Starnet and Award availability

 

Old Aug 13, 07, 3:49 pm
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Starnet and Award availability



Well the story turns out ok, but only after weeks.

Iíve been trying to get award seats in Business of First for the last few weeks to Australia in February. There is absolutely nothing going out of the west coast on United for the times that I wanted so I started looking at going through Europe. I had done some searches on the ANA tool and came up with a good itinerary in first on Thai out of London. Called up the to make the reservation. Sorry Mr. XXX, we donít show any of that being available. United canít get that from Thai airlines. We can get you there through Asianna on Dates that you donít want or we could get you there in coach.

Iím not doing a 20+ hour flight in coach, isnít gonna happen.

So I call back over and over again. Most of the time itís very nice people with the name ďBobĒ who you know are sitting half way across the world from you and who will follow the rules to a tee and not go out of their way to be helpful. This happened many, many times to the point where I was just going to give up on the whole idea. Then for some reason I called today to enquire again.

I got a very helpful person who was sitting in Chicago Iím pretty sure. I told her what I wanted to do, LHR-SIN or BKK and then Syd and back. I have looked at these routes and Singapore Air and Thai Air service the routes but the many people I had talked to before just couldnít find any premium seats. Somehow this person did. I now have two Business class tickets on Singapore Airlines from London to SYD. Iíll purchase a ticket from IAD to LHR for around $600.00. So a 9k ticket for about $900.00 total and a couple of days of my life

I guess Iím relaying the story trying to find out a few things. Are agents allowed to ditch the starnet (I think thatís what itís called) and directly contact the other airlines? If not, how did the person above get us the tickets? Do you just need to keep calling back until you get the right person?

Itís all a mystery to me.
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Old Aug 13, 07, 4:24 pm
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It is a mistery to many.

LH flight, showing I9 and X9 in Amadeus. One day, United can get it - the next day (with availability still being I9 and X9), they cannot.
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Old Aug 13, 07, 4:43 pm
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Can an agent bypass *net and book an award seat?
Yes, they can do that. However, it is against UA policy ad the agent might face displinary action against him/her.

TG long haul award is almost non existent using UA miles in my experience.
SQ award, however, are easierto get.
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Old Aug 13, 07, 6:37 pm
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Originally Posted by rcs85551 View Post
It is a mistery to many.

LH flight, showing I9 and X9 in Amadeus. One day, United can get it - the next day (with availability still being I9 and X9), they cannot.
In June, I had nearly 100% correlation between what I saw using the ANA availability tool and what UA saw when I called to book (for an award ticket to Europe). Last week, I had about 30% correlation, again for an award ticket to Europe. And there is a specific day in October when UA seems to have no award availability on any LH flight within Europe, despite all the flights showing on ANA. It's very frustrating.
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Old Aug 13, 07, 8:29 pm
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I recently noticed that an award seat that just became available on ANA was also available on UA. About two hours later it was still available on ANA but UA wouldn't. Maybe Starnet takes a few hours to update.
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Old Aug 13, 07, 9:21 pm
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I was told by a UA rep that United was radically tightening up Saver awards and not to expect to be able to get those anymore.
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Old Aug 13, 07, 11:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Roger Lococco View Post
I was told by a UA rep that United was radically tightening up Saver awards and not to expect to be able to get those anymore.
Mhmm. I'm sure AA would be happy for my business.
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Old Aug 13, 07, 11:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Roger Lococco View Post
I was told by a UA rep that United was radically tightening up Saver awards and not to expect to be able to get those anymore.
And I was told by an FA Ted is ceasing operations and being reconfigured into the PS config.

Sorry, while they may/have already tightened up quite a bit, they can't do a lot more. There's only so much they can do. As it stands AA has AMAZING availability on their own metal for awards, so if UA loses good partner awards, they will be in trouble.
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Old Aug 13, 07, 11:32 pm
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Balance of Payments

So, how do the *A airlines sort out award seats? Do they try to balance out each other based on seat-miles or seat-trips in a given COS? Or do they pay each other a negotiated fare on the unbalanced trips? Any idea how many $$/EUR/NUCs that would be?

I would assume the UA MP has more members than any other *A carrier, so the balance of trade would be against UA.
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Old Aug 14, 07, 4:17 am
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Originally Posted by aerokitty View Post
So, how do the *A airlines sort out award seats? Do they try to balance out each other based on seat-miles or seat-trips in a given COS? Or do they pay each other a negotiated fare on the unbalanced trips? Any idea how many $$/EUR/NUCs that would be?

I would assume the UA MP has more members than any other *A carrier, so the balance of trade would be against UA.
This seems to be one of the last secrets not yet penetrated by FT.

When TG releases premium seats in award classes between BKK and Europe, these are visible to ANA and EVERY other *A award program, but tantalizingly out of reach of UAMP flyers. Why? Is there an evil programmer at Starnet who is blacking out these seats (IMO)? Or is there a "POS" restriction against UA set up by TG?

And what the devil goes on with LH award seats? Some days all flights are available as per the ANA tool. Other days, LH vanishes from the screens entirely (though OS and LX are not affected.) It's as if LH were turnng a tap on and off. Maybe there is a quota, or perhaps there's an overdue payment from UA and this is LH's way of reminding UA to pay.
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Old Aug 14, 07, 6:44 am
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Originally Posted by harryhv View Post
This seems to be one of the last secrets not yet penetrated by FT.

When TG releases premium seats in award classes between BKK and Europe, these are visible to ANA and EVERY other *A award program, but tantalizingly out of reach of UAMP flyers. Why? Is there an evil programmer at Starnet who is blacking out these seats (IMO)? Or is there a "POS" restriction against UA set up by TG?

And what the devil goes on with LH award seats? Some days all flights are available as per the ANA tool. Other days, LH vanishes from the screens entirely (though OS and LX are not affected.) It's as if LH were turnng a tap on and off. Maybe there is a quota, or perhaps there's an overdue payment from UA and this is LH's way of reminding UA to pay.
Don't kid yourself. It's no one but UA doing the restricting.
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Old Aug 14, 07, 8:21 am
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It's all a trade off, unfortunately.

UA - generous mileage accrual in most all classes of Y, lower redemption rates, lower award taxes & fees, but poor availability.

LH - poor mileage accrual in discounted Y (good in C/F however), higher redemption rates, much much higher award taxes & fees, but good availability.
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Old Aug 14, 07, 8:24 am
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Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
It's all a trade off, unfortunately.

UA - generous mileage accrual in most all classes of Y, lower redemption rates, lower award taxes & fees, but poor availability.

LH - poor mileage accrual in discounted Y (good in C/F however), higher redemption rates, much much higher award taxes & fees, but good availability.
LH's redemption rates aren't that much higher, especially considering the companion awards and the 20% discount/year.
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Old Aug 14, 07, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by BenjaminNYC View Post
LH's redemption rates aren't that much higher, especially considering the companion awards and the 20% discount/year.
I am still a newbie to LH M&M - I won't make SEN until later this year. Can you please explain the 20% discount and companion awards, or give me a link ?

Thank you.
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Old Aug 14, 07, 8:38 am
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Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
I am still a newbie to LH M&M - I won't make SEN until later this year. Can you please explain the 20% discount and companion awards, or give me a link ?

Thank you.
Companion awards - Companion travels at 50% the miles. So one USA-EU Biz is 90,000; two is 135,000.

Discount - US based SEN's get 20% one awards 1x per year. Can be applied to any award, and SOMETIMES people get it applied to a full companion award!
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