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Anonymous5 Aug 2009
I was after some tips on securing a Saver Award on United. I have enough miles for 2 Business Class returns to the US with my United Mileage Plus points. I just have basic membership as I have not flown with them much in recent years. Looking at their website there seems no avalability at all over next year for the saver awards in Business Class to the US. Do these exist, does anyone know and if so how do you secure? Happy to book 11 months in advance but all I see is the standard awards which are double the miles. Any advice welcome?5 Aug 2009
I gave up flying with United and Star primarily because of the way UA handle upgrades and saver awards. I complained on this site back in January that I had to wait to be upgraded at the gate or at checkin for flights that were booked to only 3 pax in a 34 seat F/c cabin.
My experience of wanting Business or F/C saver awards for LHR/HNL/LHR has met with the same experience as you – nil availability for the next six months.
I had been a 1K with UA for several years and was approaching the million mile mark with them.
I have been flying exclusively with AA and One World this year and have found AA to be excellent with upgrades and also with award tickets on three occasions. They have also recently introduced oneway awards and I find that particularly useful.
I for one hope that the anti trust problems get resolved and BA and AA can get together – powerful combination.
As far your mileage trip is concerned have you tried any other Star partners for the trip?5 Aug 2009
Those are typically for status fliers – if you have no status you probably won’t get business class. You can probably buy tickets and upgrade, but make sure you do it all in the same call or they can say sorry, all seats are all gone.6 Aug 2009
You absolutely can get upgrades on United, and if the upgrade inventory is available when you book, then your lack of status is not relevant. Call Mileage Plus, and they’ll tell you when/if the upgrade inventory is available. It also depends on where you want to go in the US. LAX is hard, as there’s only one flight. IAD is easiest, as there are four flights through October. If you have a domestic leg, that may make a difference as well.7 Aug 2009
Why not spend the miles on a different (perhaps better?) Star Alliance carrier. I have never failed to get a “free” seat when looking across multiple carriers either to the US or to Asia. Would you not want fly LH or LX over UA?7 Aug 2009
Oops. I misread your original email, although it’s the same for saver awards. Just call Mileage Plus and ask them when the discounted saver award space is available. For saver award space, your status doesn’t matter – it’s either available or it’s not – they can tell you when it’s available.8 Aug 2009