Today’s Washington Time “On the Fly” column offers kudos to Continental for their transition to Star Alliance — offering liberal award routing rules such as flying from the US to Australia via Asia and permitting both an open jaw and a stopover on an award (though not permitting US to Asia via the Atlantic, though there have been some rumblings that this may be permited, perhaps for additional miles, in the future).
The major contrast drawn in the piece is to United. With Continental’s decision to make most Star partners available for award search online, it becomes much clearer when United is blocking award inventory — if United says a given flight is unavailable, isn’t being offered by the partner airline for an award, or doesn’t even exist, it may well be showing as bookable on the Continental site. (Of course except for Air China and Swiss, Star Alliance award availability shows up on the ANA award search website — but having another site showing the seats puts the lie to the argument that the partner is only offering the award seats to ANA and not to the rest of the Star Alliaince.)
Continental has done a nice job out of the gate with making Star partner award seats available online.