Using US Airways miles for reward flights on other Star Alliance Airlines

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by merice107, Aug 19, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. merice107

    merice107 Silver Member

    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    361
    Status Points:
    500
    I'm looking at getting the truly churnable US airways credit card. I'm not very familiar with their program. Are using the miles and booking reward flights relatively easy? Same for Star Alliance? What about on Thai Airways in particular?

    It seems like this card should be a part of a normal application rotation since you can keep getting the sign up bonus a couple times a year.
     
    JohnDeere19 likes this.
  2. CrankyScott
    Original Member

    CrankyScott Silver Member

    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    285
    Status Points:
    450
    I am flying on US Airways miles this week and am on everything but US Airways. Today I am flying Thai Airways business class to FRA and Tuesday Lufthansa to IAD.

    My best advice is use a booking pro to get the seats. My go to guy is Ben at http://pointspros.com great service and advice!

    One point to note with US Airways miles, once you start your trip, no changes allowed. Period.
     
    JohnDeere19 likes this.
  3. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,272
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    Status Points:
    1,075
    You must book a round-trip with US miles, and once you fly the first segment, you can't make any changes. This sucks, since a lot of seats are made availability only 1-2 weeks before departure, so you can't make changes for the return segment.

    All partner awards have to be done over the phone, and have a $50 fee just to book an international award. The agents often don't know geography, nor do they know the rules of the program. This can be either a good thing or bad thing.

    Thai Airways has decent award availability that is available to US Airways members: I flew them HKG-BKK-FRA using US miles earlier this year (Trip Report here: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads...a380-thai-77w-first-singapore-business.42613/).
     
    merice107 and JohnDeere19 like this.
  4. JohnDeere19
    Original Member

    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,392
    Likes Received:
    6,892
    Status Points:
    4,625
    The agents can be okay, but a lot of the time they're missing those basic geography skills as daemon14 mentions. Thai Airways tends to have pretty good premium availability, but Lufthansa/Swiss are now pretty much only releasing space 1-2 weeks before departure. Sometimes it can be easy to book a flight on partners (can only be done over the phone) and other times it's like pulling teeth. The more often you do it, the easier it becomes because you know how to explain what you're looking for and have the agent actually understand that. A lot of times, I ask initial questions to test the agent's willingness to help. For example, when they ask "where are you looking to travel to?" I ask something like "I've actually looked up the space ahead of time, could I just go segment by segment?" A "sure" response is usually a good sign. A "let's just try start to finish and see what that comes back with" is usually not. Hang up and call back can be your friend if they're not helpful, just be polite.

    Good luck!
     
    merice107 likes this.
  5. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    496
    Status Points:
    545
    I'm in Philly and USAir -agree with above for agents -look up what you want and feed it to them- I average 2-3 agents before I get what I want and even with telling them airport code you may still get "where is that?" or "US doesn't fly there" despite you saying the partner airline. I have good luck at night when I get the agents in Arizona. I do try to query agent with "this is international partner booking" do you do many of those? I like their holds which others don't do -gives me chance to book and then ask for time off. I use US miles for partner airlines as US charges insane mileage domestic and rarely are low levels available (out of Philly anyway) in my experience.
    When I have found domestic deals or off season Europe I book online easily.
     
    JohnDeere19 likes this.
  6. knick1959

    knick1959 Silver Member

    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    22
    Status Points:
    140
    I just tried to book a CLE-SEA RT United flight through US Air using my miles with them. I easily see the award flight on United's site. This is for next May and there seem to be lots of flights available. We've picked the exact flight we want, and my wife will use United miles ... but I've got US Air miles to burn. Two calls to US Air (well, today ... this doesn't count the rude hangup I got when I called at 11:30 pm on Sunday) ... both agents were very nice but neither of them saw the specific flight I wanted.

    I figured that if I tried 2 different agents, US Air just couldn't offer this specific flight. Is this a correct assumption, or am I giving up too easily? Thanks in advance.
     
    JohnDeere19 likes this.
  7. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,272
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    Status Points:
    1,075
    Are the United flights at the Saver level on United.com?
     
    JohnDeere19 likes this.
  8. knick1959

    knick1959 Silver Member

    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    22
    Status Points:
    140
    Yes ... the "cheap" award - 12,500 miles each way. One of the flights the first agent offered as an alternate is better ... but United wants 50k RT, and we wanted the "cheaper" flight.
     
    JohnDeere19 likes this.
  9. JohnDeere19
    Original Member

    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,392
    Likes Received:
    6,892
    Status Points:
    4,625
    United has been showing phantom availability lately...can you check ANA?
     
  10. knick1959

    knick1959 Silver Member

    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    22
    Status Points:
    140
    Well, I went ahead and booked both of us via United. I had to <hack, spit> buy a small lot of miles for myself to qualify, but I wanted to make sure we got the flights I selected, and I've seen past picks disappear while I "thought about it". My US Air miles remain intact! Which is sort of disappointing, because I can't really find a way to use them; my wife has none, so the prospect of buying a second ticket hasn't been attractive, nor has the companion deal. US Air's prices seem to always be, well, much higher than other carriers.

    I'm off to figure out how to "check ANA". I've not done this before, but I've seen it discussed so I'll go see what it offers.
     
  11. merice107

    merice107 Silver Member

    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    361
    Status Points:
    500
    I just noticed on the application page that it says "Offer available to Dividend Miles members currently with Chairman's Preferred Status only." Are people still getting the 40,000 miles even though they weren't a U.S. airways Dividend Miles member?
     
  12. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

    Messages:
    28,215
    Likes Received:
    61,743
    Status Points:
    20,020
    United will show different availability for its own members than it will for partners. That's not phantom availability.
     

Share This Page