Separate award itins; irrops, bag check queries

Old Oct 24, 16, 11:34 pm
  #1  
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Separate award itins; irrops, bag check queries

Hi FT,

I have a couple UA awards booking for travel from US to Asia, and concerned about what happens in the event of irrops. Looking for any advice from the community... Here's my situation:

PNR #1 - 25,000 miles - economy standard award
06NOV - One way flight, departing DFW and arriving ORD at 12:50pm

PNR #2 - 120,000 miles - business saver award
06NOV - depart ORD at 4:15pm (so I have a 3hr 25min connection in ORD on two different awards bookings), arriving HND 07NOV
13NOV - depart HND, arrive HAN
19NOV - depart HAN, connect in ICN, connect in JFK (switch to LGA), further connect in ORD, back to MCI.

The reason these award bookings are on two separate PNRs is I didn't have the miles available to book all at once. So when originally booking #2, I was trying to combine it with a revenue ticket from DFW to ORD so it would all be on the same PNR..., but the UA 1k agent who was assisting me, said that wasn't possible to pay cash for one section and use miles for the rest on the same booking. She suggested that I book the more difficult PNR #2, and then call back later when I had the miles balance to add the DFW to ORD section. So I called back a month or so later and added it for 25k miles.

So my questions / concerns:
1. When I check in at DFW, if checking bags, would I be able to check them all the way through to HND?
2. In the event of irrops, would I be protected for the ORD connection from PNR #1 to PNR #2? Or am I out of luck? Clarifications...
2.a UA metal from DFW to ORD, then ANA metal to HND.... I don't want to get caught between each of them pointing the finger at the other...
2.b I am an idiot and paid the booking fees of around $85 with a debit card. I didn't realize paying the booking fees with a credit card would have triggered the trip protection from the credit card benefits.
If my concerns are valid, what possible fixes do I have? Does UA have any way to combine the two reservations into the same PNR? If not, would they be able to swap payment methods (essentially refunding the $85 to my debit card, and simultaneously charging a credit card for the same amount) in order to trigger travel benefits from the credit card? I don't particularly want to cancel the existing reservation in order to make a new one, especially as it appears my BizSaver award is no longer available...

NOTE: The routing is complicated by the fact that I'm meeting somebody in ORD to be on the same flight to HND.... It's his first flight in Biz, and I gifted him the ticket, so we wanted to experience the journey together.

Really appreciate any insight here. Thanks!
KOB
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Old Oct 24, 16, 11:42 pm
  #2  
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You should be able to through-check your bags, but give yourself plenty of time since it's apparently quite difficult to check bags across PNRs if both are on United (it's easier for *A partners). You need an experienced agent to so this. (Just noticed that ORD-HND is on NH, so that definitely helps.)

Officially, you are not protected across PNRs, though United is pretty good about helping out in the case of irrops.
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Old Oct 24, 16, 11:47 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by kcKOB View Post
.... So when originally booking #2, I was trying to combine it with a revenue ticket from DFW to ORD so it would all be on the same PNR..., but the UA 1k agent who was assisting me, said that wasn't possible to pay cash for one section and use miles for the rest on the same booking. ....
Agent is correct and you can not mix standard and saver award in the same direction. That was the real problem because if saver DFW-ORD was available, it would be at no additional miles. If availabiliy does pop up, you may be able to add to the main itin (for a change fee)


Originally Posted by kcKOB View Post
.... 1. When I check in at DFW, if checking bags, would I be able to check them all the way through to HND?
Yes but it may take some extra time, check in early
Originally Posted by kcKOB View Post
....2. In the event of irrops, would I be protected for the ORD connection from PNR #1 to PNR #2? Or am I out of luck? Clarifications...
Yes but not strictly required. A risk of two separate PNRs is there is no formal protection if the first goes bad. But UA generally will cover if the first is UA operated.
Originally Posted by kcKOB View Post
....2.a UA metal from DFW to ORD, then ANA metal to HND.... I don't want to get caught between each of them pointing the finger at the other...
ANA likely will not honor the UA issue but UA will find a way to route you on UA metal.
Originally Posted by kcKOB View Post
... Does UA have any way to combine the two reservations into the same PNR? ...
no

Originally Posted by kcKOB View Post
...., would they be able to swap payment methods (essentially refunding the $85 to my debit card, and simultaneously charging a credit card for the same amount) in order to trigger travel benefits from the credit card? ...
Maybe in the first 24 hours after booking, but generally no.

{BTW, You title is a bit too generic, so I will give it an edit to improve the focus.
WineCountryUA, UA coModerator}
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Old Oct 25, 16, 1:18 am
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I have taken similar pairs of flights for reasons that made sense at the time.

A few things that are a little dicey here:

(1) If you're having trouble at DFW, for example the DFW-ORD plane can't take off due to a mechanical problem, you will probably find that United agents at the airport are only willing to help you to get to ORD. If it looks like you will misconnect on a separate reservation once you get to ORD, some agents will sympathize, but most will probably advise you to contact Reservations to get help rebooking your ORD-HND if any rebooking is needed due to any problem on the first sector.

(2) Once you get to ORD, you should be good to go. Worst case is that you misconnect on ORD-HND due to a late arrival from DFW-ORD; in this case, technically the carrier has no obligation to get you to where you're going (you no showed!) but in practice they will try to help, especially with a good reason for your absence like "a *A partner failed to get me here on time."

It's a little tricky that the operating carrier on your intl sector ORD-HND is ANA rather than United -- in principle, NH staff could be less willing to handle day-of-travel rebooking issues especially if they are due to UA irrops. I have no personal experience here with NH at ORD, no idea how willing they are to help with a UA award pax who misses their flight due to late inbound arrival of a separate UA ticket, but hopefully things will work out.

So let's say the worst case thing happens, DFW-ORD is delayed six hours due to mx and you arrive in ORD after ORD-HND has departed. Do you ask for help at the ANA gate? They might all be gone for the day! Or do you ask for help at the United Club or at a customer service desk? You're traveling on a UA issued ticket, so *maybe* they can help, and a good agent would rebook you onto UA metal due to a UA caused misconnect (albeit in a scenario where UA did not promise with a single ticket to carry you!). But bad agents *might* say hey, this is award ticket stuff, we don't know what to do, let's call MileagePlus.

In the very worst case if NH were to totally refuse to help and UA were not able to help at the airport, you could still get UA's help to rebook your flights, although if you misconnected at ORD in the very worst case you would probably have to rebook your entire award itinerary from scratch.
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Old Oct 25, 16, 1:29 am
  #5  
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With two tickets and two PNRs, note that you could face two change fees if the domestic flight becomes available at saver level and you try to add it to the first PNR to save miles. One change fee would be to cancel and redeposit the 25,000 miles for your current domestic ticket and the second fee to add the segment to the TPAC award ticket. If you try this, be careful that you don't risk having the agent lose your ANA award inventory, etc.
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Old Oct 25, 16, 8:14 am
  #6  
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OP is a plat and can cancel the first flight no issues. 25K is a waste, considering even today, that flight is $139 one way.
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Old Oct 25, 16, 9:07 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by kcKOB View Post
Hi FT,

So my questions / concerns:
1. When I check in at DFW, if checking bags, would I be able to check them all the way through to HND?
2. In the event of irrops, would I be protected for the ORD connection from PNR #1 to PNR #2? Or am I out of luck? Clarifications...
2.a UA metal from DFW to ORD, then ANA metal to HND.... I don't want to get caught between each of them pointing the finger at the other...
2.b I am an idiot and paid the booking fees of around $85 with a debit card. I didn't realize paying the booking fees with a credit card would have triggered the trip protection from the credit card benefits.
As noted earlier, UA should be able to check the bags through - simply have a copy of PNR # 2 itinerary with you when you check in. Don't use the kiosk, as an agent will need to help with this.

In the event of IRROPS, contrary to earlier responses - NO - you are not protected between different PNRs. There is no finger pointing required - if you do not show up at ORD in time to board your NH flight, you'll simply be a no-show. You bought two tickets with two separate destinations, and this is a problem with bookng things separately - there is no protection. Ticket # 1 requires UA to get you to ORD, and that's it. Ticket # 2 requires ANA to get you to HND (and then onward to HAN at the later date). Please note that no one is required to help you in case UA does not get you to ORD on time - they can tell you to buy a new ticket if you want to get to HND.

Don't mean to be harsh - but that is a risk. Yes, paying bookng fees with a credit card with insurance would have helped - but it is too late for that. As an aside, there are many reasons I don't pay for anything with a debit card - a credit card gives you more protection, in general.
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Old Oct 25, 16, 11:18 am
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Agent is correct and you can not mix standard and saver award in the same direction. That was the real problem because if saver DFW-ORD was available, it would be at no additional miles. If availabiliy does pop up, you may be able to add to the main itin (for a change fee)
Thanks to all the responses so far. Question on this... Saver space has now become available for the DFW to ORD leg, but it is Economy and not Biz. Would I be able to add that leg to the main itin as you suggest?

Thanks again!
KOB
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Old Oct 25, 16, 11:52 am
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Yes, you can. And it should be no fee, even due to the new October 6 rules.

I would add it, have it ticketed, and then add a waitlist for First (not Business on this leg).
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Old Oct 25, 16, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by aacharya View Post
Yes, you can. And it should be no fee, even due to the new October 6 rules.

I would add it, have it ticketed, and then add a waitlist for First (not Business on this leg).
Just spent almost 80 minutes on two separate phone calls with the 1k line. First agent put me on hold for almost 40 minutes and then the line mysteriously disconnected. I called back, and spoke to a second agent.... she put me on hold as well, and then when she finally came back, she explained that the DFW-ORD segment couldn't be added to the main itin. Rather, they would have to cancel the entire main itin and reticket with the DFW-ORD leg included. Unfortunately that isn't an option because Saver space is no longer available on the NH segment (or likely the rest of the international itin).

Any other thoughts? I don't get the idea I would have any better luck by calling back and getting a different agent...

Thanks,
KOB
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Old Oct 25, 16, 3:34 pm
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Originally Posted by kcKOB View Post
Just spent almost 80 minutes on two separate phone calls with the 1k line. First agent put me on hold for almost 40 minutes and then the line mysteriously disconnected. I called back, and spoke to a second agent.... she put me on hold as well, and then when she finally came back, she explained that the DFW-ORD segment couldn't be added to the main itin. Rather, they would have to cancel the entire main itin and reticket with the DFW-ORD leg included. Unfortunately that isn't an option because Saver space is no longer available on the NH segment (or likely the rest of the international itin).

Any other thoughts? I don't get the idea I would have any better luck by calling back and getting a different agent...

Thanks,
KOB
That is quite wrong (Sadly). They can totally add the DFW_ORD saver space to your second itinerary with no difficulty. It is just that after Oct-6, they seem to not want do such things.
But, yes, absolutely they can do it.
And you should get waitlisted for saver first for the first segment as mentioned by a previous poster.
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Old Oct 25, 16, 4:19 pm
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Originally Posted by kcKOB View Post
I don't get the idea I would have any better luck by calling back and getting a different agent...
Definitely call back, a few times if you have to. This is a massive savings for you, getting back not only 25K miles but also gaining protection in case of irrops on the DTW-ORD leg.

Calling after 9 or 10pm Pacific Time will get you a shot at the HNL agents, who will do this with no trouble.
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Old Oct 25, 16, 7:33 pm
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Originally Posted by kcKOB View Post
Just spent almost 80 minutes on two separate phone calls with the 1k line. First agent put me on hold for almost 40 minutes and then the line mysteriously disconnected. I called back, and spoke to a second agent.... she put me on hold as well, and then when she finally came back, she explained that the DFW-ORD segment couldn't be added to the main itin. Rather, they would have to cancel the entire main itin and reticket with the DFW-ORD leg included. Unfortunately that isn't an option because Saver space is no longer available on the NH segment (or likely the rest of the international itin).

Any other thoughts? I don't get the idea I would have any better luck by calling back and getting a different agent...

Thanks,
KOB
Could try, but is it possibly a married segment issue? i.e. perhaps available as standalone DFW-ORD, but not DFW-HND (via ORD)? Not sure if that would prevent them completely from adding separately or not, but is possible it would.
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Old Oct 25, 16, 7:45 pm
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A 40 minute hold seems odd. Call back...
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Old Oct 25, 16, 8:50 pm
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I'll be calling back this evening to see if I have any better luck. But before I do, I thought it might simplify things if I simply cancel the DFW-ORD segment; then I could call and just request the additional segment be added to the main itin. Much easier to explain to the agents that way. But.....

When I went to cancel the DFW-ORD award segment, it says my refund is 12,500 miles. But my receipt for the reservation clearly shows 25,000 miles were used. That has to be a mistake, right?
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