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Singapore Airlines (SQ) award booking experiences using United miles

Singapore Airlines (SQ) award booking experiences using United miles

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Old Jan 6, 22, 9:19 am   -   Wikipost
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SQ awards can be booked online but SQ generally does does not release to its *A partners all routes or all cabins -- especially the more premium cases

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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Hi everyone,

I wanted to give you an early heads up about an upcoming change to the Star partner award availability you see displayed online. Singapore Airlines and United have agreed to remove Singapore Airlines inventory from our award flight search results on united.com and on the United Mobile App. This will take effect starting tomorrow, December 13, You will still to be able to book and change award reservations involving Singapore Airlines by calling our reservations lines.

Please let me know if you have any clarifying questions, and Ill do my best to answer them.

Aaron Goldberg
Sr. Manager - Customer Experience Planning
United Airlines
The fee for non-premier to book awards through the call center will NOT be waived as per:
Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
As most have you has suspected, unfortunately we're not waiving the booking fee. The simple reason--and this is a consistent policy across all airlines which are not yet online--is that there is substantial additional work required to price and ticket these awards in our contact centers.

Aaron Goldberg
Sr. Manager - Customer Experience Planning
United Airlines
This is currently the policy

Update: SQ's statement on the recent change:

Originally Posted by SQ
Each Star Alliance member carrier may choose how to fulfill such redemptions differently, which we have no influence over.

For example, some Star carriers may choose to allow their respective frequent flier programme members access to redemption online or offline, depending on their respective platforms.
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Old Dec 15, 13, 1:42 pm
  #271  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: San Francisco, CA
Programs: United 1K; AA Platinum
Posts: 326
Originally Posted by rankourabu View Post
Aeroplan.com seems underinclusive for two reasons
a) They tend to only display SIX options per routing per class of service
b) Aeroplan.com 'prefers' flights on carriers that attract a fuel surcharge.

So for example, if you were to search for PEK-SIN - you will get a variety of combinations of TG or OZ, and SQ/BR may be downgraded because AC does not charge a fuel surcharge on them. If there are more than 6 combos of the former, you may not see the latter at all.
For my search yesterday and today of MLE-SIN, there was only one game in town on that route (two SQ flts/day), and some days were showing as unavailable on Aeroplan through Flisea, but UA was seeing (and was able to ticket) availability.
blueheronNC is offline  
Old Dec 15, 13, 4:37 pm
  #272  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
There are myriad examples in this thread indicating this is not necessarily true. I've even been denied an o/j at my destination.... the agents (yes plural) claimed it was 2 one ways on the same PNR. Lots of bad info out there.
That sounds like an agent-related issue, or some other rule that prevented the award from being issued. The double open jaw is allowed per the terms of the program. And per the terms of the program it is allowed at either the origin or the destination. It's also possible your open jaws were invalid.

Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
Again not true. I've recently flown YYY-BKK-PNH/SIN-HKG-XXX
It is true, but I think you misunderstood my statement. It doesn't have to the the shortest flight. But if your flight was SFO-LAX-JFK // open-jaw \\ ORD-SFO then validity of that itinerary is computed as follows:

SFO-JFK is 2586sm
JFK-ORD is 740sm
ORD-SFO is 1846sm

Per what I said, this is valid because the un-flown sector (JFK-ORD) is the shortest of the three sectors (SFO-JFK, JFK-ORD, ORD-SFO). An invalid open jaw would be SFO-JFK-ORD because the unflown sector (ORD-SFO) is not the shortest of the three. This is based on the technical definition of an open jaw. If you've gotten away with something else, then that was not technically permitted.

Your example YYY-BKK-PNH/SIN-HKG-XXX doesn't dispute what I said, because it depends on what XXX and YYY are. If XXX and YYY are SFO then sure, that works fine, because SFO-PHN and SIN-SFO are way, way longer than PNH-SIN.

Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
SFO-ICN-LHR is struck down simply because you can't fly to Europe through Aisa from NA.
That's not why. In this case I didn't say ICN was a stopover. I suggested that this was an open jaw. SFO origin, ICN point of turnaround, LHR other half of the open jaw. That would make LHR-SFO the unflown segment. And it's actually a poor example if we want to get technical, because LHR-SFO would be the shortest segment. SFO-ICN-IST would be the invalid open jaw.

Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
Agreed there's way too much incorrect information coming from UA reps these days.

Except TG doesn't fly to REP; only OZ and CA.
Yes, I overlooked that. Doesn't matter though, since he'd be better off stopping in BKK and buying a nice AirAisa flight.
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Old Dec 16, 13, 2:32 pm
  #273  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 43
Well - the nightmare has begun. I spent over an hour on the phone with an agent trying to book flights on SQ for travel in April next year. I am not sure what happened between SQ and UA but the reservations agents are the ones that seem to be caught in the middle.

In my case once the flights were found, she was not able to determine how many miles were needed for the reservation. She had to call someone else to do this - and this is where the delay occurred. It seems UA has just one person that does SQ ticketing.

It's a pity this has happened as I stayed with UA all these years (20 yrs) just so that I could redeem my miles on SQ. I have enjoyed all my flights on SQ - their service is outstanding. I have flown other Star Alliance carriers and they do not come close to SQ. LH provides very good service but it's fair so to say that I have been spoiled by SQ.

It's sad to see this happen.
rajsngh is offline  
Old Dec 16, 13, 2:53 pm
  #274  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: SQ KF (ex-UA)
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Originally Posted by rajsngh View Post
In my case once the flights were found, she was not able to determine how many miles were needed for the reservation. She had to call someone else to do this - and this is where the delay occurred. It seems UA has just one person that does SQ ticketing.
Next thing we know, that person's office will only be open 2:30pm-3:00pm on alternating Thursdays.
gailwynand is offline  
Old Dec 16, 13, 3:12 pm
  #275  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: NY Metro
Programs: SPG Titanium, United Premier 1K
Posts: 1,569
I dont believe this is completely SQ's doing.. think about it - the whole rational to increase partner awards on 2/1 was the cost to UA. Since everyone (myself included) is burning their UA miles on partner airlines, UA wants to do something to stop the bleeding. They already removed expertflyer searches back in Oct and now they are removing SQ flights from UA.com. Its just about making it that much harder to book a flight prior to the 2/1 deadline.

However, in spite of the 2/1 increase, UA was still far better in terms of Delta and many others in terms of award availability and booking online. I was willing to pay a premium if it could save me the hours of anguish to talk to an agent and check award availability day by day. If UA makes these changes permanent, there is no difference between them, Delta or the others that have lousy search engines.

UA should try to differetiate itself in that regard and then maybe people might be willing to pay a premium in terms of time saved. Otherwise they are no different than the rest of them...
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Old Dec 16, 13, 3:55 pm
  #276  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Programs: UA silver
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Originally Posted by rajsngh View Post
Well - the nightmare has begun. I spent over an hour on the phone with an agent trying to book flights on SQ for travel in April next year.
You're lucky! It took me four hours Saturday night (with two agents because the connection with the first got dropped after 1.5 hrs). For whatever reason, the taxes on the SQ segments were causing auto-price to fail.
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Old Dec 16, 13, 4:16 pm
  #277  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Posts: 5,287
Originally Posted by PrivatePilot View Post
I dont believe this is completely SQ's doing.. think about it - the whole rational to increase partner awards on 2/1 was the cost to UA. Since everyone (myself included) is burning their UA miles on partner airlines, UA wants to do something to stop the bleeding. They already removed expertflyer searches back in Oct and now they are removing SQ flights from UA.com. Its just about making it that much harder to book a flight prior to the 2/1 deadline.

However, in spite of the 2/1 increase, UA was still far better in terms of Delta and many others in terms of award availability and booking online. I was willing to pay a premium if it could save me the hours of anguish to talk to an agent and check award availability day by day. If UA makes these changes permanent, there is no difference between them, Delta or the others that have lousy search engines.

UA should try to differetiate itself in that regard and then maybe people might be willing to pay a premium in terms of time saved. Otherwise they are no different than the rest of them...
For every OA award booking UA can avoid making, they are saving a bit of money and as everybody knows, UA is out to save $2 billion and every little bit helps. Many people don't have hours of time to spend on the phone to claim an award. Others simply won't see any availability online and leave it at that. If this leads to more people blowing miles on UA flights, all the better for the bean counters.
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Old Dec 16, 13, 4:25 pm
  #278  
DVX
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by sfozrhfco View Post
For every OA award booking UA can avoid making, they are saving a bit of money and as everybody knows, UA is out to save $2 billion and every little bit helps. Many people don't have hours of time to spend on the phone to claim an award. Others simply won't see any availability online and leave it at that. If this leads to more people blowing miles on UA flights, all the better for the bean counters.
I wouldn't be surprised if other *A carriers disappear soon, so that the only carriers left that you can book online will be LH & NH.
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Old Dec 16, 13, 5:45 pm
  #279  
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Originally Posted by DVX View Post
I wouldn't be surprised if other *A carriers disappear soon, so that the only carriers left that you can book online will be LH & NH.
At least we'll have that since I refuse to book UA.
dsquared37 is offline  
Old Dec 16, 13, 5:50 pm
  #280  
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Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
At least we'll have that since I refuse to book UA.
As long as LH and NH don't pull back space like SQ has...
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Old Dec 16, 13, 5:51 pm
  #281  
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Originally Posted by arcticbull View Post
That sounds like an agent-related issue, or some other rule that prevented the award from being issued. The double open jaw is allowed per the terms of the program. And per the terms of the program it is allowed at either the origin or the destination. It's also possible your open jaws were invalid.
Exactly, and there are examples where it's been booked in the middle. My comment was simply to relate that agents refuse to book o/js at all points of itins for spurious reasons.


Originally Posted by arcticbull View Post
It is true, but I think you misunderstood my statement. It doesn't have to the the shortest flight. But if your flight was SFO-LAX-JFK // open-jaw \\ ORD-SFO then validity of that itinerary is computed as follows:

SFO-JFK is 2586sm
JFK-ORD is 740sm
ORD-SFO is 1846sm

Per what I said, this is valid because the un-flown sector (JFK-ORD) is the shortest of the three sectors (SFO-JFK, JFK-ORD, ORD-SFO). An invalid open jaw would be SFO-JFK-ORD because the unflown sector (ORD-SFO) is not the shortest of the three. This is based on the technical definition of an open jaw. If you've gotten away with something else, then that was not technically permitted.

Your example YYY-BKK-PNH/SIN-HKG-XXX doesn't dispute what I said, because it depends on what XXX and YYY are. If XXX and YYY are SFO then sure, that works fine, because SFO-PHN and SIN-SFO are way, way longer than PNH-SIN.
This was a better writeup but still (possibly) doesn't explain the itins which have an open jaw through regions.



Originally Posted by arcticbull View Post
That's not why. In this case I didn't say ICN was a stopover. I suggested that this was an open jaw.
Huh?

Originally Posted by arcticbull View Post
Yes, I overlooked that. Doesn't matter though, since he'd be better off stopping in BKK and buying a nice AirAisa flight.
Never had a nice AirAsia flight and haven't stepped foot on them in 3 years.
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Old Dec 16, 13, 6:31 pm
  #282  
 
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Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
Exactly, and there are examples where it's been booked in the middle. My comment was simply to relate that agents refuse to book o/js at all points of itins for spurious reasons.
Ah gotcha. Definitely.

Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
This was a better writeup but still (possibly) doesn't explain the itins which have an open jaw through regions.
Hmm. What I was trying to say is that both ends of the open jaw need to be in the same award region. So if you're flying SFO-ICN then your return leg needs to be somewhere in North America for it to be considered a valid open jaw.

Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
Huh?
In my example SFO-ICN-LHR, SFO was one side of the open jaw, ICN was the destination, and LHR was the other side of the open jaw (instead of SFO which would have made it a round trip).

Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
As long as LH and NH don't pull back space like SQ has...
So those two charge fuel surcharges. I'd almost say it's in their best interests to never hide a bookable flight from which they'd earn the YQ revenue. Whereas United has an incentive to hide or make difficult redemptions with a high reimbursement rate, airlines that earn YQ revenue don't really.

[edit] Sorry I misunderstood your statement. Those partner awards have gotten so points-expensive that I don't really see any value in the new UA chart anymore :| except for South Asia to Australia in the region that overlaps the US North Asia chart for the next few months. Then I dunno. Maybe UR->KE? Guess it's on to the next.

Last edited by arcticbull; Dec 16, 13 at 6:41 pm Reason: merge/off-topic
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Old Dec 16, 13, 8:15 pm
  #283  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Originally Posted by arcticbull View Post
Sorry I misunderstood your statement. Those partner awards have gotten so points-expensive that I don't really see any value in the new UA chart anymore :| except for South Asia to Australia in the region that overlaps the US North Asia chart for the next few months. Then I dunno. Maybe UR->KE? Guess it's on to the next.
The only thing left is for the government to ask airlines to issue W2s for all award redemptions so we can pay taxes on them!
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Old Dec 16, 13, 9:42 pm
  #284  
 
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Originally Posted by arcticbull View Post
That sounds like an agent-related issue…
Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
Exactly, and there are examples where it's been booked in the middle. My comment was simply to relate that agents refuse to book o/js at all points of itins for spurious reasons.
Agree. Agent competence/comfort with the rules is the key factor here; as currently published (to us), the rules give a great deal of latitude in the placement/booking of open jaws. (I have no idea what guidelines/rules are given to agents that are not published to us).

Originally Posted by arcticbull View Post
Hmm. What I was trying to say is that both ends of the open jaw need to be in the same award region. So if you're flying SFO-ICN then your return leg needs to be somewhere in North America for it to be considered a valid open jaw.
This is not correct. I recently booked an O/J award where the origin and destinations are different regions (North America and Asia). I have a stopover also.

It took me three phone calls. Rather than feeding cities or flights right off the bat, i started by giving the agent the 'big picture' (in regions) of the O/J award i wanted to book. First agent said it could only be done as two one ways and was adamant about it. Second agent didn't think it was possible but was willing to check with a supervisor, supervisor said it would be possible; as agent did not inspire a lot of confidence, i decided to call again. Third agent immediately said that yes, my requested O/J award would be valid, as well as my requested stopover.

I was very lucky to get this last agent. He was very competent.
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Old Dec 16, 13, 11:33 pm
  #285  
 
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Originally Posted by WindFlyer View Post
Agree. Agent competence/comfort with the rules is the key factor here; as currently published (to us), the rules give a great deal of latitude in the placement/booking of open jaws. (I have no idea what guidelines/rules are given to agents that are not published to us).

This is not correct. I recently booked an O/J award where the origin and destinations are different regions (North America and Asia). I have a stopover also.

It took me three phone calls. Rather than feeding cities or flights right off the bat, i started by giving the agent the 'big picture' (in regions) of the O/J award i wanted to book. First agent said it could only be done as two one ways and was adamant about it. Second agent didn't think it was possible but was willing to check with a supervisor, supervisor said it would be possible; as agent did not inspire a lot of confidence, i decided to call again. Third agent immediately said that yes, my requested O/J award would be valid, as well as my requested stopover.

I was very lucky to get this last agent. He was very competent.
That's truly surprising. I thought only Delta allowed open jaws across regions. Maybe you just got lucky? Stranger things have happened... But that's good to keep in mind.
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