First Time UA Award Booking ..Easy Question

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by mo26, Feb 20, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. mo26

    mo26 Silver Member

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    This is embarrassing.....

    I'm going through the UA website trying to piece together an award for later in the year, trying to avail myself of both a stopover and an open-jaw (thanks UA..Actually, thank you Chase) :)

    Anyway, do I literally just piece this thing together one segment at a time, add up the miles required for each segment, and there's my total? When I enter it in as a multi-itinerary, the system panics and just dumps an error message....So i've only been able to go as far as 2 or 3 segments at a time.

    Any tips? I wanted to make sure I had the mileage before I sent this over to a booking service.

    - MO
     
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  2. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Depending on the complexity of your redemption, your instinct may be right on the money because, every year, I quite literally piece together, one segment at a time, a multi-segment itinerary that includes lots of *A partners. Therefore, if it is "embarrassing", then so be it because it has worked beautifully for me. I do most of it on the UA webste, but for some segments, I would go to the *A partner's website to find one that fits my schedule better. I do not worry about the total mileage while stitching together the trip, but I have a sense for what it'll come out to be because the mileage/segment add linearly. After I have it all down, I do not send it over to a booking service. I get on the horn with UA and warn them that this may take a while, then I tell them what I wish to accomplish. Each time, they have done it very efficiently, often grouping the segments in a way that facilitates their ticketing of the partners.

    The last one I did as above looked like this.:)

    Good luck!
     
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  3. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    If you are doing the work of finding flights with seats available you should absolutely NOT be paying someone else to complete the booking for you. If you've found the flights then you'd be paying an awful lot just for someone else to make a phone call on your behalf. If you're that nervous about it and really want someone to hold your hand through that call I'll do it with you for free. And I bet that after the first one you'll be in a position to do it yourself going forward.

    That said, the rates will be, at worst, simply the sum of A-B + B-C + C-D, etc. But, depending on what you are trying to piece together, there is a good chance that the rates can be much lower than that. I just booked JFK-HAJ, HAM-AAR, AAL-EWR for travel in a couple weeks. I searched for each of the three segments individually and it came out to 72.500 points in Y. I only paid 60,000 by taking advantage of the permitted stopover/open-jaw rules. If you were doing a longer trip - say US-Asia via Europe - the stopover/open-jaw rules could save you even more points as the linear additive rates would be WAY higher than what the normal rules permit. But it does depend quite a bit on your desired itinerary.
     
  4. mo26

    mo26 Silver Member

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    Did you know it would come out to 60k miles before you made the booking? That's the part i'm struggling with. I thought a benefit of the booking service would be "saving" me miles. I know there's seats, and I'm pretty sure i'm within the rules of routing, but I don't want to call in, have them tell me i'm over by 80k miles and then figure out where/how to trim it. That's what I'd be paying the service for....Or so I thought.

    - MO
     
  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Yes.

    You can pay if you want. Or just post the routing here and we can tell you what it will cost for free. :cool:
     
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  6. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The 1K Desk CSRs who have done my award bookings have been very good. I just looked at the last redemption that they booked for me and their grouping of the segments that I mentioned above appears to have been done in a way that saved me a lot of miles because they inserted open-jaws and stopovers. What a concept!

    My sense is that whatever you come up with will end up costing you fewer miles than what you would estimate based on the segments...
     
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  7. mo26

    mo26 Silver Member

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    Thanks! Looked like a great trip!
     
  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    My recent experiences - including last night - suggest that the agents just put the details in the system and the system spits back a price. And, in my case, the routing I chose actually doesn't mesh with the pricing engine but does fit per their published rules. I had both a GS and 1K rep say it was not possible, claiming that there were two stopovers. I eventually spoke with a service director, explained the routing and had him read through the rules again. He eventually agreed, saving me the 12,500 points. It really pays to be fully versed in the rules before calling in and hoping that things price correctly.

    There are some agents who are really good at awards and some who are decidedly less so. But I've yet to have a front line agent fully understand the pricing system or get anywhere close to manually pricing an award when the computer choked. And I've gotten pretty good at taking full advantage of the loose rules.
     
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  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The 1K Desk agents that I have dealt with are definitely of the "very good" category because the last one specifically told me, after what we wanted to accomplish was clear and all the segments had been found, that she was going to rearrange the segments. She did put some thought into it. She did not just put the details into the system without first thinking about what she wanted to accomplish. So, for example, she grouped seemingly unrelated segments like TPE-PVG & SIN-BKK-HKG, a clear open jaw:
    open-jaw-award.png

    and SGN->SIN->CGK->SIN together under another confirmation number, treating CGK as a stopover.

    I hope I keep getting this lucky.
     

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