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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.


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

Old Jan 26, 2023, 7:10 am
  #61  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Programs: AAdvantage, Krisflyer, Velocity
Posts: 125
Originally Posted by JayhawkCO
Is this a RTW award using some other *A program's miles? Or is this revenue RTW?
Sorry I didn't clarify, it's using Krisflyer points, 280k point redemption for *A RTW.

Just now, I read somewhere else that I should open an account on lifemiles.com which I have now done, it has a monthly calendar which shows blue dots for business class flights that are available in (I) class which is as good as I can hope for I guess. Maybe I solved my own question?

However, now my issue seems to be that I picked the worst dates for my annual leave in Australia, July/August which is the USA school holidays so there is just no availability that works for me, unless the lifemiles site is not showing availability properly in those months.
zan5hin is offline  
Old Jan 26, 2023, 7:17 am
  #62  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Programs: Statusless and proud
Posts: 7,582
Originally Posted by zan5hin
Sorry I didn't clarify, it's using Krisflyer points, 280k point redemption for *A RTW.

Just now, I read somewhere else that I should open an account on lifemiles.com which I have now done, it has a monthly calendar which shows blue dots for business class flights that are available in (I) class which is as good as I can hope for I guess. Maybe I solved my own question?

However, now my issue seems to be that I picked the worst dates for my annual leave in Australia, July/August which is the USA school holidays so there is just no availability that works for me, unless the lifemiles site is not showing availability properly in those months.
There will likely be some UA C availability at some point, but given the high demand for our summers, the airline doesn't feel the need to offer too much early. Domestic F (business level rate) is pretty much always garbage. If you're trying to fly UA over an ocean, some secondary European airports have availability from time to time as well as flights ex-DEN from my experience.
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JayhawkCO is offline  
Old Jan 26, 2023, 8:01 am
  #63  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 396
If I book a standard mileage award flight (domestic, coach) can I pay for a seat later (for example, the emergency exit row)? It shows these seats are $79-$99 if buying a cash ticket but I don't know the restrictions if if book an award ticket.
miadeals is offline  
Old Jan 26, 2023, 8:02 am
  #64  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Programs: Statusless and proud
Posts: 7,582
Originally Posted by miadeals
If I book a standard mileage award flight (domestic, coach) can I pay for a seat later (for example, the emergency exit row)? It shows these seats are $79-$99 if buying a cash ticket but I don't know the restrictions if if book an award ticket.
No special restrictions for award vs. revenue seats for booking Economy Plus.
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Old Jan 26, 2023, 8:55 am
  #65  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,636
Originally Posted by zan5hin
Can someone please help me? I've tried searching the forums. This change with how savers awards are displayed is doing my head in. As described here: https://thepointsguy.com/news/united...partner-miles/

So I am trying to book a Star Alliance business RTW trip and without being able to see availability on Expert Flyer website for United, it's a struggle to even get a valid route.

Please tell me how I can find United award saver flights that are valid to book using non-united star alliance redemptions.
The instructions on the site you linked should work: search on United.com while logged out. If you're looking for business class space, it's only necessary to log out if you have Platinum status or higher.

UA is extremely stingy with its business class saver award space. I suspect that's what you're seeing, particularly during peak northern summer travel months, and particularly this far in advance. If they're going to open business saver awards, they tend to do it late, after flights haven't filled up.
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Old Jan 26, 2023, 9:29 am
  #66  
formerly 1984SW
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
Programs: UA
Posts: 1,066
This "phantom award space" appearing on united.com is very confusing.

On over a dozen attempts to book an award ticket, united.com would give the "We're having some trouble saving your travelers into the cart. Please try again later" error message. When I was on the phone with a UA rep, he tried eight of those bookings himself and with each one he found that phantom space was preventing him from booking.

I finally booked MID-IAH-TPE-HKG arriving HKG @ 225pm. I needed a separate ticket HKG-BKK, and there was a TG flight @705pm showing available, but I got the error message, so I booked ET @ 1040pm.

Then, after HKG-BKK was ticketed (it was almost immediate), on a lark, I decided to try the Change function on united.com to change from the later ET flight to the earlier TG flight. It worked! I have TG confirmation number, new ticket number, and even a seat assignment on the TG flight.
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wpcoe is offline  
Old Jan 26, 2023, 11:34 am
  #67  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,160
Originally Posted by wpcoe
....

Then, after HKG-BKK was ticketed (it was almost immediate), on a lark, I decided to try the Change function on united.com to change from the later ET flight to the earlier TG flight. It worked! I have TG confirmation number, new ticket number, and even a seat assignment on the TG flight.
Glad this worked for you but you are playing with fire to change partner award flights online. You got burned earlier and you will get burned in the future.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 26, 2023, 1:37 pm
  #68  
formerly 1984SW
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
Programs: UA
Posts: 1,066
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Glad this worked for you but you are playing with fire to change partner award flights online. You got burned earlier and you will get burned in the future.
I was willing to risk this one because there were three seats still showing available on the later ET flight. I was going to monitor the changed PNR (for the TG flight) actually anticipating a rejection, and if there were I would rebook a new ticket on ET. The TG flight ticketed immediately and had a seat assignment, so I didn't need that backup.

My biggest takeaway is that the "phantom availability" that the UA rep said was the reason for not being able to book all those other PNRs may be true, but actually (in this case, at least) that was *not* the problem because it *did* confirm the TG flight via another method.
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Old Jan 26, 2023, 11:54 pm
  #69  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,288
Upgrade waitlist South America

RDU-SCL-EZE-RDU

Im still a week or two away from availability so I used dummy dates. I tried for an Economy ticket upgrading to business with miles. So it tells me Ill be on the waitlist. When will you know if you get the upgrade?

Its been 5 years since I went to South America.

I looked at Award tickets for Business class 395,000 or $15,000. Both are pretty crazy.
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Old Jan 27, 2023, 1:02 am
  #70  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,160
Originally Posted by zitsky
RDU-SCL-EZE-RDU

Im still a week or two away from availability so I used dummy dates. ...
The best prices are rarely at begin of schedule. Reliable availablity of either saver awards or upgrades at begin of schedule has been gone for many years.

Originally Posted by zitsky
I tried for an Economy ticket upgrading to business with miles. So it tells me Ill be on the waitlist. When will you know if you get the upgrade? ...
There is no guarantee it will ever clear.
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Old Jan 27, 2023, 5:54 am
  #71  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,288
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
The best prices are rarely at begin of schedule. Reliable availablity of either saver awards or upgrades at begin of schedule has been gone for many years.

There is no guarantee it will ever clear.
Thank you for that. They do ask for an obscene amount of miles for business class.
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Old Jan 28, 2023, 9:01 am
  #72  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 48
I booked two one way non stop flights for me and my wife from CUN to IAD in March peak season for 40k miles each in economy YN. They are both on the same PNR. Cannot change the date of the flight and I am checking the fares daily hoping any saver awards will show up... I was also checking award fares closer to departure day on Sundays (the day of our flights). It seems that some saver awards are popping up a few days before the Sunday flights, but the planes are full and sometimes only one saver is available, not two. Would it be better to split our reservation now, and change to award savers one ticket at the time if they come up in the future? What would be the best way of changing from YN to an award saver XN on the same flight? Would it be better to cancel current flight first then book the saver award, or book first and cancel immediately the old ticket? We have one Chase United card, not sure if that matters with award flights, but this may be the only reason I can think of to keep both people on the same PNR. Thank you.
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Old Jan 28, 2023, 9:57 am
  #73  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,636
Originally Posted by dannysporea
I booked two one way non stop flights for me and my wife from CUN to IAD in March peak season for 40k miles each in economy YN. They are both on the same PNR. Cannot change the date of the flight and I am checking the fares daily hoping any saver awards will show up... I was also checking award fares closer to departure day on Sundays (the day of our flights). It seems that some saver awards are popping up a few days before the Sunday flights, but the planes are full and sometimes only one saver is available, not two. Would it be better to split our reservation now, and change to award savers one ticket at the time if they come up in the future?
No; theres no reason to split your reservation now. On the (extremely remote) chance that saver space does appear, youll be able to split it then if necessary. As you point out, March is peak season for your route, and Sunday is a peak travel day. I suspect your 40K tickets will turn out to be a very good deal.

Originally Posted by dannysporea
What would be the best way of changing from YN to an award saver XN on the same flight? Would it be better to cancel current flight first then book the saver award, or book first and cancel immediately the old ticket?
If you have enough miles, it is far preferable to book the new flight and then cancel the old one then vice-versa. That way, you eliminate the possibility of the space disappearing as youre trying to book it, leaving you with no ticket at all.

Originally Posted by dannysporea
We have one Chase United card, not sure if that matters with award flights, but this may be the only reason I can think of to keep both people on the same PNR. Thank you.
You may have a hard time getting benefits for the non-cardholder on a split PNR, yes.
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Old Jan 28, 2023, 10:44 am
  #74  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: On strike
Posts: 8,134
[snip]

Last edited by beltway; Apr 16, 2024 at 3:10 pm
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Old Jan 28, 2023, 4:04 pm
  #75  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 48
Originally Posted by jsloan
If you have enough miles, it is far preferable to book the new flight and then cancel the old one then vice-versa. That way, you eliminate the possibility of the space disappearing as you’re trying to book it, leaving you with no ticket at all.

You may have a hard time getting benefits for the non-cardholder on a split PNR, yes.
I still have 100k miles left in the cardholder account. Not sure though what benefits these are for an award ticket for the non-cardholder. So if a single award ticket comes up, the idea is to book it first for the cardholder (or the non-cardholder from the cardholder account with the cardholder miles and card?), split the PNR and cancel half of the original ticket for the person booked with the new saver award ticket? And if the second saver award shows up book it and cancel the original PNR altogether? Hopefully it won’t get flagged immediately since it will likely be the exact same flight for the same person with two tickets for a couple of minutes… did not try any of these things before so there are no priors in our accounts…
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