TATL award tickets on UA and LH

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Old Mar 23, 19, 9:57 pm
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TATL award tickets on UA and LH

No current status on UA, but had accumulated a pile of miles. I have never booked TATL award seats before. The MileagePlus' award chart specifies the number of miles needed for UA and *A tickets, but I am wondering if award seats are really available on LH.. Looking to use up some miles for a summer trip. Problaby SFO-FRA or LAX-FRA (maybe EWR-FRA). I haven't tried booking anything yet on UA (although on some flights EWR to BGO,United.com says that there are NOT ANY award economy seats available - which doesn't make any sense unless UA has changed its policy of allowing booking of award seats available IF ANY seats are available for purchase - Can entire economy sections be sold out already for July flights?). I have heard/read that booking award tickets on LH using UA miles can be difficult. What is the best process for trying to book award seats on LH? Calling LH? Using their website? UA's website? Does LH make award seats available to airline partner members months in advance? Weeks? Is it necessary to use ExpertFlyer or similar to find award seats on LH?
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Old Mar 23, 19, 10:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Diogenes1789 View Post
United.com says that there are NOT ANY award economy seats available - which doesn't make any sense unless UA has changed its policy of allowing booking of award seats available IF ANY seats are available for purchase -
That is not and has never been UA's policy.

If you are Premier or have certain Chase credit cards, UA offers "last seat" availability at the "Everyday" level on its own metal. That does not apply to flights operated by other carriers, such as LH.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 10:21 pm
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I have read in other threads that LH does not open up *A award availability for premium classes on long haul routes until about 15 days prior to flight date. If you go to the *A website, it indicates that to book an award flight on *A partners that you must do so by going to the website of your mileage program ( in your case MP/UA) and book via their award travel booking process. I have been wanting to book a flight on LH using MP miles and it has not shown any LH availability on the UA search engine since I started looking several months ago. I do seem to recall seeing Economy availability, but don't have any recall about PE.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 10:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Brostman View Post
I have read in other threads that LH does not open up *A award availability for premium classes on long haul routes until about 15 days prior to flight date.
That is only true for LH F. Y and J availability may open at any time. LH PE is not bookable using miles.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 10:31 pm
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Thanks.

Do you know if "last seat availability" obtainable through the Chase Saaphire card (associated with UA)?
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Old Mar 23, 19, 10:35 pm
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If you have UA miles, then you book with UA and UA.com. Seats are indeed available on partner airlines, just not every flight, every day especially at peak travel times. And since SFO is a hub and a large market, award travel from SFO is not as good as from other markets. You'll have to be flexible and try other west coast gateways like SEA, YVR or DEN. Then try to improve as departure date approaches and last minute award seats are released.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 10:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Diogenes1789 View Post
Do you know if "last seat availability" obtainable through the Chase Saaphire card (associated with UA)?
No. Only UA branded cards. Explorer and Club card are the two currently available cards which provide this benefit. But again, this does not apply to LH operated flights.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 5:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Diogenes1789 View Post
No current status on UA, but had accumulated a pile of miles. I have never booked TATL award seats before. The MileagePlus' award chart specifies the number of miles needed for UA and *A tickets, but I am wondering if award seats are really available on LH.. Looking to use up some miles for a summer trip. Problaby SFO-FRA or LAX-FRA (maybe EWR-FRA). I haven't tried booking anything yet on UA (although on some flights EWR to BGO,United.com says that there are NOT ANY award economy seats available - which doesn't make any sense unless UA has changed its policy of allowing booking of award seats available IF ANY seats are available for purchase - Can entire economy sections be sold out already for July flights?). I have heard/read that booking award tickets on LH using UA miles can be difficult. What is the best process for trying to book award seats on LH? Calling LH? Using their website? UA's website? Does LH make award seats available to airline partner members months in advance? Weeks? Is it necessary to use ExpertFlyer or similar to find award seats on LH?
It's late to be trying to book saver award tickets for summer transatlantic travel, but you might try looking for flights on Swiss via BOS or EWR and on Austrian via IAD or EWR. You can get to Germany or very close to Germany (Austria; Switzerland) without using LH. In any case, award flights using United miles can only be booked through United.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 5:59 pm
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I would start by doing searches from places you can get to easily from SFO on the US side and Germany on the European side. Some of this may be easier in Europe because trains and buses are good and there are ULCC's in any event.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 6:48 pm
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Most of my tatl award flights have been on LH. ATL, IAH, and DEN usually have plenty. You will do better searching for two one ways than a round trip. Go to the award calendar and search for all the dates available on the out bound. Then go back and search for all the dates available on the return. Pick a combination you can live with. Sometimes you may have to lengthen or shorten your trip by a few days to get something you like. I have found that by searching for a round trip for a definite # of days often results in no availability. Simply adding or subtracting a day or two or three will result in availability.
I don't think the Chase Saphire offers extra availability. Being Elite or having a United credit card really adds significant availability. It would definitely be beneficial to have the card plus you get a sign up bonus miles.

Last edited by mgmsteven; Mar 24, 19 at 6:53 pm Reason: added info
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Old Mar 24, 19, 7:00 pm
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Originally Posted by mgmsteven View Post
Most of my tatl award flights have been on LH.
... Being Elite or having a United credit card really adds significant availability. It would definitely be beneficial to have the card plus you get a sign up bonus miles.
For those less than plat, the extra inventory is only for economy and only on UA flights -- no help on LH.
Might help on positioning flights.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Brostman View Post
I have read in other threads that LH does not open up *A award availability for premium classes on long haul routes until about 15 days prior to flight date.
that is demonstrably false. Late last year I used UA miles to book 4 seats in business class about 7 months before travel. That being said I would not be surprised if LH (like UA) releases more seats within 2 weeks of ETD. However that is too late for most of us who need certainty when planning family vacations.

Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
And since SFO is a hub and a large market, award travel from SFO is not as good as from other markets. You'll have to be flexible and try other west coast gateways like SEA, YVR or DEN. Then try to improve as departure date approaches and last minute award seats are released.
+1. SFO is unfortunately horrible for finding saver awards in TATL business class. Too few flights and too many elites plus itís just a very popular inbound destination for visitors. However you can often find flights at other gateways - even LAX. Also PHX and consider ORD as well.

Originally Posted by JPG3392 View Post
It's late to be trying to book saver award tickets for summer transatlantic travel, but you might try looking for flights on Swiss via BOS or EWR and on Austrian via IAD or EWR. You can get to Germany or very close to Germany (Austria; Switzerland) without using LH. In any case, award flights using United miles can only be booked through United.
+1. Way too late to be looking for saver awards for this summer. And yes I still see sporadic saver inventory on LX and OS (and LOT). Also check via ORD and LAX though you may need to buy positioning flights.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
+1. Way too late to be looking for saver awards for this summer. And yes I still see sporadic saver inventory on LX and OS (and LOT). Also check via ORD and LAX though you may need to buy positioning flights.
Depends on how flexible you are. Many of the best award deals are within 14 days of departure.
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Old Mar 26, 19, 4:20 pm
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Depends on how flexible you are. Many of the best award deals are within 14 days of departure.
read entire post from start. yes, there is a chance inventory will open within 2 weeks of departure or even 1 week. Yes, obviously that may work for those who have flexibility to make last minute plans. No that does not work for vast majority of families who need multiple seats and parents who have to request specific vacation dates sometimes months in advance. Not to mention preferred and reasonable accommodations during peak season (maybe also booked with points).

I am am not suggesting OP give up - many suggestions on this thread.
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Old Apr 2, 19, 10:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
that is demonstrably false. Late last year I used UA miles to book 4 seats in business class about 7 months before travel. That being said I would not be surprised if LH (like UA) releases more seats within 2 weeks of ETD. However that is too late for most of us who need certainty when planning family vacations
Boraxo is correct..... as another FT member indicated, the availability which I had read about (LH releasing 14-15 pre-departure for *A) only applies to first class awards.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 2, 19 at 10:55 pm Reason: repaired quote
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