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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 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.
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Old Jan 2, 16, 4:37 am
  #1  
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How to book LH F awards? when available? issues?

So has no one ever been able to grab FRA - HKG F seats? I saw one availability for the flight tonight, but it was gone pretty quickly.
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Old Jan 2, 16, 5:35 am
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Originally Posted by jubbing View Post
So has no one ever been able to grab FRA - HKG F seats? I saw one availability for the flight tonight, but it was gone pretty quickly.
I was able to grab LH First on 12 December for the 21 December flight (LH796).
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Old Jan 6, 16, 4:09 pm
  #3  
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Anyone booked LH F awards recently? [2016]

Originally Posted by jubbing View Post
So has no one ever been able to grab FRA - HKG F seats? I saw one availability for the flight tonight, but it was gone pretty quickly.
I had the once a few years back but the flight went MX so I was moved to LX J .

It looks like I'll be wading back into this pool in 2016 to burn some miles, so I figured I'd keep the ball rolling from the 2015 thread.

Recent searches have been pushing me through ATL so I wouldn't be surprised if we saw that route lose F in 2016. I don't know, maybe it's just light loads on UA flights into ATL....Has anyone else seen this? Happy hunting everyone!!
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Old Jan 6, 16, 5:05 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by Madone59 View Post
Recent searches have been pushing me through ATL so I wouldn't be surprised if we saw that route lose F in 2016.
FRA-ATL is currently an A340 route without F.
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Old Jan 6, 16, 7:32 pm
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Originally Posted by jubbing View Post
So has no one ever been able to grab FRA - HKG F seats? I saw one availability for the flight tonight, but it was gone pretty quickly.
I redeemed FRA-HKG back in mid-August 2015. There was pretty good T-14 availability back then when most of the time it is only available much closer in due to high revenue loads.

I've noticed ever since the upgauge to the A380, availability has been as rare as hen's teeth.
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Old Jan 6, 16, 10:27 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by NewbieRunner View Post
FRA-ATL is currently an A340 route without F.
Are you sure about that?

This is from EF for today's flight: 346 F 8 C 44 E 32 M 213 , and it looks like there is F sprinkled in other days too.
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Old Jan 7, 16, 1:53 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Madone59 View Post
Originally Posted by NewbieRunner View Post
FRA-ATL is currently an A340 route without F.
Are you sure about that?

This is from EF for today's flight: 346 F 8 C 44 E 32 M 213 , and it looks like there is F sprinkled in other days too.
It appears I spoke too soon!

Starting this weekend LH444/445 will be operated by the A343 without F. It was earlier announced that the route will be operated by Lufthansa CityLine A343 with no F and a smaller Business cabin between the end of April and the end of June.

Last edited by NewbieRunner; Jan 7, 16 at 5:26 am
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Old Jan 7, 16, 5:15 am
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Yesterday, I took SFO - FRA - DEL, all in LH First Class, upgraded from Biz using GPUs. FABULOUS experience, all on an A380. Will return BLR FRA SFO, also F, using GPUs. To me, great value from a GPU for the hard and soft products on these LONG trips.
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Old Feb 1, 16, 12:32 pm
  #9  
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Question: I booked an award, SFO-CPH-GVA in J on SK, and return GVA-FRA-LHR-SFO on UA F (short legs on LH).

I don't have much of an intention of keeping the GF return, and I'd rather switch to an LH F return. I hear that LH makes partner availability available 15 days out—should I just keep checking for award space around that mark to grab any F room 15 days before the inbound? Any other tips?

Also, I'd love to just rebook this as a cash trip instead of award. Need the PQMs, but the prices are somewhat prohibitive with J hovering around ~$7k or so. Is this likely to look better anytime soon? I'd spring for a $3,500 P/Z cash fare. Is my best bet for a P/Z SK?
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Old Feb 1, 16, 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by helvetic View Post
Also, I'd love to just rebook this as a cash trip instead of award. Need the PQMs, but the prices are somewhat prohibitive with J hovering around ~$7k or so. Is this likely to look better anytime soon? I'd spring for a $3,500 P/Z cash fare. Is my best bet for a P/Z SK?
LH F may come available anytime from T-14 days to T-3 hours. You just have to be looking often and be flexible.

If you are able to book a cash J ticket starting in EU, (ie, round trip EU-US-EU) you will get a better price, likely $3500 or less. Of course, then you are stuck with another one way back to EU, that you will want to use, requiring two "round trips" to EU before end of schedule.

If you can consider starting your trip in YVR, YEG, or MEX you might also get a better deal on a J ticket with $$.

As far as predicting a P/Z sale out of the US, your guess is as good as anyone else's.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 6:52 am
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I have usually found that if 4-6 seats are available, some awards will be released between 14 to 7 days prior to a flight. However, I am looking at DOH-FRA on 21 March 2016 and even though the flight has been F6 A6 for ages (and J and Y are not full - there are plenty of J awards available), no F award has opened up. Very strange. Maybe LH expects a load of last minute F bookings?
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Old Mar 18, 16, 1:47 pm
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Just FYI:
The following are available (at least 2 seats, some 3) for MArch-27 sunday
FRA-IAH
FRA-DFW
FRA-ORD
FRA-SFO

Amazing!

Hopefully none of these are Phantom awards!! (searching using UA.bomb)
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Old Mar 18, 16, 2:42 pm
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Originally Posted by ft4lyf View Post
Just FYI:
The following are available (at least 2 seats, some 3) for MArch-27 sunday
FRA-IAH
FRA-DFW
FRA-ORD
FRA-SFO

Amazing!

Hopefully none of these are Phantom awards!! (searching using UA.bomb)
This makes the lack of DOH-FRA availability even more baffling!
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Old Mar 20, 16, 8:58 am
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Does anyone have any recent experience finding BOS>FRA? I can't see any availability at all, which surprises me. I'd never spring for F on such a short segment on its own, but I'm looking to redeem a LH F award BOS>FRA>DEL, and the BOS>FRA leg seems oddly unobtainable. There's BOS>MUC>DEL for days, but I was hoping to experience the FRA FCT....
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Old Mar 20, 16, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by RandomBaritone View Post
Does anyone have any recent experience finding BOS>FRA? I can't see any availability at all, which surprises me. I'd never spring for F on such a short segment on its own, but I'm looking to redeem a LH F award BOS>FRA>DEL, and the BOS>FRA leg seems oddly unobtainable. There's BOS>MUC>DEL for days, but I was hoping to experience the FRA FCT....
Which day(s) are you looking. I just looked at some random days and some of the BOS-FRA were being served by the 744 (which does not have a first class cabin anymore).
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