FC saver awards to Hawaii have disappeared...

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by norge, Mar 4, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. norge
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    norge Silver Member

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    I use to be able to book 2 FC award tix from Mountain West or West Coast to Hawaii every winter (Jan. mostly) at 330-300 days in advance. Sometimes on UA metal, sometimes on US. Now UA won't release any FC seats across the pond. Every flt. I look at has all the FC seats sitting empty. Looking at Jan., 2014. I'm sure glad that UA & CO merged. :( Is this going to be a long-term problem? My crystal ball broke.
     
  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The "pond" is the Atlantic Ocean, so that's not going to help you too much here. ;)

    Maybe others booked award seats and maybe they haven't been released yet. You can book in coach and waitlist for first, hope to get lucky searching on your own or set up an alert via one of the many sites out there which help with FF award searches. I wouldn't give up hope quite yet though.
     
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  3. norge
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    norge Silver Member

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    So if the Atlantic is the "pond" what is the Pacific? A "lake"? ;)

    If I book in coach and award seats show up in First won't I have to pay a fee to switch? How does that work?

    I'll probably use ExpertFlyer unless there is a better tool.
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    If you book over the phone with an agent you can have them issue it as a first class award but seat you in coach and waitlist for the first class seat. If it doesn't ever clear you get the points difference back but if it does then no fees to make the change.

    EF is fine. There are some others out there which are less expensive or even free using the same data. Mine is one of them. AwardNexus is another. FliSea is another. Lots of players in that space these days.
     
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  5. FortFun
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    FortFun Gold Member

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    Depends on status level. Here's the page discussing this: http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/mileageplus/awards/travel/ticketing.aspx


    Looks like a fee of $75/$50/$25 for non-status/silver/gold (last line of the chart). No fee for Plat or above.
    Note fine print: "Fee level is based on the MileagePlus Premier status (when the ticket was issued) of the member whose miles were used to book the award."

    ETA: of course, WA's plan is better. :D
     
  6. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Here's how it works but it can be done only over the phone:
    Basically you book an award ticket for the premium cabin that you desire (F/C) but you will be confirmed in Y and be waitlisted for F/C. The key thing is that the Y (confirmed) and F/C (waitlisted) awards must be of the same type (i.e., saver or standard)
     
  7. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    There is no change fee if you book a F/C award and get confirmed in Y and wailisted for F/C, as per the rule above. If the upgrade is not confirmed, they will redeposit the RDM difference, provided that you choose to fly in Y. What is unclear to me is if you would be forced to fly in Y to avoid paying a fee should the upgrade not clear. If you are a top elite, then you can cancel and pay no fee; others may have to pay a fee if they do not wish to fly in Y and try to cancel.
     
  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Yes, there would be a fee as I understand it.
     
  9. FortFun
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    FortFun Gold Member

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    Indeed. That's why I added the bit about Wandering Aramean's plan being better. :)
     
  10. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Actually, it is the one that UA recommends and only one that makes sense, especially if you are not a top elite (plat, 1K, GS) and would fly regardless because it is the only way to avoid paying a change fee...
     
  11. norge
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    norge Silver Member

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    Thanks for the data points. I'm not ready to pick an exact date yet but hopefully soon. The book Y and standby for F is a good technique.
     
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  12. AZjohn

    AZjohn Silver Member

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    You are not alone.

    As I posted here and TOBB, for what ever reason this year there is very little to none saver F available to Hawaii from most of Nov, all of Dec, and most of Jan. I have no idea why this is and nobody here can know if they will release inventory later.

    I think most of us know in previous circumstances, there has been very little left in saver inventory the closer you got to the departure date to Hawaii. Maybe they are reversing, maybe not? I personally need to make way-in-advance plans for my yearly Hawaii trip, so had to book what I could at exactly 330 day (which is no longer available 2 days later).

    I think it's a great suggestion as others wrote about getting a Y seat for now and waitlisting for saver F. And I hope we all see ore inventory released soon.
     
  13. dayone
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    dayone Silver Member

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    It almost always is.
     
  14. norge
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    norge Silver Member

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    How would this work if you have two legs with F open on the 1st leg but only Y on the 2nd leg? Call and book both legs in F (confirmed F and confirmed Y) and hope for F to open up on last leg?

    Gracias!
     
  15. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Assuming UA metal you ask them to waitlist you for F on the flight which only has Y available to confirm. Should it open up you get it.
     
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  16. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    As per above, if there is no F availability, you can still book the F award and be waitlisted, but you must also be confirmed in Y.
    A caveat to remember is that the reserved/waitlisted F and confirmed Y awards must be of the same type (saver or standard) to avoid a fee. A confirmed saver Y will be upgraded to a saver F if it becomes available. If a standard F becomes available instead and one wants it, a fee will be assessed, unless one is a GS, 1K or a Plat.

    Changing the cabin, award type, or changing a flight to a different airline, regardless of departure date: GM $75; Silvers: $50; Golds: $25; GS, 1K, Plats: $0

    Since standard awards are generally more available, it means that the best bet may be to book a standard F award, be waitlisted for F, and be confirmed in Y -- all standard.
     
  17. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Only the best bet if you're willing to pay that many points.
     
  18. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    ...and increase the likelihood that one would, in the end, fly upfront. I know what I would do since accumulating redeemable miles as a long distance 1K traveler is the least of my problems...but then again, I would not have a change fee to worry about either.;)
     
  19. AZjohn

    AZjohn Silver Member

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    True that.

    I just assume when we discuss awards here we are always talking about saver awards.
    Only very rare cases is standard awards are an option (I guess NYCUA1K uses standard awards). I would personally never pay the miles for standard awards unless it was an emergency last minute trip. AQnd even then the saver awards seem more plentiful.
     
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  20. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I am sure that everyone understands that saver awards are the way to go if they are available, but because their supply is limited, the difference between relying solely on a saver award and redeeming for a standard award on UA is often the difference between taking the trip and staying home. Case in point: I just searched the award space to redeem for a BF seat on the B787 to do this itinerary in December, one way:

    JFK -- p.s. -- LAX -- B787 --> PVG

    Plenty of standard awards availability but not a single saver. There is no difference between a standard award and cash. If one can book a seat with cash, it is available for redeeming as a standard award. As a result they cost more points, but that is also why they are safer in the context in which all of this came up:
    Yes, there was a context, and if one were interested to redeem to fly on the B787 in the last week of December LAX-PVG, relying only on saver awards would doom the trip. This happens every day, but *A awards are like UA saver awards (50% of standard awards but also limited in availability) so that including all other *A carriers could turn up something...on a different plane and/or itinerary than the one desired.
     
  21. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Only if you are elite or carry certain co-branded CCs. If non-elite there are inventory controls even on Standard awards such that they might not be available for purchase while revenue tickets are.

    If you're elite and have access to the last-seat inventory then you should almost never have a reason to waitlist for the seat as it will come out of YN or JN and those track to Y or J. Once I've had a situation where a client wanted to book a YN seat and the plane was actually fully sold out. It did open up a couple days later and we snagged it, but that was the only time it has been an issue for me.

    If you are not elite then there are inventory controls on Standard awards, tracking roughly to H and Z for economy and business class, respectively.
     
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  22. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    A caveat within a caveat. No argument with the above, as I have always felt that was something that UA did right: making the miles earned by flying to earn status worth more...except that I believe miles earned with my Chase Explorer card also enjoy this benefit (I wish they did not because I already have the benefit from being premier -- however, by far the most miles out there are those earned by premiers...).
     
  23. WrightHI

    WrightHI Active Member

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    I live in Hawaii and am running into the same thing. I found decent availability from the west coast to Europe late this year, but couldn't get the HNL-west coast legs and will end up paying HA for those. It's still a decent redemption even with the positioning flights, but I'm not eager to pay UA for legs that ought to be included in the awards.
     
  24. norge
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    norge Silver Member

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    Will this work on AA also?
     

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