SRQ: Best Strategy For Booking Saver Awards to Bangalore

by on April 7, 2013 · 9 comments

in Sunday Reader Questions, United

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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?”


You can find low fares to India using

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 You can use the award search engine at, 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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  • Teja

    I fly quite frequently on this route. There is good availability in all classes 3 days before departure on united. Lufthansa even flies the new 747-8i on this route. Since it is not December – don’t sweat it, you’ll find it. I you are still too frightened about not having th ticket booked than I would go with my alternative options. Btw if it isn’t clear, use united or air Canada miles for booking. The only problem being on air Canada they charge extra dr one way tickets.

  • Teja Pamganamamula

    Btw to clear things up: I fly from Houston, Austin or DFW so availability must be slightly different. But I expect and have experienced that northeast airports always have better availability than DFW or IAH.

  • Wandering Aramean

    US can get him BOS-LGA which makes for a much easier NYC transit than BOS-EWR would. Or waitlist the EWR-LHR non-stop to save the FRA connection. Or Jet out of BRU. Lots more options than what are listed here.

  • William J Sisti

    I am trying to get a Jet Airways reward on Dec 29th +/- 1 day in Biz Class LHR-BOM (one way). Called yesterday and said they put the request in and to call back in 24 hours. Called back today, but they used the wrong fare code. So they tried it again, but said that Jet Airways immediatly declined the request. Two agents told me the same thing.

  • William J Sisti

    Also, Jet Airways website doesn’t let me search for reward availability, i guess i need to have >0 points/miles with them.

  • PhatMiles

    I have flown this route once. In my experience LH releases award space 3 weeks before the departure date. The 747-8i experience is very enjoyable. For someone living in Boston like me, this is very good. Keep checking the route via IAD, BOS-IAD-FRA-BLR. LH flies 747-8i between IAD-FRA as well. This would be the best bet.

    Also look for Swiss availability from Boston to Zurich and then to India. Before deciding to make a hop-over in India to get to Bangalore check the additional baggage fees if both segments are booked separately.

  • PhatMiles

    If 17th works I see availability on the EWR-BOM route via IST

  • AlexNYC

    I have a somewhat similar dilemma. Have holiday booked to KTM(Nepal) and have a circa 200k USAir miles to book. Should i go the NYC-FRA-BLR route ?

  • AlexNYC

    Forgot to add dates, sept 25- Oct 12

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