I got an email from United Monday stating they are removing their Close-In Award booking fees which were previously $75 and $100 per ticket. This is good news for those of you who like to use your United Miles for last minute trips. Be sure to book your award on United.com to avoid the $25 award fee for booking through United Reservations.
Email from United
We understand you’ve been looking for an easier way to book award travel, and we’re happy to announce we are leading the way.
Becoming the first airline to remove the close-in award processing fee is our way of providing you with even more value for your continued loyalty.
Beginning July 30, 2009, you can book a Mileage Plus® Award ticket less than 21 days in advance, and pay no close-in award processing fees.
Last August Delta announced an award ticketing fee for all Domestic or International flights. I predict Delta will soon match United in removing this fee.
This was a way for airlines to charge a premium on award redemptions to match the high prices of last minute tickets. With the addition of in additional pay-services such as pay for seats, food, and fuel surcharges, the airlines can make more money if the seats are filled rather than going empty.