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

Old Jan 29, 2017, 12:59 pm
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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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UA Saver Award/Upgrade Inventory (& partners)-when is it released? Ever any business?

Old May 14, 2023, 10:10 am
  #106  
 
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Hi, does UA commonly open up coach Saver (XN) space at the last minute? Trying to piece together an award from TPA-EWR-JNB and there's space on EWR-JNB but the TPA-EWR flights that are available in XN would give a 12 hr layover in EWR and UA isn't releasing inventory on any TPA-EWR flights later in the day. There are a bunch of better flights, but I can't get Expert Mode working so I can't even see the loads on these flights. Would good loads even mean they'll release XN space?

Sorry if this is a dumb question. I'm an AA person and don't know much about UA. Thank you!

EDIT: Per EF, these are the loads.

UA 7750TPA
05/28/23 6:00 AMEWR
05/28/23 8:45 AM739
Daily
NA / NAJ9 C9 D9 Z9 P9 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V9 W9 S9 T9 L2 K0 G0 N9


0 Connections

UA 12490TPA
05/28/23 7:30 AMEWR
05/28/23 10:17 AM739
Daily
NA / NAJ9 C9 D9 Z9 P8 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V9 W9 S9 T8 L1 K0 G0 N9


0 Connections

UA 13020TPA
05/28/23 8:45 AMEWR
05/28/23 11:33 AM738
Daily
81% / 57mJ7 C7 D6 Z3 P0 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V9 W9 S9 T2 L0 K0 G0 N9


0 Connections

UA 24920TPA
05/28/23 9:59 AMEWR
05/28/23 12:47 PM7M8
Daily
NA / NAJ5 C5 D4 Z1 P0 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V8 W5 S2 T0 L0 K0 G0 N9


0 Connections

UA 20380TPA
05/28/23 11:14 AMEWR
05/28/23 2:02 PM7M8
Daily
93% / 20mJ6 C6 D5 Z2 P0 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V7 W3 S0 T0 L0 K0 G0 N9


0 Connections

UA 16760TPA
05/28/23 1:08 PMEWR
05/28/23 4:00 PM320
Daily
73% / 47mJ1 C1 D0 Z0 P0 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V0 W0 S0 T0 L0 K0 G0 N9


0 Connections

UA 24070TPA
05/28/23 3:03 PMEWR
05/28/23 5:59 PM320
Daily
68% / 60mJ1 C1 D1 Z0 P0 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V9 W2 S0 T0 L0 K0 G0 N9

Last edited by LAX_Esq; May 14, 2023 at 10:39 am
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Old May 14, 2023, 11:20 am
  #107  
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq
Hi, does UA commonly open up coach Saver (XN) space at the last minute?
It could happen, but the practice of regularly leveling inventory buckets close to departure ended many years ago. It's definitely not something you can count on, particularly if the flight is anywhere close to full.
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Old May 14, 2023, 3:59 pm
  #108  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee
It could happen, but the practice of regularly leveling inventory buckets close to departure ended many years ago. It's definitely not something you can count on, particularly if the flight is anywhere close to full.
I see. Would you consider

J6 C6 D5 Z2 P0 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V7 W3 S0 T0 L0 K0 G0 N9

or

J1 C1 D1 Z0 P0 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V9 W2 S0 T0 L0 K0 G0 N9

wide open? Not sure how to read these, but seems like a lot of low buckets are gone so my layman's guess is not empty but nowhere near full.
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Old May 14, 2023, 5:44 pm
  #109  
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq
I see. Would you consider

J6 C6 D5 Z2 P0 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V7 W3 S0 T0 L0 K0 G0 N9

or

J1 C1 D1 Z0 P0 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V9 W2 S0 T0 L0 K0 G0 N9

wide open? Not sure how to read these, but seems like a lot of low buckets are gone so my layman's guess is not empty but nowhere near full.
The only thing you can say for sure is there are 9 or more economy seats. The fare class are not added. You might see these weeks out and may mean fairly out or see this close in and it may mean mostly booked. But for either case, UA may not open XN close to departure but it might.

If fare class E and below are zero, then things are getting tight.
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Old May 14, 2023, 7:31 pm
  #110  
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq
seems like a lot of low buckets are gone so my layman's guess is not empty but nowhere near full.
Even if the flight is only moderately booked, UA may not open XN . . . the cabin can be half empty and UA still may not open XN.
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Old May 15, 2023, 1:27 am
  #111  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee
Even if the flight is only moderately booked, UA may not open XN . . . the cabin can be half empty and UA still may not open XN.
UA has been restricting saver awards this year, it is impossible to know when or if more seats will open. I don't think there are any reliable "trends" because inventory management seems to be trying different things all the time.

EWR-Florida flights are not too bad price-wise, you want to look at purchasing the desired connection if you do not want to risk ending up flying the 12-hour connection.
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Old May 15, 2023, 6:59 am
  #112  
 
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Originally Posted by uanj
UA has been restricting saver awards this year, it is impossible to know when or if more seats will open. I don't think there are any reliable "trends" because inventory management seems to be trying different things all the time.

EWR-Florida flights are not too bad price-wise, you want to look at purchasing the desired connection if you do not want to risk ending up flying the 12-hour connection.
We wouldn't be protected on separate tickets, right?
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Old May 15, 2023, 7:19 am
  #113  
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq
We wouldn't be protected on separate tickets, right?
Correct; however, in practice, UA will protect across separate UA-issued tickets if both flights are on UA.
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Old May 15, 2023, 9:17 am
  #114  
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Originally Posted by uanj
I don't think there are any reliable "trends" because inventory management seems to be trying different things all the time.
I believe lack of predictability is intentional (and was perhaps the key driver in UA ceasing the practicing of leveling fare buckets, which they used to do at T-24, and then changed to T-2, and then eliminated entirely).

UA does not want business travelers using miles for business travel and thus avoiding AP restrictions for last minute travel. The old policies allowed them to fairly predictably do that.
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Old May 15, 2023, 12:50 pm
  #115  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee
I believe lack of predictability is intentional (and was perhaps the key driver in UA ceasing the practicing of leveling fare buckets, which they used to do at T-24, and then changed to T-2, and then eliminated entirely).

UA does not want business travelers using miles for business travel and thus avoiding AP restrictions for last minute travel. The old policies allowed them to fairly predictably do that.
It's preferable to the DL approach.
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Old May 15, 2023, 4:49 pm
  #116  
 
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Originally Posted by uanj
EWR-Florida flights are not too bad price-wise, you want to look at purchasing the desired connection if you do not want to risk ending up flying the 12-hour connection.
We'd be looking at ~$300 O/W or an additional 25k miles per YN award. Quite hefty. Are there other *A carriers what would have a better redemption for these UA flights, or will it not even let me book them if they're YN?
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Old May 15, 2023, 7:19 pm
  #117  
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq
Are there other *A carriers what would have a better redemption for these UA flights, or will it not even let me book them if they're YN?
You need X or I to book an award on a partner. YN/JN are UA awards only.
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Old May 18, 2023, 8:50 am
  #118  
 
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So, I checked this morning and I saw there was an XN award at 41.9k/pp from TPA-EWR-CPT with a good connection (no 10hr layover in EWR).

Quickly transferred over Chase points. Tried to book, got to the final credit card stage, entered the card, and got a dreaded "We are unable to process your request" error. Called in and was told the mileage is 100k per ticket, not 41.9k; not clear if it was phantom inventory, or a glitch, or some other BS. After an hour on the phone, a supervisor was able to honor the 41.9k award. I was really impressed UA was able to pull through and create the inventory and do the right thing. (I could very well see AA telling me "too bad, nothing we can do" in this scenario when they darn well have the power to create inventory.) I emailed UA a nice note with the supervisor's employee number.

Our final destination is JNB, not CPT, so we need to buy a cash ticket from CPT-JNB, but they're only $50 on a bunch of LCCs.

EDIT: UA 2407 (our flight) was delayed 6 hrs yesterday. Great!

Last edited by WineCountryUA; May 18, 2023 at 9:49 am Reason: Using symbols, spaces or other methods to mask vulgarities is not allowed.
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Old May 18, 2023, 9:19 am
  #119  
 
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq
EDIT: UA 2407 (our flight) was delayed 6 hrs yesterday. Great!
Your actual connecting flight or the one you intend to take 5/28 (from a few posts up)?
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Old May 18, 2023, 10:15 am
  #120  
 
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Originally Posted by jcturnbull
Your actual connecting flight or the one you intend to take 5/28 (from a few posts up)?
Haha, sorry for the ambiguity. We're booked on UA 2407 on 5/28. Yesterday (5/17), UA 2407 was delayed by 5-6 hrs! No idea why. Hopefully that's an outlier.
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