United

Category Archives for United.

StarNet: United’s Weapon of Mass Award Destruction

Back in July, I wrote up a primer on securing Star Alliance awards. In it, I alluded to Starnet, the system that United uses for booking these awards for Mileage Plus members. Its search capabilities are primitive (you often can find better availability searching segment-by-segment that you can telling the agent your origina and destination, simply because it doesn’t search many possible connections). But most vexxing for frequent flyers is that the system filters availability. That is, a partner airline may be offering a seat for award redemption — but United’s system will still tell you it’s unavailable. The agent will usually blame the partner (“they aren’t offering any seats”) when that isn’t true at all. Instead, United doesn’t want to pay for the seat. United is known to ‘filter out’ availability especially of Luftansa…

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Hopefully United Has Thought of This…

As United rolls out the new international premium class product, some aircraft will have the new configuration and some will not — and the planes have very different configurations, very different number of premium class seats. United is famous for aircraft swaps, unfortunately this has happened most recently with mainline A320s to TED (no first class) and before that it was downgrading regular 737s to old Shuttle aircraft that used to service the West Coast only. These aircraft swaps are disruptive, with different seating configurations. And ticketed first class passengers, in the TED example, go to an all-coach configuration. Not as big a deal on domestic routes as long-haul international. But dropping 21 business class seats from the 747 has the potentially to be hugely disruptive. Either United will hold back most upgrades until the…

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United’s New Premium Cabin Seats

United is refitting its international widebody fleet with new first and business class seats beginning in the fall (with the 767s) and ending two and a half years from now. United’s promo site is here. Business class will feature: true lie-flat seats (not the angled-flat wedgie seats) some rear-facing seats in business class 15″ lcd video screens and video on demand iPod adapter and standard outlets for seat power This will give United the best seats among US-based carriers. But they’re hardly world-leading. Virgin, Air New Zealand, Singapore, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific already offer similar business class seats. Those last three all offer first class as well, with products that will still surpass United’s (and we’re not even getting into the ‘soft product’ of food, service, and amenities – more about that below). Along…

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United Reverses Course on Their Expiring 500 Mile Upgrades

A couple of weeks ago I noted that effective June 1 United would no longer allow expiring 500 mile upgrades to convert to miles — and was also blocking the early conversion of 500 mile upgades in order to get in under the wire. This was a big blow to international customers who rarely use 500 milers, as well as United frequent flyers in TED cities with no cabin to upgrade into. Responding to complaints and pressure, United has relented and reversed course… sort of. Current Global Services, 1K, and Premier Executive members of Mileage Plus can register by August 15th so that their expiring 500 mile upgrades will continue to convert to miles — as long as the member retains at least Premier Executive status or resides outside of the 50 U.S. states. General…

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United Ends Mileage Conversion of Expiring 500-Mile Upgrades

United awards elite flyers (4) 500-mile upgrade certificates for every 10,000 miles flown on United (and United Express and Ted.. rar!.. planes). They also sell ’em. And they can be used to upgrade domestic flights a few days in advance of travel subject to availability, the specific length of time governed by your particular status with United. Currently, if those upgrade certificates expire unused, they each convert to 500 frequent flyer miles. June 1 this practice is no more. I knew about the change back in January when it was posted on Flyertalk and didn’t see it as an especially big deal. It used to be that the old paper 500s converted just to 250 miles, and you had to mail them in to boot. Then when they went electronic it actually improved to the…

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United GroceryMiles Bonus

United’s Grocerymiles is offering 1500 bonus miles on $1500 in spending by June 15 at Safeway, Vons, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s or Pavilions. Good for folks who shop at these places anyway, it amounts to triple the usual miles on $1500 in grocery purchases over a month and a half. Of course you need to be averaging $1000 a month in groceries — easy to do at stores like Whole Foods and the like, much tougher at Safeway!And as usual, the following spending doesn’t count… Liquor, Tobacco, Fuel, US Postage Stamps, Fluid Milk, Bus/Commuter Passes, Fishing/Game Licenses, Ski Tickets, Lottery Tickets, Gift Certificate sales, Pharmacy prescriptions, Safeway Club Savings, Safeway Store Coupons, and Sales Tax.

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New United Fee Waivers for 1Ks

As of this past Sunday, United is waiving paper ticket fees, Australian Electronic Travel Authority Fees (which up until recently were free), and the $25 same-day confirmed change fees for 1K, Global Services, and passengers flying on paid premium class ickets. I still miss the days when same-day confirmed changes (not on the day of departure, but well in advance) were no cost to Premier Executive and 1K members. I could book an 8am flight and call up a week later, still long in advance of travel, and change it to a 2pm as long as the same fare class I had ticketed was available on the 2pm (and technically as long as the fare I had purchased wasn’t time or flight specific, but those rules were often ignored). Still, fee waivers are good, and…

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