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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 Feb 17, 18, 11:21 am
  #61  
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You are misunderstanding the Excursionist perk. In addition to the above link this forum has a whole long thread on it.
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Old Feb 17, 18, 11:25 am
  #62  
 
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The excursionist perk gives you a free flight in the region of your destination. I dont believe Manila is in the same region as Europe.
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Old Feb 17, 18, 1:46 pm
  #63  
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Originally Posted by eric.chen3742 View Post
The excursionist perk gives you a free flight in the region of your destination. I dont believe Manila is in the same region as Europe.
This isn't true at all. The Excursionist Perk can be in any region besides the one you're starting in. However, it has to be within that region. It's not technically necessary to have any interregional travel on the itinerary at all, although that's outside the bounds of what they intended and will probably be clawed back in their next update.

The old policy would have allowed a stopover in Europe on a RT USA-Manila flight (although there was a transfer limit that made it difficult to use in practice unless you wanted to use it at a *A hub). The new policy does not.

Valid uses of the Excursionist Perk (using SFO as a starting point as an example; it can be anywhere, as long as you return to the region where you're starting):

SFO-NRT-MNL / MNL-BKK / BKK-NRT-SFO (MNL-BKK is free)
SFO-NRT-MNL / FRA-LHR / SIN-SFO (FRA-LHR is free, but you have to get yourself to FRA and from LHR)
SFO-NRT-MNL / MNL-SIN / MNL-NRT-SFO (MNL-SIN is free)
SFO-NRT-MNL / HKG-SIN / CGK-NRT-EWR (HKG-SIN is free; you just have to return to the same region, not the same city)
SFO-NRT-MNL / MNL-SIN / LAX-SFO (MNL-SIN is free; this abides by the letter, but not the spirit, of the rules, since the last segment is intraregional)

Invalid uses of the Excursionist Perk:
SFO-NRT-MNL / MNL-NRT / NRT-SFO (MNL & NRT are different regions)
SFO-NRT-MNL / LAX-SFO / MNL-NRT-SFO (Can't use the Excursionist Perk in the origin region)
SFO-NRT-MNL / MNL-SIN / SIN-NRT-MEX (Must begin and end in the same region; Mexico is its own region)
SFO-NRT-MNL / MNL-NRT-SFO / SFO-LAX (Can't use the Excursionist Perk in the origin region -- this is the infamous "free one way" that the old policy allowed and UA wanted to kill)
SFO-NRT-MNL / MNL-NRT-SFO / MNL-SIN (Must begin and end in the same region; the free segment must be between, time-wise, the outbound and return segments).

Hope this helps to clear things up.
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Old Feb 17, 18, 1:53 pm
  #64  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
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Question How can the Excursionist Perk be used?

How can the excursionist perk be of benefit if United will only allow you to fly from one European city to another city in a region but doesn't allow you to stay in either city for any time? EX. I would like to travel roundtrip or multi-city from the USA to Manila with a layover in Europe using my Award miles. (That trip requires 80,000 miles.) There is a United flight option that offers that route and I was told that I could add a "free flight" to another city in Europe. However, if I use that option and attempt to stay in the second European city for more that a few hours I am charged an additional 50,000 miles to continue my flight. WHY? How can it be considered a "perk" just to fly to another location in a region if you can't spend any time in that location?


So what is the most efficient use of miles for making this trip (USA to Manila through Germany) that will allow the additional Excursionist Perk? EXAMPLE: If I make a one way ticket from the USA to Munich, (Region A to Region B) a one way ticket from Munich to Manila ( Region B to Region C) a one way ticket from Manila back to USA (Region C back to Region A) will United allow an extra one-way flight in Germany (Region B?) Has anyone found the Excursionist perk to be of benefit when traveling between three regions and in the process returning to the original place that you started?
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Old Feb 17, 18, 1:58 pm
  #65  
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Originally Posted by barnold View Post
HSo what is the most efficient use of miles for making this trip (USA to Manila through Germany) that will allow the additional Excursionist Perk? EXAMPLE: If I make a one way ticket from the USA to Munich, (Region A to Region B) a one way ticket from Munich to Manila ( Region B to Region C) a one way ticket from Manila back to USA (Region C back to Region A) will United allow an extra one-way flight in region B?
If you book it as three one-way reservations, you will not be allowed any use of the Excursionist Perk. If you book it as a single, multi-city reservation, you will be allowed one free intra-regional flight in any region besides US/Canada.

Example:
SFO-FRA / FRA-LHR / LHR-VIE-BKK-MNL / MNL-NRT-SFO: FRA-LHR will be free, but you'll have to pay for the others.

If you only want to go through Europe in one direction, that's the most efficient use. If you want to go through Europe twice, there's another way to do it:

SFO-FRA / FRA-LHR* / FCO-FRA-SFO
LHR-VIE-BKK-MNL / MNL-SIN-CGK* / CGK-BKK-FCO

* free

This will get you two Excursionist Perks, but, of course, you'll have to pay 2x US-Europe plus 2x Europe-S. Asia.
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Old Feb 17, 18, 3:36 pm
  #66  
 
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EXAMPLE GIVEN by jsloan for claiming the Excursion Perk:
SFO-FRA / FRA-LHR / LHR-VIE-BKK-MNL / MNL-NRT-SFO: FRA-LHR will be free, but you'll have to pay for the others.

So why is this called a perk? How does it benefit a person to add another leg to his trip if he can't stay at either location? (In this example a person can't spend any time in Frankfort, Germany (FRA) or in London (LHR), but adding this FRA to LHR trip only extends his overall trip from San Francisco (SFO) to Manila (MNL).
From what I understand: If a person wants to qualify for the "perk" he needs to be in 3 regions and has to
(1) Begin and end the trip in the same place (Region A)
(2) can add a free short leg to their middle region but not stay in either location in the middle region without an exorbitant points fee
(3) fly from Region B to Region C on the same day he arrives in Region B.
(4) Return from Region C to Region A with no perk
This only multi-city plan with an "excursion perk" just extends a passenger's trip but offers no advantage. He would do better to fly round trip directly from Region A to Region B and home again.
Am I missing something in my understanding of the advantages of this "perk?"

Last edited by barnold; Feb 17, 18 at 4:08 pm
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Old Feb 17, 18, 3:56 pm
  #67  
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Originally Posted by eric.chen3742 View Post
The excursionist perk gives you a free flight in the region of your destination. I dont believe Manila is in the same region as Europe.
OP just needs to be patient. After several hundred million years of continental drift, they will be in the same region.
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Old Feb 17, 18, 4:03 pm
  #68  
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Hoping to book MSN-ORD-NRT-GUM-TKK round trip for 2 weeks around xmas time in business but seems like there is NO availability for weeks around xmas. I did this with no problems a few years back, has this become no longer possible?
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Old Feb 17, 18, 5:28 pm
  #69  
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Originally Posted by barnold View Post
EXAMPLE GIVEN by jsloan for claiming the Excursion Perk:
SFO-FRA / FRA-LHR / LHR-VIE-BKK-MNL / MNL-NRT-SFO: FRA-LHR will be free, but you'll have to pay for the others.

So why is this called a perk? How does it benefit a person to add another leg to his trip if he can't stay at either location? (In this example a person can't spend any time in Frankfort, Germany (FRA) or in London (LHR), but adding this FRA to LHR trip only extends his overall trip from San Francisco (SFO) to Manila (MNL).
From what I understand: If a person wants to qualify for the "perk" he needs to be in 3 regions and has to
(1) Begin and end the trip in the same place (Region A)
(2) can add a free short leg to their middle region but not stay in either location in the middle region without an exorbitant points fee
(3) fly from Region B to Region C on the same day he arrives in Region B.
(4) Return from Region C to Region A with no perk
This only multi-city plan with an "excursion perk" just extends a passenger's trip but offers no advantage. He would do better to fly round trip directly from Region A to Region B and home again.
Am I missing something in my understanding of the advantages of this "perk?"
Each place I added a /, you can stay as long as you want. The amount of time no longer matters at all. In my example, you can absolutely extend your stay at both FRA and LHR, which is why it's a perk. However, it's still going to charge you for the flight from FRA to MNL, which is what you're terming an "exorbitant points fee."

You cannot fly from North America to South Asia and get a free stop in Europe. That used to be possible (pre-Oct. 2016), but it's not possible anymore. What you can do is get a free one-way flight within a region. For example, you could fly SFO-(NRT)-MNL / MNL-BKK / BKK-(NRT)-SFO, spend as much time a you want* in MNL and BKK, and the flight will cost the same as SFO-MNL RT -- there's no charge for MNL-BKK.

In my example -- removing connecting cities for clarity -- you can fly SFO-FRA / FRA-MNL / MNL-SFO or SFO-FRA / FRA-LHR / LHR-MNL / MNL-SFO for the same price, staying as long as you want* each place I put a / . It's just that this price is going to be higher than SFO-MNL RT because you've added another interregional flight to the award.

I hope this helps. It's definitely confusing. The moderators have moved your question to this thread, which has some more details and examples.

* subject to the limitations of the ticket -- all flights must be completed during the validity period, generally one year from issuance

Originally Posted by gfb View Post
Hoping to book MSN-ORD-NRT-GUM-TKK round trip for 2 weeks around xmas time in business but seems like there is NO availability for weeks around xmas. I did this with no problems a few years back, has this become no longer possible?
Saver business availability on UA is extremely limited, especially around the holidays and especially this far in advance.
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Old Feb 17, 18, 11:23 pm
  #70  
 
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I think the intended use of the excursionist perk is e.g.

Round-trip (open jaw) USA-Europe:

SFO-FRA-LHR (stay in London for 2 weeks)
LHR-FRA-TXL (stay in Berlin for 2 weeks) <--- free flight
TXL-EWR-SFO

The way they worded it / coded it in the ticketing system may allow more creative uses, but if you think of this as the intended use you will see why they call it a perk. It basically gets you one free flight in your destination region, which is extremely convenient when paired with overland travel or an open jaw ticket.

Personally I preferred the free stopover pre-Oct2016 perk, but this is how it works now and it's probably more clear to casual users.
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Old Feb 17, 18, 11:54 pm
  #71  
 
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Originally Posted by barnold View Post
How can the excursionist perk be of benefit if United will only allow you to fly from one European city to another city in a region but doesn't allow you to stay in either city for any time?
With what you are trying to do, it's not much use. You want the old stopover option, which was much simpler.

Where the new system is useful is that the perk does not have to follow any geographical restrictions beyond being within a region and it not being the starting region. If you wanted to visit more places in the destination region, that's when the new system can be useful. For example, you could expand upon this:

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
SFO-NRT-MNL / MNL-BKK / BKK-NRT-SFO (MNL-BKK is free)
SFO-NRT-MNL / MNL-SIN-CGK / CGK-BKK-NRT-SFO
(MNL-CGK is free and you can stay up to 24 hours in SIN and BKK.)
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Old Feb 18, 18, 7:33 am
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Kremmen View Post
With what you are trying to do, it's not much use. You want the old stopover option, which was much simpler.
The old stopover rule was so much better. But the excursionist perk is a free one-way within a round-trip itinerary, and you can use it to create a free stopover within the region of destination; it's just much more restrictive than the old rule.
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Old Feb 18, 18, 4:10 pm
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Kremmen View Post
SFO-NRT-MNL / MNL-SIN-CGK / CGK-BKK-NRT-SFO
(MNL-CGK is free and you can stay up to 24 hours in SIN and BKK.)
No. MNL-CGK is free, and you may be able to -- but likely can't -- stay up to 24 hours in SIN and BKK. The 24-hour rule is essentially gone. The only flights that you could get on MNL-CGK and CGK-SFO are the ones that show up when you search for those city pairs. If you search MNL-SIN and then SIN-CGK, with the intent of trying to force a 23-hour connection, it will charge you for both. The only way you can get an overnight transfer without paying extra miles is if it's offered to you as a natural connection by UA's software. It's another negative of the new system, which was put in place to outlaw some of the routings they considered abusive, especially in Europe where there was no limit on transfers. Some people were putting together weeklong European tours on a single award.
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Old Feb 19, 18, 4:10 am
  #74  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
No. MNL-CGK is free, and you may be able to -- but likely can't -- stay up to 24 hours in SIN and BKK. The 24-hour rule is essentially gone.
It's really hard to get any meaning out of your statement. "likely can't stay up to 24 hours"? Is 17 hours ok? How about 15? 12? You definitely can stay up to 24 hours in SIN and/or BKK, The limit is as it always has been, you just can't get it if there are too many other options. There aren't many options intra-Asia, so the MNL-CGK will be easy to stretch out. Getting 3 stops is especially hard on the poor web site, so CGK-BKK-NRT-SFO might not be an option. Sure, you might have to settle for one or the other or squeeze both into the free flight.
The only flights that you could get on MNL-CGK and CGK-SFO are the ones that show up when you search for those city pairs.
What's your point? Surely this is known to every single person who's reading this thread by now? Equally obviously, you'll be limited by what scheduled flights exist. Getting a transit in the 15-20 hours range isn't hard.
e.g.
MNL-SIN-CGK SQ921/SQ960: 16h 55m connection
MNL-BKK-CGK TG621/TG433: 16h 40m connection
You can sometimes even get MNL-SIN-BKK-CGK SQ 919/SQ 974/TG433 for 16h 30m in SIN and 17h 40m in BKK
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Old Feb 19, 18, 10:57 am
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Kremmen View Post
It's really hard to get any meaning out of your statement. "likely can't stay up to 24 hours"? Is 17 hours ok? How about 15? 12? You definitely can stay up to 24 hours in SIN and/or BKK, The limit is as it always has been, you just can't get it if there are too many other options. There aren't many options intra-Asia, so the MNL-CGK will be easy to stretch out. Getting 3 stops is especially hard on the poor web site, so CGK-BKK-NRT-SFO might not be an option. Sure, you might have to settle for one or the other or squeeze both into the free flight.

What's your point? Surely this is known to every single person who's reading this thread by now? Equally obviously, you'll be limited by what scheduled flights exist. Getting a transit in the 15-20 hours range isn't hard.
e.g.
MNL-SIN-CGK SQ921/SQ960: 16h 55m connection
MNL-BKK-CGK TG621/TG433: 16h 40m connection
You can sometimes even get MNL-SIN-BKK-CGK SQ 919/SQ 974/TG433 for 16h 30m in SIN and 17h 40m in BKK
The point is simple. "You can stay up to 24 hours" is misleading at best, because it implies that you, as the customer, have control and can select flights that suit you. This was true under the old system -- you could combine any MNL-SIN flight with any SIN-CGK flight that departed less than 24 hours later, provided that both segments had availability. Now, you're limited to whatever options happen to show up when you search MNL-CGK. It's a huge downgrade. MNL-CGK does happen to give you quite a few options that include an overnight transfer, but that's far from universal and happens mostly due to the fairly limited *A schedule operated ex-MNL. It's still possible to find examples, though. I did a search for MNL-CGK and sorted by length of travel, and your suggestion of SQ919/SQ974/TG433 comes up. The next one down combines SQ921/SQ976/TG433. However, you can't book SQ919/SQ976/TG433, even though the inventory is obviously there and both transfers would be under 24 hours.

The 24-hour rule is no longer part of the award system and was specifically called out by UA as being removed when they made the change.

I apologize if my original message was unclear, and I hope this helps.
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