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Connecting an award segment ticket to a regular fare ticket

Connecting an award segment ticket to a regular fare ticket

Old Jun 26, 18, 2:42 pm
  #1  
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Connecting an award segment ticket to a regular fare ticket

I will be flying from Philadelphia PA to Cape Town via Washington (IAD) and Frankfurt on August 8th with a return in late November out of Cape Town to Chicago. The US to Frankfurt is on United metal; Frankfurt to/from Cape Town is Lufthansa.
Booking a regular fare ticket (economy) approximates $2,135 RT. This includes a choice of either a 2:37pm>334p arr at IAD, or an 8:05p>9:06p arr at IAD (both flights are Mesa). United flight to Frankfurt is at 10:05p. If I book the 8:05p I'll have about an hour to make the Frankfurt flight. Otherwise taking the earlier flight means a 6+ hr layover, but assures I won't have concern about making the FRA flight.

Two Questions: Baggage: I can book the PHL>IAD using Award Saver (10K/$5.60). This lowers my ticket to Cape Town etc. to $1,836 or almost $300 saving. I presume I can link the Award Saver tx and the Economy fare ticket so my bags travel from Phila to Cape Town. Is that correct? Which leads me to my 2nd question - Connection. If I book the late flight via Award Saver and for whatever reason that flight is delayed leading to a missed FRA flight, would I incur a $$ penalty for the missed flight?

And while I'm at it there's a related question here about upgrading the inbound portion of this Aug/Nov ticket: I expect to be back to 1K status by early November. As my return flight out of Cape Town to ORD is late November, seems I would have to book this August/November ticket at an economy fare class that allows the use of a GPU on either Lufthansa to FRA and United to ORD. My question: Can I book the outbound of this ticket at a lower economy class (as I'm not 1K at this time) and the inbound at a higher economy class to allow me the use of the GPU when it becomes available in early November?

Appreciate any help here. Thanks!
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Old Jun 26, 18, 2:53 pm
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You cannot combine separate bookings into one itinerary. If all the bookings are with UA and there is a misconnect on separate itineraries, they may take mercy, but they don't have any obligation to do so. This is somewhat risky, though. Personally, I have done things like this, but with more than two hours connection time. When IRROPS have occurred, I have been able to find alternate routings that allow the connection, and UA has made sure I got onto them. This was done with status.

Separately, if you wish to book different fare classes on outbound and inbound, assuming there are combineable fares filed, that is fine.
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Old Jun 26, 18, 2:58 pm
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Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
I presume I can link the Award Saver tx and the Economy fare ticket so my bags travel from Phila to Cape Town. Is that correct?
Yes, although it can be a bit of a challenge for an agent to figure out how to do it. Arrive early.

Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
Which leads me to my 2nd question - Connection. If I book the late flight via Award Saver and for whatever reason that flight is delayed leading to a missed FRA flight, would I incur a $$ penalty for the missed flight?
United is normally pretty good about rebooking passengers when they miss a flight due to separate tickets if both flights are United-operated. However, I'd personally book a long layover to be safe. Well, what I'd actually do is drive or take the train and start the trip from Washington. But I'm assuming you've already considered that option.

Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
Can I book the outbound of this ticket at a lower economy class (as I'm not 1K at this time) and the inbound at a higher economy class to allow me the use of the GPU when it becomes available in early November?
In most cases, yes. Do a search by fare class in the Advanced Search options, then ignore the "Selected Fare Class" column on the outbound, but choose it on the return. Most (not all) UA fares can be combined with each other in this manner.
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Old Jun 26, 18, 3:03 pm
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Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
....Two Questions: Baggage: I can book the PHL>IAD using Award Saver (10K/$5.60). This lowers my ticket to Cape Town etc. to $1,836 or almost $300 saving. I presume I can link the Award Saver tx and the Economy fare ticket so my bags travel from Phila to Cape Town. Is that correct? ...
UA will interling the bags in this case of two separate tickets.. Allow extra time 15, 20 minutes at check-in, more details in the wiki of UA Bag Interlining If Separate Tix with *A Partners (YES) & Non *A Partners (NO)

Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
Which leads me to my 2nd question - Connection. .If I book the late flight via Award Saver and for whatever reason that flight is delayed leading to a missed FRA flight, would I incur a $$ penalty for the missed flight? ....
While formally you own all the risk for doing this but (especially for UA-UA situation) UA will try to help if space is available, but the flight to CPT could become problematic for space and UA has limited options. So make sure you leave significant buffer time -- I would be at least 3 hours, maybe more, due to your CPT destination.
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Old Jun 26, 18, 4:32 pm
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Thanks everyone. I appreciate the input!
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Old Jun 26, 18, 4:40 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Well, what I'd actually do is drive or take the train and start the trip from Washington.
I don't know but wouldn't that be a very long drive?

For many of my international trips, the UA booking website lets me combine different fares for the outbound and inbounds without me having to do any special search. It just gives me what's available. Sometimes, it even offers me the option of combining an Economy fare for the outbound and a Business fare for the inbound or the opposite.
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Old Jun 26, 18, 4:43 pm
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Originally Posted by StuckinITH View Post
I don't know but wouldn't that be a very long drive?
From Philadelphia? It's 135 miles from PHL to IAD as the crow flies; Google Maps calls it a 2 1/2 hour drive via I-95. It would likely be faster to drive than to fly, especially if you're going to give yourself a super-long connection time to guard against weather. At worst it's a push.

Originally Posted by StuckinITH View Post
For many of my international trips, the UA booking website lets me combine different fares for the outbound and inbounds without me having to do any special search.
The special search ensures that you can get a W fare on the return even if a cheaper fare is available.
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Old Jun 26, 18, 5:25 pm
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1. The issues relate to tickets, not journeys, PNR's, or anything else. Try to stay way from jargon when dealing with UA as it only confuses and also runs the risk that you get the right answers to the wrong questions.

2. UA will check bags across tickets. As others note, it can take some time. Especially at a major hub such as PHL. Have a hard copy printout of the e-ticket receipt (not itinerary) for your onward flight handy for the supervisor who prints your bag tags.

3. There are significant risks here, Yes, UA will generally rebook you if you no show for a separate ticket. But, it has no obligation to do so and you presumably have LH segments in your ticket, at least x FRA and potentially x IAD. That may be a real impediment and you have to be prepared to have your tickets cancelled and deal with purchasing new ones.

4. You also need to understand that PHL-IAD and other micro-hops are the first flights cancelled or delayed during IRROPS in the WAS-NYC corridor. Even on a single ticket where you are entitled to be rebooked, this is risky as availability may be terrible. I would strongly advise you either to drive or to take a train to NYP and then an Uber out to IAD.
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Old Jun 26, 18, 5:32 pm
  #9  
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Yes...will book the earlier PHL>IAD flight. 6+ hrs in the United lounge at Dulles can't be all that bad

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
From Philadelphia? It's 135 miles from PHL to IAD as the crow flies; Google Maps calls it a 2 1/2 hour drive via I-95. It would likely be faster to drive than to fly, especially if you're going to give yourself a super-long connection time to guard against weather. At worst it's a push.
Driving is not an option as my car is in South Africa.

On the brighter side, 10k miles +$5.60 is a pretty good deal for a flight to IAD.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 27, 18 at 3:57 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Jun 27, 18, 12:53 am
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Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
Driving is not an option as my car is in South Africa.

On the brighter side, 10k miles +$5.60 is a pretty good deal for a flight to IAD.
Rent a car? I often do MRY-SFO-MRY rentals because I can get it for about $80-$120 which comes out cheaper than long term parking when Iím gone for 10-15 days.
And 6h in an airport lounge isnít that fun. I was pretty much over the Frankfurt First Class Terminal in 3 hours. At least driving you get to do something and stay active.
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Old Jun 27, 18, 7:40 am
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Depending on where you are, it might be wiser to book the ticket out of EWR rather than PHL. That would at least get you the opportunity to get a flight on mainline rather than the smaller planes out of PHL which will be the first delayed if there's the slightest bit of weather in the Philadelphia area. You'd also have more potential rebooking options to get to FRA if things went sideways.
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Old Jun 27, 18, 9:02 am
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Originally Posted by JVPhoto View Post
Rent a car? I often do MRY-SFO-MRY rentals because I can get it for about $80-$120 which comes out cheaper than long term parking when Iím gone for 10-15 days.
And 6h in an airport lounge isnít that fun. I was pretty much over the Frankfurt First Class Terminal in 3 hours. At least driving you get to do something and stay active.
Agree here. I would suggest to OP to rent a car or take Amtrak even. I haven't done PHL-IAD, but a long time ago I had to do PHL-EWR on Continental a few times and as everyone says here, they're the 1st flights to be canceled.
Originally Posted by Bluehen1 View Post
Depending on where you are, it might be wiser to book the ticket out of EWR rather than PHL. That would at least get you the opportunity to get a flight on mainline rather than the smaller planes out of PHL which will be the first delayed if there's the slightest bit of weather in the Philadelphia area. You'd also have more potential rebooking options to get to FRA if things went sideways.
Agreed. EWR may have more options AND it's definitely closer by car or train to Philadelphia than IAD. Also, go Blue Hens!
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Old Jun 27, 18, 2:12 pm
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Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
Yes...will book the earlier PHL>IAD flight. 6+ hrs in the United lounge at Dulles can't be all that bad
FYI, the LH and TK lounges at IAD are significantly better than the United Club.
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Old Jun 27, 18, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
If I book the 8:05p I'll have about an hour to make the Frankfurt flight.
Don't do this. Even a small runway delay will get you intro trouble and you might even loose a full travel day and be only able to fly out next day.

Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
Two Questions: Baggage: I can book the PHL>IAD using Award Saver (10K/$5.60). This lowers my ticket to Cape Town etc. to $1,836 or almost $300 saving. I presume I can link the Award Saver tx and the Economy fare ticket so my bags travel from Phila to Cape Town. Is that correct?
Yes, baggage is interlined, but tickets are not linked. Which means you are not automatically protected, although UA may/will rebook you. As a 1K I don't worry about this kind-of stuff since the 1K desk will reasonably rebook on a suitable option if I call and ask, but I will definitely not advise taking a chance otherwise.

Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
Which leads me to my 2nd question - Connection. If I book the late flight via Award Saver and for whatever reason that flight is delayed leading to a missed FRA flight, would I incur a $$ penalty for the missed flight?
Not really, if its a United delay. But onus will be on you to prove to agent and convince them.

Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
My question: Can I book the outbound of this ticket at a lower economy class (as I'm not 1K at this time) and the inbound at a higher economy class to allow me the use of the GPU when it becomes available in early November?
Yes, but remember there is a cost to upfaring (last time I did it, I got charged $75+ fare difference). Fare difference now might not be the same as what it is in the future. Lowest fare classes (K,L etc) may not be upfarable sometimes at all.
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Old Jun 27, 18, 4:36 pm
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To me, this seems like a really risky way to try and "save" $300.

First, saving $300 is going to cost you 10,000 miles. I'd "value" that at $200 normally, but even at a penny a mile, you're only "saving" $200.

Buy one ticket - whether that's because you get to IAD on the ground or pony up the $300.

And for the love of god, NEVER book tight international connections, esp. if anything downline on your ticket is one-a-day. A friend of mine was flying ORD-FRA-PRG a couple weeks back, the ORD delayed 90 minutes or so, and a bunch of people connecting to Lagos were IRATE that they missed their Lagos flight and the next one was 2 days later. Yet despite there being 2, 4 and 6 PM ORD-FRA flights available, they booked the 6 PM one with the tight connection.

Now, maybe you handle travel stress well and don't care when you actually get there, in which case "saving" $200 might be worth it to you - but I'm normally both of those things and this still seems like it's not worth it.
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