SRQ: Best Strategy For Booking Saver Awards to Bangalore

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TPG reader Steve asks:

“I want to book a one way ticket from Boston to BLR, (or even anywhere in India) leaving on July 19th using United miles.  There are no Saver tickets available for 40K on that day.  The best i can find is something on the 23rd.  I really don’t want to wait until then to leave.  Do you know if more Saver tickets will be released?  Am I searching too early?”

JetAirways
You can find low fares to India using JetAirways.com.

The issue is that there is limited Star Alliance service into Bangalore, so you’re really at the mercy of the Frankfurt-Bangalore flight- and if there isn’t availability on that leg, there isn’t much you can do. However, United does partner with Jet Airways who flies London-Mumbai- Bangalore, but you need to call in to book those awards since they don’t show on united.com. You can use the award search engine at jetairways.com, but the award availability doesn’t always match up with what partners can see, so you’ll be at the mercy of the phone agent at United. If you get an agent who isn’t familiar with Jet awards, hang up and try again!

Right now I see New York-Frankfurt-London availability in business class on your day and it gets you into London at 7:40am and the Jet flight to Mumbai leaves at 9:40am, so it could be a good connection option, though you’d have to get yourself to JFK (United only flies Boston to Newark).

If this doesn’t work, I recommend setting ExpertFlyer Alerts (see the tutorial here) for that route so you get instant notification if/when it becomes available. Airlines like Lufthansa open up a lot of availability last minute, so if you are diligent I’m sure you can make this work! Let us know how it works out.

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