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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 Oct 30, 22, 12:09 pm   -   Wikipost
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Wiki Link
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 Jan 12, 18, 9:41 pm
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Flamenguista View Post
So, I'm guessing that theres something about it that is illegal. The layover is 23:55, so maybe United has a different rule than most (under 24 hours)?
No, it's just that UA ruined its award search engine in October 2016.

Originally Posted by Flamenguista View Post
Should I call in and try to have a rep book it?
You can try, but it probably won't work. Most agents can only book what you can see online.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 11:31 pm
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
No, it's just that UA ruined its award search engine in October 2016.
You can try, but it probably won't work. Most agents can only book what you can see online.
Actually, the search engine was never that great. They ruined the ability to stitch together awards, however.

The agent can probably book it, but it will likely price as Asia-North America + North America-South America, which is going to be considerably more miles than Asia - South America would be. It can't hurt to try, but this type of award is exactly what the October '16 changes were designed to eliminate.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 12:19 am
  #18  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Actually, the search engine was never that great. They ruined the ability to stitch together awards, however.
It was arguably the best of any major FFP program.

Along with limiting the ability to book multi-city as a single award, they also somehow limited the multi-segment itineraries it will return.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 12:36 am
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
It was arguably the best of any major FFP program.

Along with limiting the ability to book multi-city as a single award, they also somehow limited the multi-segment itineraries it will return.
The limit on multi-city search results goes back far beyond Oct '16 though. I agree that it's actually pretty good at finding one-way itineraries; if anything, it's too good, as it will often find way too many X/XN awards when I'm looking for I or O. But trying to hook things together in multi-city has been difficult for years, especially when trying to get creative.

I think the multi-city failures are more frustrating now with point-to-point pricing, though. There's no good reason that the one-way results should differ from the multi-city results, since it no longer has to validate the overall routing / stopover rules. And yet...

They could improve the award search markedly by making a few (relatively) simple changes, like removing the hard cap of 200 search results or making all of the filters search inputs rather than search outputs. However, improving the ability for people to redeem awards hasn't exactly been a priority...
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Old Jan 13, 18, 10:18 am
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The limit on multi-city search results goes back far beyond Oct '16 though. I agree that it's actually pretty good at finding one-way itineraries; if anything, it's too good, as it will often find way too many X/XN awards when I'm looking for I or O. But trying to hook things together in multi-city has been difficult for years, especially when trying to get creative.

I think the multi-city failures are more frustrating now with point-to-point pricing, though. There's no good reason that the one-way results should differ from the multi-city results, since it no longer has to validate the overall routing / stopover rules. And yet...

They could improve the award search markedly by making a few (relatively) simple changes, like removing the hard cap of 200 search results or making all of the filters search inputs rather than search outputs. However, improving the ability for people to redeem awards hasn't exactly been a priority...
I was searching for AUS-TXL for my SO and ORD-TXL for me. I could find AUS-ORD award flights and ORD-FRA, but couldn't get AUS-ORD-FRA. Fine, I'll get a ticket for her to fly AUS-IAH-FRA-TXL, and I'll fly ORD-FRA-TXL, and we'll meet up in FRA.

Both overwater flights landed in FRA around 12:00. The FRA-TXL leg on LH leaves every hour....for me it was showing options for the 13:00, 15:00, 17:00, and 18:00 flights. For her it was showing the 14:00, 16:00, and 18:00 flights. Even with calling they couldn't get us both on the 13:00 or 14:00. We had to fly separately or wait till the 18:00. Not the end of the world but really annoying, and I'm sure almost certainly a result of the 200 search result cap and the search filters applying to search output rather than returning 200 options that match your filtering criteria.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 4:47 pm
  #21  
 
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For award travel booked prior to November 1, 2017, has anyone successfully changed an itinerary without UA repricing the award to the current rate and charging rebooking fee?

Anything I'm overlooking that would allow me to change the travel below without facing a "refare" to the current rate?

The example I'm working on:

Two award tickets booked for SYD-BKK-SIN
Each booked in (I) for business travel at 30,000 miles each under the old rate (booked 10/28)
Tickets are separate, with one traveler a UA Gold and the other a UA Platinum
Space has opened up in (I) on a SYD-BKK-SIN itinerary two days later that offers better times (routing is the same, but dates will be different)
Travel is still >60 days away
UA wants 20,000 miles per traveler (the difference between the old business class award price and the current one) plus $25 or $50 or $75 per traveler (website and various phone agents have quoted various fees) to change the tickets

Thanks!
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Old Jan 13, 18, 7:18 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Far From Home View Post
For award travel booked prior to November 1, 2017, has anyone successfully changed an itinerary without UA repricing the award to the current rate and charging rebooking fee?
Unfortunately the reports have been pretty consistent that they are repricing these at the new rates. The only way you might get around it is if there's a schedule change on your existing flights. Otherwise I wouldn't bother calling.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 8:51 pm
  #23  
 
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Hello. Hopefully I'm in the right place (doubt it although I have been searching). Question please. The S/O and I are going on a multi-city trip for our B-Day: PHL-BUR (1/21-24 Universal City booked w/ 25K miles + $122), drive to PSP (1/24-27 Morongo Casino), PSP-LAS (1/27-30): my ? is here w/ trying to find out if it's best to use 20K + $111 a/i or UR points (25,920)? And finally LAS-PHL. We'll be doing that on Alaska ($303 a/i).
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Old Jan 14, 18, 1:12 am
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Unfortunately the reports have been pretty consistent that they are repricing these at the new rates. The only way you might get around it is if there's a schedule change on your existing flights. Otherwise I wouldn't bother calling.
Ah, this is what I had feared based on the lack of reports so far. Definitely have been able to finagle things based on schedule/aircraft changes, as you mention, but that's all so far. Thanks!
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Old Jan 14, 18, 1:08 pm
  #25  
 
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Is there some sort of rate/search limit when looking for award tickets? Twice already this weekend I don't get any Business Saver award results after a few searches within the same hour.

Could be an issue with partner airline availability, but just thought it was weird.
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Old Jan 14, 18, 1:16 pm
  #26  
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Originally Posted by motoridersd View Post
Is there some sort of rate/search limit when looking for award tickets? Twice already this weekend I don't get any Business Saver award results after a few searches within the same hour.

Could be an issue with partner airline availability, but just thought it was weird.
Not quite sure what you mean, but the backend query has a timeout and will give up after a set amount of time. This may lead to inconsistent results being returned.
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Old Jan 14, 18, 1:20 pm
  #27  
 
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Not quite sure what you mean, but the backend query has a timeout and will give up after a set amount of time. This may lead to inconsistent results being returned.
I'm looking for Business Saver tickets to/from different cities in Japan. There are a few options that come back with NH whenever I search, but it happened last night and again today where the results only give me Economy Saver results, and no Business or First availability. The dates are the same.

What I mean about rate or search limit is some kind of protection to avoid abuse where if you have searched for say 5 award tickets, it stops giving you results. It might not be directed at me, but maybe NH has some sort of limit when UA queries their availability. Results are inconsistent, so the backend query could be the problem. What's the best way to deal with that? Just wait and try again? There's usually a good amount of time between my searches as I consider options and dates, say 20-30 minutes.

I'm sure it will be back when I try again later.

Edit: Looks like a backend issue. No ANA sites are coming up when the Business Saver options disappear

Last edited by motoridersd; Jan 14, 18 at 2:37 pm
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Old Jan 15, 18, 1:51 am
  #28  
 
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Newbie using award miles

Hi
I have been collecting Mileageplus points for several years and so far my wife and I each have about 90K miles. We would now like to use these miles for a flight from Dublin to Dubai. There are award flights available typically for 200000 miles plus 100-200 so we are 20452 miles short, I plan to buy the additional miles.

I cannot make the award booking online as I don't have anywhaere near 200000 miles in my account, I need to use both my and my wife's miles.

Is it a simple matter of me buying the required miles into my account then phoning reservations/mileageplus and making the booking using both sets of miles?

TIA
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Old Jan 15, 18, 2:01 am
  #29  
 
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Yes, I think your only option is to buy the remaining miles.

If you were in the US, I would have suggested just getting a Chase credit card with a signup bonus and accumulate the miles through normal spending.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 4:05 am
  #30  
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Originally Posted by SandLake View Post
Is it a simple matter of me buying the required miles into my account then phoning reservations/mileageplus and making the booking using both sets of miles?

TIA
You will not be able to combine accounts for the purposes of getting an award.

However, if you're planning to come back from Dubai, you can buy one direction using your miles and one direction using hers. You'll have to pay twice the change/cancellation fees if you end up needing to modify the itinerary, but it will work. Or, if that represents two round-trip tickets, you can buy one round-trip with your miles and one with hers.

This is important, though, because it sounds like you may need to buy 10K miles in each account, not 20K miles in yours.

BTW -- search the forum for "Award Accelerator" for the cheapest way to buy miles. 20K miles should cost about US$400.
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