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Trying to book a Business Saver ticket to Europe

Trying to book a Business Saver ticket to Europe

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Old Mar 23, 19, 4:39 pm
  #1  
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Trying to book a Business Saver ticket to Europe

I have no experience redeeming miles, but I'm slowly learning. I have about 300K miles with Alaska and 400K with United and I am trying to take my family to Europe in business class (we will split up between airlines and pay for what we have to).

United Business Saver and Star Alliance partner fares (I'm searching these on United and Aeroplan) are hard to find from my airport (Portland). Should I be searching from a big hub city? And if so, what's the best way to attach my flight to get there from PDX?

I would be willing to go almost anywhere in Europe, is there a way to see good mileage deals?

Thank you to anyone in advance for helping me understand more about this process!
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Old Mar 23, 19, 5:40 pm
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When are you looking to go?

UA has a fare calendar that shows when saver awards are available. During the week often better than on Fridays or weekend. LH and TAP will open more space sooner than UA ex east coast.

You may want to call the service center if you have an idea where to go.

Brussels is a good bet and you can connect to multiple places from there

good luck
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Old Mar 23, 19, 6:24 pm
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Thank you for your reply! We would like to go for about a week any time June 9 - July 1. I've been doing the calendar shop on UA with PDX to different European cities and so far I haven't found any business saver fares, except for an occasional one on the 30th. I have found some fares on Aeroplan, but they don't show up at all on UA. I feel like I must be doing something wrong here
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Old Mar 23, 19, 7:08 pm
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Originally Posted by bearsmama View Post
Thank you for your reply! We would like to go for about a week any time June 9 - July 1. I've been doing the calendar shop on UA with PDX to different European cities and so far I haven't found any business saver fares, except for an occasional one on the 30th. I have found some fares on Aeroplan, but they don't show up at all on UA. I feel like I must be doing something wrong here
Look for business class out of hubs. SFO (good luck!), LAX (better), DEN (probably best?), followed by ORD, IAH, IAD, EWR (in kind of order). See if you can find any out of there to: LHR (if uk) , FRA, MUC, ZRH (if in europe)

If Europe, look for places LH flies long-haul that UA doesn't... like SEA, LAS, SAN, AUS, DTW, DFW, MIA, MCO, TPA, BOS, CLT, and see if you can get on those flights. Once you get to europe (FRA/MUC) you can get pretty much anywhere easily. The TATL and US-domestic sections are the hardest.

Then, see if you can find first availaiblity to your international gateway. If not, you can book a mixed award (hopefully!) with the long-haul in business. Good luck!
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Old Mar 23, 19, 7:40 pm
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How many in your party? The number matters; the higher the number, the more difficult it would take to find saver award availability. At the end of the day, airlines may only offer a small number of award seats in their premium cabin, because they expect to sell most of them with paid (cash) fares. You may have luck in finding them one at a time, and stitch them together - e.g. if you need three seats, instead of looking for 3 awards together, do 1 at a time x 3.

The best time to find (saver) award availability is when airlines first release them (anywhere between 330-day to 365-day), or at last minute, when airlines may release more awards due to possible slow cash fares. This does not mean you are not able to find them now; although with only three months, it would be tough to find saver awards, especially with Europe as your destination. I would suggest try looking for east coast airports as your origination point, as you can always find a cheap cash fare coach class ticket across the country.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 8:06 pm
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West Coast TATL in saver business is extremely difficult. Taking the family I assume means at least three seats. That's even harder. If you're looking for this June, you probably should have started looking about nine months ago.

An AC routing via YVR, YYZ, or YUL may be your best option. Lufthansa via DEN or SEA are also two of the easier awards.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 8:44 pm
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Originally Posted by bearsmama View Post
... We would like to go for about a week any time June 9 - July 1.
This is absolutely the worst time to go to Europe in terms of seat availability because school lets out and everyone else is planning to do the same thing to start their summer vacations. If you can be more flexible with your schedule, consider going to Europe in late July or all of August when everyone there goes on vacation and scoring multiple business class seats on the same flight becomes a cinch.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 9:01 pm
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Thank you that is so helpful! I was able to find one from IAD to LHR. Do I then need to book another ticket from PDX to get to IAD, or can they be combined somehow through customer service?

Originally Posted by Repooc17 View Post
How many in your party? The number matters; the higher the number, the more difficult it would take to find saver award availability. At the end of the day, airlines may only offer a small number of award seats in their premium cabin, because they expect to sell most of them with paid (cash) fares. You may have luck in finding them one at a time, and stitch them together - e.g. if you need three seats, instead of looking for 3 awards together, do 1 at a time x 3.

The best time to find (saver) award availability is when airlines first release them (anywhere between 330-day to 365-day), or at last minute, when airlines may release more awards due to possible slow cash fares. This does not mean you are not able to find them now; although with only three months, it would be tough to find saver awards, especially with Europe as your destination. I would suggest try looking for east coast airports as your origination point, as you can always find a cheap cash fare coach class ticket across the country.
Thank you for the help! My kids are adults so I will try searching 1 at a time. Hopefully we will be sleeping during the flight anyway!

Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
West Coast TATL in saver business is extremely difficult. Taking the family I assume means at least three seats. That's even harder. If you're looking for this June, you probably should have started looking about nine months ago.

An AC routing via YVR, YYZ, or YUL may be your best option. Lufthansa via DEN or SEA are also two of the easier awards.
You are so right; I wish I would've started much earlier! Thank you for your help!

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 24, 19 at 12:45 am Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Mar 23, 19, 9:50 pm
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Originally Posted by bearsmama View Post
I was able to find one from IAD to LHR.
IAD-LHR is a 7.5 hour flight, barely longer than PDX-IAD. Not sure that's going to be worth it. I personally wouldn't burn the miles for that unless I could get the full itinerary on a single UA award ticket.

Originally Posted by bearsmama View Post
Do I then need to book another ticket from PDX to get to IAD, or can they be combined somehow through customer service
They cannot be combined. Separate tix are hardly worth it for that itinerary.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 9:50 pm
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Originally Posted by bearsmama View Post
Do I then need to book another ticket from PDX to get to IAD, or can they be combined somehow through customer service?
If there's no saver inventory from PDX to IAD, you will have to book it separately. And even if there is, United may not let you book it on one ticket if PDX-LHR doesn't show up in the search.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 9:57 pm
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All airlines are notoriously stingy about low-mileage redemptions in Biz or First. Don't blame yourself; as you say, you don't have much experience with this.

Do try Brussels; it's a less popular destination. Also Milan and Berlin. But you should probably get used to the idea that you won't be able to do this trip the way you were hoping. You'll have to move to coach, or change dates, or pay for J.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 3:48 am
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My last three TATL biz saver awards, using the United website, ended up on Air Canada, Lufthansa, and LOT Polish. I think all were Wednesday departures, the most available, then try Tues, Thurs.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 7:21 am
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You are late (or early) to the party. Here is an option. You would have to position to/from the flights.

June 12th: YVR-LHR(or many places in Europe, CDG, VCE, MAD,...) using Alaska miles to travel on BA, you can get a stopover in LHR too if you want to visit somewhere else in Europe or just position to ZRH for a return flight (book multi-city). I think you should be able to get AS to add the flight from PDX-YVR on AS metal but this does not show up online. You would have to call to get the AS connecting flight to YVR.

June 20th: LHR-ORD (UA miles, travel on Swiss Air LHR-ZRH-ORD), or ZRH-SEA (ZRH-ORD Business, ORD-SFO-SEA Coach)

Last edited by skimthetrees; Mar 24, 19 at 7:28 am
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Old Mar 25, 19, 12:40 am
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Old May 15, 19, 5:53 am
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Question Business Saver Sept/Oct to Europe Not Exist? New reality?

Looking at tickets from SFO to anywhere in Europe for anytime in Sept using miles.
Just got off the phone with Global Web Support - we could not find a single Business Saver award to ANYWHERE at ANYTIME for even a single ticket for the whole month. No Munich, no Paris, no Frankfurt, no Rome, no nuthin.
Is this the new reality? Too early to book?
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