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

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

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Old Dec 13, 19, 6:16 am   -   Wikipost
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============= 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 Ive 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 FTers 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 theres a chance theyll 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 youre 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 youre 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. Heres 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, Ive 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 its 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 its 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 Ive flown on 5 LH F legs this year (2 were pre-deval 60K bookings), so whats 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 hasnt gotten any harder to grab these seats as a UA MP customer. Dont get me wrong, its still a serious mission to undertakepatiently 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 Ive had luck this year with DEN, ORD, YVR, IAH, NYC, SEA and IAD (ICN and NRT internationally). In my opinion, its (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 its worth I think that .bomb has gotten better at controlling phantom availability, but the issue definitely still existsalways check ANA.

Since starting this thread Ive gotten a lot of PMs, most want to know how EXACTLY I get these seats. Theres no secret or hidden trick, use the resources in this thread and I think the most important thing is to be flexible. Im lucky that I usually have at least a week to play with, give yourself two and Im positive youll 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 its still possible, although itll cost you a little (a lot) bit more.
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Old Jun 29, 22, 8:27 am
  #511  
 
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Am seeing limited LH F ex-US, entirely on BOS-MUC - e.g. 7/11 (four seats in O)
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Old Jun 29, 22, 8:40 am
  #512  
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Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
No, I would keep trying. I've changed many tickets mid-travel.
In between connecting flights?!

UA doesn't currently have control of the ticket, and one of the coupons has been lifted already. So they would have to take over the ticket, store a fare (which one? S. Asia to N. America F? Or S. Asia to Europe J + Europe to N. America F?), reissue it, push that back through to LH, and hope that the LH systems pick up the changed ticket number.

In IRROPS, this sort of thing can happen, but then they're not trying to re-fare. For a voluntary change, this sounds nearly impossible to pull off.
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Old Jun 29, 22, 8:49 am
  #513  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
In between connecting flights?!

UA doesn't currently have control of the ticket, and one of the coupons has been lifted already. So they would have to take over the ticket, store a fare (which one? S. Asia to N. America F? Or S. Asia to Europe J + Europe to N. America F?), reissue it, push that back through to LH, and hope that the LH systems pick up the changed ticket number.

In IRROPS, this sort of thing can happen, but then they're not trying to re-fare. For a voluntary change, this sounds nearly impossible to pull off.
I'm going to assume BKK-FRA-IAD was booked in I. FRA-IAD would be re-sold in O then the updated fare would stored...would be hit with the South Asia to USA first class price, 144K miles I believe (?). That would cancel check-in and require fresh check-in.

But I've done it more than once.

It is more complicated if the BKK-FRA coupon falls off, but it does not fall off immediately.
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Old Jun 29, 22, 9:00 am
  #514  
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Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
I'm going to assume BKK-FRA-IAD was booked in I. FRA-IAD would be re-sold in O then the updated fare would stored...would be hit with the South Asia to USA first class price, 144K miles I believe (?). That would cancel check-in and require fresh check-in.

But I've done it more than once.

It is more complicated if the BKK-FRA coupon falls off, but it does not fall off immediately.
OK, if you've done it, I bow to your experience. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the OP.

And the old coupon might not fall off immediately but it's still going to be the ticket number that TG sends back to UA for payment. That's why I was unsure how re-ticketing would work. I guess maybe they reissue the full ticket and then rely on auditing to line things up when TG presents its coupon. (Again, less of an issue during IRROPS because you're not trying to re-fare).
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Old Jun 29, 22, 3:29 pm
  #515  
 
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Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
I'm going to assume BKK-FRA-IAD was booked in I. FRA-IAD would be re-sold in O then the updated fare would stored...would be hit with the South Asia to USA first class price, 144K miles I believe (?). That would cancel check-in and require fresh check-in.

But I've done it more than once.

It is more complicated if the BKK-FRA coupon falls off, but it does not fall off immediately.
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
OK, if you've done it, I bow to your experience. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the OP.

And the old coupon might not fall off immediately but it's still going to be the ticket number that TG sends back to UA for payment. That's why I was unsure how re-ticketing would work. I guess maybe they reissue the full ticket and then rely on auditing to line things up when TG presents its coupon. (Again, less of an issue during IRROPS because you're not trying to re-fare).
I think the questions of SOP vs can it be done is very important. SOP is that it shouldn't be done, you are half way through a BKK-IAD through ticket, I am sure this causes all sorts of issues on the UA backend and issues with TG presenting the coupon. However, it most likely can be done, most things CAN be done in the UA system, however it is not a permitted or acceptable practice, but if you get the GS or 1K line you may find a more sympathetic agent who might be able to make something happen, but it shouldn't be expected.
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Old Jun 30, 22, 3:41 am
  #516  
 
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Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
No, I would keep trying. I've changed many tickets mid-travel.
Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
I'm going to assume BKK-FRA-IAD was booked in I. FRA-IAD would be re-sold in O then the updated fare would stored...would be hit with the South Asia to USA first class price, 144K miles I believe (?). That would cancel check-in and require fresh check-in.

But I've done it more than once.

It is more complicated if the BKK-FRA coupon falls off, but it does not fall off immediately.
Matt - thanks for this. You are correct. Everything as booked in I and the BKK-FRA segment did not drop off immediately. The FRA-IAD as a UA segment so I find it hard to believe UA didn't have control - they should have had control.

I figured this was a HUACA when the agent tried to convince me that Polaris is the same as LH First class. I was nice but was like, "ummm no it's not".

I ultimately stuck it out with UA because the 1K hold times were long. I felt this was possible. I get this could be complicated and cause extra work for UA but I know I've seen folks do it because sometimes LH doesn't release that O space until right before a flight.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
OK, if you've done it, I bow to your experience. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the OP.

And the old coupon might not fall off immediately but it's still going to be the ticket number that TG sends back to UA for payment. That's why I was unsure how re-ticketing would work. I guess maybe they reissue the full ticket and then rely on auditing to line things up when TG presents its coupon. (Again, less of an issue during IRROPS because you're not trying to re-fare).
I did ask if they could cancel the rest of my ticket and then re-book a one-way with LH but that seemed to be wayyyyy too complicated.

The agent did mention they could do this during IRROPs but I find it hard to believe they'd book me into O from I during IRROPs.

Originally Posted by N104UA View Post
I think the questions of SOP vs can it be done is very important. SOP is that it shouldn't be done, you are half way through a BKK-IAD through ticket, I am sure this causes all sorts of issues on the UA backend and issues with TG presenting the coupon. However, it most likely can be done, most things CAN be done in the UA system, however it is not a permitted or acceptable practice, but if you get the GS or 1K line you may find a more sympathetic agent who might be able to make something happen, but it shouldn't be expected.
I was on the 1K line and agent didn't say it was illegal or against SOP just that she couldn't technically do it which I truly didn't buy.

All said we had a great flight in Polaris from FRA-IAD. It says something when flying when you find United to be a higher quality than Thai these days!
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Old Jun 30, 22, 9:11 am
  #517  
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Originally Posted by mh3265a View Post
Matt - thanks for this. You are correct. Everything as booked in I and the BKK-FRA segment did not drop off immediately. The FRA-IAD as a UA segment so I find it hard to believe UA didn't have control - they should have had control.
I'd assumed you were already booked on LH. Yes, the fact that you were on UA means that UA did have control.

Originally Posted by mh3265a View Post
I did ask if they could cancel the rest of my ticket and then re-book a one-way with LH but that seemed to be wayyyyy too complicated.
Probably not if you had any checked luggage. Otherwise, this would have worked, but you'd have had to pay full price for the LH segment (Europe-N. America O price) and wouldn't have received a refund for the UA flight.

Originally Posted by mh3265a View Post
The agent did mention they could do this during IRROPs but I find it hard to believe they'd book me into O from I during IRROPs.
They wouldn't. I suspect the agent just meant that they could move you onto LH during IRROPS.

Originally Posted by mh3265a View Post
I was on the 1K line and agent didn't say it was illegal or against SOP just that she couldn't technically do it which I truly didn't buy.
"I can't do this" and "the system doesn't allow this" are two different things. UA has been hiring a lot of new agents recently; I suspect that the agent didn't actually know how to make it work.
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Old Jun 30, 22, 11:39 am
  #518  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I'd assumed you were already booked on LH. Yes, the fact that you were on UA means that UA did have control.

Probably not if you had any checked luggage. Otherwise, this would have worked, but you'd have had to pay full price for the LH segment (Europe-N. America O price) and wouldn't have received a refund for the UA flight.

They wouldn't. I suspect the agent just meant that they could move you onto LH during IRROPS.

"I can't do this" and "the system doesn't allow this" are two different things. UA has been hiring a lot of new agents recently; I suspect that the agent didn't actually know how to make it work.
No worries. Yes I was actually on UA from FRA-IAD but previously on Thai and it was a UA, mileage booking. Good point on the checked luggage. It always seems to be an issue in changing a ticket if checked bags are involved. It shouldn't be hard to pull bags but I get it's an extra effort. On your final point agree. Overall, I think the agent didn't seem new to me but seemed uninterested in going the extra mile. No biggie. Would have been nice to get into first on LH but there will be future times.
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Old Jul 7, 22, 6:43 am
  #519  
 
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Originally Posted by cfischer View Post
Upgrades on partner tickets with LH flight numbers are no problem. Award flights are eligible these days for upgrade bidding and fixed price upgrades on LH (not LX); not sure how this will work out on 016 award tickets though ... the UA system might get confused.
Thank you for the reply! i searched online, but is there still a fixed paid upgrade pricing chart that I can refer to? Appreciate if you can point me to it and guidance

Context: I am looking to upgrade a SIN/HND flight to FRA thank you
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Old Jul 7, 22, 7:01 am
  #520  
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Originally Posted by kul2beyond View Post
Thank you for the reply! i searched online, but is there still a fixed paid upgrade pricing chart that I can refer to? Appreciate if you can point me to it and guidance

Context: I am looking to upgrade a SIN/HND flight to FRA thank you
There is no such thing. You check your reservation on lufthansa.com and there is a button that takes you to upgrade bidding and/or fixed price upgrades. The latter one confirms right away and you agree to pay what they list ... the bidding is just that ... bidding.

Fixed price upgrades are I believe available within 3 months of departure.
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Old Jul 13, 22, 12:09 pm
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30 days from now is Aug 12th. LH425 from BOS-MUC is showing F8/J9, but no partner premium class award space has been made available, despite now within the 30 day window.

Even 14 days from now, on 7/27, inventory shows the same F8/J9, but no partner first or business class award availability.

What's the story?
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Old Jul 13, 22, 12:16 pm
  #522  
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Originally Posted by nologic View Post
30 days from now is Aug 12th. LH425 from BOS-MUC is showing F8/J9, but no partner premium class award space has been made available, despite now within the 30 day window.

Even 14 days from now, on 7/27, inventory shows the same F8/J9, but no partner first or business class award availability.

What's the story?
Cash in king.

Aslo: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/othe...&cvid=ef103192
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Old Jul 13, 22, 12:27 pm
  #523  
 
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Originally Posted by nologic View Post
30 days from now is Aug 12th. LH425 from BOS-MUC is showing F8/J9, but no partner premium class award space has been made available, despite now within the 30 day window.

Even 14 days from now, on 7/27, inventory shows the same F8/J9, but no partner first or business class award availability.

What's the story?
With very, very few exceptions, LH F awards are made available to partners at most within two weeks of departure, not 30 days. Even then, there's no guarantee of awards being available at the 14-day mark, even with an empty cabin, if LH thinks it can sell all 8 seats. On most routes we've been seeing awards released only inside of 7 days.

J awards are not the subject of this thread and should be addressed elsewhere.
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Old Jul 13, 22, 12:28 pm
  #524  
 
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Originally Posted by nologic View Post
30 days from now is Aug 12th. LH425 from BOS-MUC is showing F8/J9, but no partner premium class award space has been made available, despite now within the 30 day window.

Even 14 days from now, on 7/27, inventory shows the same F8/J9, but no partner first or business class award availability.

What's the story?
They do not need to give inventory to *A

You can fly direct in F on LH on the 17/18/19 in July

If you want to connect, then you have a lot more options, especially for J
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Old Jul 13, 22, 1:33 pm
  #525  
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Originally Posted by nologic View Post
30 days from now is Aug 12th. LH425 from BOS-MUC is showing F8/J9, but no partner premium class award space has been made available, despite now within the 30 day window.

Even 14 days from now, on 7/27, inventory shows the same F8/J9, but no partner first or business class award availability.

What's the story?
You need to look much closer to departure for these to become available. Any where did you hear about 30 days?
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