Finding *A awards to Europe

Discussion in 'Star Alliance' started by Charlie99, Jan 11, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Charlie99

    Charlie99 Member

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    I'm trying to plan a family trip (4 people) to Italy & England in June.
    Tentative itinerary is PHL or IAD to MXP on CO/UN, and return LHR to PHL or IAD on any *A carrier (We'll travel from Italy to England using my BA miles - it's dirt cheap within Europe)
    I have 114K USAIR miles, and my wife has 44K (if a 2x transfer deal comes up, we'll end up with about 200K total).
    I also have 100K Chase Ultimate Rewards points that I can transfer to CO.
    Question: Is CO likely to have awards for a reasonable amount of points, or should I check another *A carrier (such as Lufthansa)?
    Is there someplace I can look to see all *A award availability, or do I have to call the carrier whose points I'm using? I know it's best to first figure out what flight I want, before I call, but where do I find the available award flights in the first place?
     
  2. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    Continental and Aeroplan websites are good options. Their award searches will not only give you their availability but also good coverage of partner availability.

    Also you can try a free trial of expertflyer.com a bit more complex because you need to know some industry jargon but worth the investment.
     
  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    If you can go to London first and then open jaw to Italy, returning from there, you could save a lot of airport fees and taxes, including the infamous UK luxury tax if you travel in business class or above.
     
  4. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    Use expertflyer.com for award seat availability. doesnt have every carrier, but enough to give you some good options.
     
  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    This is not availability per se, but as a starting point you might wish to look at the *A Awards Chart at http://www.united.com/ual/asset/United_Star_Chart_eff_after_6_15.pdf (page 3) for planning. Because you will have an open jaw, you probably would not be able to redeem as a roundtrip, meaning that you will have to contact your FFP rep to assist you. The rep will also be able to find you the least expensive *A carrier, just in case the one you are looking at deviates from what is shown in the chart, but I found no such deviations when I recently redeemed to travel in Asia. Note that *A awards are 50% those of UA, meaning that they are equivalent to UA's "saver awards" and are thus subject to availability...

    Note: The advantage of the UA standard awards is that they work just like cash: If a seat is available for purchasing with money, you can have it as a standard award. On the other hand, a seat must be available in the inventory in order for one to book it as a "saver award", so this is just like any other *A award -- cheaper but capacity-controlled.
     
  6. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    You might also read this thread:

    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/newbie-guide-award-booking-without-elite-status.4124/

    It will give you lots of hints on how to find award availability. Also, remember that the Olympics are the end of July so many people are going to Europe early to avoid the rush.

    Also, remember that saver awards are capacity controlled so you are never to early to start finding seats and booking the trip.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Charlie99

    Charlie99 Member

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    Thanks for all the advice.
    I should have mentioned that I have USAIR Gold status for 2012, if that makes any difference.
    Also, I was anticipating that I would book this trip as 4 one-way tickets to MXP and 4 one-way tickets from LHR. I think USAIR is the only #A carrier that doesn't have one-way awards available.
     
  8. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    You should consider whether you can actually book it as one trip with stop-over in LHR. The CO site is pretty flexible when doing multi-city search. I just looked at it for IAD-MXP-LHR(stopover)-IAD as a dummy booking for next June and it priced it correctly at 100,000 miles in business. CO will only allow stop-over on a round trip.

    Finding availability for next June is something competently different.
     
  9. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I love EF as much as the next guy but it isn't so useful for *A award searches, especially when not redeeming from Miles & More.

    While they do not have one-way awards they do permit open-jaw awards. Once you find the availability you should be able to book into Italy and out of England with no problem.

    That said, would you consider changing the order of your trip? The tax to depart the UK on longhaul flights (the APD) is brutal. You can can save a lot of cash (doubly so if you're thinking about premium cabins) by not leaving the UK on a longhaul flight.

    As for inventory, search continental.com or aeroplan.com to get some ideas and then call USAir to book.
     
  10. KVS Tool

    KVS Tool Z Representative

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    Assuming you are looking for Economy Award seats and are reasonably flexible on dates, it should not be a problem. For example:

    [KVS Availability Tool 6.9.0/Diamond - ITA: Awards/AC-StarAlliance/CA]
    Code:
    IAD  Washington Dulles Intl DC US [KIAD]
    MXP  Milan Malpensa IT [LIMC]
    TUE  05 Jun 2012 | 4 Seats
    
    Carrier    Flight  From  Depart    To    Arrive    A/C  St  Availability
    ---------  ------  ----  --------  ----  --------  ---  --  ------------
    SK         926     IAD   17:15     CPH   07:15 +1  343  0   YS+
     -> SK     1685    CPH   08:25 +1  MXP   10:30 +1  M82  0   CS+  YS+
    SK         926     IAD   17:15     CPH   07:15 +1  343  0   YS+
     -> SK     687     CPH   16:55 +1  MXP   19:00 +1  321  0   CS+  YS+
    LH         419     IAD   17:55     FRA   08:05 +1  744  0   YS+
     -> LH     248     FRA   09:30 +1  MXP   10:40 +1  321  0   CS+  YS+
    LH         419     IAD   17:55     FRA   08:05 +1  744  0   YS+
     -> LH     252     FRA   12:35 +1  MXP   13:45 +1  320  0   CS+  YS+
    LH         419     IAD   17:55     FRA   08:05 +1  744  0   YS+
     -> LH     254     FRA   16:25 +1  MXP   17:35 +1  320  0   CS+  YS+
    LH         419     IAD   17:55     FRA   08:05 +1  744  0   YS+
     -> LH     256     FRA   19:45 +1  MXP   20:55 +1  735  0   YS+
    CO         132     IAD   21:45     CDG   11:25 +1  752  0   YS+
     -> LH     1035    CDG   14:00 +1  FRA   15:15 +1  319  0   YS+
     -> LH     254     FRA   16:25 +1  MXP   17:35 +1  320  0   YS+
    CO         132     IAD   21:45     CDG   11:25 +1  752  0   YS+
     -> LH     2231    CDG   13:05 +1  MUC   14:35 +1  320  0   YS+
     -> LH     1860    MUC   15:20 +1  MXP   16:30 +1  320  0   YS+
    CO         132     IAD   21:45     CDG   11:25 +1  752  0   YS+
     -> LX     639     CDG   14:55 +1  ZRH   16:10 +1  319  0   YS+
     -> LX/#S  1622    ZRH   16:55 +1  MXP   17:45 +1  AR1  0   YS+
    SK         926     IAD   17:15     CPH   07:15 +1  343  0   YS+
     -> LH/CL  2441    CPH   08:45 +1  MUC   10:25 +1  CR9  0   YS+
     -> LH     1856    MUC   11:15 +1  MXP   12:25 +1  319  0   YS+
    UA         974     IAD   17:25     GVA   07:40 +1  763  0   YS+
     -> LH/CL  2381    GVA   09:00 +1  MUC   10:15 +1  CR9  0   YS+
     -> LH     1856    MUC   11:15 +1  MXP   12:25 +1  319  0   YS+
    UA         974     IAD   17:25     GVA   07:40 +1  763  0   YS+
     -> LX     2807    GVA   10:05 +1  ZRH   11:00 +1  320  0   CS+  YS+
     -> LX/2L  1628    ZRH   12:25 +1  MXP   13:15 +1  100  0   CS+  YS+
    CO         100     IAD   22:16     MAN   10:20 +1  752  0   YS+
     -> LH/EW  3433    MAN   13:05 +1  DUS   15:25 +1  CR9  0   YS+
     -> LH     3182    DUS   16:15 +1  MXP   17:40 +1  735  0   YS+
    CO         100     IAD   22:16     MAN   10:20 +1  752  0   YS+
     -> LH/BD  943     MAN   12:40 +1  FRA   15:25 +1  320  0   YS+
     -> LH     254     FRA   16:25 +1  MXP   17:35 +1  320  0   YS+
    UA/G7      3631    IAD   15:00     YYZ   16:30     CR7  0   YS+
     -> AC     872     YYZ   17:30     FRA   07:00 +1  77W  0   YS+
     -> LH     248     FRA   09:30 +1  MXP   10:40 +1  321  0   YS+
    
    It won't make any difference with regard to the *A Award Availability, but you (+1 companion) will have lounge access throughout the trip.

    Actually, most Star Alliance FF Programmes only allow Round-Trip (incl. Open Jaw) awards.
     
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  11. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    For UACO, one-way *A awards are allowed. They just cannot be booked online. A Mileage Plus member must call UACO customer support for assistance in booking one-way *A awards. I just did it, and it helped a lot that I already knew which *A carriers I wanted to travel with...
     
  12. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    CO allows one way booking online. It is very easy and there are no booking fees associated (i.e. phone fees). It is actually easier as the logic of the booking is usually maintained and therefore you can be creative with your route and not have to argue with the agent on how much it is going to cost.
     
  13. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Perhaps the old CO allowed it. On the latest *A Award Chart published since the merger (http://www.united.com/ual/asset/United_Star_Chart_eff_after_6_15.pdf) it says:

    Please note that Star Alliance awards booked online can only be booked as a roundtrip.

    but it may still be that the CO rule did not change with the merger...
     
  14. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    I've booked Star Alliance one-way awards on CO as late as this summer without a problem.

    I've been doing dummy booking to check availability for future award almost daily in the last couple of months an had no problem with going all the way with one way booking with Star Alliance (deliberately not having enough miles in my CO account so it would not immediately ticket).

    On the UA one could never book star alliance flight one-way (or even round trip unless it is LH).

    I am almost 100% sure that CO still allow for one-way star alliance booking online - unless the error will kick in at ticketing - though I highly doubt that.
     
  15. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    With the new charts also came this:

    Effective June 15, 2011 we made some changes to the Mileage Plus and OnePass award charts to make them consistent across both programs. View the current award charts here: ("here" refers to the PDF linked above)

    but like I said it may still be that the CO rule did not change with the merger...
     
  16. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    The CO side does not mentioned this warning at all. I have ticketed my last one-way redemption on star alliance in the beginning of August. The awards chart are consistent, but the booking method is definitely not. On CO side you can book online for SQ, TG, NH, NZ in addition to the ones you can on the UA side.
     
  17. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    It is good to know that CO may still be sensible about this, although as a 1K, I do not pay any phone booking fees, and I do not mind to just dump my itinerary on some MP CSR and have them do the rest.
     
  18. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    It wasn't a rule from UA, it was a by-product of the fact that their website is total crap and that they never bothered to make that bit work online. And the website is going away in 6 weeks anyways so that's a moot point.

    One-way awards are absolutely bookable online today on co.com for all the same partners that are available for round-trip bookings and they have been since one-way awards were introduced. That functionality isn't going away; it is getting better as more partners are added to the online engine.
     
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