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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 Sep 22, 22, 2:48 pm
  #661  
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Originally Posted by Digital Jester View Post
Nice question guv1976 . Historically (meaning pre-pandemic) by using miles wisely (mostly business to Europe) I find that miles are normally worth 2c or more each - which would mean I'm getting 2+% back on my credit card. Unfortunately the lack of any saver style rewards (pre-pandemic you could do this for 290k miles round trip) means I will probably be below that on this trip. So when I think of miles vs cash value on this trip, and thinking of 390k miles, anything under $8k would make me consider paying for a ticket. In reality for this trip I will probably pay for 1 and use miles for 3. (I'm not the decision maker on the other 2 tickets). Also in the predicament that we've been thinking of this trip for several years, and I've been saving my miles for it. So if I buy too many tickets I'm left with a lot miles!
I'm seeing IAH-JNB-IAH Business Class fares on BA for ~ $5K for next Spring. Get the Chase/BA Visa card, and you can knock 10% off of the base fare for you and travel companions. Get an AARP membership for $16/year, and you can also knock $200 off of a Business Class roundtrip on BA. Reportedly, the two discounts are stackable, so you could probably get the tickets for < $4,500 each.

I realize that amassing BA or Iberia Avios (or AAdvantage miles) by flying BA might not be the most advantageous option for someone based in Houston, but getting such paltry value for my miles would irk me.
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Old Sep 22, 22, 2:58 pm
  #662  
 
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
I realize that amassing BA or Iberia Avios (or AAdvantage miles) by flying BA might not be the most advantageous option for someone based in Houston, but getting such paltry value for my miles would irk me.
Thanks guv1976 for the comments. Question back to you, what do you think the value of a mile should be?
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Old Sep 22, 22, 3:04 pm
  #663  
 
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Turkish will have some days well under $4,000 from IAH-RSA

Also to others mentioning Lufthansa award availability, Austrian is showing with many I fares on multiple routes
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Old Sep 22, 22, 3:05 pm
  #664  
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Originally Posted by Digital Jester View Post
Thanks guv1976 for the comments. Question back to you, what do you think the value of a mile should be?
If you mean, what is the minimum redemption value I would accept for a mile, then that is going to vary widely from one program to another. I would expect less value from Delta miles than from AA or UA miles.

Because I've been able to get 1.5 in value just by redeeming AA miles for hotel nights, I would not like to get less than that when redeeming for flights. But depending on how miles rich or cash poor one might be, there will obviously be exceptions.
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Old Sep 23, 22, 9:34 am
  #665  
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Originally Posted by wtphock View Post
I haven't tried to book any international trips since before the pandemic and things seem...bleak!! I'm planning a trip from the west coast to Italy next August. Given the timing, I thought I'd hop on any partner availability ~330 days out, and all I'm seeing is a pretty crappy route on LOT. Is the strategy these days to simply check all the time?
The ~330 day out thing hasn't been useful in years, but I do agree with the previous post nothing that Lufthansa group availability seems to have disappeared en masse in a way that suggests a technical issue rather than excess bookings. So, yes, keep checking. Changes are free until 31 days prior to departure even without status, so you can book something and then keep improving it -- although if you're going that route, consider booking outbound and return separately to minimize problems when you make a change.

I'll assume you know that most people would generally consider August the worst possible time to go Italy.
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Old Sep 23, 22, 11:55 am
  #666  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The ~330 day out thing hasn't been useful in years, but I do agree with the previous post nothing that Lufthansa group availability seems to have disappeared en masse in a way that suggests a technical issue rather than excess bookings. So, yes, keep checking. Changes are free until 31 days prior to departure even without status, so you can book something and then keep improving it -- although if you're going that route, consider booking outbound and return separately to minimize problems when you make a change.

I'll assume you know that most people would generally consider August the worst possible time to go Italy.
Sigh, yes. Unfortunately, the in-laws have decided not to heed my warnings :/

I have a one-way there booked as a backup. Still looking around, for the return, but thank you for the advice!
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Last edited by wtphock; Sep 23, 22 at 12:40 pm
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Old Sep 23, 22, 1:39 pm
  #667  
 
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Originally Posted by wtphock View Post
I haven't tried to book any international trips since before the pandemic and things seem...bleak!! I'm planning a trip from the west coast to Italy next August. Given the timing, I thought I'd hop on any partner availability ~330 days out, and all I'm seeing is a pretty crappy route on LOT. Is the strategy these days to simply check all the time?
I don't know if cash is an option, but SFO-FCO round trips have seen fares in the $2600 range recently, which is reasonably good.
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Old Sep 25, 22, 11:36 am
  #668  
 
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So I'm looking for an award on ET J and it shows available on Avianca LM and Air Canada Aeroplan but UA does not show this award available. I tried calling but I got connected to an offshore call center with no luck. Does anyone know any tricks or tips to get this award booked using UA miles?
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Old Sep 25, 22, 7:01 pm
  #669  
 
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Update for jsloan and guv1976 . Went to book the flights today.
Plan was to book
  1. 2 return flights for $5700,
  2. 4 outward flights for 190k each
  3. 2 return flights for $190k each and
  4. 2 return flights for $220ish'k which equites to 190k CPT-EWR plus 30ish'k for economy EWR-IAH.
only to find out the cheapest IAH-EWR-JNB flights are now $8k and the 2 return flights available for 190k each are now not available. So cost is approximately is about $800 and 20k miles PER PERSON more than it was on Friday :-( There are still $5700 tickets available but they are via Frankfurt not EWR and theres no reward travel available that route - and we're not keen on splitting the family up like that.

Back to researching ! (On a unrelated note I tried using expertflyer and unless I'm doing something very wrong it's search results are worse than UA's own search).
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Old Sep 26, 22, 8:49 am
  #670  
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Originally Posted by Digital Jester View Post
...only to find out the cheapest IAH-EWR-JNB flights are now $8k and the 2 return flights available for 190k each are now not available. So cost is approximately is about $800 and 20k miles PER PERSON more than it was on Friday :-( ...
Waiting can be the enemy and with free change for paid tickets / for awards free cancellation, sometimes it is best to act and then think.
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