Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

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

Old Jan 19, 2017, 10:23 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Main Impact
  • 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 basically requires current availability for all existing Os&Ds in the PNR (as if a brand new booking is made)
  • 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 -- UA award booking,change questions/fees/issues/routing/excursionist problems {Archive}


Print Wikipost

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

Old Jan 24, 2023, 6:45 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: St. Peters, MO - USA
Programs: AA, DL, UA (Silver), WN
Posts: 119
Question UA to Thailand

Originally Posted by ChrisKSDF
Hi,

I’m looking for a one way F award from LAX to BKK and for the past couple of days the “First” column has completely disappeared from the search results no matter which day I search. I’ve never seen this before - even if there was no F availability in the past, at least the column was still there with “Not Available” showing on every flight row. Bug?

Thanks!
What are the chances that United Airlines actually re-assumes direct service to Thailand?
I remember taking direct flights all the way from STL>ORD>NRT>BKK. It was convenient, and with ideal flights/connections I could make that trip in about 30 hours!
Is Thailand no longer a good money making source for UA?
Kind of wondering.....
Menko in St. Louis
Menko is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2023, 6:54 pm
  #32  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,320
Originally Posted by ZenFlyer
Hi all: I find myself needing to modify one segment of an upcoming award itinerary. I've never had to do this before, so have not been paying much attention to the rules for that up until now, and I'm worried I may have now gotten myself in a bit of a bind.

The itinerary is XXX - IAH - SYD. I want to keep the same day, same routing, same IAH - SYD flight, I only want to change the domestic XXX - IAH leg so that we are departing earlier in the day. When I look at the "change" option online, it reprices the entire itinerary to the tune of 150K additional per ticket (300 K total) 😮, which I don't have, and even if I had it wouldn't want to pay. Frustratingly, the price increase clearly has nothing to do with the XXX - IAH flight that I want to change, and everything to do with the IAH - SYD flight that I don't want to change. The flight is about 40 days away.

I'm wondering what my best option would be in this situation:. Obviously I can continue to monitor the award pricing to see if it drops, but I think the chances of that are slim. I'm guessing I could also wait and try to do a SDC, but even if that's possible it's not a gamble I'm willing to take.
  • Is there any chance an agent would be able (and willing) to simply swap out the first segment if I call, or are they bound by the same constraints?
  • Can I drop the first segment from the itinerary without affecting the IAH-SYD leg, and then rebook the first segment separately as either a revenue or separate award fare? (It's a short, cheap hop on its own). Assuming that's possible, I assume we'd have to retrieve and re-check bags at IAH, which is not ideal but which we would now have plenty of time to do.
  • Anything else?
Many thanks in advance for helping to walk me through this!
Do you have any status with UA?

The agents aren't supposed to do any of what you're asking. And, you may be mistaken -- it may very well have something to do with your domestic leg: unless there is saver space in some cabin of each leg, UA won't offer you a saver fare. They're also not supposed to allow you to change origin without repricing. You may get a sympathetic agent, but there are no guarantees.

same-day change or same-day standby might be possibilities. Are you just worried about mossing a connection, or...?

Originally Posted by Menko
What are the chances that United Airlines actually re-assumes direct service to Thailand?
I remember taking direct flights all the way from STL>ORD>NRT>BKK. It was convenient, and with ideal flights/connections I could make that trip in about 30 hours!
Is Thailand no longer a good money making source for UA?
Kind of wondering.....
Menko in St. Louis
That's a question of constant speculation on the forum. UA's strategy has pivoted away from the former NRT hub because they can reach more destinations nonstop from SFO or other US hubs. BKK is not a high-yilelding destination -- there's not a ton of business travel there at the moment. So, I wouldn't get my hopes up.
SPN Lifer likes this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2023, 7:45 pm
  #33  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: St. Peters, MO - USA
Programs: AA, DL, UA (Silver), WN
Posts: 119
Thanks for the reply - jsloan!
jsloan likes this.
Menko is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2023, 8:08 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Washington, D.C.
Programs: AA, but I play the field
Posts: 1,436
Originally Posted by jsloan
Do you have any status with UA?

The agents aren't supposed to do any of what you're asking. And, you may be mistaken -- it may very well have something to do with your domestic leg: unless there is saver space in some cabin of each leg, UA won't offer you a saver fare. They're also not supposed to allow you to change origin without repricing. You may get a sympathetic agent, but there are no guarantees.

same-day change or same-day standby might be possibilities. Are you just worried about mossing a connection, or...?
Thanks so much for the response. I am a Lowly Silver, so I keep my expectations in check with respect to status. Yes, I've become increasingly concerned about the possibility of missing the connection -- I had been focused allowing enough connection time, but what I just realized now is that we are on the last flight of the day on any airline to IAH. So if there is a hiccup with that flight, there is no backup, we will miss the flight to Sydney.

I did check and there is award availability for the earlier flight -- I'm not sure if it is "saver" fare per se but it is currently cheaper than the flight we are on (17.3 K versus 20.9 K)
ZenFlyer is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2023, 8:31 pm
  #35  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,320
Originally Posted by ZenFlyer
Thanks so much for the response. I am a Lowly Silver, so I keep my expectations in check with respect to status. Yes, I've become increasingly concerned about the possibility of missing the connection -- I had been focused allowing enough connection time, but what I just realized now is that we are on the last flight of the day on any airline to IAH. So if there is a hiccup with that flight, there is no backup, we will miss the flight to Sydney.

I did check and there is award availability for the earlier flight -- I'm not sure if it is "saver" fare per se but it is currently cheaper than the flight we are on (17.3 K versus 20.9 K)
Silver isn't nothing -- it will get you through to UA ahead of the masses, and may increase your likelihood of getting a more experienced agent (although those are few and far between these days).

What class of service are you booked in? It's hard to tell from your prices, which sounded like business class at first but now sound like economy when you're talking about sub-20K for the domestic leg.

I suspect there's an excellent chance that a party of 2, with status, could clear into economy on an earlier flight via standby. That said, you might get an agent at your departure airport to take pity on you and confirm you early, especially if the later flight looks at all dicey.

That said, though, it seems to me that you may be focusing on the wrong problem. Your goal isn't to get to IAH -- it's to get to SYD. If the IAH flight is mucked up, are there other options to get you to LAX or SFO in time to catch those departures? Alternatively, does IAH-AKL operate on your date? There's a possibility UA would put you onto that if you misconnected (no guarantees; some agents will insist on needing award space for routing onto a partner, even during IRROPS, even though it's not supposed to be necessary).
jsloan is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2023, 8:46 pm
  #36  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Washington, D.C.
Programs: AA, but I play the field
Posts: 1,436
Originally Posted by jsloan
Silver isn't nothing -- it will get you through to UA ahead of the masses, and may increase your likelihood of getting a more experienced agent (although those are few and far between these days).

What class of service are you booked in? It's hard to tell from your prices, which sounded like business class at first but now sound like economy when you're talking about sub-20K for the domestic leg.

I suspect there's an excellent chance that a party of 2, with status, could clear into economy on an earlier flight via standby. That said, you might get an agent at your departure airport to take pity on you and confirm you early, especially if the later flight looks at all dicey.

That said, though, it seems to me that you may be focusing on the wrong problem. Your goal isn't to get to IAH -- it's to get to SYD. If the IAH flight is mucked up, are there other options to get you to LAX or SFO in time to catch those departures? Alternatively, does IAH-AKL operate on your date? There's a possibility UA would put you onto that if you misconnected (no guarantees; some agents will insist on needing award space for routing onto a partner, even during IRROPS, even though it's not supposed to be necessary).
Thanks so much for helping me to think this through. It was a mixed class award, so we're in Y for the domestic leg, and J for the IAH-SYD leg.

It's a good point you raise about focusing instead on SYD. I always feel funny/superstitious about posting my actual itinerary, but I'll just be bold this time and reveal (lol) that the departing airport is STL, and unfortunately, the options from there to both SFO and LAX require an extra stop through ORD or DEN. So that's why the IAH awards were such a great find when we got them. The AKL flight is indeed operating that evening so could indeed be a potential backup, though I take the point about no guarantees.
jsloan likes this.
ZenFlyer is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2023, 10:02 pm
  #37  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,320
Originally Posted by ZenFlyer
Thanks so much for helping me to think this through. It was a mixed class award, so we're in Y for the domestic leg, and J for the IAH-SYD leg.
OK. So that's a business class saver redemption which is allowed to be redeemed into a lower cabin when there is no saver award space in the ticketed cabin. That means that you're looking for saver business class awards or saver economy awards on STL-IAH. Although an agent isn't supposed to do this, if you see any, you could certainly ask to be moved. Saver awards would be 12.5K or less in economy or 25K in business. One loophole might be, if you see saver business, and the agent won't just put you on it, ask if you can be waitlisted on it instead. If you see the space, your waitlist would immediately clear, and then you'd just have to call back and get the record cleaned up.

Originally Posted by ZenFlyer
I always feel funny/superstitious about posting my actual itinerary, but I'll just be bold this time and reveal (lol) that the departing airport is STL, and unfortunately, the options from there to both SFO and LAX require an extra stop through ORD or DEN.
No worries, I understand completely. The key data point you should be looking at is, what's the latest time that you could depart on a flight toward ORD/DEN and still make the SYD flight? If your layover in IAH is sufficient, even with the extra flight you may still be able to make it -- the LAX/SFO flights leave a couple of hours later than the IAH flights do, but of course you have longer flights to get there.

Originally Posted by ZenFlyer
The AKL flight is indeed operating that evening so could indeed be a potential backup, though I take the point about no guarantees.
At least you have a backup plan. I really do think that standby for an earlier flight should work, even if you're not able to confirm anything until the day of travel, but it's smart planning to have all of your options figured out.

The last Star Alliance manual that I saw -- they stopped publishing it -- calls for passengers on trans-oceanic journeys in J to be rerouted on the best available routing, preferably *A but even including non-*A, in the face of any IRROPS, controllable or not. Whether or not they'd follow that in practice, I don't know, but if you end up at the Polaris lounge in IAH with no ride to SYD, at least you have some idea what to ask for.

Good luck! Hopefully none of these contingencies turn out to be needed.
SPN Lifer likes this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2023, 10:18 pm
  #38  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Oakland, CA
Programs: United Platinum & 2.0MM; Marriott Bonvoy Titanium and Lifetime Gold; Hyatt and Hilton Honors peon
Posts: 251
Hi, all, Two questions on Excursionist perks:

1) Can I add a United Excursionist flight to an existing international award reservation?

I believe I have done this on my own in the past (and done so by having a roundtrip award ticket, going to "Change flights" in My Trips and then clicking on "Add additional flight"), but I had a United CS rep telling me earlier today that I could only do so at the time of making the original reservation!

Update: the agent now has gone ahead and added the flight but he says Excursionist fares can only be in Economy. I had two international business class award flights last year in Business and have one this summer in business, both of which had business class excursionist legs. So, I told him I did not believe this to be true, but let's get it booked in Economy and I'll call back tomorrow]. So, next questions:

2) I believe, as noted above, that I have always been able to add an Excursionist leg to an existing r/t award reservation online under My Trips by adding a flight. I was not able to do that on this r/t? Have others had issues adding an excursionist fare online lately? Seems to be a new problem for me.

3) What is necessary for an Excursionist leg to be booked in business class on a international business class award ticket? (This particular Excursionist fare would be on SQ on an intra-SE Asia flight)?


Any comments on whether adding an excursionist perk to an existing reservation is allowed would be helpful.

Thanks.

John H

Last edited by jh6000; Jan 24, 2023 at 10:42 pm
jh6000 is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2023, 10:32 pm
  #39  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,320
Originally Posted by jh6000
Can I add a United Excursionist flight to an existing international award reservation?

I believe I have done this on my own in the past, but I had a united CS rep telling me earlier today that I could only do so at the time of making the original reservation!

Any comments on whether adding an excursionist perk to an existing reservation is allowed would be helpful.

Thanks.

John H
It should be possible -- in that, a willing agent should be able to do it -- but may require fresh inventory on any partner legs. It isn't entirely clear whether or not it's supposed to be allowed without repricing the un-flown segments. You could make a good argument either way, and I can't point to anything in the rules that would definitively say it should be allowed. I'd HUCA a couple of times though; it's not definitively disallowed ether, so it's worth a try..
SPN Lifer likes this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 7:44 am
  #40  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Washington, D.C.
Programs: AA, but I play the field
Posts: 1,436
Originally Posted by jsloan
Good luck! Hopefully none of these contingencies turn out to be needed.
jsloan Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and your time to help me puzzle through this. I truly appreciate the detailed replies and suggestions. I will think some of this over and try my luck making a pitch to an agent. But it's good to know the range of backup options. I'll report back if I have success!
jsloan likes this.
ZenFlyer is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 8:01 am
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Programs: Statusless and proud
Posts: 7,582
Originally Posted by jh6000
Any comments on whether adding an excursionist perk to an existing reservation is allowed would be helpful.
As jsloan said, it's definitely possible, and as far as I'm aware, within the rules. I recently added a complicated one (North America->South Asia; South Asia->South Asia; North America->North America) from an original North America->South Asia one way and it took several agents to understand that my routing was within the rules of the Excursionist Perk and to get it ticketed. It didn't help in my case that I had <24h in between the first and second leg. But eventually I had a very helpful Indian agent who worked hard at it, but then transferred me to a Chicago-based agent at the ticketing desk that got everything handled for me. Best of luck. I hope you're patient.
JayhawkCO is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 8:33 am
  #42  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Oakland, CA
Programs: United Platinum & 2.0MM; Marriott Bonvoy Titanium and Lifetime Gold; Hyatt and Hilton Honors peon
Posts: 251
Thanks, jsloan and JayHawk. I did ffinally get transferred to an agent who added the Excursionist flight (a slow manual process). He booked it in economy, so now I have to HUCA and see if someone can put the Excursionist flight into business class (since it is a business class award ticket).

I called around 9:30pm Pacific last night - -I think that gets me faster to a rep but perhaps gives me (overseas?) reps who are not quite so knowledgeable.
jsloan, SPN Lifer and JayhawkCO like this.
jh6000 is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 11:56 am
  #43  
formerly 1984SW
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
Programs: UA
Posts: 1,058
To add to the posts from a few days ago about phantom OA award availability: it looks almost rampant. Still.

I had a SFO-ICN-BKK ticket in I for 99k miles in April.

Today I saw MID-IAH-TPE-HKG-BKK all in I, except MID-IAH in XN, for 110k two days earlier.

Pulled up my SFO-BKK reservation on united.com, tried the Change function and it showed zero availability MID-BKK, when there are actually tons of flights available, though most are very expensive. The Change function on united.com is well known to be flaky, so I wasn't surprised.

So, I canceled SFO-BKK to get the miles back that I needed to book MID-BKK on a new PNR.

Repeatedly got "We're having some trouble saving your travelers into the cart. Please try again later" errors, so I called UA. Turns out TPE-HKG and HKG-BKK both were phantom availability in I.

A UA representative on the phone checked eight itineraries which showed available on united.com from MID, SFO, LGA and JFK on different days. *ALL* those itineraries had phantom availability. And, no, they can't reinstate my canceled reservation because all the ICN-BKK flights showing I available are phantoms.

BTW, the 110k option MID-BKK is new phantom availability. It wasn't showing yesterday.

tl;dr = I no longer have a flight to BKK

PS: The original MID-BKK is still showing available in I for 110k. Of course it is.
SPN Lifer likes this.
wpcoe is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 12:22 pm
  #44  
O62
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 324
Originally Posted by wpcoe
To add to the posts from a few days ago about phantom OA award availability: it looks almost rampant. Still.

I had a SFO-ICN-BKK ticket in I for 99k miles in April.

Today I saw MID-IAH-TPE-HKG-BKK all in I, except MID-IAH in XN, for 110k two days earlier.

Pulled up my SFO-BKK reservation on united.com, tried the Change function and it showed zero availability MID-BKK, when there are actually tons of flights available, though most are very expensive. The Change function on united.com is well known to be flaky, so I wasn't surprised.

So, I canceled SFO-BKK to get the miles back that I needed to book MID-BKK on a new PNR.

Repeatedly got "We're having some trouble saving your travelers into the cart. Please try again later" errors, so I called UA. Turns out TPE-HKG and HKG-BKK both were phantom availability in I.

A UA representative on the phone checked eight itineraries which showed available on united.com from MID, SFO, LGA and JFK on different days. *ALL* those itineraries had phantom availability. And, no, they can't reinstate my canceled reservation because all the ICN-BKK flights showing I available are phantoms.

BTW, the 110k option MID-BKK is new phantom availability. It wasn't showing yesterday.

tl;dr = I no longer have a flight to BKK

PS: The original MID-BKK is still showing available in I for 110k. Of course it is.
I'm sorry, that really is a bummer. Not that it helps you now, but this is why I always work through the phone agents to make a change on an award ticket with partner segments, even if it takes me multiple hour-plus phone calls. That way if the change can't be made I can point the finger at the agent and usually get the supervisor to restore what I had.
SPN Lifer likes this.
O62 is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 12:25 pm
  #45  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Programs: Statusless and proud
Posts: 7,582
Originally Posted by wpcoe
To add to the posts from a few days ago about phantom OA award availability: it looks almost rampant. Still.

I had a SFO-ICN-BKK ticket in I for 99k miles in April.

Today I saw MID-IAH-TPE-HKG-BKK all in I, except MID-IAH in XN, for 110k two days earlier.

Pulled up my SFO-BKK reservation on united.com, tried the Change function and it showed zero availability MID-BKK, when there are actually tons of flights available, though most are very expensive. The Change function on united.com is well known to be flaky, so I wasn't surprised.

So, I canceled SFO-BKK to get the miles back that I needed to book MID-BKK on a new PNR.

Repeatedly got "We're having some trouble saving your travelers into the cart. Please try again later" errors, so I called UA. Turns out TPE-HKG and HKG-BKK both were phantom availability in I.

A UA representative on the phone checked eight itineraries which showed available on united.com from MID, SFO, LGA and JFK on different days. *ALL* those itineraries had phantom availability. And, no, they can't reinstate my canceled reservation because all the ICN-BKK flights showing I available are phantoms.

BTW, the 110k option MID-BKK is new phantom availability. It wasn't showing yesterday.

tl;dr = I no longer have a flight to BKK

PS: The original MID-BKK is still showing available in I for 110k. Of course it is.
Well. I posted this in the ANA forum, but ANA F is wide open from 4/1 - 6/10 for SFO-TYO and vv. Jump on that for not many more miles.
JayhawkCO is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.