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No more Biz Saver Awards on Europe itineraries requiring change of plane en route??

No more Biz Saver Awards on Europe itineraries requiring change of plane en route??

Old Sep 8, 19, 10:16 pm
  #1  
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No more Biz Saver Awards on Europe itineraries requiring change of plane en route??

Apologies if this topic is covered in another thread but I searched and didn't find it.

I regularly book award travel to Europe on United but haven't done so in the last six months. When I tried to do so today, I noticed a change when searching for saver business awards. For anything other than a nonstop flight, suddenly the only saver options that come up are all "mixed cabin," meaning at least one leg is in coach.

Here's an example. Let's suppose I'm looking for a ticket from LAX to LHR and the nonstop flights aren't available for saver purposes on my preferred dates. I then search for one-stop flights to London and come up with choices offering United flights to another U.S. city (ORD, EWR, IAD, etc.) and connecting from there to LHR on United OR on a *A carrier to another European city and connecting from there to LHR. Here's my before and after experience:

Before (pre-2019): In the above example, if a saver award was available it would normally include all legs of the itinerary in business. If a leg wasn't available in business, I would be booked in coach for that leg and waitlisted for moving to business if space opened up before the flight.

After (i.e. Today): Business Saver awards appear to only put you in business for the over the water flight segment. If I want to fly LAX-ORD/ORD-LHR, I'll be in business for ORD-LHR. However the system will put me in coach for LAX-ORD without mentioning any possible upgrade. For the same itinerary a business standard award will put me in business class on both legs of the trip but at a cost of almost double the miles.

In searching today for flights to Europe in January, I found the above to be true on every single saver award option, and I checked multiple destinations in Europe and multiple January dates.

Has anything like this been announced as part of the post-Nov. changes that are coming?

Thanks in advance for any insights.
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Old Sep 8, 19, 11:57 pm
  #2  
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The simple truth is on popular routes, especially routes where paid sales can absorb all the space, there are far fewer premium cabin awards than in past years. And on domestic routes, premium cabin awards are almost unknown. So a mixed cabin award is not unexpected / unusual -- just today's reality. Honestly, finding a TATL business saver award is quite the find.

With the post-Nov 15, 2019 award changes, I suspect we are due for more unpleasantness.
Changes To UA MileagePlus Coming On NOV 15, 2019 (Dynamic UA Awards - No More Chart)

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 9, 19 at 12:09 am Reason: Nov changes
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Old Sep 9, 19, 12:05 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by LAXGUY View Post
Before (pre-2019): In the above example, if a saver award was available it would normally include all legs of the itinerary in business.
This may have been your personal experience, but if so you were rather lucky, because that was by no means "normal."

Domestic saver F has been difficult for several years, and mixed cabin awards have been an unfortunate reality for quite some time. I do agree it's gotten even worse in the past year or so.
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Old Sep 9, 19, 1:17 am
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Originally Posted by LAXGUY View Post
....
Before (pre-2019): In the above example, if a saver award was available it would normally include all legs of the itinerary in business. If a leg wasn't available in business, I would be booked in coach for that leg and waitlisted for moving to business if space opened up before the flight.

After (i.e. Today): Business Saver awards appear to only put you in business for the over the water flight segment. If I want to fly LAX-ORD/ORD-LHR, I'll be in business for ORD-LHR. However the system will put me in coach for LAX-ORD without mentioning any possible upgrade. For the same itinerary a business standard award will put me in business class on both legs of the trip but at a cost of almost double the miles.

In searching today for flights to Europe in January, I found the above to be true on every single saver award option, and I checked multiple destinations in Europe and multiple January dates.

Has anything like this been announced as part of the post-Nov. changes that are coming?

Thanks in advance for any insights.
I’ve seen situation you described since at least 2016, being unable to book a 2017 LHR-SFO-HNL through in O/I class, and being forced to waitlist while booking confirmed XN. Prior to that experience, always could book in F. Since then, I’ve either flown paid F on another carrier, or purchased Everyday awards. I don’t want to be caught in coach on a 5-9 hr flight to/from West or East Coast
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:49 am
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I would echo LAXGUY's experience. It's really only since mid-2018 that the mixed cabin awards have really impacted my travel. Prior to that I rarely saw them.
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Old Sep 9, 19, 8:22 am
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Originally Posted by LAXGUY View Post
After (i.e. Today): Business Saver awards appear to only put you in business for the over the water flight segment.
Tomorrow: Business Saver awards appear to only put you in business for the shortest segment, the over-the-water flight is in economy.

Day after tomorrow: Business Saver awards disappear completely.


I've noticed this trend too, and more-and-more flights appear as "mixed cabin", which all have to be individually clicked on, just to make sure WHICH segment exactly is in E.
The only time this is [somewhat] okay/understandable, is if the feeder airport is in a tiny plane that has no J seats.
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Old Sep 9, 19, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by 1P View Post
I would echo LAXGUY's experience. It's really only since mid-2018 that the mixed cabin awards have really impacted my travel. Prior to that I rarely saw them.
It must depend upon your location. ex-AUS, mixed-cabin awards have been more common than not for many years.
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Old Sep 9, 19, 8:30 am
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IN space on domestic segments has been vanishingly rare for years, and they don't open more when you marry to an overwater segment, unlike P.
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Old Sep 14, 19, 9:27 pm
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Living in Las Vegas I have the same problem trying to get TATL business saver awards to Europe. EWR or ORD or DEN to Europe may be business class but not LAS-EWR, ORD or DEN. What I find aggravating, is I would even be willing to buy, say first class LAS-EWR RT and add that to the EWR-Europe business Saver Award, but if I do that and I misconnect in EWR I am out of luck. You'd think UA would see a win-win here to let me combine the paid and award travel.
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Old Sep 14, 19, 9:53 pm
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A connecting Saver Business award out of SFO is virtually always a mixed cabin award. Connecting to SWISS at ORD in a few weeks and I have no hope that my waitlisted F segment on a Saturday 6AM flight on a 753 will clear.

I recently booked a Saver SFO-YUL (AC) —> YUL-VIE (OS) and it was refreshing to confirm both segments in J. Thank you Star Alliance partners!
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Old Sep 15, 19, 4:57 am
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Originally Posted by PacificClipper View Post
A connecting Saver Business award out of SFO is virtually always a mixed cabin award. Connecting to SWISS at ORD in a few weeks and I have no hope that my waitlisted F segment on a Saturday 6AM flight on a 753 will clear.

I recently booked a Saver SFO-YUL (AC) > YUL-VIE (OS) and it was refreshing to confirm both segments in J. Thank you Star Alliance partners!
I was looking at some potential award flights next spring, and the only way I could travel up front on all legs of the trip was on star alliance partners.
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Old Sep 15, 19, 5:29 am
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Originally Posted by PacificClipper View Post
A connecting Saver Business award out of SFO is virtually always a mixed cabin award. Connecting to SWISS at ORD in a few weeks and I have no hope that my waitlisted F segment on a Saturday 6AM flight on a 753 will clear.

I recently booked a Saver SFO-YUL (AC) > YUL-VIE (OS) and it was refreshing to confirm both segments in J. Thank you Star Alliance partners!
Yes, I've given up on even looking for TATL redemptions from SFO, excepting the LX/LH nonstops from SFO or LAX. There's occasional SK as well.
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