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UA award booking, change questions / issues / routing / excursionist problems / help

UA award booking, change questions / issues / routing / excursionist problems / help

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Old Jul 27, 22, 12:42 am   -   Wikipost
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United's Announcement and FAQ

Kacee's Interpretation

Main Impact Since October 6, 2016
  • Fee Changes - for example, 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 or build itineraries 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
EveryDay Awards - UA MP award changes 1 Nov 2017 (Everyday award/dynamic price, No RTW, No Show fee,..)
principle change - Standard awards being replaced by "EveryDay Award" with variable pricing

What is the Excursionist Perk?
The Excursionist Perk is a free one-way award within select multi-city itineraries. Members who book an itinerary with three or more one-way awards will be eligible to receive one of those one-way awards for free, if it meets all of these conditions:
The Excursionist Perk cannot be in the MileagePlus defined region where your travel originates. (For example, if your journey begins in North America, you will only receive the Excursionist Perk if travel is within a region outside of North America.)
  • Travel must end in the same MileagePlus defined region where travel originates.
  • The origin and destination of the Excursionist Perk is within a single MileagePlus defined region.
  • The cabin of service and award type of the free one-way award is the same or lower than the one-way award preceding it.
  • If two or more one-way awards qualify for this benefit, only the first occurrence will be free.


Previous thread -- Updates to UA MP Multi-City Award Travel & Award Fee Changes (Post Oct 2016){Archive}
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Old Sep 9, 21, 7:09 pm
  #1741  
 
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Originally Posted by BOSskier View Post
Sorry, that's a valid data point I should have included. Time apparently flies when you're in a pandemic, as it was ticketed late January of this year (2021). Perhaps there was more flexibility permitted at that point for various reasons.
It can be done if the agent knows what they are doing, unfortunately UA only wants you to be able to book the 200 AI generated results. Doing it the way you described requires a lot of manual work by the agent so YMMV on the answer you get with which agent you speak to
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Old Sep 9, 21, 8:26 pm
  #1742  
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Originally Posted by N104UA View Post
I think I know what the issue is here after playing around on the UA website. I am guessing for your Hawaii to Mainland flight it is in coach creating a mixed cabin award ticket.
Mixed-class tickets have definitely created excursionist perk issues, so I suspect you're right.

Originally Posted by N104UA View Post
It can be done if the agent knows what they are doing, unfortunately UA only wants you to be able to book the 200 AI generated results. Doing it the way you described requires a lot of manual work by the agent so YMMV on the answer you get with which agent you speak to
The reason that it's a lot of manual work is that you're asking an agent to break the pricing rules. At this point, this isn't really any different than seeing a pizza advertised at $15 and calling and trying to get it for $10 because that's what you paid five years ago.
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Old Sep 10, 21, 1:09 am
  #1743  
 
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Hi all; I have a booking scenario question/hypothesis and was wondering if someone could confirm. I think I remember reading on FT someone saying for excursionist bookings; if the excursionist leg has multiple segments and a change needs to be made, all segments must have availability since that leg needs to be re-ticketed segment by segment.

The reason I am curious is because I have a multi city itinerary with a US domestic excursionist portion connecting through DEN.

At the time of booking XXX - DEN - YYY had about a 5 hour connection. Both segments had (XN) availability. There were flights with a smaller connection for DEN - YYY however they all had YN and werenít bookable.

As of this writing, however, excitedly I saw all of these earlier flights having XN just opened up for DEN - YYY. United shows these segments individually having XN. However, individually XXX - DEN now only has YN availability. As a result searching for the full leg with both segments included shoes the class as only being available for YN.

I talked to two separate agents; the first didnít know what I was talking about with the excursionist perk at all. The second understood where I was coming from since he agreed he could see the XN availability for the second segment and I already had booked the first segment at XN which wasnít being changed just the second. He said he wasnít able to change it and instead quoted me a 20K mileage difference which is laughable.

Basically do both segments need to have XN to change one of them? Seems counter intuitive but that seems how the system seems to be designed. Any tips?
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Old Sep 10, 21, 7:58 am
  #1744  
 
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Originally Posted by MechMachine View Post
Hi all; I have a booking scenario question/hypothesis and was wondering if someone could confirm. I think I remember reading on FT someone saying for excursionist bookings; if the excursionist leg has multiple segments and a change needs to be made, all segments must have availability since that leg needs to be re-ticketed segment by segment.

The reason I am curious is because I have a multi city itinerary with a US domestic excursionist portion connecting through DEN.

At the time of booking XXX - DEN - YYY had about a 5 hour connection. Both segments had (XN) availability. There were flights with a smaller connection for DEN - YYY however they all had YN and werenít bookable.

As of this writing, however, excitedly I saw all of these earlier flights having XN just opened up for DEN - YYY. United shows these segments individually having XN. However, individually XXX - DEN now only has YN availability. As a result searching for the full leg with both segments included shoes the class as only being available for YN.

I talked to two separate agents; the first didnít know what I was talking about with the excursionist perk at all. The second understood where I was coming from since he agreed he could see the XN availability for the second segment and I already had booked the first segment at XN which wasnít being changed just the second. He said he wasnít able to change it and instead quoted me a 20K mileage difference which is laughable.

Basically do both segments need to have XN to change one of them? Seems counter intuitive but that seems how the system seems to be designed. Any tips?
yes both segments need to have availability as you are changing the XXX-YYY ticket. If you are a premier you can always SDC to the earlier flight or if not do same day standby. You can also just keep an eye on it and something might open it.
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Old Sep 10, 21, 8:04 am
  #1745  
 
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Worst case, UA now lets you standby for earlier flights for free, so if you have to keep the 5 hour DEN layover you can try for the earlier flights while you're there.
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Old Sep 10, 21, 8:22 am
  #1746  
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Originally Posted by MechMachine View Post
Hi all; I have a booking scenario question/hypothesis and was wondering if someone could confirm. I think I remember reading on FT someone saying for excursionist bookings; if the excursionist leg has multiple segments and a change needs to be made, all segments must have availability since that leg needs to be re-ticketed segment by segment.
Not quite. There's nothing special about the Excursionist leg when it comes to the way inventory is handled. What you may be thinking of is that all downline partner segments must have current inventory for any change, including a change to the Excursionist Perk.

Originally Posted by MechMachine View Post
Basically do both segments need to have XN to change one of them? Seems counter intuitive but that seems how the system seems to be designed. Any tips?
(I'll use DEN-YYY to refer to your existing flight and DEN-YYY' to refer to your desired flight).

You can't change just one of them, because they're not ticketed separately. The DEN-YYY' inventory doesn't matter in the slightest. The only thing that matters is the XXX-(DEN)-YYY' inventory, which can be managed separately from XXX-DEN and DEN-YYY'. The same would be true for a cash ticket, BTW -- if you were booked on a K fare from XXX-(DEN)-YYY, and saw K inventory on the earlier DEN-YYY' flight, you still wouldn't be able to switch to it unless XXX-(DEN)-YYY' also had K inventory.

It wouldn't be any different if this were a one-way award or your outbound or return flight -- you have to look at the inventory from origin to destination, not the inventory on the individual legs.

In other words, yes, that's how it works, and no, there's not likely to be a workaround to try to get it to price the way you want it.
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Old Sep 10, 21, 9:51 am
  #1747  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The reason that it's a lot of manual work is that you're asking an agent to break the pricing rules. At this point, this isn't really any different than seeing a pizza advertised at $15 and calling and trying to get it for $10 because that's what you paid five years ago.
I disagree with you on this point, the ticket purchased is an HOU-SYD ticket that is not creating any stopovers. UA fare routing and pricing permits connections in Asia on US48 to Australia tickets (even on award tickets), it is just the limitation on number of search results that UA.com provides, if UA increased the search results limitation from 200 to 1,000 results I am sure the OPs requested routing would be shown. For instance I was able to find a 3 segment saver fare from SAT-SYD with connections in LAX and ICN on April 5. The routing on US48 to SYD with a connection in the US and Asia is available it is just not shown on the menu, if you want an analogy I think it is more similar to going to In-N-Out and ordering a Cheeseburger Animal Style off the "Secret Menu" vs asking for a discount of the price of the burger.

I still think OP should try to call in again and see if he can find an agent willing to use the back end system which they can still use if they know what they are doing. It doesn't break any pricing rules because the fare still has to auto-validate when the agent issues the ticket.
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Old Sep 10, 21, 11:41 pm
  #1748  
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Originally Posted by N104UA View Post
I disagree with you on this point, the ticket purchased is an HOU-SYD ticket that is not creating any stopovers.
Unfortunately, that's irrelevant.

Not to belabor the point, but you're living in the past. There is no award chart. There are no rules here. I understand what you're saying -- under the covers, the fares still exist, and they have fare rules, and you might even be able to get them to price. But UA has unilaterally declared that they're going to price an award according to unpublished rules.

Originally Posted by N104UA View Post
I still think OP should try to call in again and see if he can find an agent willing to use the back end system which they can still use if they know what they are doing. It doesn't break any pricing rules because the fare still has to auto-validate when the agent issues the ticket.
It seems that UA has divorced pricing from the fare rules for award tickets.

By encouraging people to call in and badger employees to break the rules -- or to use an alternative set of rules -- you are advancing the day when UA comes in and does something even more obnoxious.

Agents have specifically been instructed not to do what you're asking.
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Old Sep 11, 21, 12:10 pm
  #1749  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Not quite. There's nothing special about the Excursionist leg when it comes to the way inventory is handled. What you may be thinking of is that all downline partner segments must have current inventory for any change, including a change to the Excursionist Perk.


(I'll use DEN-YYY to refer to your existing flight and DEN-YYY' to refer to your desired flight).

You can't change just one of them, because they're not ticketed separately. The DEN-YYY' inventory doesn't matter in the slightest. The only thing that matters is the XXX-(DEN)-YYY' inventory, which can be managed separately from XXX-DEN and DEN-YYY'. The same would be true for a cash ticket, BTW -- if you were booked on a K fare from XXX-(DEN)-YYY, and saw K inventory on the earlier DEN-YYY' flight, you still wouldn't be able to switch to it unless XXX-(DEN)-YYY' also had K inventory.

It wouldn't be any different if this were a one-way award or your outbound or return flight -- you have to look at the inventory from origin to destination, not the inventory on the individual legs.

In other words, yes, that's how it works, and no, there's not likely to be a workaround to try to get it to price the way you want it.
Originally Posted by N104UA View Post
yes both segments need to have availability as you are changing the XXX-YYY ticket. If you are a premier you can always SDC to the earlier flight or if not do same day standby. You can also just keep an eye on it and something might open it.
Originally Posted by fightingsioux09 View Post
Worst case, UA now lets you standby for earlier flights for free, so if you have to keep the 5 hour DEN layover you can try for the earlier flights while you're there.
Thanks so much for the advice everyone! Always appreciate the help and learn something new from here .
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Old Sep 11, 21, 2:59 pm
  #1750  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Unfortunately, that's irrelevant.

Not to belabor the point, but you're living in the past. There is no award chart. There are no rules here. I understand what you're saying -- under the covers, the fares still exist, and they have fare rules, and you might even be able to get them to price. But UA has unilaterally declared that they're going to price an award according to unpublished rules.


It seems that UA has divorced pricing from the fare rules for award tickets.

By encouraging people to call in and badger employees to break the rules -- or to use an alternative set of rules -- you are advancing the day when UA comes in and does something even more obnoxious.

Agents have specifically been instructed not to do what you're asking.
You literally said there are no rules, so how can you ask agents to break rules that dont exist?
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Old Sep 11, 21, 3:19 pm
  #1751  
 
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Originally Posted by MechMachine View Post
Thanks so much for the advice everyone! Always appreciate the help and learn something new from here .
jsloan Was able to get this changed.. I think. inventory was updated overnight it seems. Iíve noticed a majority of my schedule change notifications I get occur after Friday evening CST - does United do a bulk of their changes loaded into the system then or just a coincidence?

Also in reference to your comment of XXX - (DEN) - YYY inventory being managed separately from individual segments; this happened:

XXX - DEN changed from YN to XN overnight and DEN - YYY remained at XN so both segments were XN. I wasnít able to change online but I fed both segments to the agent and they saw XN on each and changed the later DEN - YYY for me so I had a shorter connection. However when I searched for the full XXX - (DEN) - YYY it was still showing YN?
When the agent changed my flight I didnít pay any fare difference but I looked at my itinerary and those two flights are now at YN instead of XN in my reservation. Did the agent have the authority to change since both segments individually were XN but had to force price it at YN? They said Iíd get a receipt within 24 hours; so not sure if it will stick? Iíve always gotten a receipt relatively quickly after talking to an agent after a change. I didnít get seats assigned on either flight - app and website just lists ďSeatsĒ in the place where usually would say the seat selection for each flight in the itinerary.

I reread your comment and ďBTW -- if you were booked on a K fare from XXX-(DEN)-YYY, and saw K inventory on the earlier DEN-YYY' flight, you still wouldn't be able to switch to it unless XXX-(DEN)-YYY' also had K inventory.Ē Stood out to me; as I was under the impression that both segments needed XN and Iíd be fine also based on what N104UA stated, but if I understand you correctly both segments individually need XN and also the full XXX-YYY routing needs XN as well because technically we are talking about 3 pieces of inventory that are managed separately.

Last edited by MechMachine; Sep 11, 21 at 3:29 pm
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Old Sep 12, 21, 5:25 am
  #1752  
 
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So odd one on our TATL home yesterday....

Was booked GVA-LHR on LX I inventory, UA LHR-IAD on IN. We had booked it with 8 hours at LHR because that's what .com offered and at the time of booking we thought things were heading in the right direction to allow us to spend a good chunk of time exploring London. Since that wasn't to be, we inquired at the transfer desk (after having no luck with reservations due to inventory) about standing by for 919 4 hours earlier.

Agent at the transfer desk was super helpful and got us moved to 919 and flight was wonderful (incl. an in flight moment of silence at 9:04edt)... But I noticed after landing the reservation is showing our "upgrade" as being confirmed and us in PZ inventory instead... Is this normal/likely to cause a y issues with the last segment in the PNR?
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Old Sep 12, 21, 8:46 am
  #1753  
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Originally Posted by N104UA View Post
You literally said there are no rules, so how can you ask agents to break rules that dont exist?
The rule is the computer says what the price is. There are no rules for what the computer can do, but asking an agent to price something manually is a violation of the one rule.

Originally Posted by MechMachine View Post
jsloan Was able to get this changed.. I think. inventory was updated overnight it seems. Iíve noticed a majority of my schedule change notifications I get occur after Friday evening CST - does United do a bulk of their changes loaded into the system then or just a coincidence?
Yes, UA tends to do bulk schedule updates on Friday nights, although they've actually been spreading them out recently.

Originally Posted by MechMachine View Post
Also in reference to your comment of XXX - (DEN) - YYY inventory being managed separately from individual segments; this happened:

XXX - DEN changed from YN to XN overnight and DEN - YYY remained at XN so both segments were XN. I wasnít able to change online but I fed both segments to the agent and they saw XN on each and changed the later DEN - YYY for me so I had a shorter connection. However when I searched for the full XXX - (DEN) - YYY it was still showing YN?
When the agent changed my flight I didnít pay any fare difference but I looked at my itinerary and those two flights are now at YN instead of XN in my reservation. Did the agent have the authority to change since both segments individually were XN but had to force price it at YN? They said Iíd get a receipt within 24 hours; so not sure if it will stick? Iíve always gotten a receipt relatively quickly after talking to an agent after a change. I didnít get seats assigned on either flight - app and website just lists ďSeatsĒ in the place where usually would say the seat selection for each flight in the itinerary.
It sounds like you got an agent who either didn't know how the system was supposed to work or disagreed with it. I suspect that they looked at the individual availability, decided on their own that it should be a legal change, and when the computer rejected it, updated the fare class until it was accepted. As long as you don't make any further changes to the itinerary, I suspect you will be able to keep your new flights. I'm not sure what's going on with the seats, though. Does your record look clean? You see the new flights, and not the old flights?

Originally Posted by MechMachine View Post
I reread your comment and ďBTW -- if you were booked on a K fare from XXX-(DEN)-YYY, and saw K inventory on the earlier DEN-YYY' flight, you still wouldn't be able to switch to it unless XXX-(DEN)-YYY' also had K inventory.Ē Stood out to me; as I was under the impression that both segments needed XN and Iíd be fine also based on what N104UA stated, but if I understand you correctly both segments individually need XN and also the full XXX-YYY routing needs XN as well because technically we are talking about 3 pieces of inventory that are managed separately.
Well, actually, you don't technically need XN on the individual flights, but you do(/are supposed to) need it on XXX-YYY. For example, you'll occasionally see someone report, e.g., EWR-SFO-SBA has XN inventory but EWR-SFO does not.

Originally Posted by lincolnjkc View Post
Agent at the transfer desk was super helpful and got us moved to 919 and flight was wonderful (incl. an in flight moment of silence at 9:04edt)... But I noticed after landing the reservation is showing our "upgrade" as being confirmed and us in PZ inventory instead... Is this normal/likely to cause a y issues with the last segment in the PNR?
It's definitely not normal, but it's likely the same situation as MechMachine; IN space probably wasn't available, so the agent forced inventory into the lowest fare class that was open. In general, as long as you don't make any further changes, I wouldn't expect the ticket to be revalidated, so I wouldn't expect any issues. Did the agent change your downline segment? If not, there's virtually no chance of an issue -- and if there is any issue, it can be cleared up easily by an agent removing the out-of-sync segments from the PNR.
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Old Sep 12, 21, 9:25 am
  #1754  
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Originally Posted by N104UA View Post
I still think OP should try to call in again and see if he can find an agent willing to use the back end system which they can still use if they know what they are doing.
These tools absolutely do exist, but as alluded, not all agents are trained or empowered to use them. I'd probably only push the issue if a schedule change had messed up an existing award. The usefulness of UA miles has dropped so much, I've pretty much given up on investing any effort trying to book beyond what the website returns.
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Old Sep 12, 21, 9:34 am
  #1755  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
These tools absolutely do exist, but as alluded, not all agents are trained or empowered to use them. I'd probably only push the issue if a schedule change had messed up an existing award. The usefulness of UA miles has dropped so much, I've pretty much given up on investing any effort trying to book beyond what the website returns.
I never push, I just say "trying to build a PNR where I am seeing saver award inventory available when I search segments individually but I can seem to find the routing online when I search the trip as a whole, anything you can do to help me?". If the agent says they can't do anything I just say thank you and end the call, never would think about pushing, I have found that if you push agents, even when someone is explicitly permitted, such as "Waitlist for I" it doesn't do any good.
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