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 16, 2024, 5:46 am
  #946  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by angetenar
Cash or award booking? You mention wanting to change to LIS-IAD-RDU but then mention RDU-LHR-LIS, how does that relate? Did you get a notification that a LHR-LIS flight was cancelled?
1. Award

2. The trip is RDU-EWR-LHR-LIS-EWR-RDU

3. No
zitsky is offline  
Old Jan 16, 2024, 7:48 am
  #947  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,305
Flights not available for purchase

I am with a chat agent. They tell me I can't change a flight LIS-EWR-RDU to LIS-IAD-RDU because both original and other flight are "not available for purchase". I've never heard of this. I will try calling and talking to an agent. I'm not very experienced with United and it seems the chat agent isn't that experienced either. But at least they confirmed that my flights are not CANCELED. They just can't explain what this means after several attempts to clarify.

Do they mean no AWARDS are available for purchase? That even though I have an award booking that inventory is gone and I can't even change from one flight to another? Could it mean the flight I want to change to requires MORE miles than the original flight? That would make perfect sense to me but the agent wasn't explaining it well.

This is a Mileage Plus award flight:

RDU-EWR-LHR-LIS (TAP Airlines) - EWR-RDU

Last edited by zitsky; Jan 16, 2024 at 8:09 am
zitsky is offline  
Old Jan 16, 2024, 9:05 am
  #948  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,269
Originally Posted by zitsky
...
Do they mean no AWARDS are available for purchase? That even though I have an award booking that inventory is gone and I can't even change from one flight to another? ...
If you want to change an award booking, new award space (especially for partner segments) is needed for the entire itin, even for "unchanged" segments. This has been the rule for many years. This is because many partners see the change as a new booking and therefore needing new award space. You can not incremental change award booking. In the case of UA operated segments, an agent can "re-use" held space and a few partners do seem to allow such re-use, but it general it is not allowed.

Note this is not that different for cash tickets, if you change a cash ticket, it will be repriced. And the fare class may change. However, as partner awards have just 1 fare class, there are not additional fare class to use for the rebooking.

This just one of the "dark side" to partner awards where things are not as flexible as cash tickets. There was a time when you could incrementally build / change award tickets, but partner have pushed back and many have lost their award by making such changes. SO now agents are generally instructed not to try to make such a change.
jsloan and SPN Lifer like this.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 16, 2024, 6:09 pm
  #949  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
If you want to change an award booking, new award space (especially for partner segments) is needed for the entire itin, even for "unchanged" segments. This has been the rule for many years. This is because many partners see the change as a new booking and therefore needing new award space. You can not incremental change award booking. In the case of UA operated segments, an agent can "re-use" held space and a few partners do seem to allow such re-use, but it general it is not allowed.

Note this is not that different for cash tickets, if you change a cash ticket, it will be repriced. And the fare class may change. However, as partner awards have just 1 fare class, there are not additional fare class to use for the rebooking.

This just one of the "dark side" to partner awards where things are not as flexible as cash tickets. There was a time when you could incrementally build / change award tickets, but partner have pushed back and many have lost their award by making such changes. SO now agents are generally instructed not to try to make such a change.
I updated my original post. I modified the flight. LIS-EWR to LIS-IAD. Still not clear if my changes had anything to do with the London to Lisbon segment. I get what you say but when I got a competent agent they said nothing about a problem with award space etc.
zitsky is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2024, 12:59 am
  #950  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,763
Originally Posted by zitsky
I updated my original post. I modified the flight. LIS-EWR to LIS-IAD. Still not clear if my changes had anything to do with the London to Lisbon segment. I get what you say but when I got a competent agent they said nothing about a problem with award space etc.
OK, so you made a voluntary change to your return flight, and got a message about a problem with your outbound flight. What WineCountryUA is trying to tell you is that if there was no award space anymore on the outbound flight, the change can fail even though you werent trying to change the outbound in the first place. The entire reservation has to be reticketed, and UA agents are instructed not to attempt to reuse the award space that youre already booked into, because of the significant problem that can occur when you do that.

If you would like to avoid future complications, I suggest you do the following steps:

1 - Check the ticket number on your most recent receipt. Make sure it differs from your original receipt. (It will be a 13-digit number starting with 016, and each passenger will have one).
2 - Go to the website for each partner airline that is operating one of your flights. In this case, it sounds like thats probably TAP for LHR-LIS.
3 - Check the ticket number in the reservation against the one from your receipt. It should match the new ticket number, not the old ticket number.

If step #3 succeeds, you should be fine for travel. If step #3 fails, your reservation for LHR-LIS is likely to be canceled at some point if it hasnt been already, because as far as TAP can tell, you havent paid for it. If you find yourself in this situation, you can try contacting UA and asking them to re-send the information to TAP, or you can try calling TAP and seeing if they will allow you to read the ticket number to them. Or, you can wait until TAP sends a cancellation message across to UA, and then you can attempt to get UA to put you on its own flights to LIS (with no additional miles collected).
SPN Lifer likes this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2024, 6:17 am
  #951  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by jsloan
OK, so you made a voluntary change to your return flight, and got a message about a problem with your outbound flight. What WineCountryUA is trying to tell you is that if there was no award space anymore on the outbound flight, the change can fail even though you werent trying to change the outbound in the first place. The entire reservation has to be reticketed, and UA agents are instructed not to attempt to reuse the award space that youre already booked into, because of the significant problem that can occur when you do that.

If you would like to avoid future complications, I suggest you do the following steps:

1 - Check the ticket number on your most recent receipt. Make sure it differs from your original receipt. (It will be a 13-digit number starting with 016, and each passenger will have one).
2 - Go to the website for each partner airline that is operating one of your flights. In this case, it sounds like thats probably TAP for LHR-LIS.
3 - Check the ticket number in the reservation against the one from your receipt. It should match the new ticket number, not the old ticket number.

If step #3 succeeds, you should be fine for travel. If step #3 fails, your reservation for LHR-LIS is likely to be canceled at some point if it hasnt been already, because as far as TAP can tell, you havent paid for it. If you find yourself in this situation, you can try contacting UA and asking them to re-send the information to TAP, or you can try calling TAP and seeing if they will allow you to read the ticket number to them. Or, you can wait until TAP sends a cancellation message across to UA, and then you can attempt to get UA to put you on its own flights to LIS (with no additional miles collected).
(This was about changing LIS-EWR not LHR-LIS.)

Thanks for that, but when I found the agent able to make changes she said nothing about oh yes there is a problem with your TAP airlines partner flight. That came from an app and an untrained chat agent.

I admit I panicked when the change flight website tool said no partner availability. I checked the schedule ( not conclusive) and there were plenty of flights daily. No that does not mean there was award availability on a change.

I do not have an answer to what happened. I should have asked more questions but when I did ask, I got vague answers. I was just happy to lose my 6 hour layover.

So you may be absolutely right. I just cant confirm that.

I will try to check ticket numbers. I HAVE checked the TAP iPhone app and my flight is still there. And I have a receipt for that flight. Ill check website also.
zitsky is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2024, 7:29 am
  #952  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,763
Originally Posted by zitsky
(This was about changing LIS-EWR not LHR-LIS.)
Thats what were trying to tell you. By changing one flight, you put the other one at risk, even though you werent attempting to change it at all.

Originally Posted by zitsky
Thanks for that, but when I found the agent able to make changes she said nothing about oh yes there is a problem with your TAP airlines partner flight. That came from an app and an untrained chat agent.
Assigning an agent a competence level based upon whether or not they said they did what you wanted is dangerous.

Originally Posted by zitsky
I will try to check ticket numbers. I HAVE checked the TAP iPhone app and my flight is still there. And I have a receipt for that flight. Ill check website also.
None of this matters except whether or not TAP has your updated ticket number. If they do, youre fine. If not, you have a problem, no matter whether the flight is still there on the app or not.
SPN Lifer likes this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2024, 7:58 am
  #953  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by jsloan
Thats what were trying to tell you. By changing one flight, you put the other one at risk, even though you werent attempting to change it at all.


Assigning an agent a competence level based upon whether or not they said they did what you wanted is dangerous.


None of this matters except whether or not TAP has your updated ticket number. If they do, youre fine. If not, you have a problem, no matter whether the flight is still there on the app or not.
I know youre more knowledgeable than me and I will take your advice about the ticket number.

The TAP forum seems pretty sleepy and the website is really terrible for finding info. I was there today. But Ill check. Maybe I can call and confirm ticket number.

We all have to judge competence in every transaction in our lives.

As I tell my husband, I may be a moron but Im not a complete idiot.

EDIT: I have confirmed the United ticket numbers have changed. AND I have confirmed that TAP Portugal has the updated ticket numbers for both pax in their records. I confirmed with the app which despite the low reviews is still, IMHO, much better than using the website.

Thank you for the advice.
jsloan and SPN Lifer like this.

Last edited by zitsky; Jan 17, 2024 at 8:12 am
zitsky is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2024, 11:54 am
  #954  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,269
Originally Posted by zitsky
... I have confirmed the United ticket numbers have changed. ....
Great this is a good sign

What was done does work some of the time (as mentioned earlier), but as many examples in this thread illustrate, there are times it does not work and the consequences are disastrous.
The competency of the agent had nothing to do with the success in this case. In fact, it could be say the more competent agent was the one that tried to warned you off.

The thing is one success in doing this can lull one into trying it again in the future, that should be carefully considered versus the risk.

This issue is why many on FT no longer book award roundtrips but rather two one-ways, so changes in one direction can be done without risk to the other direction. With UA change in award cancellation / change policies, two one-ways come at minimal downside (just loss of excursion segment option) but considerable less risk on making changes.
jsloan and SPN Lifer like this.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2024, 12:37 pm
  #955  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Great this is a good sign

What was done does work some of the time (as mentioned earlier), but as many examples in this thread illustrate, there are times it does not work and the consequences are disastrous.
The competency of the agent had nothing to do with the success in this case. In fact, it could be say the more competent agent was the one that tried to warned you off.

The thing is one success in doing this can lull one into trying it again in the future, that should be carefully considered versus the risk.

This issue is why many on FT no longer book award roundtrips but rather two one-ways, so changes in one direction can be done without risk to the other direction. With UA change in award cancellation / change policies, two one-ways come at minimal downside (just loss of excursion segment option) but considerable less risk on making changes.
Ok now youre scaring me. Im going to cry myself to sleep now. 😭
zitsky is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2024, 1:38 pm
  #956  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,269
Originally Posted by zitsky
Ok now you’re scaring me. ...
If the ticket numbers are updated, you should be fine. Just wish to highlight this is not always the outcome and need to weight the risk vs reward.
And to suggest considering the one-way option in the future -- in the past there were penalties to one-ways but nowadays it has advantages.
jsloan and SPN Lifer like this.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2024, 1:48 pm
  #957  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
If the ticket numbers are updated, you should be fine. Just wish to highlight this is not always the outcome and need to weight the risk vs reward.
And to suggest considering the one-way option in the future -- in the past there were penalties to one-ways but nowadays it has advantages.
So there is some new trick now where you book one way awards because of something United has done?

Im trying to figure out a future trip, not this one, where it would be an award flight(s) in US connecting to an international revenue flight, on UA or Star Alliance metal.

So do I need to do this one weird trick that travel agents hate and book one way award tickets instead?

This is all confusing. Im going back to bed.
zitsky is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2024, 2:16 pm
  #958  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,269
Originally Posted by zitsky
So there is some new trick now where you book one way awards because of something United has done?....
1. There is no change / cancellation fees anymore for award, so no price penalty for changing 2 one-ways vs roundtrip
2. Rebooking roundtrips may require new availability for all segments, rebooking a one-way only requires availability for that portion.
3. Each one-way can be funded from different accounts, roundtrips must be funded from the same account.
4. With one-ways awards you can pick the best carrier award program for each direction
5. With a roundtrip, if yo want to cancel the return, you forfeit the extra mileage, with one-ways you can cancel the return and get the miles

The downside is the excursion segment is only available for roundtrips

More in Award Travel: Do you book one-ways or round trip
jsloan, SPN Lifer and michael_v like this.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 18, 2024, 7:47 pm
  #959  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 152
Repricing award with routing change?

Greetings.

Were traveling on an open jaw thats essentially SFO-ADZ, BOG-SFO, purchased back when that was only 42K. Our routing is a little circuitous with some lengthy layovers, but Avianca has just released some award availability that would make a new routing much easier for our family.

Because were traveling with a lap infant, I cant make the change online. On Twitter, one agent has told me that changing the routing would mean the ticket would need to be repriced at the current saver award fare of 66K per person. Another agent on Twitter told me that wasnt the case and that making the change should be possible for just the $17 difference in taxes/fees, but their shift must have ended because I never heard from them again.

When I called, the first agent told me it would need to be repriced, but they didnt seem especially confident or competent.

Im happy to spend an evening playing HUCA if its possible to make the change without repricing, but I was hoping you folks can tell me whether I should expect that or not.

For what its worth, Copa has made 2 schedule changes that have brought connection time in PTY to 49 mins, dangerously close to the MCT of 45(?).

If its possible to change the routing without incurring the higher fare, I might also try to get greedy and add the ADZ-BOG leg as an excursionist perk. Would that be possible too?

Many thanks.
thtsapaddlin is offline  
Old Jan 18, 2024, 7:51 pm
  #960  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,763
Originally Posted by thtsapaddlin
Im happy to spend an evening playing HUCA if its possible to make the change without repricing, but I was hoping you folks can tell me whether I should expect that or not.

For what its worth, Copa has made 2 schedule changes that have brought connection time in PTY to 49 mins, dangerously close to the MCT of 45(?).
The schedule change could be your golden ticket. SOP is to charge the fare difference for any voluntary change. If the original PTY connection time was much longer say, an hour and a half or more you might be able to convince someone that with a lap infant, youre nervous about being able to make the connection in that amount of time. If you went from 51 minutes to 49 minutes, youre probably not winning that argument.

Originally Posted by thtsapaddlin
If its possible to change the routing without incurring the higher fare, I might also try to get greedy and add the ADZ-BOG leg as an excursionist perk. Would that be possible too?
Highly unlikely that youd be able to add that flight without repricing.
SPN Lifer likes this.
jsloan 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.