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Why does UAL.com now offer *A awards at the STANDARD level?

Why does UAL.com now offer *A awards at the STANDARD level?

Old Mar 10, 12, 12:42 pm
  #1  
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Why does UAL.com now offer *A awards at the STANDARD level?

Most FTers know that there is no such thing as a "standard" (i.e. double-miles-plus-some) award for *A partners...it's either offered at the Saver (e.g., cheap) level or not available at all. This is different from UA offering both Saver (restricted / lesser availability) and Standard (last seat availability) on own metal.

Why then do search results offer both a Saver and a Standard award then anytime space is open on a *A flight? They book into the same code (X/I/O). From what I can tell, there's no difference whatsoever (please correct me if I'm wrong).

The cynic in me says it's UA saying "why not" - if they can grab a few suckers to accidentally pay at the higher level, that's more mileage liability off their books. I'm guessing most people are smart enough to click the blue button as opposed to the gold button - but I'm sure some aren't.

The Standard award level button on all-*A award search results should be greyed / X'd out so it can't even be selected.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 12:52 pm
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Is it on a combination UA/partner itinerary? If so, it is being offered because the UA part can be redeemed that way.

ETA: I actually see it on partner-only itineraries, too. Still books into X but charges the higher rate. No "we found a lower rate" note in the booking. I could see this making sense if they offered different terms for the Standard bookings (flexible on changes or something like that) but otherwise it is just obnoxious.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 1:02 pm
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This is crazy.

Another "enhancement" from Jeff.

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Old Mar 10, 12, 1:09 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Is it on a combination UA/partner itinerary? If so, it is being offered because the UA part can be redeemed that way.

ETA: I actually see it on partner-only itineraries, too. Still books into X but charges the higher rate. No "we found a lower rate" note in the booking. I could see this making sense if they offered different terms for the Standard bookings (flexible on changes or something like that) but otherwise it is just obnoxious.
I did think about the case where it's a mixed UA/*A itin...no Saver domestically on UA let's say (to connect to an int'l *A flight), so needs the whole itinerary at Standard level to grab the UA metal flight. At least that's understandable.

Standard mileage pricing when it's all *A is unacceptable (as you've noted).
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Old Mar 10, 12, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by kb1992 View Post
This is crazy.

Another "enhancement" from Jeff.

Continental.com has been doing this for some time. Maybe it's Jeff's fault. Maybe it isn't.

Honestly, people might not be 1Ks/GS' and want the flexibility for the price.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 4:30 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyerChrisK View Post
Continental.com has been doing this for some time. Maybe it's Jeff's fault. Maybe it isn't.

Honestly, people might not be 1Ks/GS' and want the flexibility for the price.
But do they get that flexibility by booking the *A itin as a standard award?
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Old Mar 10, 12, 5:07 pm
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You're confusing the booking class (saver or standard) with the availability.

This is the same as booking a Y fare when a W fare is available. Or booking a multi-carrier M ticket where some segments on OAL are in lower buckets. A saver ticket may include only saver segments, a standard ticket may include both saver and standard segments.

Similarly different airlines have different redemption prices. Saver may be 120k miles through NH or AC and 90k through US Air for the same cabin/flights.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 5:48 pm
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
You're confusing the booking class (saver or standard) with the availability.

This is the same as booking a Y fare when a W fare is available. Or booking a multi-carrier M ticket where some segments on OAL are in lower buckets. A saver ticket may include only saver segments, a standard ticket may include both saver and standard segments.

Similarly different airlines have different redemption prices. Saver may be 120k miles through NH or AC and 90k through US Air for the same cabin/flights.
What does any of this have to do with this thread?
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Old Mar 10, 12, 8:32 pm
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Originally Posted by murphyUA View Post
What does any of this have to do with this thread?
The first sentence of the thread is misleading because he's conflating the booking and the availability. You can get a standard *A award, and it may have standard or saver UA segs and *A segs.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 8:34 pm
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
I'm disputing the title and first sentence of the thread. You can get a standard *A award, and it may have standard or saver UA segs and *A segs.
As I said - yes, there are times when you may need to book a standard award (that includes *A travel) due to saver space not being available on UA metal, IF you need UA metal on your itinerary.

That being said - there is zero excuse to be offering awards on *A partners, where only *A flights are needed, at the standard level (JFK-ZRH on LX being the example in another thread). Spending 2.5x the miles books you into the exact same fare bucket as what you'd pay for Saver miles and gives you no add'l flexibility.

That's the point I'm making - it's unnecessarily deceptive. Will most people be so ignorant as to pay more for the same service as less? No - but some might.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 8:36 pm
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
That being said - there is zero excuse to be offering awards on *A partners, where only *A flights are needed, at the standard level (JFK-ZRH on LX being the example in another thread). Spending 2.5x the miles books you into the exact same fare bucket as what you'd pay for Saver miles and gives you no add'l flexibility.
There is additional flexibility: you can make changes to flights that only have standard availability after booking without any redeposit shens. This is analogous to a Y fare vs a L fare. Booking a Y fare gets you the exact same seat as an L fare.

Standard vs saver award is about the ticket UA is writing you. That *A partners don't offer each other last seat availability for awards is irrelevant.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 8:38 pm
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
The title and first sentence of the thread are misleading. You can get a standard *A award, and it may have standard or saver UA segs and *A segs.
For legacy Mileage Plus, I don't think there was ever a standard *A award. There were three award types: Saver, Standard (both of which were UA metal only), and Star awards (which used the same prices as Saver).

In any case, an itinerary that has only non UA metal should not be charging the standard award prices, which is the gripe. Nothing really misleading about it.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
There is additional flexibility: you can make changes to flights that only have standard availability after booking without any redeposit shens.
There is no such thing as "standard" availability for Star Alliance flights.
Originally Posted by mduell
This is analogous to a Y fare vs a L fare. Booking a Y fare gets you the exact same seat as an L fare.
How is it analogous to a Y vs L fare? If you pay the Y fare, you get a Y fare. Pay L, you get L. Here, no matter what you pay, you are getting the same fare (X, or whatever).

Also:
Originally Posted by united.com
Standard Awards offer expanded availability on flights operated by United Airlines, United Express®, and Copa Airlines (including Aero República).
Hence, they shouldn't be offering Standard awards for itineraries that don't (at least) have one segment on those carriers.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Mar 10, 12 at 8:59 pm Reason: merge
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Old Mar 10, 12, 8:50 pm
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
There is additional flexibility: you can make changes to flights that only have standard availability after booking without any redeposit shens. This is analogous to a Y fare vs a L fare. Booking a Y fare gets you the exact same seat as an L fare.

Standard vs saver award is about the ticket UA is writing you. That *A partners don't offer each other last seat availability for awards is irrelevant.
I see nothing on this page supporting this:

http://pss.united.com/web/en-US/cont...vel/types.aspx

Refunding / changing awards has everything to do with your status level (or lack thereof) and nothing to do with booking a saver vs. standard, if I'm reading it correctly
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Old Mar 10, 12, 11:50 pm
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Originally Posted by murphyUA View Post
There is no such thing as "standard" availability for Star Alliance flights.

How is it analogous to a Y vs L fare? If you pay the Y fare, you get a Y fare. Pay L, you get L. Here, no matter what you pay, you are getting the same fare (X, or whatever).
As I've said twice, you need to stop conflating the ticket and the availability. You can book an M ticket when an L fare & bucket is available and people don't consider this ridiculous. Also I said analogous because I'm aware it's not a perfect match in every detail.

Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
I see nothing on this page supporting this:

http://pss.united.com/web/en-US/cont...vel/types.aspx

Refunding / changing awards has everything to do with your status level (or lack thereof) and nothing to do with booking a saver vs. standard, if I'm reading it correctly
When a partner publishes award availability to *net, there's no "standard" or "saver" description attached to it and it may not track that carrier's saver/standard/full availability in their own loyalty program. It's just availability and the loyalty program you use has their own rules about which of award ticket levels allow *A flights. The old United only let you book *A flights in saver level award tickets, the new United will let you book them in saver or standard level award tickets. United publishes separate saver availability and standard availability for their flights for members of MP, and saver and standard availability have variants depending on your status/credit card. I think these variants help mentally deconflate the otherwise 1:1 mapping of UA saver availability flights in UA MP saver award tickets and UA standard availability flights in UA MP standard award tickets.

A UA MP saver award ticket may contain flights with:
- UA saver availability
- UA elite-only saver availability
- *A availability
A UA MP saver award ticket may contain flights with:
- UA saver availability
- UA elite-only saver availability
- UA standard availability
- UA elite/CC-only standard availability
- *A availability

Here's two scenarios to better explain the added flexibility based on the information on that page:
If you book a saver award ticket, later want to change the date or routing (same origin/destination), and the new date/routing is only available as standard availability, you have to pay a fee to redeposit (assume no/low status) and then book a new standard award ticket.
If you book the same flights that could be booked as a saver award ticket instead as a standard award ticket, you can change the date/routing (>21 days out blah blah) to a date/routing with only standard availability without redepositing and thus fee-free.

I'm not saying it's a great deal and I'm going to book all my partner award travel at the standard level. In fact it's probably just a side-effect of being able to mix standard availability UA segments with available partner segments on a single standard award ticket. But it does provide additional flexibility/fee avoidance as outlined above.
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Old Mar 11, 12, 12:07 am
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According to the quote I posted from the (new) website, standard awards are for UA metal (and COPA) only.

And your scenarios don't make much sense either. This thread is about booking "standard" awards on Star Alliance flights. If someone were to book at the saver level and want to make a change at a later date, it would be impossible for there to be "standard" space without "saver".
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