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Updates to UA MP Multi-City Award Travel & Award Fee Changes (Post Oct 2016){Archive}

Updates to UA MP Multi-City Award Travel & Award Fee Changes (Post Oct 2016){Archive}

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Old Feb 4, 19, 4:25 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
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United's Announcement and FAQ

Kacee's Interpretation

Main Impact Since October 6
  • Fee Changes such as platinum members are subject to various award fees
  • No more free stopover - replaced with Excursionist Perk
  • Agents no longer have the ability to find routings that do not show up on united.com
  • Manually constructing trips using multi-city search results in multiple award fares being charged
  • Changing any segment MIGHT require current availability for all existing Os&Ds in the PNR (as if a brand new booking is made) - YMMV
  • Singapore Airlines segments are priced separately (add-ons)

Useful Links
This is an archive thread, the active thread is Award booking questions/ issues/ routing/ excursionist problems / help
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Old Dec 19, 16, 11:09 am
  #901  
 
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Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post
It's not a bug. It's a #UnitedUnfriendly feature :-:enhancement:-:

If enough 1K/GS would complain about it maybe we would get somewhere...
Having my first run-in with this new crappy system. Totally kills flexibility, even with simple, common sense things.

There might as well not even be a 1K desk for any award travel help. Totally useless.

This fundamentally changes the value proposition for 1K.
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Old Dec 19, 16, 4:08 pm
  #902  
 
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Will the following be a problem under the new system?

Booked LIS-MUC-SFO. I don't expect there to be MUC-SFO availability going forward. But lets say I want to change to MAD-MUC-SFO. Will they still be able to swap out just the first leg?
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Old Dec 19, 16, 4:30 pm
  #903  
 
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Originally Posted by adambadam View Post
Will the following be a problem under the new system?

Booked LIS-MUC-SFO. I don't expect there to be MUC-SFO availability going forward. But lets say I want to change to MAD-MUC-SFO. Will they still be able to swap out just the first leg?
Reports so far seem to indicate that this change is no longer possible without supervisor approval + long holds while agent fights with the computer. Supervisor approval is far from guaranteed, so could require a lot of HUACA.
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Old Dec 19, 16, 4:37 pm
  #904  
 
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Originally Posted by PVDtoDEL View Post
Reports so far seem to indicate that this change is no longer possible without supervisor approval + long holds while agent fights with the computer. Supervisor approval is far from guaranteed, so could require a lot of HUACA.
Lovely. Used to be such a simple change.

Thanks
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Old Dec 21, 16, 3:16 am
  #905  
 
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Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post
It's not a bug. It's a #UnitedUnfriendly feature :-:enhancement:-:

If enough 1K/GS would complain about it maybe we would get somewhere...
I did take the trouble of offering feedback on the computer issues that agents were having, after another interesting conversation with an agent trying to force the computer software to book a legitimate change to an award booking. I dard not do it online, as the last time it dropped the return segments completely which took 90 minutes on the phone to rebuild, because the system wouldn't let the agent book a 22 hour layover in SFO.

The response I got completely missed the point and blamed the staff.

I am responding to your email regarding your future travel for flight
900 traveling on February 2017 which reservation agent had problems
booking award reservation on December 20, 2016.

Regardless of the circumstances, your experience concerns me because we
should provide professional service. Our staff has the training and
ability to do a far better job than your comments indicate and I
apologize for your experience. It is our intent to employ people that
have the qualities to provide excellent customer service at all times.

Therefore as a goodwill gesture and a token of our apology for your
entire experience I have requested a 7,500 goodwill miles to be
deposited into your MileagePlus account. Please allow 3 to 5 business
days for processing.

On behalf of United Airlines I want to thank you for your continued
loyalty as a MileagePlus 1K member, we appreciate your business and look
forward to welcoming you aboard again soon.


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

I have responded further to the CS agent.

Thank you for the very prompt response.I am very grateful for the generous gesture of goodwilll, which was unexpected.

However, I feel that your response suggests that you have totally missed the key point of my comment. Throughout the several hours of phone conversations that I have had with the United agents, I was totally impressed by the level of service and commitment that they displayed to overcome the disadvantage that United have given them with the new computer software.

This is not a matter of lack of training, or professionalism. At every stage, your staff were telling me what they were attempting to achieve, and becoming more and more frustrated that they weren't able to achieve it with the tools that they have been given. I likened it to performing dentistry with one agent, because she was pulling teeth. In every case, their only course of action was to resort, contrary to company policy, to older versions of software if they had it available, or seek assistance from others that had access to that software in order to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

To be clear about what the issue is:

United award ticket rules allow an overnight connection of up to 24 hours on international itineraries.

United's new computer software - which was installed at the same time that the award rules prevented stopovers was changed - does not.

To support this claim that under 24 hour connections are still valid, this was taken from your own website FAQ's which outlines the October 6th changes.

For international itineraries, a break in the journey over 24 hours is considered a stopover; for domestic, the break must be over four hours.

Somewhere along the line your computer programmers, who probably did not understand the difference between a layover (an overnight connection of less than 24 hours) and a stopover (a break in a journey for more than 24 hours) have built a prohibiton into the software and fundamentally affected the ability of your agents to book legitimate award journeys.

My own itinerary clearly falls within the current award rules allowing 24 hour layovers.

2/24. LHR-SFO UA949 arrive SFO 16.40
2/25. SFO-HNL UA1175 departs SFO 08.40
3/5. KOA-SFO UA643 arrives SFO 21.13
3/6 SFO-LHR UA930 departs SFO 19.30

If you agree with my assertion that the award booking complies with the existing award rules, I would respectfully suggest that you (or one of your collagues) try to create an identical itinerary using the software which is available to the agents.

It may provide you with a better indicaton of what the issue is, and it is not staff knowledge or training.

I remain a loyal customer. My goal is to improve the facilities available to both customers and your own agents, by highlighting an obvious difficiency in the tools with which they have been presented.
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Old Dec 21, 16, 5:11 am
  #906  
 
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Originally Posted by adambadam View Post
Will the following be a problem under the new system?

Booked LIS-MUC-SFO. I don't expect there to be MUC-SFO availability going forward. But lets say I want to change to MAD-MUC-SFO. Will they still be able to swap out just the first leg?
Originally Posted by PVDtoDEL View Post
Reports so far seem to indicate that this change is no longer possible without supervisor approval + long holds while agent fights with the computer. Supervisor approval is far from guaranteed, so could require a lot of HUACA.
This is very similar to what I was trying to do. Unexpected work trip mandates I leave for vacation from NYC instead of DAY. I could not get agent to swap out the first leg (with award available) of my existing TPAC award.

All the agents do now is plug your departing and arriving airports into the computer and offer the same results that are on United.com

For award travel, agents are now basically useless. Huge devaluation.
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Old Dec 21, 16, 5:40 am
  #907  
 
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
All the agents do now is plug your departing and arriving airports into the computer and offer the same results that are on United.com

For award travel, agents are now basically useless. Huge devaluation.
Hoo boy.
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Old Dec 21, 16, 9:47 am
  #908  
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
All the agents do now is plug your departing and arriving airports into the computer and offer the same results that are on United.com
The rebooking specialists are not subject to this limitation. So this is something that's being implemented only at the base cs level.

It's a huge overreaction to the award abuses that were unquestionably occurring under the old system.
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Old Dec 21, 16, 10:10 am
  #909  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
The rebooking specialists are not subject to this limitation. So this is something that's being implemented only at the base cs level.

It's a huge overreaction to the award abuses that were unquestionably occurring under the old system.
Is there some way to reach these "rebooking specialists"? I was met with a stone wall when I called earlier this week. Not sure why I would be expected to escalate from the (Fake) 1K desk anyway.

The inability to switch out a United positioning flight to a different United positioning flight (which has award availability) is a killer, and incredibly stupid.

If the sole intent of this was to curb "abuses", then yes; a huge overreaction.

My cynical nature points to this being more of a nefarious, hidden devaluation as opposed to curing a limited problem.
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Old Dec 21, 16, 10:22 am
  #910  
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
Is there some way to reach these "rebooking specialists"? I was met with a stone wall when I called earlier this week. Not sure why I would be expected to escalate from the (Fake) 1K desk anyway.
I think you need a schedule change to reach one of those.

Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
My cynical nature points to this being more of a nefarious, hidden devaluation as opposed to curing a limited problem.
Probably some of both. Though the number of abusers may have been numerically small, the drain on cs resources was likely meaningful and reached management's attention. ("I just spent four hours on the phone with United trying to get an agent to book FRA-ARN-CPH-OSL-MUC-ZRH-FCO before I found one who would do it for me!")
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Old Dec 21, 16, 11:12 am
  #911  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
I think you need a schedule change to reach one of those.



Probably some of both. Though the number of abusers may have been numerically small, the drain on cs resources was likely meaningful and reached management's attention. ("I just spent four hours on the phone with United trying to get an agent to book FRA-ARN-CPH-OSL-MUC-ZRH-FCO before I found one who would do it for me!")
In fairness though, the new 'rules' open UA up for a new kind of abuse, but this time via the website and out of the call centers so the drain on cs resources will be less.
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Old Dec 21, 16, 11:19 am
  #912  
 
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Originally Posted by PVDtoDEL View Post
Reports so far seem to indicate that this change is no longer possible without supervisor approval + long holds while agent fights with the computer. Supervisor approval is far from guaranteed, so could require a lot of HUACA.
I would try to do something similar in a little bit. Would report if I hear anything.
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Old Dec 21, 16, 4:01 pm
  #913  
 
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Intersting experience with my first award ticket since the rule changed.

Booked LIS-MUC-SFO in LH F to start things off as a o/w for my return leg. As the trip came together, I realized it would be more lucrative to take advantage of the excursionist perk so I didn't book my outbound flight using AA miles and started trying to change my UA flight to a r/t with the stopover.

I went in and tried to change the o/w flight online by adding an outbound SFO-ZRH (via FRA) in J and an open jaw stop over ZRH-OPO also in J. When I tried to change it on the website, it actually showed up priced correctly, 57.5k + 0 but as soon as I selected the last leg, it would error out.

Frustrated I tried to break it into smaller pieces first by only adding the SFO-ZRH piece. This went through online. Once it was reticketed I went back to try to add the excursionist perk. This would let me make the change, but it was trying to charge me an additional 30k miles to ticket it in J now (interestingly enough if I tried to do it into Y it was not charging me anything extra).

So I figured I would try calling an agent. I got someone who looked it up and seemingly saw exactly what you see on the website, as has been alluded to, requesting an extra 30k miles. Fortunately she agreed it should be at no additional cost, so she put me on hold for about 10-15 mins. When she came back she said someone had fixed it and that I was good to go. She collected the additional tax and we ended the call. I then went and looked up the ticket online and could see the extra leg, but it was in Y.

At this point I almost gave up realizing it was going to be a junky intra-Europe flight anyways, but decided it was worth following up for luggage purposes. I called back and got a different agent who I explained the situation to, and who also agreed it should be no additional charge but could not change it on her end, so she put me on hold for about 10-15 mins. When she came back she said they had to manually process it and it was in the queue for resissuance but that I should be all set. This time I confirmed online that it was now booked into biz.

So moral of the story is, I was surprised the website let me make any changes at all compared to how clunky it used to be, but when stuff didn't work out right it took significantly longer to make it right.
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Old Dec 21, 16, 4:52 pm
  #914  
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Originally Posted by adambadam View Post
So moral of the story is, I was surprised the website let me make any changes at all compared to how clunky it used to be, but when stuff didn't work out right it took significantly longer to make it right.
I had a similar set of experiences with an upcoming trip. I had originally booked an OS/TG I outbound and TG O/LH I return as separate itineraries. Monday, O availability opened on my LH sector; however, there was no longer any available O on the corresponding TG flight. (In other words, I was offered TG I/LH O, were I to make a new booking). I went into the change tool and searched for flight options, and it showed me a TG O/LH O combination -- presumably, keeping th TG O segment from my current reservation. (!)

Yesterday, new availability opened up for my outbound, and I decided I'd like an excursionist perk. I cancelled my OS/TG outbound, used the online change tool on my TG/LH O return segment, and added in my outbound and excursionist flights. Although I ran into the same multi-city search weirdness as usual, where it only provided a subset of the possible results, I did find something I liked, so I booked LH/LH I (stopover) TG I; no problems.

Shortly thereafter, I decided to change the excursionist flight, but when I tried to do that, it was showing me a 25K mileage cost for business. So, I went back to the change tool and indicated I wanted to change both of my first two flights. I selected the same LH/LH combination I already had, then my new TG excursionist flight... and everything priced out properly.

(The most amazing part of all of this is that despite making all of these changes, and having the tickets reissued several times, the correct ticket number has shown up on the LH website immediately in each case).

TL;DR 1: Try re-doing the search for the entire outbound segment when attempting to change an excursionist perk
TL;DR 2: The online change tool is significantly better than the original post-merger one, which seemed to error out constantly.
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Old Dec 21, 16, 7:33 pm
  #915  
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ok, so I have a simple one way AAA-BBB-CCC-DDD-EEE - 4 segments, as per rule, that a nice agent manually priced for me about 2 weeks ago at the correct level.
Today I notived BBB-DDD opened up, all I wanted is to switch to the direct flight.

No can go. Tried about 4 agents and gave up. Reason: No more availablilty on AAA-BBB. Reason 2: If it doesnt show up as a origin-destination search, we cant book it. Have to re-search everything from beginning to end. Cant just do it by segment anymore.

This new system blows.

Would love to try it online, but its an SQ flight.
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