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

Old Jan 19, 2017, 10:23 pm
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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 Feb 14, 2024, 6:57 am
  #1066  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 244
Yes - Can transfer from Marriott at 3:1. 60,000 Marriott points yield 25,000 Asiana miles. 5,000 bonus asiana miles for every 60k Marriott points.
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Old Feb 15, 2024, 2:59 pm
  #1067  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: San Francisco Penninsula
Programs: Bear Backers
Posts: 953
Buying United miles .must use I use the promotional link or will united give me the discount when completing an award booking?
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Old Feb 17, 2024, 8:31 pm
  #1068  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 11
Hi,
I'm trying to rebook my award reservation that includes 2 international legs (both Lufthansa). I also have a separate domestic leg booked to get me to my home airport. Previously, there wasn't any Polaris availability in the second international leg arriving in the US.
Now, I see Polaris space available to DEN and a separate DEN-home airport domestic saver award is also available with sufficient time between the legs. But when I try to search for award tickets all the way through to my home airport, it doesn't show up . So, AAA-BBB-CCC and CCC-DDD are both available as saver awards but AAA-BBB-CCC-DDD is not. Is that expected? Any way around this? I tried contacting united through the message service but the agent was also unable to make the full award show up. They offered to connect the two awards if I paid for the domestic leg separately with miles. Is that my best option?

I can find a saver award for a long haul business class reservation to DEN (2 business class legs) and then separately find an economy saver award to my home airport. But when I try to search all the way to my home airport, the award through Denver doesn't show up(an award through New York shows up but that involves an airport change. I can also find awards through sfo that then goes through Denver and then my home airport but it adds an additional stop). United agent told me she could book both awards and combine them but I have to pay separately for the domestic saver award. Is that my best bet? Why doesn't the domestic leg show up as part of the international award?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 18, 2024 at 12:54 am Reason: merged near duplicate queries
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Old Feb 17, 2024, 10:48 pm
  #1069  
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Originally Posted by Sheela Jaya
Why doesn't the domestic leg show up as part of the international award?
Because UA doesn't want to make that combined award available for the lower price. It 's called married segment logic. It sucks but this is one of many program devaluations UA has implemented over the past several years. There's no practical way around it, unfortunately.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 12:17 am
  #1070  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 330
Is it unusual that there is literally NO (saver / *A partner program) award availability whatsoever for PPT-SFO? I have a hard time imaging all the saver award space for the next 365 days was already snatched up. And I also see that a lot of upcoming flights still have a lot of space in business class.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 12:34 am
  #1071  
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Originally Posted by Sheela Jaya
So, AAA-BBB-CCC and CCC-DDD are both available as saver awards but AAA-BBB-CCC-DDD is not. Is that expected?
Yes, that’s expected — it happens quite frequently.

Originally Posted by Sheela Jaya
Any way around this? I tried contacting united through the message service but the agent was also unable to make the full award show up. They offered to connect the two awards if I paid for the domestic leg separately with miles. Is that my best option?
Multi-city search will probably make it appear; you’ll still end up getting charged for CCC-DDD separately. UA’s award engine may or may not find all combinations, and even if it found that combination, it might not decide to offer the saver award on the connecting flight. The ability to build awards segment-by-segment like you’re attempting went away more than 5 years ago.

Originally Posted by ArnoldB
Is it unusual that there is literally NO (saver / *A partner program) award availability whatsoever for PPT-SFO?
Not in the least.

Originally Posted by ArnoldB
I have a hard time imaging all the saver award space for the next 365 days was already snatched up.
Why would you think that there was any saver award space in the next 365 days to snatch up in the ifrst place?

Originally Posted by ArnoldB
And I also see that a lot of upcoming flights still have a lot of space in business class.
Indeed, and UA may open partner award space for those flights at any time — but probably won’t. They will try to sell the seats first, and there’s a good chance they will succeed. The underlying assumption in your question — that there is some quantity of saver award space allocated to every flight — is flawed. UA manages award inventory based upon its projections of how many seats it won’t be able to sell. If they think they can sell every seat — including at a discount, via a buy-up or an upgrade instrument — they will not open any saver award space.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 4:32 am
  #1072  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 11
Originally Posted by jsloan
Yes, thats expected it happens quite frequently.


Multi-city search will probably make it appear; youll still end up getting charged for CCC-DDD separately. UAs award engine may or may not find all combinations, and even if it found that combination, it might not decide to offer the saver award on the connecting flight. The ability to build awards segment-by-segment like youre attempting went away more than 5 years ago.
If I use multicity search and book the award, will I be able to check bags on the domestic CCC-DDD leg (economy) based on long haul international business?
Also, can I book the economy CCC-DDD leg separately using cash and then link them(for the same purpose of bags being based on international business)?
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 5:27 am
  #1073  
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Originally Posted by ArnoldB
Is it unusual that there is literally NO (saver / *A partner program) award availability whatsoever for PPT-SFO? I have a hard time imaging all the saver award space for the next 365 days was already snatched up. And I also see that a lot of upcoming flights still have a lot of space in business class.
My family of 3 booked this round trip at about 1,100,000 miles. If I had it to do over again, I would have booked it as 2 one way tickets and then watched daily for the saver award to open up so that I could make last minute changes to saver and get some of those miles back.

Would the saver ever open up? I dont know. But Bora Bora is one of those places that I think is worth it. We were flying out of BOS at the time.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 8:26 am
  #1074  
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Originally Posted by Sheela Jaya
If I use multicity search and book the award, will I be able to check bags on the domestic CCC-DDD leg (economy) based on long haul international business?
Yes.

Originally Posted by Sheela Jaya
Also, can I book the economy CCC-DDD leg separately using cash and then link them(for the same purpose of bags being based on international business)?
They can’t meaningfully be linked, but linking them isn’t really necessary. As long as CCC-DDD is not in Basic Economy, you could check bags through in this manner also, and you’ll get the business class allowance. Give yourself extra time at the check-in airport— at least 30 minutes more than you normally would.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 6:01 pm
  #1075  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 11
Originally Posted by jsloan
Yes.


They cant meaningfully be linked, but linking them isnt really necessary. As long as CCC-DDD is not in Basic Economy, you could check bags through in this manner also, and youll get the business class allowance. Give yourself extra time at the check-in airport at least 30 minutes more than you normally would.
lots of things have changed since earlier today. My flights were through Lufthansa and they cancelled it due to an expected strike. I had united reroute me on their metal but they could only do it till MIA (CCC in my original post). And they had to route me through SFO (adding a stop). Can I just get off at SFO and take a separate flight home to MSP (DDD in my example)? Since I need to retrieve bags in SFO and recheck, bags shouldn't be an issue. But will United flag me for skipping the leg? Should I inform United I won't take the SFO-MIA flight ? Or just no show ? I tried to get the united agent to only issue me tickets till SFO but they said it had to be MIA or they would need to reprice it as voluntary change.

I would obviously book SFO to MSP on a different carrier, not united.

​​​​​
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 11:22 pm
  #1076  
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Originally Posted by Sheela Jaya
lots of things have changed since earlier today. My flights were through Lufthansa and they cancelled it due to an expected strike. I had united reroute me on their metal but they could only do it till MIA (CCC in my original post). And they had to route me through SFO (adding a stop). Can I just get off at SFO and take a separate flight home to MSP (DDD in my example)? Since I need to retrieve bags in SFO and recheck, bags shouldn't be an issue. But will United flag me for skipping the leg? Should I inform United I won't take the SFO-MIA flight ? Or just no show ? I tried to get the united agent to only issue me tickets till SFO but they said it had to be MIA or they would need to reprice it as voluntary change.

I would obviously book SFO to MSP on a different carrier, not united.
​​​​​
I hope youre going somewhere in South Asia or this re-routing makes no sense. If there is a more convenient award routing (to MIA) available on the website, you should be able to get UA to change to it (although if it involves partner airlines, you may run into problems).

A one-off hidden city ticket (HCT) is extremely unlikely to raise any red flags at UA. You run the same risk as any HCT because your ticket is to Miami, not San Francisco, if there are any further flight disruptions, UA is not obligated to get you to SFO they could re-route you through another gateway instead. Its up to you how youd like to evaluate that risk; many people take it and we only rarely see problems, but its definitely plausible. And, yes, SFO-MSP has to be booked on a different carrier.
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Old Feb 19, 2024, 12:32 am
  #1077  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 330
Originally Posted by Ericka
My family of 3 booked this round trip at about 1,100,000 miles. If I had it to do over again, I would have booked it as 2 one way tickets and then watched daily for the saver award to open up so that I could make last minute changes to saver and get some of those miles back.

Would the saver ever open up? I dont know. But Bora Bora is one of those places that I think is worth it. We were flying out of BOS at the time.
Well for us it is really just a short night-flight leaving Tahiti. But we would prefer to be as well rested as possible, as on the way home to Europe we have 1 more night in San Francisco and so wouldn't want to be walking zombies there. It is also probably our last major trip before family planning prevents further longhaul travel for a while, and I still have just enough Miles & More miles left, but it seems they won't be spent for this...

Originally Posted by jsloan
Indeed, and UA may open partner award space for those flights at any time but probably wont. They will try to sell the seats first, and theres a good chance they will succeed. The underlying assumption in your question that there is some quantity of saver award space allocated to every flight is flawed. UA manages award inventory based upon its projections of how many seats it wont be able to sell. If they think they can sell every seat including at a discount, via a buy-up or an upgrade instrument they will not open any saver award space.
Now I'm probably naive but that kind of sucks. Sure it's not a charity, but they could at least free up a little bit for partner programs... could they not just internally charge for exampe Miles & More more for the availability? UA really seems particularly stingy with partner availability.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 19, 2024 at 10:57 am Reason: merge consecutive by same member
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Old Feb 19, 2024, 1:08 am
  #1078  
 
Join Date: May 2017
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Originally Posted by jsloan
I hope youre going somewhere in South Asia or this re-routing makes no sense. If there is a more convenient award routing (to MIA) available on the website, you should be able to get UA to change to it (although if it involves partner airlines, you may run into problems).

A one-off hidden city ticket (HCT) is extremely unlikely to raise any red flags at UA. You run the same risk as any HCT because your ticket is to Miami, not San Francisco, if there are any further flight disruptions, UA is not obligated to get you to SFO they could re-route you through another gateway instead. Its up to you how youd like to evaluate that risk; many people take it and we only rarely see problems, but its definitely plausible. And, yes, SFO-MSP has to be booked on a different carrier.
I'm starting in India. I was supposed to go through frankfurt on luftansa/across the Atlantic but now going through the Pacific route with SQ and UA Polaris to SFO. It's two stops to MSP in either direction and the time is also almost the same given different layover times in both routes.

Thanks for all the insights. I'm going to take my chances with SQ/UA and hope I'm not unlucky twice.
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Old Feb 19, 2024, 7:28 am
  #1079  
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Originally Posted by ArnoldB
Now I'm probably naive but that kind of sucks. Sure it's not a charity, but they could at least free up a little bit for partner programs... could they not just internally charge for exampe Miles & More more for the availability? UA really seems particularly stingy with partner availability.
If Miles & More wanted to pay UA more, I suspect they could probably come to some kind of an arrangement to get extra award availability although Im sure M&M would turn around and increase the redemption rates the way UA has done for its own members.

UA partner availability comes out of the same bucket that MileagePlus saver-level awards do (for anyone with Gold status or below). Im sure everyone would like to see more availability, but as long as people keep flying UA and signing up for the credit card, the situation isnt likely to change. Instead, we get people complaining that it takes many hundreds of thousands of award miles for one business class seat. And, yes, UA is on the stingy side, although not to the same level as, say, SQ, which has only released long-haul awards to UA once or twice in the past 10 years, for a day or two at a time.
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Old Feb 19, 2024, 12:01 pm
  #1080  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Programs: United 1K
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I have a one-way award booking MUC-BCN-SFO in October. I booked it as multi-city despite being a same-day connection: MUC-BCN in X for 8.8k, BCN-SFO in JN for 90k. (Aside: Never seen JN that low for EU - West Coast before.)

I thought that I'd be able to just drop the MUC-BCN leg for an 8.8k refund if I wanted to, but when I went to test it out on the site it wants to reprice the whole thing at the current JN price (200k+). Is there any hope of getting an agent that would honor the 90k for me (or even just drop the first segment without the refund)? If the answer is still no, would a hypothetical future schedule change help?
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