At the Star Alliance MegaDO it was revealed that the Star Alliance website will be offering an award search tool to display award seat availability across the alliance.
If Star makes member award seats transparent, it will be very hard for United to remain the only Star member blocking awards. The alliance itself will be marketing that you can find award seats on its website and call your member program, and then Mileage Plus members would call to be told “that flight doesn’t exist” and “awards aren’t being offered.” That can’t last.
Already Continental is building excellent IT capability for partner award search into its website. And this will shine the light, somewhat, on United’s blocking efforts. It’s not just users of the All Nippon Airways website, anymore, that know the difference between awards not being offered and United not letting its members book award seats that are being offered.
But an official Star Alliance report on award seats will be difficult for United to argue with.