US and LH Fist Award

Discussion in 'US Airways | Dividend Miles' started by justplanenuts, Sep 14, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. justplanenuts

    justplanenuts Active Member

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    Found an LH 1st award close in on ANA so I'm as sure it's real as I can be, but of course US can't see it. I read somewhere that US is no way no how booking LH first anymore, even close in. Anyone know how true this is. If so, I'm pretty much done with DM, the elation of finding the award only to be shot down when I call has happened one to many times. And yes, I call at least three times to make sure it's not a CSR issue. Although I am CP and for most things I find them quite passable. Problem is I fly to redeem and if I can't redeem on US, not much sense in flying them. To bad the alternatives keep shrinking or getting just as bad.

    Anyway, rant off, any clue if I am just making myself miserable calling when I see LH first?
     
  2. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I think the obvious appeal of DM is how easy it is to get quite a bit of miles because of their promos... even now they're running 100% bonus on buying and gifting. You can then turn around and redeem with UA or even US and their not-half-bad TATL product.

    And since snatching LH availability is "difficult" at best with almost every other *A carrier unless you're really flexible (or you have miles with them), I'm not sure that the program (DM) as a whole is entirely bad.

    I mean, at the end of the day, if you had the miles with United or LOT or whatever, you'd still have problems grabbing LH availability unless you were ready to go in 2 weeks... or maybe next week... or maybe tomorrow.

    But I hear you though, seems like for a lot of people LH F is The Holy Grail of redemptions, and having a 0% chance of redeeming with them is indeed a huge negative for the US program.
     
  3. justplanenuts

    justplanenuts Active Member

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    That's what really sticking in my craw. I am flexible, the flight is less then 2 weeks out and all three search engines (UA, AC, and most important, ANA) can see it. This BS that US gives about Star playing favorites when giving out the goodies is insulting and akin to them admitting being a less then equal partner in Star. I agree that DM has some upside, but at least with UA I can actually book that last minute LH instead of being grateful for the UA Global First that US will offer me.
     
  4. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    If a US agent will manual/long sell the space (requesting the seats in O) it'll come back confirmed. But US agents generally know they're not supposed to do that. So finding one that will is really challenging.
     
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  5. justplanenuts

    justplanenuts Active Member

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    So I don't be my head against a telephone continuously, is it generally a truism that US will never ever "see" the LH 1st space? I have tried arguing the long sell before and I have lately been told they have been explicitly told by management not to do that. So, getting someone to attempt has been impossible for me anyway.

    On a lighter note (not for the CSR), it is somewhat entertaining to ask them why I can see it on every other airline that allows searching. The latest was that US is not the biggest player in our alliance and sometimes they "shun" us when handing out award tickets. Has anyone told Dougie he's being shunned!!!!!!
     
  6. justplanenuts

    justplanenuts Active Member

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    Hmmmm .... maybe One World promised Dougie 2 shun free years if he captures AA
     
  7. justplanenuts

    justplanenuts Active Member

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    Just noticed my misspelling in the title, Freudian slip maybe. Anyway to edit that?
     
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  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Click the "Report" link in your post and ask the admins. Never understood why they are so protective of their thread titles, but it is not possible for you to fix it yourself.
     
  9. scubaflyer
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    scubaflyer Silver Member

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    I had a similar experience recently (in May) trying to get an LH F award with US miles. I tried several times (including requesting the manual/long sell) to no avail. Ultimately, I ended up grabbing LH biz on the top of the 380 (which was still quite nice) for a pretty long flight FRA-NRT and also grabbed ANA F (which I have also heard is very hard to get with US miles, and it was a wonderful F experience) for another long flight NRT-IAD. I was a bit aggravated when I went by the 380 F cabin on my LH flight, though, and saw that only 1 person had been in the F cabin. I wish US would allow LH F awards, but I've pretty much given up on them at this point. I have seen some pop up from time to time using UA miles, so I may have to try that route next and see how my luck plays out with that angle.
     
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  10. justplanenuts

    justplanenuts Active Member

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    Curious if Star Alliance cares about this type of stuff? I assume the bunk US feeds me about each airline getting different availability is just bunk and everything is either available through StarNet or not. When US CSRs are giving out false info about the alliance benefits and making statements that the Alliance is more or less valuable to different airlines it sends out a very negative message. I have to assume that Star has heard about the different application of benefits by various airlines, not just US, and does not think it effects them enough to try and enforce some consistency.

    Anyway, with all that, I think I may start looking for an Asiansa or ANA option going the other way and skip the Europe portion of the trip. Anyone with thoughts on the best chance of a good last minute F routing to HKG?
     
  11. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    Probably not. Especially since US is trying to merge with AA and would leave Star Allaince for oneworld if they were successful.
     
  12. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    An interesting question... IF US were to leave *A, is there any precedent for the alliance sponsoring transfers to other *A programs, like UA? It keeps the travel (albeit reward travel) in Star vs flooding OW with new miles... but I'd bet that Star, OW, US AND AA all see them as "just" US Dividend Miles.
     
  13. justplanenuts

    justplanenuts Active Member

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    I guess the question should have been a bit more generic. Is there any precedence for an airline alliance intervening for the customer, or even trying to keep a consistent brand experience, similar to say hotel programs. Or are airline alliances a totally different beast. I never really put a lot of thought into why the alliance exits and what's in it for them and how all that fits into the big picture.
     
  14. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    That's a good question... but I don't think there's a precedent with a major airline. Shanghai left oneworld to join Star a few years back and I think Delta was trying to convince JAL to join skyteam back in 08? Not sure how that affected their members though.

    My best guess is that if US leaves Star for oneworld then all the Star agreements become null and the possibilities open for redemption with OW instead. I'm sure it will take time and they will put an enormous amount of spin on it, but it doesn't make sense that you'd be able to redeem/earn US miles with a Star carrier if they exit the alliance.
     
  15. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    The alliances do this to fill gaps in their network. Either routes they don't fly at all or to boost the number of *perceived* options when you fly.

    Look at the UA site for flights to Europe for example. They show a plethora of options on most routes, but if you look carefully quite a few of those flights are operated by Lufthansa.

    And if US didn't belong to an alliance, their options to Europe would be severely limited, and there would be nothing to Asia.
     
  16. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    You're suggesting that US would get to unload all the debt (since outstanding unredeemed frequent flier miles are considered an unrealized liability on balance sheets) and keep the revenue (since US realizes revenue any time they sell miles)?

    *A or any member airline that did this would have to be committing corporate malfeasance to agree to this kind of course of action- it would cost them millions, perhaps billions on a balance sheet, and they would get nothing out of it. There is just no benefit to another airline in assuming a balance sheet obligation for US and letting US walk away with the revenue they got for that, and that's clearly against shareholder interest.
     
  17. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    I'm asking if anyone knows of a clause that would allow the alliance to purchase that debt, and the alliance carriers "assume" those FF miles (transfer program, etc.) at the flier's request to keep them "in" the Alliance. Surely there's some positive value to the miles in terms of additional services people buy, additional tickets people buy, upsells, etc. More a curious question than anything, and you're right, completely glossing over whatever economics would have to be worked out.

    In other words, does the alliance have any stake in seeing those miles earned on US as a *A carrier used on US and OW partners, instead, and working to keep the travel in *A. I'd never thought to even ask that... and don't know enough about the alliance agreements themselves to understand how alliances view the benefits of "free" travel and upgrades in terms of additional revenue.

    That's exactly my question - would they really get nothing out of it? American claims AAdvantage is profitable. One must assume that the cost to the consumer of acquiring those miles offsets the cost of use to the carrier, but to what degree? In other words, is there a scenario where, to the alliance, the "customer acquisition" cost and customer retention - even using miles for *some* travel/upgrades - is worth just such an arrangement? Or is the whole acquisition/use equation so heavily biased towards the airlines/acquisition of miles being the profit center that there's no benefit at the point of use (or do they profit on both ends, e.g. a mileage redemption filling a seat, pushing paid fare availability into a higher bucket, etc.)?
     
  18. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    If star alliance were to care enough to flex muscle, I suspect it would be more toward the carriers who severely limit availability of awrd inventory to the alliance than to those who limit access to others' inventory. They seem OK with how SQ, LH, LX, etc go about their business, at least from the outside.

    In other words, concern is likely greater over what is contributed than what is taken.
     
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  19. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    OK, so why would US sell their FFP to (insert name of *A program here) instead of just merging it with AA, since that is apparently what you are suggesting? This doesn't make any sense- either it's a valuable asset for customer retention and has value (in which case, AA wants it just like they want other assets in the merger), or it's a piece of junk nobody would want.

    Yes, I know, mileage junkies are trying to seize on any excuse to not see US leave the *A fold after BD did. Well, you have to be realistic about this. If this merger happens, it's probable that AAdvantage is the surviving program, and I see no chance that US's program would be spun off by itself.
     
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  20. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    It'd be interesting to see at some point where things go though... this is not simply the case of an airline leaving an alliance for another, it's basically a combination of two airlines. Are we going to see CO/UA all over again with DM/AAdvantage? Are elites in one program going to get instant status in the other?
     
  21. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    And you're likely right. The accounting is a bitch. The airline would want to keep it - and I'm not suggesting selling the program wholesale, perhaps simply seeing if certain users wanted to "stay" *A and retain mileage in another *A program (hence the alliance being the funding) vs. having that migrated to a US/AA combi-program, likely under 1W. Just random perusings... not any serious business discussion.

    I don't care either way. I have 250,000 *A miles, 500,000 1W (AA) miles, and 125K "independent" miles (HA/AS). As long as the redemption value and availabilities stay close to the same and the *domestic* service levels on paid itins stay high, I'm okay.
     
  22. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Why would you deliberately incentivize getting rid of loyal customers ("Hey! We'll help you fly our competitors now that we're leaving *A!") by doing that? It doesn't make sense. Isn't the point of a loyalty program to increase the friction of leaving for the competition?

    Anyways, back to the OP's point: I am not sure this is all US's fault. LH executives are happy to trash US at *A MegaDos for their policy of selling cheap miles . Considering all the customer-unfriendly things LH has done to M&M recently, wouldn't shock me if LH put in a point of sale restriction on US, and the restrictions on long selling are an agreement between LH and US.
     
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  23. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Having bought 200,000 US miles this year (with a trip planned to use them once the availability window comes open, and EF at the ready), I can certainly see why! I won't be TATL, though...
     

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