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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 29, 2024, 9:02 pm
  #1006  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,281
Originally Posted by abhilife2001
i told them that but they insisted on it being 60mins. Any public website where mct’s are listed and I can ask them to validate ?
It is info in the GDS and there is no free access to GDS. (GDS is a industry data backbone).

However, HUCA, try a different agent. The agent was miss reading the info.

Never waste you time with an agent like that. The more you push the more they will stonewall.
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Old Jan 29, 2024, 9:49 pm
  #1007  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,779
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
ID UA-UA MCT @ SFO is 80 mins (1:20) per expert flyer, 60 minutes does not sound right (or doable)
Today at SFO, the first bag hit the carousel about 45 minutes after flight arrival. I would just barely have been able to make an 80-minute connection, but 60 minutes, no way. I agree -- someone doesn't know how to read the GDS.
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Old Jan 30, 2024, 11:21 am
  #1008  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: PDX
Programs: Don't think it matters...
Posts: 5,240
Originally Posted by jsloan
Today at SFO, the first bag hit the carousel about 45 minutes after flight arrival. I would just barely have been able to make an 80-minute connection, but 60 minutes, no way. I agree -- someone doesn't know how to read the GDS.
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
ID UA-UA MCT @ SFO is 80 mins (1:20) per expert flyer, 60 minutes does not sound right (or doable)

Time for another call or chat.
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
It is info in the GDS and there is no free access to GDS. (GDS is a industry data backbone).

However, HUCA, try a different agent. The agent was miss reading the info.

Never waste you time with an agent like that. The more you push the more they will stonewall.
Thank you, I will call back and update.
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Old Jan 30, 2024, 12:29 pm
  #1009  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,305
Saver award inventory - should I book one year ahead or wait?

I'm trying to use up my remaining points on either an economy round trip or a Premium Plus and cash flight. I'm thinking of an award flight RDU-DPS and a separate ticket for SIN-RDU. And it was suggested recently that for awards, many folks are booking one way awards? My flight is not until 12/22/24 to 1/14/25. My question is, if you see Saver Award inventory this far out, as I do, would I be stupid to wait, thinking that miles needed will go down? Example, I can get a one way in Economy on United and Singapore Airlines for about 60,000 miles. Premium Economy is 170,000.

I know if I booked now, I could get Singapore Airlines "Premium" Economy on the A350-900 around $5000 round trip. Possibly less if I wait. It was only around $3300 when looking in November 2024 versus December 2024.
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Old Jan 30, 2024, 12:40 pm
  #1010  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,281
Saver awards have limited variably. While it may be slightly fewer miles in the future, it is more likely not to be available. My mantra is "see Saver, book ASAP" for times you can live with, you can cancel for free if better booking shows up later.
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Old Jan 30, 2024, 12:41 pm
  #1011  
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Originally Posted by zitsky
I'm trying to use up my remaining points on either an economy round trip or a Premium Plus and cash flight. I'm thinking of an award flight RDU-DPS and a separate ticket for SIN-RDU. And it was suggested recently that for awards, many folks are booking one way awards? My flight is not until 12/22/24 to 1/14/25. My question is, if you see Saver Award inventory this far out, as I do, would I be stupid to wait, thinking that miles needed will go down? Example, I can get a one way in Economy on United and Singapore Airlines for about 60,000 miles. Premium Economy is 170,000.
If you see saver availability now, book it. There are no fees for changing or canceling a MileagePlus award if you later find it for cheaper or decide a cash ticket makes more sense.
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Old Jan 30, 2024, 1:33 pm
  #1012  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by jsloan
If you see saver availability now, book it. There are no fees for changing or canceling a MileagePlus award if you later find it for cheaper or decide a cash ticket makes more sense.
Is there any disadvantage to having multiple tickets (PNR?). if I book only with United or a partner? Is there anything I cannot do with multiple PNRs? Any penalty for doing that?

Edit: My luggage won't end up in another country with multiple PNRs? lol

Edit 2: jsloan, I went ahead and booked Premium Plus (RDU-EWR) EWR-SFO. And when possible I'll look for return award flight in PP.

If I do find it cheaper later, do they just put the extra miles back in my account?

Thank you for this advice and all the other help.

Last edited by zitsky; Jan 30, 2024 at 1:56 pm
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Old Jan 30, 2024, 8:13 pm
  #1013  
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Saipan, MP 96950 USA (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands = the CNMI)
Programs: UA Silver, Hilton Silver. Life: UA .57 MM, United & Admirals Clubs (spousal), Marriott Platinum
Posts: 15,425
Originally Posted by zitsky (Post # 1012)
If I do find it cheaper later, do they just put the extra miles back in my account?
Only if you are able to book at the lower fare. Upon cancelling the original reservation, those miles will be returned to you.

If you don't have a reserve of extra miles, you can first cancel the existing reservation. But you are taking a chance that the reduced mileage award will disappear after you do so, leaving you with nothing.
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Old Jan 30, 2024, 9:22 pm
  #1014  
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
Posts: 199
Is there generally lot of phantom availability on UA search right now for LH/LX/OS flights or it's usually pretty accurate? Specifically those with married segment between a short-haul and long-haul (NA-Europe or Europe-Asia)

I'm using the UA search but trying to redeem via Aeroplan because AP search is not great and I'm trying to figure out the UA search results are phantom space or if AP/AC is the issue. Wasn't able to get an AP agent to successfully find availability for any of the LH/LX/OS flights that I could see on UA , even though UA search was showing X/I availability. I tried 2 agents and probably like 5-6 flights that were showing as available

The same flights & seat availability show up on LifeMiles.

I'm thinking it's probably AC/AP, but wanted to check there isn't some known issue with phantom availability for certain airlines/routes.
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Old Jan 30, 2024, 11:59 pm
  #1015  
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 90
Haven't flown to Latin America in a while, is the United Latin Hopper open-jaws still around? Looking to fly in probably PTY then hop around any few latin american cities before flying out MGA.
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Old Jan 31, 2024, 2:11 am
  #1016  
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Originally Posted by uporito
Haven't flown to Latin America in a while, is the United Latin Hopper open-jaws still around? Looking to fly in probably PTY then hop around any few latin american cities before flying out MGA.
Not in that form, no. The old stopover system has been replaced by the Excursionist Perk. It will give you a free one-way flight within a single region that is not the same as the origin region, iff your reservation starts and ends in the same region. So, you could start with, say, AUS-PTY, then fly something like SJO-(PTY)-BZE, and then return with MGA-IAH-DFW. This fulfills the requirements -- AUS and DFW are both in the "Mainland US, Alaska, Canada" region, and SJO, PTY and BZE are all in the Central America region.

However, you're limited to just the flights that show up on a one-way search between each pair of endpoints -- in this example, AUS-PTY, SJO-BZE, and MGA-DFW. You can no longer call up United and "hop" by stitching together award legs with 23.5-hour stopovers between them -- if the search engine doesn't find the connection, you're SOL. And the Excursionist Perk, while in some ways more flexible than the old stopover rule, can be challenging to use in some regions because the travel has to stay entirely within a single award region -- you can't connect via a different region.

Hope this helps.
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Old Jan 31, 2024, 5:41 am
  #1017  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
Posts: 5,305
Originally Posted by SPN Lifer
Only if you are able to book at the lower fare. Upon cancelling the original reservation, those miles will be returned to you.

If you don't have a reserve of extra miles, you can first cancel the existing reservation. But you are taking a chance that the reduced mileage award will disappear after you do so, leaving you with nothing.
Got it. Is there a thread about what people have booked awards for domestic PP flights? I booked 80,000 miles PP round trip per person. That seems fair. I dont have the miles to do much else. I could try for an upgrade award but everything is waitlisted internationally.
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Old Jan 31, 2024, 9:04 am
  #1018  
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Originally Posted by zitsky
Is there any disadvantage to having multiple tickets (PNR?). if I book only with United or a partner? Is there anything I cannot do with multiple PNRs? Any penalty for doing that?

Edit: My luggage won't end up in another country with multiple PNRs? lol
I'm not entirely following what you're asking, but in general, there are two downsides to having multiple tickets that jointly make up a single journey. (There are no real downsides to having two separate tickets, one being the outbound of a trip and one being the return, except that you don't get to benefit from any possible round-trip discount). The first is that you will generally need an extra step to get your bag tagged through to your destination. The second is that in the event of a delay on one ticket such that you arrive too late to make it onto the first flight of the second ticket, neither airline is obliged to rebook you, whereas if it were a single ticket, the airline that arrived late would be obligated to figure out how to get you to your destination. The major upside to having multiple tickets is that you often save lots of money or miles. In general, I'd recommend leaving a longer buffer between two separately-ticketed itineraries than you might if it were on a single ticket.

Note that if both itineraries are operated by UA, they're generally quite good about taking care of passengers even if they are on separate tickets.
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Old Jan 31, 2024, 10:41 am
  #1019  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: San Francisco Penninsula
Programs: Bear Backers
Posts: 953
Unable to select seats after booking a business award for Dec 29. I thought I read somewhere it may take a few days before they allow you to select seats, true? I noticed some J seats are taken on the 20th but nothing after that date except the same y seats which must be crew seats .have confirmation emails with conf numbers
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Old Jan 31, 2024, 12:06 pm
  #1020  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 31
I've been trying to book a US-->EU-->EU long haul to short haul award ticket on LX/OS. When I click on it to book I get a pop up that the LX (long haul) flight is no longer available. Then when I search the next day or two the award doesn't show as available. Then when I search the next day or two after that it'll show as available but I get the same pop up when I try to book. This has been going on for several weeks. I was wondering if anyone knows what's going on.

Edit: meant to quote Elvasoshexai

Last edited by boscobjgd; Jan 31, 2024 at 12:09 pm Reason: Meant to quote other post
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