Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

How to book LH F awards? when available? issues?

How to book LH F awards? when available? issues?

    Hide Wikipost
Old Jun 5, 19, 11:34 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Wiki Link
Previous thread - How to book LH F awards? when available? issues? {Archive}

============= copied from bumfluff's guide on LH award F =========================
For the past 3 years I have been flying to Asia, twice a year, for medical relief work. During that time I’ve booked a lot of LH F awards using my UA miles. This guide actually started as a how-to for my colleagues and I figured I could help some FT’ers along the way. DISCLAIMER: This info is solely based on my personal experience and in no way meant to be definitive. There are so many other great resources that I used along the way (links below), but in the end this how I got it to work for me. Hope it helps!

-Know the timings. It is widely understood that LH releases F awards to UA at around 15.00pst within 14 days of departure. I myself have only ever found bookable awards within T-10 days.

-Know inventory status. This is key. As long as there are available F seats there’s a chance they’ll open up for UA MP redemption. Use EF, kayak, or the LH site to determine how many actual seats are available in the F cabin. Use this info when you’re more than T-14 days to determine what is likely to open up for awards redemption. If a flight is showing F8 or F7 you are almost guaranteed that one seat will open up at some point (T-14 through T-0). From my experience, if a flight shows F7-F4 it will open up around T-7 days, anything less than F4 will open up between T-3 to T-0. If you’re looking to book 2 seats look for at least F6.

-Know the routes. Most people reading this post will be interested in ex-USA new LH F awards to Europe. Use the LH NEW PRODUCT TOOL to determine if the route you want has the new F product. At the time of posting (10/2013) the new LH F product is flying out of IAD, ORD, EWR, SFO, LAX, JFK, IAH, MIA to FRA and SFO, BOS, ORD, LAX, YUL, JFK, EWR, and CLT to MUC. International new F product can be found on FRA to DXB, DEL, NRT, HKG, KUL, BKK, SIN, PVG, PEK and select ex-MUC routes. Find other direct LH routes using the LH ROUTE MAP or Flight Mapper

-Some routes are more likely to open up than others. Here’s the bad news, in my opinion, finding a LH F award seat out of LAX, SFO, or MIA is almost impossible. JFK, ORD, EWR, IAD and (surprisingly) IAH are a little easier. And, if you just want to fly the new LH F product keep an eye on CLT-MUC, in my experience this routing is usually wide open. Generally speaking, F awards into MUC are a little easier to come by. Check out the links below to get more info on which routes out of the US have the best availability. As for international routings, I’ve found FRA-DEL, DXB and NRT to be pretty consistent. I have also had success booking FRA-SIN, BKK/KUL.

-Use the ANA tool less. Im going to get a lot of flak over this one, and the truth is the ANA site is still the MOST accurate solution to determine if there is a bookable LH F award. However, in my experience there is a ton of value in keeping an eye on the UA site, specifically I have found that the UA site is really good at predicting upcoming bookable LH F awards. In most cases, phantom segments eventually become bookable. Assuming you have checked the inventory and its greater than F4, it should become bookable (over the phone) within a couple days of showing up on the UA site as phantom. And that same award will not show up on the ANA site right away.

-Book over the phone. A common question is: “Should I try and book this online or over the phone?” The answer is: it depends, but probably over the phone. If you are only looking to score one segment (ie your entire itin is JKF-FRA) you could definitely book it online, and if it’s a phantom award (which it probably will be) the transaction will not go through but you will be waitlisted and be first in line when it does become bookable. If you have a ticketed itin and want to change to include a LH F segment, this is best done over the phone when it becomes bookable. If you try and make the change online (and it’s a phantom award) you will lose whatever segment you had and run the risk of the award never becoming bookable. Others have booked the phantom award as a separate itin online, which turns into a waitlist, and then if it does become bookable the strategy is to cancel the waitlisted segment and hope that it is quickly put back into active inventory to merge it with your original routing.

-Phantom awards open at 21.10pst. So this is going to be the most hit or miss piece of advice. While I have found it true that ANA will show LH F awards around 15.00pst, it is also my experience that the same award will be bookable over the phone with UA the night before between 21.00pst and 21.30pst. This is more of a recent revelation for me, but for the past year I have been calling UA to check the status of phantom awards on the UA site and have consistently been able to book phantom awards between that time frame. Even more recently, I was looking to switch my LH F FRA-DXB itin with a FRA-KUL routing, which was showing F available on the UA site but turned out to be phantom. I called back at 21.10pst and initially the agent told me there was no availability, she quickly followed up with “Wait a minute, my system is refreshing. Can I put you on hold.”…brief hold… “Yes, we have a first class seat available.” She went on to confirm that their system consistently reboots sometime after 2100pst. Again, this is totally anecdotal so take it with a grain of salt. But it has been working for me recently.

-Be 1k (or at least PP). Easier said than done, I know. But, not dealing with change/cancellation fees makes the whole thing way more straightforward.

-Be flexible. Anytime I was able to give myself a 1-week departure window I was always able to find at least one LH F segment, and many times I found a second connecting segment.

I hope this helps. See you at the FCT!

PM&M-LH F Toolkit

PM&M-How to Time LH F Awards

MMS-Award Availability on LH

FT-F Award Seats

FT-Anyone Booked LH F Awards Recently?

------------------------------------------------------------

2014 Update

So the 2014 United deval has come and gone and I’ve flown on 5 LH F legs this year (2 were pre-deval 60K bookings), so what’s changed?

Well, luckily, im not sure much if anything has changed. Yes, that F seat is going to cost you 120K o/w now. But outside spending more miles most of my booking strategy has stayed the same in 2014.

For all the talk in 2013 from LH, it really hasn’t gotten any “harder” to grab these seats as a UA MP customer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a serious mission to undertake…patiently checking .bomb, ANA, EF and calling UA endlessly. And the value of that time invested has dropped significantly along with the deval.

Obviously the USA LH F “hotspots” have changed, (as of this Nov. 2014 update) YYZ and BOS are pretty wide open. But I’ve had luck this year with DEN, ORD, YVR, IAH, NYC, SEA and IAD (ICN and NRT internationally). In my opinion, it’s (still) nigh impossible to find LAX, MIA, and SFO (although there were reports of at least one SFO F seat showing on ANA earlier this fall).

As far timing goes, I have found a much smaller window of time that these seats are up for grabs. From my personal experience this year, it appears that much less is released T-2 through T-12. I have made most of my F bookings this year either right at the T-14 mark or within a couple days (sometime hours) of departing. But again this is purely anecdotal.

For what it’s worth I think that .bomb has gotten better at controlling phantom availability, but the issue definitely still exists…always check ANA.

Since starting this thread I’ve gotten a lot of PM’s, most want to know how EXACTLY I get these seats. There’s no secret or hidden trick, use the resources in this thread and I think the most important thing is to be flexible. I’m lucky that I usually have at least a week to play with, give yourself two and I’m positive you’ll find SOMETHING.

And if you just want to fly in a cool A380 F UA MP offers some great options with OZ and TG. But for ex-USA to EU, there really is only one choice, and it’s still possible, although it’ll cost you a little (a lot) bit more.
Print Wikipost

Reply

Old May 14, 19, 11:22 am
  #331  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: CLE
Programs: UA GS+LT UC, AA LT PLT, Fairmont LT PLT, SPG PLT, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Diamond, Avis CHM.
Posts: 3,597
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
I'm still waiting for a report that someone's been able to book by phone today.

I have no confidence at all it's not deliberate and that we are not seeing the website's conversion to DL rules in process.

Dynamic awards post 11/15 were introduced with zero advance notice. That is a first for a MP devaluation.
Here's what my research came up with (Disclaimer: My blog)
In short, United appears to be blocking LH F awards on .bomb and over the phone despite the space being bookable by other *A airlines.
https://www.dansdeals.com/points-tra...t-another-bug/

Last edited by ctownflyer; May 14, 19 at 12:34 pm
ctownflyer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 11:24 am
  #332  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS MVPG; Marriott Plat Premier; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Refugeeist
Posts: 39,984
Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post
Here's what my research came up with (Disclaimer: My blog)
https://www.dansdeals.com/points-tra...t-another-bug/
It's troubling the agents were unable to find the space. Did you ask them to try a long sell?
Kacee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 11:26 am
  #333  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: CLE
Programs: UA GS+LT UC, AA LT PLT, Fairmont LT PLT, SPG PLT, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Diamond, Avis CHM.
Posts: 3,597
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
It's troubling the agents were unable to find the space. Did you ask them to try a long sell?
I did not. But a commenter went further than I did and was still not able to book. A bug report was submitted, but there's no telling if it's an intentional bug or deliberate. (Disclaimer: My blog): https://www.dansdeals.com/points-tra...omment-1407134

Last edited by ctownflyer; May 14, 19 at 12:34 pm
ctownflyer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 11:30 am
  #334  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 8,927
I wonder if the second complicating factor here is that, because agents now basically use the website to book awards, you need an agent who will revert back to SHARES to construct the itinerary for you and send it off to ticketing.

If this was Starnet blocking, I don't think we would be seeing the partial results we are. There are just much easier and less buggy ways to block the space if that's what they are trying to do.
findark is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 11:55 am
  #335  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS MVPG; Marriott Plat Premier; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Refugeeist
Posts: 39,984
Originally Posted by findark View Post
If this was Starnet blocking, I don't think we would be seeing the partial results we are. There are just much easier and less buggy ways to block the space if that's what they are trying to do.
I'm concerned it's more subtle than that. Specifically, that we are seeing an in process change to the website's back-end to eliminate O inventory as a booking option.
Kacee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 1:09 pm
  #336  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 9,056
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
I'm concerned it's more subtle than that. Specifically, that we are seeing an in process change to the website's back-end to eliminate O inventory as a booking option.
If UA wanted to eliminate F awards, I think they'd just do it. They've already shown that they're willing to make program changes without notice.
jsloan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 1:26 pm
  #337  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 8,927
Are there any current rules of thumb for when I would expect a flight that's F7 A7 to get space? I don't see it on EF, so I am assuming this on the LH end, but all this fuss has me worried.
findark is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 2:06 pm
  #338  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 898
Originally Posted by findark View Post
Are there any current rules of thumb for when I would expect a flight that's F7 A7 to get space? I don't see it on EF, so I am assuming this on the LH end, but all this fuss has me worried.
Usually LH doesn't release seats until at least 2 weeks before departure but usually it is released between 12-48 before. So if you are looking for a flight on Friday and it is A7 then they will probably release something (and assuming UA will let you book it), but it you are looking in November all bets are off as they can sell 7 seats before then. It is also highly.route dependant see Wiki
N104UA is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 2:20 pm
  #339  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 8,927
Originally Posted by N104UA View Post
Usually LH doesn't release seats until at least 2 weeks before departure but usually it is released between 12-48 before. So if you are looking for a flight on Friday and it is A7 then they will probably release something (and assuming UA will let you book it), but it you are looking in November all bets are off as they can sell 7 seats before then. It is also highly.route dependant see Wiki
The flight is within the 14-day cutoff; I was referring to any other cliffs in there (e.g. 7 days) where I might expect something. A number of other flights with A6 or greater got O space (seen on EF) at T-14, so I think I'm just playing games with LH RM at the moment.
findark is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 2:23 pm
  #340  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Los Angeles / Basel
Posts: 24,680
Here's my article, including comment from United. United says it is "urgently" working to fix problem...

https://liveandletsfly.boardingarea....-award-glitch/

(disclaimer - link to blog)
MatthewLAX is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 3:00 pm
  #341  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 898
Originally Posted by findark View Post
The flight is within the 14-day cutoff; I was referring to any other cliffs in there (e.g. 7 days) where I might expect something. A number of other flights with A6 or greater got O space (seen on EF) at T-14, so I think I'm just playing games with LH RM at the moment.
What route specifically? I would expect most likely they wouldn't release until 48hours prior.
N104UA is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 3:08 pm
  #342  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Programs: Amex Plat, Hilton Gold, SPG Gold, Carlson Gold, CM Presidential / *A Gold, Hertz 5*
Posts: 811
Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
Here's my article, including comment from United. United says it is "urgently" working to fix problem...

https://liveandletsfly.boardingarea....-award-glitch/

(disclaimer - link to blog)
Its not LH F, but you do mention another partner in your article, however .com (and the United iPhone app) are showing first saver for some routes. Here is one (again not LH and not originating/terminating in the USA, but it does stop in USA):



-----
Edit
-----

Your blog example for CDG-BKK is now showing for 145K miles:

MatthewLAX likes this.

Last edited by pmarrsouth; May 14, 19 at 3:14 pm
pmarrsouth is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 3:17 pm
  #343  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 8,927
Originally Posted by N104UA View Post
What route specifically? I would expect most likely they wouldn't release until 48hours prior.
SFO-FRA, so completely fair if it opens late or never opens
findark is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 3:19 pm
  #344  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Los Angeles / Basel
Posts: 24,680
Originally Posted by pmarrsouth View Post
Its not LH F, but you do mention another partner in your article, however .com (and the United iPhone app) are showing first saver for some routes. Here is one (again not LH and not originating/terminating in the USA, but it does stop in USA):



-----
Edit
-----

Your blog example for CDG-BKK is now showing for 145K miles:

Well, good to know it it just a Lufthansa First class problem. Thanks for your own research.
MatthewLAX is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 19, 3:21 pm
  #345  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 8,927
Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
Well, good to know it it just a Lufthansa First class problem. Thanks for your own research.
Tomorrow's MUC-BOS from your example also showing correctly now... is this a record-speed fix??
findark is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread