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Does SAA ever release more than 4 award seats?

Does SAA ever release more than 4 award seats?

Old Sep 20, 2018, 6:11 am
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SEA once more (previously CDG and NRT)
Programs: Former DL DM and UA 1k, now a J class free agent (UA Gold, AS MVP Gold)
Posts: 2,450
I recently managed to book 4 tickets for MRU-JNB in J using United miles. That was all I needed, but more were available.
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Old Feb 15, 2019, 7:00 pm
  #17  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,153
Originally Posted by Klems
I have been trying to find 2 J award seats from IAD to JNB (in the hope of trying their new J cabin on the 333), anytime in April or May 2019 but so far I haven't found a single date with 2 award seats. A very few dates with 1, though. I've tried via LHR too, and like IAD if there is availability it's only 1 seat. I'm using ExpertFlyer FYI.
I think I might book 1 J seat, and set an alert hoping that another one will come up at some point. I read on other threads that they tend to release awards closer to the date... not sure if my strategy is great though hah.
How do you set up an alert for SA awards on expert flyer (I have a paid subscription to it, I'm just inexperienced right now). I'm trying to prep for booking 2 x Business Saver awards when they are available for a May 2020 trip from IAD-CPT.
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Old Feb 16, 2019, 9:09 am
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: CPT
Programs: BA BD SA
Posts: 4,467
Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander
How do you set up an alert for SA awards on expert flyer (I have a paid subscription to it, I'm just inexperienced right now). I'm trying to prep for booking 2 x Business Saver awards when they are available for a May 2020 trip from IAD-CPT.
Which airline's miles are you planning to use?
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Old Feb 16, 2019, 10:47 am
  #19  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,153
Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA
Which airline's miles are you planning to use?
United
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Old Feb 17, 2019, 12:16 am
  #20  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: CPT
Programs: BA BD SA
Posts: 4,467
Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander
United
On EF click on the Awards and Upgrades tab. Fill in the details for the trip you want choosing United as the airline. Do the search and look for the flight you want on the results page. (This will only be possible from the award release date - but test it on an earlier date to see how it works.). Click on the little tab with an exclamation mark and a pop-up box will appear in which you can set up the alert details.


Mods: This question probably belongs on the United board?

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Old Feb 19, 2019, 6:54 pm
  #21  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,153
Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA
On EF click on the Awards and Upgrades tab. Fill in the details for the trip you want choosing United as the airline. Do the search and look for the flight you want on the results page. (This will only be possible from the award release date - but test it on an earlier date to see how it works.). Click on the little tab with an exclamation mark and a pop-up box will appear in which you can set up the alert details.
Thanks. This is helpful, but I think I'm missing a piece of the puzzle.

My example is a one-way IAD-CPT (Business saver award) on 14 Jan 2020. Preferred flight IAD-JNB (stop in ACC), JNB-CPT. SA210 & SA363.

20 Jan 2020, searching IAD-CPT on United.com



In EF Awards & Upgrades, if I search with UA as my airline I get results but none with available seats, and I don't see all the same results when running the same search on United.com. Searching UA on EF only seems to give me results where the first flight is UA, and is often, but not always, a TATL (e.g. IAD-FRA). I don't see the itineraries that are 100% SA (South African).

"UA" on EF


However, when I search EF Awards & Upgrades for SA, I do see the SA flights that show on United.com

"SA" on EF

Presumably I need to use a combination of United.com and EF depending on my needs. It will be my intention to grab flights ASAP when they are available (flying May 2020).

Is there somewhere on EF I can see how many seats (e.g. in "I" class) are available? EF just says Seats = "Yes"
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Old Feb 20, 2019, 12:30 am
  #22  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: CPT
Programs: BA BD SA
Posts: 4,467
That is puzzling - in more ways than one.

I think one part of the puzzle may be reliance on the EF availability shown for SA using SA Voyager miles. Because SA uses “Dynamic rewards” ( i.e. all seats are available as rewards - but the number of miles requires depends on the price of the seat) technically every flight will show as having availability. This is not the same availability that you need when using UA miles or the miles of any other partner airline, so it’s basically meaningless for your purposes.

Why EF is not finding/showing the same availability as United.com I don’t know. The denizens of the United board are more likely to have experience in this and be able to provide answers.



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Old Feb 20, 2019, 7:44 am
  #23  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: N/A
Programs: UA 1K, BA Gold, LH/SN/LX Senator
Posts: 449
Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA
That is puzzling - in more ways than one.

I think one part of the puzzle may be reliance on the EF availability shown for SA using SA Voyager miles. Because SA uses “Dynamic rewards” ( i.e. all seats are available as rewards - but the number of miles requires depends on the price of the seat) technically every flight will show as having availability. This is not the same availability that you need when using UA miles or the miles of any other partner airline, so it’s basically meaningless for your purposes.

Why EF is not finding/showing the same availability as United.com I don’t know. The denizens of the United board are more likely to have experience in this and be able to provide answers.
It's a technical one. Award travel is not redeemed off codeshare inventory, so even if redeeming on United, it still uses SAA inventory. SAA doesn't use the same system for Voyager, but they still make capacity available to partners on their own inventory. So, for example, United can redeem "Business Saver Awards" from SAA in I class. I class is what Star Alliance carriers use for business class award inventory.
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evanb is offline  
Old Feb 20, 2019, 4:06 pm
  #24  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: None - previously UA
Posts: 4,861
Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA
The denizens of the United board are more likely to have experience in this and be able to provide answers.
Feed the individual segments into united.com, IME it sometimes struggles to put segments together, especially if two different carriers other than UA are involved.
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Old Feb 20, 2019, 7:45 pm
  #25  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,153
Thanks, all, for the useful tips and advice. I'm getting quite the education on FT these days, now that I'm getting really stuck into points and frequent flying.
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