United Fixed Its Award Availability Calendar

Last week both unicorns and snuffaluffagus appeared at the same time Air New Zealand business class awards between the US and Auckland opened up.

The quickest, easiest way to see award availability across a period of time is to use the United website, which doesn’t require you to log in and will show you two months’ at a time (although intentionally doesn’t let you see all partners).

However the award availability calendar hasn’t been entirely reliable. One issue is that when you say you only want to see non-stop flights, the calendar would show availability when there was only connecting space (all the non-stop option would do was filter out connecting results when you clicked on a given date and looked at specific itineraries).

As a result, when looking at Air New Zealand flight awards, while there was no award availability on their new Houston flight the award calendar showed availability most days over the next two months. That’s because there were connecting options Houston – Los Angeles (or San Francisco) – Auckland even when searching for non-stop space only. As I wrote,

[I]f you pull up the Houston flight you see the same calendar. It’s because while there’s plenty of Air New Zealand award space available between the US and Auckland over that six week period, the United award calendar is broken. Even when you specify non-stop only, the calendar will show connecting availability.

Fortunately United has fixed the nonstop award search option.

Here’s a search for one passenger Washington Dulles – Brussels:

Then, on the calendar, I can click to limit the display to dates with non-stop availability only.

Within seconds I get a two month view of non-stop availability on the route, and of course I can scroll month-by-month. Great job, United!

Now if only they would add support for all Star Alliance partners like Aeroplan and ANA manage and stop showing economy saver and standard awards in the same column I’d be even more thrilled. Although I assume they view some limitations as a feature rather than a bug.

(HT: Dan’s Deals)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. For months now, the United award search function has been showing business class availability on Aer Lingus flights where there is none. To add to the frustration, confirmation takes place offline so while you’re waiting for confirmation you’re not looking for other space. Then the confirmation comes back denied. Hope they fix this next. Meanwhile, if you see Aer Lingus availability, call and see if it shows up on the reservationists’ system, which seems to be correct.

  2. Air New Zealand is the biggest piece of crap airline. They have some flashy flight attendant outfits and some colored lights on their planes, but the overall product is junk. Awful check bag fees and they don’t even issue miles for economy flights. They should stick to the hobbit movie business.

  3. I just wish they’d add SQ back in- there’s obviously no technical problem, and SQ has said the feed is just the same. The new UA SFO-SIN flight should also help rebalance the redemptions across the two airlines…

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