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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 Mar 31, 2024, 8:12 am
  #1171  
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Programs: UA1K
Posts: 490
Originally Posted by shouyi
Maybe I'm doing this all wrong, trying to do a SFO-HND, then a Beijing-Shanghai, then KIX -SFO - the system give me no airport found or something.
Second I tried SFO-HND, then PEK - HND, and finally KIX-SFO, this was not bookable either, the first leg shows no available flights.
Last I tried SFO-HND, Paris-Fra, KIX-SFO, first leg showed up, but the second leg shows no flights.

So is the Excursionist Ticketing Dead or am I doing something wrong?

Thanks
japan is considered its own region I think so it wouldnt qualify under the rules
unitedwildcat is offline  
Old Mar 31, 2024, 8:29 am
  #1172  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,779
Originally Posted by unitedwildcat
japan is considered its own region I think so it wouldnt qualify under the rules
While that is correct, the first and third options were both valid.

OP: UAs multi-city search occasionally leaves much to be desired. Search the three legs you want independently, keeping in mind what unitedwildcat mentioned, so your Excursionist leg cant be China to/from Japan. If all three appear when you search them independently, but they do not appear when you do a multi-city search, a United agent should be able to price the ticket.

The only hesitation I have is specifically about PVG, because I know for a while that UA was blocking connecting awards to PVG (and maybe all of China?). Im not sure if thats still an issue or if it would affect an intra-Chinese leg.
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jsloan is offline  
Old Mar 31, 2024, 8:39 am
  #1173  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 14
Thanks Jsloan for the quick reply. I did call and talked to someone with no clue. he asked someone and told me I can do SFO-HND, HND-PEK, PEK-HND. I give up at that point. He can't help with the one with a leg within china.

Maybe I should call and see I can find someone else.

I tried the leg within China to somewhere like PEK-KWE. still no dice

thanks for the quick reply. I do remember seeing Japan as a different color all by itself on an webpage for UA regions.

Still, don't understand why the other two ite won't work

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 31, 2024 at 1:26 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
shouyi is offline  
Old Mar 31, 2024, 9:02 am
  #1174  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,779
Originally Posted by shouyi
Thanks Jsloan for the quick reply. I did call and talked to someone with no clue. he asked someone and told me I can do SFO-HND, HND-PEK, PEK-HND. I give up at that point. He can't help with the one with a leg within china.

Maybe I should call and see I can find someone else.

I tried the leg within China to somewhere like PEK-KWE. still no dice
Yes, definitely this is a HUCA (Hang Up and Call Again) situation. The first itinerary you posted should be fine, and the agent had no idea what they were talking about if he suggested that.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 11:36 am
  #1175  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 1,618
I bought a fully-refundable domestic economy ticket using travel bank.
I cancelled it, and reservations team has repeatedly confirmed that they processed the refund the original form of payment. This was over 2-3 months ago, but I still don't see the value back in my travel bank.

Right now on chat, the reservations and travel-bank teams keep shuttling me off to each other, not taking responsibility, would anyone have any further suggestions - or atleast a confirmation that a fully refundable economy ticket bought with travel banks should have indeed been returned back to travel bank as original form of payment?

the travel bank funds I used had an expiry date of 2026, so that's not an issue

Last edited by nomiiiii; Apr 1, 2024 at 12:14 pm
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 11:43 am
  #1176  
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 nomiiiii
I bought a fully-refundable domestic economy ticket using travel bank.
I cancelled it, and reservations team has repeatedly confirmed that they processed the refund the original form of payment. This was over 2-3 months ago, but I still don't see the value back in my travel bank.

Right now on chat, the reservations and travel-bank teams keep shuttling me off to each other, not taking responsibility, would anyone have any further suggestions - or atleast a confirmation that a fully refundable economy ticket bought with travel banks should have indeed been returned back to travel bank as original form of payment?
Try http://www.united.com/refunds
Yes, the refund should be back to TB but needs to be manual process
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WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Apr 2, 2024, 1:57 am
  #1177  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Programs: UA 1K, Marriot Platinum, LH FTl, Hertz PC
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by jsloan
You have a routing problem. There are still hidden routing rules in MileagePlus awards: one of them is that Europe to Australia / New Zealand travel must be via Asia. As a 1K member, I also cannot see any business class awards searching, e.g., FRA-AKL.

Multi-city search will show you prices, but you're not going to like them much. I did a sample trip FRA-SFO-AKL and vv, and it was a total of 750K miles. You might be able to get it down to 400K miles if you find saver space on each leg, but UA rarely releases saver business class space, especially in the I bucket that you'd need for an award without Platinum status or higher.

If one of the Asian or European airlines does open space via Asia, you'd suddenly see a Business column in your search results.
thx for your reply. As I didn't want to spend weeks for planning the routing of a vacation, my wife & I decided to go for a trip to Orlando & New Orleans with Suisse & Discover in business class. Our starting point is Hamburg, and I was extremely surprised to find a routing starting at my home base, 360K spent. We'll do the NZL travel at al later point in time 2025 and will go for LH ID tickets then at a reasonable price point.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 2:53 am
  #1178  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Australia
Programs: Aeroplan 50k, Hilton Diamond, Accor Plus Gold, SPG Gold, Hertz Presidents Club
Posts: 188
Thanks for replies guys. I'll probably put my question 'to the test' by the end of April!
I have purchased the maximum miles this year:200k for price of 100k (and will top up to take me to 250k with the latest offer)
I'll then buy the max Award Accelerator miles for my upcoming trip (not interested in Premier Accelerator) at the end of the month
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 8:57 am
  #1179  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,779
Originally Posted by mlafqtv
Thanks for replies guys. I'll probably put my question 'to the test' by the end of April!
I have purchased the maximum miles this year:200k for price of 100k (and will top up to take me to 250k with the latest offer)
I'll then buy the max Award Accelerator miles for my upcoming trip (not interested in Premier Accelerator) at the end of the month
I sincerely hope that there was a specific redemption that drove this purchase end that you got good value out of it.

I suspect the reason that nobody knows the answer to your question is that, even with the 100% bonus, purchasing MileagePlus miles in bulk quantity is something that few people on the board will do. They depreciate in value extremely quickly, and even half-price it can still be difficult to find a redemption that provides substantial value over what you spent to acquire the miles.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 11:42 am
  #1180  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Programs: Mileage Plus Premier Silver Hilton Diamond
Posts: 4
Just looking for a little insight

We haven't flown United since the pandemic...so no status, all we have is 330k pooled miles. I think we'll be retiring from international travel so we'd like to do one last trip to Europe (Frankfurt) in Polaris burning up the last of our miles in the process. We are planning on leaving about May 1.
My plan is to purchase the remaining miles .I know, not a good value but, correct me if I'm wrong, it would make the whole PNR refundable. I realize the purchased miles are non refundable but having a refundable ticket is important to us.
I thought about going PE on the return trip and trying to upgrade to Polaris since it looks like a fairly empty flight but I'm not really interested in sweating out a waitlist since I've been burned before.
Am I missing any kind of missed opportunity here? Thanks.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 11:52 am
  #1181  
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AS 75K, DL Silver, UA Platinum, Hilton Gold, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Platinum + LT Gold
Posts: 10,696
Originally Posted by Cheapfur
We haven't flown United since the pandemic...so no status, all we have is 330k pooled miles. I think we'll be retiring from international travel so we'd like to do one last trip to Europe (Frankfurt) in Polaris burning up the last of our miles in the process. We are planning on leaving about May 1.
My plan is to purchase the remaining miles .I know, not a good value but, correct me if I'm wrong, it would make the whole PNR refundable. I realize the purchased miles are non refundable but having a refundable ticket is important to us.
I thought about going PE on the return trip and trying to upgrade to Polaris since it looks like a fairly empty flight but I'm not really interested in sweating out a waitlist since I've been burned before.
Am I missing any kind of missed opportunity here? Thanks.
Award tickets are refundable in the sense miles go back to the account and taxes are refunded back to original payment source.

Award tickets are generally not upgradedable, unless you have Global Services PlusPoints. You can also move up via upsell (paid upgrade).

Seatmaps are not always accurate, as they do not account for ticketed passengers having not yet selected their seats. Also, future ticketed passengers are likely to jump ahead of you the queue, especially when ticketed in economy and without any status.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 11:57 am
  #1182  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,779
Originally Posted by Cheapfur
We haven't flown United since the pandemic...so no status, all we have is 330k pooled miles. I think we'll be retiring from international travel so we'd like to do one last trip to Europe (Frankfurt) in Polaris burning up the last of our miles in the process. We are planning on leaving about May 1.
My plan is to purchase the remaining miles .I know, not a good value but, correct me if I'm wrong, it would make the whole PNR refundable. I realize the purchased miles are non refundable but having a refundable ticket is important to us.
I thought about going PE on the return trip and trying to upgrade to Polaris since it looks like a fairly empty flight but I'm not really interested in sweating out a waitlist since I've been burned before.
Am I missing any kind of missed opportunity here? Thanks.
Yes, mileage tickets are refundable, although, as you pointed out, the purchase of the mileage is not. You can't upgrade a mileage ticket, and refundable PE is going to cost a pretty penny anyway. Depending upon where you're starting from, and how flexible you are on dates, you might be able to find 2 TATL J tickets without needing to purchase a gigantic number of miles. If you're not already in a UA hub, consider purchasing a refundable ticket to a hub airport, and then check the award prices from there. On Monday, 4/29, I see two flights on EWR-FRA for 80K miles each on UA or 88K on LH. On the way back, you could fly 5/14 for 80K each to IAD or ORD.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 1:21 pm
  #1183  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: San Francisco Penninsula
Programs: Bear Backers
Posts: 953
Is there some reason flights from Melbourne to San Francisco command 250 k miles on Wednesdays while other days of the week are 200K? I though Wednesday was a good day to get a better deal? Feb 2025
oskidunker is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 2:27 pm
  #1184  
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Posts: 24
Originally Posted by djtn
thx for your reply. As I didn't want to spend weeks for planning the routing of a vacation, my wife & I decided to go for a trip to Orlando & New Orleans with Suisse & Discover in business class. Our starting point is Hamburg, and I was extremely surprised to find a routing starting at my home base, 360K spent. We'll do the NZL travel at al later point in time 2025 and will go for LH ID tickets then at a reasonable price point.
You may think about the cash option vs miles. Those miles have a value. Looking for R fares for a return from NZ at around $1100 each way is a great deal and 8-10 months out provides success in my experience. From there, apply the 30 PP to get on the waitlist. From the last 10x doing this, it has worked for me 8x (US to EU). Note that for US to AU, a B economy fare is also about $1100 during peak times; this will help in improving your waitlist position using PP. Everyone has a different pain point for miles vs cash.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 3:30 pm
  #1185  
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 oskidunker
Is there some reason flights from Melbourne to San Francisco command 250 k miles on Wednesdays while other days of the week are 200K? I though Wednesday was a good day to get a better deal? Feb 2025
Wednesday as a better day is a generalized statement and not a guarantee. When you get to a specific flight in a specific week then other factors -- demand for instance or some event or .... (at either O or D) will drive.
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