Much discussion on Flyertalk apparently United’s one-way awards now include Star Alliance partners.
And the real concern — that roundtrip awards including stopovers would go away, as they did when American implemented similar one-way awards with partners — hasn’t happened, at least yet.
So far there are still roundtrip awards that allow a destination and a stopover, and one way awards that do not permit stopovers. So that just means more options, which is better.
One-way partner awards can only be booked by phone (so other than 1k members have to pay a telephone booking fee), the website only offers US Airways and Continental award availability anyway.
This is a huge improvement, a huge benefit, and one I’m looking forward to. Many United partners have much better availability than United does, especially for premium cabin international trips. And one-way awards are incredibly useful. For example, you might find availability using United miles one-way and American miles the other. Great, you now have a trip, whereas if neither airline offered one-way awards you’d be stuck.
What I’m looking forward to better understanding is what this means for changes mid-trip. United has up until this point either not allowed changes at all after departure of the first flight when booking with partners, or more recently only allowed changes if all the remaining flights were on United-only or could be changed to be United-only.
Now, with one-way awards, you can change your return trip after your journey has started because the one-way home would not have started.
The outstanding question is whether you have to book two one-ways in order to accomplish this, or if you’ll be able to change the return portion of a roundtrip after the trip has started as Continental has allowed for the year that it’s been a Star Alliance member? Rumor has had it that they’d become more flexible with such changes, I’d love to see confirmation!