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UA Saver Award/Upgrade Inventory (& partners)-when is it released? Ever any business?

UA Saver Award/Upgrade Inventory (& partners)-when is it released? Ever any business?

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Old Sep 22, 22, 2:53 am   -   Wikipost
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Years ago, there was a pattern of release award space at begin-of-schedule, some 330+ before travel. That is not longer the default situation. There may be some released at that time and a few weeks later but just as common for airlines to wait to see how the flight is selling versus historical data. Then if sales are falling behind, they may release some seats. If sold seats are on historical trends or better, the likelihood of awards space is less. Some airlines are more sophisticated than others and some like UA for their flights tend to hold onto space until closer to departure.

So in summary, predictable patterns are few and award space is getting harder to find.

Business award space for some routes can be nearly impossible to find and generally is never easy. BUT it can happen with some flexibility and perseverance.

A couple of suggestions for finding space
== Avoid peak travel periods -- seasons, days --- midweek tends to be better than weekends, be flexiable -- fixed dates are a killer
== Look early, look late, look all the time
== Partner space tends to be more available than UA space for international flights
== For those not starting at a hub, first look for "gateway" non-stop space to Europe or Asia. Find the long haul flight possibilities first and then build from there (or separate ticket to the gateway -- with plenty of buffer time)

What does "Advance seat assignments are restricted for this flight" mean?

What time (and time zone), how many days out does UA release awards for booking?

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Old Feb 3, 19, 12:35 pm
  #46  
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Jan and Feb 2020 are not yet bookable, While it varies between airlines, UA is generally a max of 330 days / 11 months in advance
What time (and time zone), how many days out does UA release awards for booking?
This is true for cash tickets and award tickets.

However, it does not mean award tickets will be available at that point, the same is true for cash tickets.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 12:58 pm
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by cfischer View Post
If you fly low season your chances are pretty good IME. Assume you are planning via FRA/ZRH?
I'm not sure about the route. I will take what is available as long as its acceptable. There is one flight on Turkish where you have to change airports. That I don't want to do.
What I do is put in dates and RT destinations and then search for award travel then hope I can get something reasonable. BTW i''m trying for saver awards so perhaps the pickings are slimmer?
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Old Feb 3, 19, 1:02 pm
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Jan and Feb 2020 are not yet bookable, While it varies between airlines, UA is generally a max of 330 days / 11 months in advance
What time (and time zone), how many days out does UA release awards for booking?
This is true for cash tickets and award tickets.

However, it does not mean award tickets will be available at that point, the same is true for cash tickets.
Thank you. I know its 330 days out. I was wondering if the scarcity I see is due to the times, i.e. over the holidays. Thats why I mentioned there are more options in November. I'm hoping things will open up by February though I think thats still high season as the weather in Dubai is ok then vs. the summer when its scorching.
Thank you.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 1:27 pm
  #49  
 
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We are planning a trip at the end of May to Italy - arriving in Rome departing in Venice. There are currently no saver awards in Business or Economy. This is much later than we would normally book a trip so I was wondering if anyone has experience looking for frequent fliers 3.5 months before departure.

If we do have to buy tickets can anyone recommend how early we should look to get the best fares?

Thank you!
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Old Feb 3, 19, 1:38 pm
  #50  
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Originally Posted by 1KSpouse View Post
We are planning a trip at the end of May to Italy - arriving in Rome departing in Venice. There are currently no saver awards in Business or Economy. This is much later than we would normally book a trip so I was wondering if anyone has experience looking for frequent fliers 3.5 months before departure.

If we do have to buy tickets can anyone recommend how early we should look to get the best fares?
UA (and other partners) will release inventory if it appears that they're not going to be able to sell them. That can happen at any time -- if the flights don't sell well, UA will typically open space. It's common to see saver award space -- especially economy -- on the day of departure for flights that have more than a handful of empty seats. Check regularly.

Based on your screen name, I assume that you're booking the awards from an account with UA status, which will give you the broadest possible availability.

As for paid fares, this is about the time I would start looking. The best prices are generally found somewhere between 100 days and 2 weeks before departure. There's no single best time to buy airfare; if there were, the airlines would raise prices on that day so it wouldn't be the best anymore. . I'd check every few days, and I'd specifically be keeping an eye on inventory, not just the fares. The more seats they have in the discount fare buckets, the better the chances are that they will eventually publish a sale fare and/or open up award inventory.

When you say there are "no" seats -- are you including connecting itineraries? Are you flying from a small airport with once-daily service? Are you not willing to consider partner flights? Do you have any flexibility on dates? As one example, I see 30K availability every day in late May from AUS-FCO, although admittedly some of the routes are fairly inconvenient.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 3:45 pm
  #51  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
UA (and other partners) will release inventory if it appears that they're not going to be able to sell them. That can happen at any time -- if the flights don't sell well, UA will typically open space. It's common to see saver award space -- especially economy -- on the day of departure for flights that have more than a handful of empty seats. Check regularly.

Based on your screen name, I assume that you're booking the awards from an account with UA status, which will give you the broadest possible availability.

As for paid fares, this is about the time I would start looking. The best prices are generally found somewhere between 100 days and 2 weeks before departure. There's no single best time to buy airfare; if there were, the airlines would raise prices on that day so it wouldn't be the best anymore. . I'd check every few days, and I'd specifically be keeping an eye on inventory, not just the fares. The more seats they have in the discount fare buckets, the better the chances are that they will eventually publish a sale fare and/or open up award inventory.

When you say there are "no" seats -- are you including connecting itineraries? Are you flying from a small airport with once-daily service? Are you not willing to consider partner flights? Do you have any flexibility on dates? As one example, I see 30K availability every day in late May from AUS-FCO, although admittedly some of the routes are fairly inconvenient.
Thank you very much!!! I had initially done my search for business class and forgot to change the calendar to economy to see alternate dates. I do see some options there (from LAX) so I will go through them more closely.

Thank you also for the info on watching the fare buckets. I'm currently looking into how to see the buckets for both this flight and future options.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 4:02 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by 1KSpouse View Post
Thank you very much!!! I had initially done my search for business class and forgot to change the calendar to economy to see alternate dates. I do see some options there (from LAX) so I will go through them more closely.

Thank you also for the info on watching the fare buckets. I'm currently looking into how to see the buckets for both this flight and future options.
Happy to help. :-)

For the inventory buckets, you want Expert Mode. Here's a board thread about it: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unit...cket-data.html . The first post in the thread includes a link to the instructions on how to turn it on.

Note that when you're trying to figure out information on one particular flight, you need to do a paid ticket search just for that flight. So, if you're trying to figure out how much inventory there is on the EWR-FCO flight, you want to do a search just for EWR-FCO, even though that's not how you'd actually purchase it. Expert Mode doesn't work on award searches, and you'll get different values if you search from origin to destination (e.g., LAX to FCO) than you'll get if you search leg by leg.

Good luck!

PS: The award calendar often has false negatives. You should definitely click on a day even if it says "not available." Click the column headers to sort any available awards to the top. Also, make sure that you're logged in with the account you're going to use. Again, I'm assuming that account has status -- if so, you may get considerably more availability that you won't see if you're logged out.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 5:36 pm
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Happy to help. :-)

For the inventory buckets, you want Expert Mode. Here's a board thread about it: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unit...cket-data.html . The first post in the thread includes a link to the instructions on how to turn it on.

Note that when you're trying to figure out information on one particular flight, you need to do a paid ticket search just for that flight. So, if you're trying to figure out how much inventory there is on the EWR-FCO flight, you want to do a search just for EWR-FCO, even though that's not how you'd actually purchase it. Expert Mode doesn't work on award searches, and you'll get different values if you search from origin to destination (e.g., LAX to FCO) than you'll get if you search leg by leg.

Good luck!

PS: The award calendar often has false negatives. You should definitely click on a day even if it says "not available." Click the column headers to sort any available awards to the top. Also, make sure that you're logged in with the account you're going to use. Again, I'm assuming that account has status -- if so, you may get considerably more availability that you won't see if you're logged out.
Thank you again for all the helpful info! I'm all setup and am able see the buckets now. I really appreciate the detailed info and will be putting it to good use :-)
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Old Feb 3, 19, 9:20 pm
  #54  
 
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1K and no Saver Award 1-3 months in future?!

I'm a recent convert from AC to UA. As a new 1K I was expecting liberal access to Saver Awards. I'm trying to book flight YVR-IAH NON-STOP round trip (albiet Mon-Thurs) and no Saver Awards 1-3 months out? Are you kidding me? I thought there was supposed to be some kind of benefit as 1K to make saver awards available in the reasonable near future. Are my expectations misguided? What a disappointment with UA.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 9:27 pm
  #55  
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Are you logged in? I see abundant economy saver awards. With occasional exceptions, domestic saver business/first effectively doesn't exist on UA anymore. Especially on Airbus routes.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 9:33 pm
  #56  
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Originally Posted by YVR guy View Post
I'm a recent convert from AC to UA. As a new 1K I was expecting liberal access to Saver Awards. I'm trying to book flight YVR-IAH NON-STOP round trip (albiet Mon-Thurs) and no Saver Awards 1-3 months out? Are you kidding me? I thought there was supposed to be some kind of benefit as 1K to make saver awards available in the reasonable near future. Are my expectations misguided? What a disappointment with UA.
Economy or business?

If you're judging availability based upon one, once-daily flight, on what appears to be the busiest day of the week, then, yes, your expectations are misguided.

All United premier levels (as well as holders of qualified United-branded Chase credit cards) have the same access to saver economy awards -- and it is considerably greater than what general members get. However, it's still nowhere near last-seat availability.

UA will open award seats closer to departure if they're not able to sell them. (For example, tomorrow's flight has award availability). As a 1K, you can change awards at any time with no fee. A common technique is to book something suboptimal, as a backup plan, and then watch inventory on the preferred flight.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 9:33 pm
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Are you logged in? I see abundant economy saver awards. With occasional exceptions, domestic saver business/first effectively doesn't exist on UA anymore. Especially on Airbus routes.
Great, tell me the dates your see for NON-STOP flights, as mentioned in my original post. The 1K desk couldnt find any either.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Economy or business?

If you're judging availability based upon one, once-daily flight, on what appears to be the busiest day of the week, then, yes, your expectations are misguided.

All United premier levels (as well as holders of qualified United-branded Chase credit cards) have the same access to saver economy awards -- and it is considerably greater than what general members get. However, it's still nowhere near last-seat availability.

UA will open award seats closer to departure if they're not able to sell them. (For example, tomorrow's flight has award availability). As a 1K, you can change awards at any time with no fee. A common technique is to book something suboptimal, as a backup plan, and then watch inventory on the preferred flight.
Thanks for the advice. Looking for Economy 25K round trip

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 3, 19 at 9:38 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Feb 3, 19, 9:36 pm
  #58  
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Originally Posted by YVR guy View Post
.... I thought there was supposed to be some kind of benefit as 1K to make saver awards available in the reasonable near future. Are my expectations misguided? ...
There is no such "special" 1K benefit.

All elites have access to XN saver economy space which is generally better than non-elite X saver economy space, but this is a benefit for all elites including Silver.
This is a real benefit.

Plat and higher elites have access to IN saver premium cabin space which is rarely better than non-elite I saver premium space and as mentioned I or IN space is rare for North American routes.
If you were hoping for significant access to premium cabin space for North American routes, you will be disappointed.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 9:41 pm
  #59  
 
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I'm seeing a lot of inventory. Make sure you're logged in when you search.

First search was 3/5. 17k for general members (not logged in). 12.5k miles when logged in.

EDIT: a bunch more dates are available.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 10:38 pm
  #60  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
All elites have access to XN saver economy space which is generally better than non-elite X saver economy space, but this is a benefit for all elites including Silver.
And United credit card holders regardless of status, too.

Originally Posted by YVR guy View Post
Great, tell me the dates your see for NON-STOP flights, as mentioned in my original post.
Only including Mon-Thu in March/April:

Outbound - 05 March, 07 March, 03 April, 10 April
Return - 18 March is the only one I see

But lots of 1-stop availability.

When booking awards, if you expect to always be able to book a non-stop, you will be disappointed. This is true of any airline - just try booking the YVR-LAX non-stop on AA.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 3, 19 at 11:01 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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