Award Travel for SFO-ICN OW in June 2018

Old Jul 8, 17, 12:54 am
  #1  
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Award Travel for SFO-ICN OW in June 2018

I'm looking to travel OW, from SFO-ICN, non stop only using my UA miles on Sat 6/9/18. (actually there are 4 of us, which I know is really tough to get, but that's why I'm looking this far in advance).

I'm pretty sure the only nonstop flights are on Asiana metal and UA metal.

Blackout dates for 2018 for Asiana flights using UA miles I presume is the same as what Asiana lists on their own website as their peak award dates: 5.12~7.1, 12.5~12.23

6/9/18 is just now available on the UA award calendar. No Asiana filghts are showing up for the whole month prior (nothing back until 5/12/18). However, I also know there is a UA metal flight but I can't find any availability on that and even when I search for several months back it's always the standard fee (HN class) for 80k OW in economy. I found one date in January that had the saver far for 35k.

There are other dates for saver fare of 35k on Asiana, but nothing after 5/12 (interesting 5/12, even though it seems like it's a blackout date)

however when I choose that flight on 5/12 and look at the fare details under blackout date, it says, "none"

So if I'm looking for 6/9/18, do I just keep looking? it seems like an Asiana flight on that date will likely never appear (assuming blackout dates are in effect) and any UA flight on that date will likely be 80k only.

I called in to United and of course the agent was pretty useless. He had no idea about blackout dates and told me to just keep checking and that Asiana nor UA may have loaded their seat inventory

Any thoughts? Thanks
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Old Jul 8, 17, 1:07 am
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Originally Posted by kayexalate View Post
I'm looking to travel OW, from SFO-ICN, non stop only using my UA miles on Sat 6/9/18. (actually there are 4 of us, which I know is really tough to get, but that's why I'm looking this far in advance).

I'm pretty sure the only nonstop flights are on Asiana metal and UA metal.

Blackout dates for 2018 for Asiana flights using UA miles I presume is the same as what Asiana lists on their own website as their peak award dates: 5.12~7.1, 12.5~12.23

6/9/18 is just now available on the UA award calendar. No Asiana filghts are showing up for the whole month prior (nothing back until 5/12/18). However, I also know there is a UA metal flight but I can't find any availability on that and even when I search for several months back it's always the standard fee (HN class) for 80k OW in economy. I found one date in January that had the saver far for 35k.

There are other dates for saver fare of 35k on Asiana, but nothing after 5/12 (interesting 5/12, even though it seems like it's a blackout date)

however when I choose that flight on 5/12 and look at the fare details under blackout date, it says, "none"

So if I'm looking for 6/9/18, do I just keep looking? it seems like an Asiana flight on that date will likely never appear (assuming blackout dates are in effect) and any UA flight on that date will likely be 80k only.

I called in to United and of course the agent was pretty useless. He had no idea about blackout dates and told me to just keep checking and that Asiana nor UA may have loaded their seat inventory

Any thoughts? Thanks
There could be multiple issues at play. For one, I have noticed that typically only the full fare buckets get populated at the very edge of the schedule release. Then, 3 days later, a bunch of other fare buckets populate. You'll see that discount buckets (including an R-class upgrade) are available for Wednesday 6/6 on UA893 SFO-ICN. I've been looking at the same thing for flights to Hawaii next June. Full fare buckets come first and then the discount and award buckets follow within a few days.

However, a few of us have also been commenting tonight about a website issue with regards to award searches. We've been posting in the website issue thread. Here's a link: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/28533823-post671.html
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Old Jul 8, 17, 1:13 am
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Originally Posted by nddomer04 View Post
There could be multiple issues at play. For one, I have noticed that typically only the full fare buckets get populated at the very edge of the schedule release. Then, 3 days later, a bunch of other fare buckets populate. You'll see that discount buckets (including an R-class upgrade) are available for Wednesday 6/6 on UA893 SFO-ICN. I've been looking at the same thing for flights to Hawaii next June. Full fare buckets come first and then the discount and award buckets follow.

However, a few of us have also been commenting tonight about a website issue with regards to award searches. We've been posting in the website issue thread. Here's a link: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/28533823-post671.html
Thansk for pointing that out. I do see the HN fares. but never (or extremely rarely) any X fares for UA metal SFO-ICN.

And for Asiana metal, seems like it doesn't exist during that time. X fares or HN fares don't even show up as 0, they don't even show up. I presume because that date is blacked out?
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Old Jul 8, 17, 1:28 am
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Originally Posted by kayexalate View Post
So if I'm looking for 6/9/18, do I just keep looking? it seems like an Asiana flight on that date will likely never appear (assuming blackout dates are in effect) and any UA flight on that date will likely be 80k only.
Short answer -- yes, more or less. The key to award travel is flexibility; the less you have, the more miles you'll likely end up needing. If you're restricted to the nonstop, on one particular date, and need to get all four people onto the flight, yes, it may be very difficult to find saver inventory.

UA will allow you to waitlist for an award on their flights if you have a confirmed reservation for an alternative. So, if you are able to find space flying SFO-NRT-ICN, for example, you can book that and then waitlist for the nonstop. (You may need to wait a day or two for the flights to get loaded fully into their system).

SQ used to operate SFO-ICN, but they cancelled that when they opened the SFO-SIN nonstop. They do fly LAX-ICN, if that helps at all. SQ awards are not available online; you need to call. Most people search for SQ using either a paid service like ExpertFlyer or a free account on another *A partner like ANA.

Also, if you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Delta SkyMiles, Korean Air is also an option on that route. (KE is a Ultimate Rewards transfer partner and a DL alliance member).

Good luck!
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Old Jul 8, 17, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by kayexalate View Post
I called in to United and of course the agent was pretty useless. He had no idea about blackout dates and told me to just keep checking and that Asiana nor UA may have loaded their seat inventory
That was the correct advice for using UA miles.

It's a frequent misconception that UA's practice is to load award inventory at the beginning of the schedule. They may, or they may release inventory later, or never. So the correct answer is, per the agent, "keep checking."

This is a route where it may be better just to buy a ticket, as fares are relatively low. If the choice is $800 vs. 70K miles, I would pay $800.
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Old Jul 8, 17, 7:47 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
This is a route where it may be better just to buy a ticket, as fares are relatively low. If the choice is $800 vs. 70K miles, I would pay $800.
This and there used to be (and my still be) lots of R availability on this route as well.
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Old Jul 8, 17, 1:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
It's a frequent misconception that UA's practice is to load award inventory at the beginning of the schedule. They may, or they may release inventory later, or never. So the correct answer is, per the agent, "keep checking."
And indeed, I think most award inventory on UA is found close-in rather than at load. The days of every flight having some seats for awards that are available at the beginning of time are long, long gone.

That being said, right now SFO/ICN is an excellent source of 747 O space Fares are indeed cheap, but against a $2.5k h/r/t A fare I'll still take the 80k miles.
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Old Jul 8, 17, 2:27 pm
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- The OP is looking for OW
- There are 4 pax
- unclear status so I don't know if poster has access to GPUs.

If you are prepared to travel to SMF - currently OW W fares to ICN are $541 (LAX $599). that's what I would do.

The furthest out I typically book is 1 month, even on award fights
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Old Jul 8, 17, 2:35 pm
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With your strict flight and date requirements I'd get ExperFlyer account and set some alerts up and jump things as soon as they open up.
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Old Jul 8, 17, 8:07 pm
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Originally Posted by ermintrude View Post
This and there used to be (and my still be) lots of R availability on this route as well.
Originally Posted by findark View Post
That being said, right now SFO/ICN is an excellent source of 747 O space Fares are indeed cheap, but against a $2.5k h/r/t A fare I'll still take the 80k miles.
Originally Posted by JHake10 View Post
With your strict flight and date requirements I'd get ExperFlyer account and set some alerts up and jump things as soon as they open up.
All of these. As a regular ICN-SFO flyer, my experience has been R is available on Tuesday/Wednesday, but practically never on Fridays and is hit or miss on Thursdays. Weekends are rough to find space as well.

I agree with the above saying you should set some alerts. It's how I get all the flights I want (that I know about in advance) for a good price/award.
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