currently offers the most flexible redemption options in my opinion (which is not an expert opinion). You can redeem for merchandise or gift cards. Some of the gift card options are the closest to a cash equivalent, although they don't give you the best "value". If I have no plans for leisure travel, those redemptions have a value of zero. I have not pulled the trigger, but specific to United, and redeeming for a Walmart gift card, I note that it takes more than 1.8 times as many miles to redeem for the same gift card dollar amount as in December 2018, so significant devaluation has already occurred.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by stan1 »

DPEMD wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 9:49 am
stan1 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 9:33 am No, United frequent flier mileage was not zeroed out after the last bankruptcy. They continued operations. Going back many years now we also know that TWA miles transferred to American and Pan Am miles transferred to Delta.

I'd be more concerned about mileage devaluation which happens with and without bankruptcy. For example a 20,000 mile ticket becomes a 30,000 mile ticket.

If you aren't planning to fly much for a few years it might make sense to liquidate a depreciating asset.
Outside of travel any suggestions on how to use them?
You can start here with the rewards on United's website
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/mi ... wards.html

I'm not saying it would be a good deal in normal times to use these programs (it probably isn't) but you can buy gift cards, magazine subscriptions, and Apple products. You'd have to decide whether you want to cash out now or hold onto the miles until you use them for travel. How many miles are we talking about?
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by ResearchMed »

stan1 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 9:33 am No, United frequent flier mileage was not zeroed out after the last bankruptcy. They continued operations. Going back many years now we also know that TWA miles transferred to American and Pan Am miles transferred to Delta.

I'd be more concerned about mileage devaluation which happens with and without bankruptcy. For example a 20,000 mile ticket becomes a 30,000 mile ticket.

If you aren't planning to fly much for a few years it might make sense to liquidate a depreciating asset.
It still makes sense to figure out what those award miles/points are worth to *you* (anyone).
We used the awards for premium international travel, including to Asia and also NZ/Australia. We would *never* have paid for F seats/beds, as those costs are astronomical. But for those distances, we *would* pay for Business class; indeed, recently (with aging bodies), we've also used premium seats/beds even to Europe (but not domestic - yet?).

We had a *lot* of points from earlier DH's business travel, when he could charge on our cards and get reimbursed. A lot of the points were from the hotel/meals spending rather than the economy class domestic travel.

So yes, we watched as those slowly devalued. But when we used them like crazy (past 5 years), the "value" to us was still phenomenal.
We'd have paid for most of the travel in Business class (or not gone). Using extra points for F instead of Business was about $400 extra (pp, each way) IN POINTS (calculated if we had to buy the points). No way could we pay cash for an upgrade from Business to F for long haul international on top airlines.

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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by stan1 »

ResearchMed wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 10:07 am
We had a *lot* of points from earlier DH's business travel, when he could charge on our cards and get reimbursed. A lot of the points were from the hotel/meals spending rather than the economy class domestic travel.

So yes, we watched as those slowly devalued. But when we used them like crazy (past 5 years), the "value" to us was still phenomenal.
We'd have paid for most of the travel in Business class (or not gone). Using extra points for F instead of Business was about $400 extra (pp, each way) IN POINTS (calculated if we had to buy the points). No way could we pay cash for an upgrade from Business to F for long haul international on top airlines.

RM
I think we are talking about the future not the past. I suppose a few people will be making personal trips to Asia or Europe in coming months but many will chose not to for at least several years. Maybe you are making the point that if you have millions of points even if they do devalue you still have a lot of points and can save them for years until you do travel again.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by TravelGeek »

Stinky wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 9:43 am When people start traveling again after the virus fear subsided, I’ve got to think that airlines will want to fill as many seats with paying passengers as possible. “Devaluation” of frequent flyer miles is one way to minimize the number of seats used by non paying passengers.
Standard practice has been that airlines offer those seats as (saver) awards that they don’t expect to sell for cold hard cash. If you didn’t see award availability on a particular route when seats were still for sale for $$$, the airline was expecting to sell the seats.

With award programs more and more implementing dynamic pricing, the concept of saver awards is going away. You will see award prices that make no sense for redemption when the airline would rather sell the seat for cash.

Regarding a possible UA bankruptcy, I am not too worry much about my account balance (around 80k). They have gone through Chapter 11 before and it had no impact on MileagePlus accounts.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by ResearchMed »

stan1 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 10:10 am
ResearchMed wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 10:07 am
We had a *lot* of points from earlier DH's business travel, when he could charge on our cards and get reimbursed. A lot of the points were from the hotel/meals spending rather than the economy class domestic travel.

So yes, we watched as those slowly devalued. But when we used them like crazy (past 5 years), the "value" to us was still phenomenal.
We'd have paid for most of the travel in Business class (or not gone). Using extra points for F instead of Business was about $400 extra (pp, each way) IN POINTS (calculated if we had to buy the points). No way could we pay cash for an upgrade from Business to F for long haul international on top airlines.

RM
I think we are talking about the future not the past. I suppose a few people will be making personal trips to Asia or Europe in coming months but many will chose not to for at least several years. Maybe you are making the point that if you have millions of points even if they do devalue you still have a lot of points and can save them for years until you do travel again.
What you snipped out of my post included the first sentence:

"It still makes sense to figure out what those award miles/points are worth to *you* (anyone)."

My point wasn't about how many of us will travel in the future or not.
It was that one should first evaluate what is the best *value* to YOU (not to me, not to the next person), even if the points get devalued.
For example, if it had been domestic economy travel, those points weren't going to be of much value to us, before or after devaluations. Probably better to do cash back (?).
But we were always planning for these nice, and long, trips.

We may indeed eventually do international flying again, in which case, we'll do the same type of evaluation of "best use of points for us".
It's not much different from purchasing anything with "real money". As the prices to up over time, the question remains of whether the current/expected cost is a good *value* to us (to any customer). If not, chances are, something else would be purhased.
We certainly did not object to purchasing our home because "in the past, it had been less expensive". Nor do we object to paying cash for domestic air tickets because the prices had gone up, and "were a better value in the past" vs. "now".
It's no different when the "currency" is awards points/miles/etc.

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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by bmr12 »

Unlikely that the miles will be wiped out if there’s another bankruptcy.

If you keep up on the United forum on FlyerTalk, you’d see that there’s not much else you can do with miles any more. Anything that required United laying out cash (like using miles for merchandise or gift cards) has been significantly devalued in the past couple of months, so there’s little to do but hold on to them for future trips, whenever they may be.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by bac »

Airlines supposedly turn a profit on their frequent-flier programs by selling miles to banks and other third parties.

See <https://thepointsguy.com/2017/03/do-loy ... make-money>.

My guess is our accrued miles are probably safe, though subject to being devalued at any time.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by DPEMD »

stan1 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 10:03 am
DPEMD wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 9:49 am
stan1 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 9:33 am No, United frequent flier mileage was not zeroed out after the last bankruptcy. They continued operations. Going back many years now we also know that TWA miles transferred to American and Pan Am miles transferred to Delta.

I'd be more concerned about mileage devaluation which happens with and without bankruptcy. For example a 20,000 mile ticket becomes a 30,000 mile ticket.

If you aren't planning to fly much for a few years it might make sense to liquidate a depreciating asset.
Outside of travel any suggestions on how to use them?
You can start here with the rewards on United's website
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/mi ... wards.html

I'm not saying it would be a good deal in normal times to use these programs (it probably isn't) but you can buy gift cards, magazine subscriptions, and Apple products. You'd have to decide whether you want to cash out now or hold onto the miles until you use them for travel. How many miles are we talking about?
Combined with family about 2,000,000
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by stan1 »

DPEMD wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 11:45 am Combined with family about 2,000,000
Then I think your best choice is to hold onto them rather than cash them out (and spend the downtime thinking about how to use the miles rather than banking them).

Looks like you can buy a $500 Walmart or Home Depot gift card right now for 166,665 miles. So 2M miles would be $6000 in Walmart gift cards. You should be able to get at least $30-50K of premium travel out of a 2,000,000 mile balance.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by 02nz »

bac wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 10:47 am Airlines supposedly turn a profit on their frequent-flier programs by selling miles to banks and other third parties.

See <https://thepointsguy.com/2017/03/do-loy ... make-money>.

My guess is our accrued miles are probably safe, though subject to being devalued at any time.
Yep. In terms of what generates profits it's more accurate to think of many airlines as points programs that happen to run an aviation operation on the side.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by DPEMD »

stan1 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 12:10 pm
DPEMD wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 11:45 am Combined with family about 2,000,000
Then I think your best choice is to hold onto them rather than cash them out (and spend the downtime thinking about how to use the miles rather than banking them).

Looks like you can buy a $500 Walmart or Home Depot gift card right now for 166,665 miles. So 2M miles would be $6000 in Walmart gift cards. You should be able to get at least $30-50K of premium travel out of a 2,000,000 mile balance.
Thanks
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by anon_investor »

Does anyone know the highest value return from non travel use of United Miles?
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by 02nz »

I would add that, while United miles are unlikely to be wiped out in a bankruptcy, this is one more reason I've focusing more on bank programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards. These can be transferred to your choice of several airlines (in Chase's case including United, although it's one-way only) and hotels, redeemed at a fixed value toward travel, or even cashed out (not a great value but generally not even an option with airline miles). Not only do you have much more flexibility, the banks that back these "currencies" are generally in healthier shape than airlines. With some signup bonuses and 5X categories, you can build a big balance pretty quickly.
Last edited by 02nz on Sun May 10, 2020 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by 02nz »

anon_investor wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 12:33 pm Does anyone know the highest value return from non travel use of United Miles?
They're all terrible and have been made even more terrible over the past few months, because they all involve United paying out cash to some third party, and for obvious reasons United doesn't want to pay out cash right now.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by anon_investor »

02nz wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 12:42 pm
anon_investor wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 12:33 pm Does anyone know the highest value return from non travel use of United Miles?
They're all terrible and have been made even more terrible over the past few months, because they all involve United paying out cash to some third party, and for obvious reasons United doesn't want to pay out cash right now.
Yuck. Probably worth just holding on to them (only around 50k) then and gamble that I can use then at some point in the future. At least the bulk of my reward points/miles are in Chase UR pts were I can at least exchange at a decent rate for cash.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

Yes, they've been de-valued in recent months, but is there any expectation that they will be RE-valued at some future point for non-travel redemptions? Probably not. I'm thinking redeeming for gift card credit as soon as possible after earning is actually the best value for me since I tend not to travel for leisure, and sitting on them building up a balance for POSSIBLE future use only makes them subject to regular devaluation. I played this totally wrong by paying any mind at all to the travel guru talking heads. Cash equivalent value wins for me.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by 02nz »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 1:28 pm Yes, they've been de-valued in recent months, but is there any expectation that they will be RE-valued at some future point for non-travel redemptions? Probably not. I'm thinking redeeming for gift card credit as soon as possible after earning is actually the best value for me since I tend not to travel for leisure, and sitting on them building up a balance for POSSIBLE future use only makes them subject to regular devaluation. I played this totally wrong by paying any mind at all to the travel guru talking heads. Cash equivalent value wins for me.
Devaluations are always a possibility in this industry. But I would still recommend against redeeming for gift cards, as you're getting just 0.3 cent of value per mile. It's very hard to do worse than 1 cent per mile when redeeming miles for airline travel. Taking a 70% haircut on that is not a good idea.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by DPEMD »

02nz wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 1:38 pm
Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 1:28 pm Yes, they've been de-valued in recent months, but is there any expectation that they will be RE-valued at some future point for non-travel redemptions? Probably not. I'm thinking redeeming for gift card credit as soon as possible after earning is actually the best value for me since I tend not to travel for leisure, and sitting on them building up a balance for POSSIBLE future use only makes them subject to regular devaluation. I played this totally wrong by paying any mind at all to the travel guru talking heads. Cash equivalent value wins for me.
Devaluations are always a possibility in this industry. But I would still recommend against redeeming for gift cards, as you're getting just 0.3 cent of value per mile. It's very hard to do worse than 1 cent per mile when redeeming miles for airline travel. Taking a 70% haircut on that is not a good idea.
That makes sense
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

I disagree if you have no plans to redeem for travel.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by 02nz »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 5:21 pm I disagree if you have no plans to redeem for travel.
I also have no current plans to redeem any miles for travel, and most people with miles probably also have no plans right now. But the question is whether you're likely to be able to get 0.3 cent per mile out of these at some point in the future. For most people who've accumulated miles, the likely is to be yes. If you've sworn off air travel forever, then by all means redeem for Walmart gift cards or what have you.

EDIT: I change my mind! The more people who redeem at 0.3 cent per mile now, the less competition there is for award seats in the future. So redeem away! :happy
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by jminv »

They would likely devalue further way before they zeroed out miles since they need their frequent flyers are valuable and they wouldn't want them to defect to a competitor. Devaluing them is also easy, there's no protection against it.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by Jags4186 »

jminv wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 5:57 pm They would likely devalue further way before they zeroed out miles since they need their frequent flyers are valuable and they wouldn't want them to defect to a competitor. Devaluing them is also easy, there's no protection against it.
Except the big 3 are all copy cats. If 1 does it the rest always follow. Take a look at the history of dynamic award pricing, basic economy, baggage fees, etc.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by khram »

I got the 50k mile bonus on an AA card which I haven't been able to use yet. For now I am moving all bills to regular cards. If the miles become useless, or even the airline goes out of business (unlikely), we're talking about a loss of maybe $500ish to me -- there are bigger problems, and I will have saved more than $500 over that time period by having forced reduced discretionary spending. I am not trying to panic redeem them now.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by shelanman »

stan1 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 9:33 am No, United frequent flier mileage was not zeroed out after the last bankruptcy. They continued operations. Going back many years now we also know that TWA miles transferred to American and Pan Am miles transferred to Delta.

I'd be more concerned about mileage devaluation which happens with and without bankruptcy. For example a 20,000 mile ticket becomes a 30,000 mile ticket.

If you aren't planning to fly much for a few years it might make sense to liquidate a depreciating asset.
This has already happened. United has increased the number of miles required for redemption by 6-12% already since March. And that's on top of the 5-8% devaluation they did in September.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by BW1985 »

stan1 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 10:03 am
DPEMD wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 9:49 am
stan1 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 9:33 am No, United frequent flier mileage was not zeroed out after the last bankruptcy. They continued operations. Going back many years now we also know that TWA miles transferred to American and Pan Am miles transferred to Delta.

I'd be more concerned about mileage devaluation which happens with and without bankruptcy. For example a 20,000 mile ticket becomes a 30,000 mile ticket.

If you aren't planning to fly much for a few years it might make sense to liquidate a depreciating asset.
Outside of travel any suggestions on how to use them?
You can start here with the rewards on United's website
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/mi ... wards.html

I'm not saying it would be a good deal in normal times to use these programs (it probably isn't) but you can buy gift cards, magazine subscriptions, and Apple products. You'd have to decide whether you want to cash out now or hold onto the miles until you use them for travel. How many miles are we talking about?
They recently devalued their non-flight reward redemptions. They used to be not so bad, now they're terrible.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by BW1985 »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 1:28 pm Yes, they've been de-valued in recent months, but is there any expectation that they will be RE-valued at some future point for non-travel redemptions?
Well it's possible, yes. Delta has recently released 2cpp vacation packages and award flash sales, so their points have increased in value. They used to be commonly known as 'sky pesos' but not anymore.

I would never redeem miles for 0.3cpp gift cards unless I needed the gift cards to buy food.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by 02nz »

Jags4186 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 6:00 pm
jminv wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 5:57 pm They would likely devalue further way before they zeroed out miles since they need their frequent flyers are valuable and they wouldn't want them to defect to a competitor. Devaluing them is also easy, there's no protection against it.
Except the big 3 are all copy cats. If 1 does it the rest always follow. Take a look at the history of dynamic award pricing, basic economy, baggage fees, etc.
With rare exceptions it's: Delta does, the other 2 copy.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

BW1985 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 7:05 pm
Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 1:28 pm Yes, they've been de-valued in recent months, but is there any expectation that they will be RE-valued at some future point for non-travel redemptions?
Well it's possible, yes. Delta has recently released 2cpp vacation packages and award flash sales, so their points have increased in value. They used to be commonly known as 'sky pesos' but not anymore.

I would never redeem miles for 0.3cpp gift cards unless I needed the gift cards to buy food.
For me, traveling is a chore that I do for work, not something I would voluntarily do for fun, especially now. So my question is whether I can reasonably expect some future increase in value for non-travel redemptions (i.e. merchandise or gift cards). I count vacation packages in the travel column. I suspect it is unlikely airlines will increase the redemption value for non-travel rewards, given their current financial straits. Most likely they will further decrease or eliminate the option entirely, as several already have. So, I missed a more favorable window to redeem, but what's the point of continuing to ride this value (to ME) down to zero? I get that this is sort of like selling all your equity at the bottom, except that airline miles are not an open market, and the value is subject to change at any time at the whims of the program administrator. They're struggling badly now, so putting the squeeze on redemptions.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by alfaspider »

02nz wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 12:42 pm
anon_investor wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 12:33 pm Does anyone know the highest value return from non travel use of United Miles?
They're all terrible and have been made even more terrible over the past few months, because they all involve United paying out cash to some third party, and for obvious reasons United doesn't want to pay out cash right now.
They did some fairly significant devaluations last month for non-flight redemptiosn. At the beginning of April, I looked into getting a new iphone with my 190,000 miles given the bankruptcy potential. At the time, they were offering an iphone 11pro for ~150,000 miles (about $1,100 retail value). Two weeks later, after the iphone SE was released, I logged in again and saw they wanted simialr miles for an iphone SE (about $400 retail value). Gift card redemptions also would only get $500 or so.

The 190,000 miles I have in my account is still enough for a round trip business class ticket to Europe or 5-6 domestic economy round trips. Even if they cut the flight redemption value in half, I'm still probably ahead holding out for later flight redemptions. I doubt United would fail completely- they'd fill Chapter 11, restructure, and move on. Zeroing out the miles probably wouldn't happen, though it's not impossible. They've been bailed out once with mandated consumer protections, and I can see a second bailout being conditions on not sticking it to the customers.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

They're already sticking it to customers, but I understand why, and it's all within the fine print of the program, so they're clear.
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by BW1985 »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Mon May 11, 2020 9:11 am
BW1985 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 7:05 pm
Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 1:28 pm Yes, they've been de-valued in recent months, but is there any expectation that they will be RE-valued at some future point for non-travel redemptions?
Well it's possible, yes. Delta has recently released 2cpp vacation packages and award flash sales, so their points have increased in value. They used to be commonly known as 'sky pesos' but not anymore.

I would never redeem miles for 0.3cpp gift cards unless I needed the gift cards to buy food.
For me, traveling is a chore that I do for work, not something I would voluntarily do for fun, especially now. So my question is whether I can reasonably expect some future increase in value for non-travel redemptions (i.e. merchandise or gift cards). I count vacation packages in the travel column. I suspect it is unlikely airlines will increase the redemption value for non-travel rewards, given their current financial straits. Most likely they will further decrease or eliminate the option entirely, as several already have. So, I missed a more favorable window to redeem, but what's the point of continuing to ride this value (to ME) down to zero? I get that this is sort of like selling all your equity at the bottom, except that airline miles are not an open market, and the value is subject to change at any time at the whims of the program administrator. They're struggling badly now, so putting the squeeze on redemptions.
Yeah if you're never gonna travel then just take what you can get otherwise. I'm wondering why you were holding those miles for this long anyways, they were never going to increase in non-travel redemption value.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

BW1985 wrote: Mon May 11, 2020 9:56 am
Cheez-It Guy wrote: Mon May 11, 2020 9:11 am
BW1985 wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 7:05 pm
Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 1:28 pm Yes, they've been de-valued in recent months, but is there any expectation that they will be RE-valued at some future point for non-travel redemptions?
Well it's possible, yes. Delta has recently released 2cpp vacation packages and award flash sales, so their points have increased in value. They used to be commonly known as 'sky pesos' but not anymore.

I would never redeem miles for 0.3cpp gift cards unless I needed the gift cards to buy food.
For me, traveling is a chore that I do for work, not something I would voluntarily do for fun, especially now. So my question is whether I can reasonably expect some future increase in value for non-travel redemptions (i.e. merchandise or gift cards). I count vacation packages in the travel column. I suspect it is unlikely airlines will increase the redemption value for non-travel rewards, given their current financial straits. Most likely they will further decrease or eliminate the option entirely, as several already have. So, I missed a more favorable window to redeem, but what's the point of continuing to ride this value (to ME) down to zero? I get that this is sort of like selling all your equity at the bottom, except that airline miles are not an open market, and the value is subject to change at any time at the whims of the program administrator. They're struggling badly now, so putting the squeeze on redemptions.
Yeah if you're never gonna travel then just take what you can get otherwise. I'm wondering why you were holding those miles for this long anyways, they were never going to increase in non-travel redemption value.
Haha. I'm wondering the same. I guess as long as I was still traveling with regularity, I was keeping the balance topped off and working toward a merchandise reward that I now cannot get due to devaluing. Lesson learned?
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eye.surgeon
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by eye.surgeon »

A timely subject as I was looking at my delta rewards which are sitting at 700,000 and thinking I'm unlikely to travel much in the next 12 months or so. Who knows if Delta as we know it will even exist by then or if a reward ticket will be double the points it currently is.
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EnjoyIt
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by EnjoyIt »

Maybe not in 2020, but in some not to distant future things will get back to normal. People will start traveling again for pleasure. I know we will. Wife and I are already talking about traveling in August. Yes we will wear masks for the flight and clean our surroundings with Clorox wipes.

I have two friends who can’t wait to get back in on a cruise. They are hoping for 2021.

With that in mind. I see no reason redeeming miles for anything other than travel even if more devaluations happen, which they will. Travel based redemption will still be better than “cashing out.”
A time to EVALUATE your jitters: | https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=79939&start=400#p5275418
BW1985
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by BW1985 »

EnjoyIt wrote: Mon May 11, 2020 10:38 am Maybe not in 2020, but in some not to distant future things will get back to normal. People will start traveling again for pleasure. I know we will. Wife and I are already talking about traveling in August. Yes we will wear masks for the flight and clean our surroundings with Clorox wipes.

I have two friends who can’t wait to get back in on a cruise. They are hoping for 2021.

With that in mind. I see no reason redeeming miles for anything other than travel even if more devaluations happen, which they will. Travel based redemption will still be better than “cashing out.”
For airline or hotel points/miles I would agree with this.

For the flexibility currency of UR/MR/TYP you can still get good $$$ value. I'm cashing those out. I have no need to use those for travel.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
EnjoyIt
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by EnjoyIt »

BW1985 wrote: Mon May 11, 2020 10:44 am
EnjoyIt wrote: Mon May 11, 2020 10:38 am Maybe not in 2020, but in some not to distant future things will get back to normal. People will start traveling again for pleasure. I know we will. Wife and I are already talking about traveling in August. Yes we will wear masks for the flight and clean our surroundings with Clorox wipes.

I have two friends who can’t wait to get back in on a cruise. They are hoping for 2021.

With that in mind. I see no reason redeeming miles for anything other than travel even if more devaluations happen, which they will. Travel based redemption will still be better than “cashing out.”
For airline or hotel points/miles I would agree with this.

For the flexibility currency of UR/MR/TYP you can still get good $$$ value. I'm cashing those out. I have no need to use those for travel.
I think I would agree with you if never will travel again or need the money now.

Currently my UR points can be redeemed at 1.5 cents per point. Let's just assume 1.4 cents per point because I miss out on other deals going through the UR portal. If I use up those points in the next 1-2 years, that is a 40% improvement on its value compared to redeeming in cash. I know of no investment option that will provide that benefit. Plus, if I actually use it for a business class international flight in the next 1-2 years, there is a very good chance I can redeem them for well over 1.5 cents per point. Today I can book a flight to Europe for March 2021 in business for 120,000 points plus $133 round trip which also costs $3,800 if paid in cash, Not too shabby. That is not using award saver flights. Without a saver option I get 1.5 cents per point.

Long story short, I am saving my UR points. I am still maxing out my 5x categories when possible but I am not using my freedom unlimited card anymore and opting for the 2% cash back card instead.
A time to EVALUATE your jitters: | https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=79939&start=400#p5275418
BW1985
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by BW1985 »

EnjoyIt wrote: Mon May 11, 2020 11:08 am
BW1985 wrote: Mon May 11, 2020 10:44 am
EnjoyIt wrote: Mon May 11, 2020 10:38 am Maybe not in 2020, but in some not to distant future things will get back to normal. People will start traveling again for pleasure. I know we will. Wife and I are already talking about traveling in August. Yes we will wear masks for the flight and clean our surroundings with Clorox wipes.

I have two friends who can’t wait to get back in on a cruise. They are hoping for 2021.

With that in mind. I see no reason redeeming miles for anything other than travel even if more devaluations happen, which they will. Travel based redemption will still be better than “cashing out.”
For airline or hotel points/miles I would agree with this.

For the flexibility currency of UR/MR/TYP you can still get good $$$ value. I'm cashing those out. I have no need to use those for travel.
I think I would agree with you if never will travel again or need the money now.

Currently my UR points can be redeemed at 1.5 cents per point. Let's just assume 1.4 cents per point because I miss out on other deals going through the UR portal. If I use up those points in the next 1-2 years, that is a 40% improvement on its value compared to redeeming in cash. I know of no investment option that will provide that benefit. Plus, if I actually use it for a business class international flight in the next 1-2 years, there is a very good chance I can redeem them for well over 1.5 cents per point. Today I can book a flight to Europe for March 2021 in business for 120,000 points plus $133 round trip which also costs $3,800 if paid in cash, Not too shabby. That is not using award saver flights. Without a saver option I get 1.5 cents per point.

Long story short, I am saving my UR points. I am still maxing out my 5x categories when possible but I am not using my freedom unlimited card anymore and opting for the 2% cash back card instead.
If I didn't already have points & miles with carriers and hotel chains I'd agree with you. But whenever I want to travel I can just use my DL or UA miles. If I want a hotel I have plenty of Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt. That leaves my UR, MR & TYP's to redeem for cash and invest.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
jayk238
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by jayk238 »

I would strongly urge switching to credit card rewards. This is the most convenient way as it reduces depreciation (still at the mercy of airline rules) Because the cc company like chase buys them at a fixed guaranteed rate and offers them to customers. Also you can switch it to cold hard cash anytime. I use my chase portal to purchase tickets as a result. I build miles this way w delta AND accrue spending points w chase as I use cash to buy the ticket. If i use chase points for the ticket i save money and still build miles Thru delta. Finally I have chase 1.5x return where every point is converted to 1.5x its value for a flight.
patrick
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by patrick »

Apparently the gift card redemptions already got devalued quite a bit ... they used to well above 0.3 cents per mile.
BW1985
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Re: United Airlines miles and bankruptcy

Post by BW1985 »

patrick wrote: Tue May 12, 2020 8:54 am Apparently the gift card redemptions already got devalued quite a bit ... they used to well above 0.3 cents per mile.
Yes the value of any non-travel related redemption got destroyed. They don't want to be shelling out any cash.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
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