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Update on Booking US Airways Star Alliance Awards Post Nov 1, 2013

by on July 29, 2013 · 25 comments

in Asiana Airlines, Avianca TACA, EVA Air, Lufthansa, South African Airways, star alliance, Thai, United, US Airways

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With recent speculation that US Airways will be leaving Star Alliance to join oneworld as early as November 1, 2013, and confirmation late last week from US Airways President J. Scott Kirby that the transition will be completed by the beginning of 2014, a lot of travelers have been pondering how to put their US Airways miles to best use.

US Airways will soon be a a member of oneworl

US Airways will soon be a a member of oneworld.

Unfortunately, many readers, as well as commenters on this FlyerTalk thread about the merger of US Airways and American have reported having trouble booking Star Alliance partner awards through US Airways even when they find award availability using tools like the ANA search engine and ExpertFlyer as well as United.com, which are all the best ways to search for Star Alliance availability.

The whole point of alliances is to earn and redeem miles on partners.

By 2014, you’ll see US Airways on this roster – or at least off the Star Alliance list.

That’s pretty troubling since, for the moment, US Airways is still a full-fledged member of Star Alliance, and it has some great award chart sweet spots like 110,000 miles in Business Class to the South Pacific and 90,000 miles in Business Class to Asia, as well as some flexible routing and stopover rules that bring a lot of value to the Dividend Miles program using those miles on Star Alliance carriers like Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, ANA and more.

I was curious to see just what award availability was looking like these days, since just the other day I was able pretty easily to book myself a roundtrip award from New York to Australia for early next year using US Airways miles on EVA, Thai Airways and United, so I looked for award space using ANA’s search engine and then called up US Airways to see if these itineraries were bookable.

Singapore Airlines A380

If you want to use US Airways to book awards on Star Alliance partners like Singapore Airlines, better do it so sooner rather than later.

The good news is that in every case with one single exception, the awards I found using ANA were bookable when I called US Airways (the examples are below). The bad news is that when I called US Airways and just asked about the routes and dates, I was told, without exception, that nothing was available. It was only when I pushed back and hand-fed the agents I spoke to exact flight numbers, dates and times that they were able to search for the award inventory I’d found and book it.

The only airline that I had issues booking with was Lufthansa, which allowed me to book on an outbound flight from JFK to Frankfurt, but I was not able to find availability for return flights either after November 1 or after January 1 (despite that showing availability on ANA).

I can’t show you the actual award availability with online screenshots from US Airways since you can’t book partner awards online through their site, but I have included all the information that I got by calling in. Here are the routes and awards I searched through ANA, and what I was able to book through US Airways on the following airlines in alphabetical order: Asiana, Avianca, EVA, Lufthansa, South African Airways, Thai Airways and United.

Asiana Airlines

Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Seoul (ICN)
Business Class on Asiana
Bookable with US Airways Prior to Nov 1: Yes – 90,000 miles

Asiana LAX-ICN Business Class Oct 3- Oct 9

Asiana LAX-ICN Business Class Oct 3-9

Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Seoul (ICN)
Business Class on Asiana
Bookable with US Airways After Nov 1: Yes – 90,000 miles

Asiana LAX-ICN Business Class Dec 3- Dec 9

Asiana LAX-ICN Business Class Dec 3-9

Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Seoul (ICN)
Business Class on Asiana
Bookable with US Airways After Jan 1: Yes – 90,000 miles

Asiana LAX-ICN Business Class Feb 1- Feb 4

Asiana LAX-ICN Business Class Feb 1-4

Avianca

Route: Orlando (MCO) – Bogota (BOG)
Business Class on Avianca
Bookable with US Airways Prior to Nov 1: Yes – 100,000 miles

Avianca MCO-BOG Business Class Dec 10- Dec 16

Avianca MCO-BOG Business Class Aug 6-20

Route: Orlando (MCO) – Bogota (BOG)
Business Class on Avianca
Bookable with US Airways After Nov 1: Yes – 100,000 miles

Avianca MCO-BOG Business Class Dec 10- Dec 16

Avianca MCO-BOG Business Class Jan 7-16

Route: Orlando (MCO) – Bogota (BOG)
Business Class on Avianca
Bookable with US Airways After Jan 1:  Yes – 100,000 miles

Avianca MCO-BOG Business Class Feb 4 - Feb 8

Avianca MCO-BOG Business Class Feb 4-8

 

EVA Air

Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Taipei (TPE)
Business Class on EVA
Bookable with US Airways Prior to Nov 1: Yes – 90,000 miles

EVA Air LAX-TPE Business Class

EVA Air LAX-TPE Business Class Aug 19 – Aug 24

Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Taipei (TPE)
Business Class on EVA
Bookable with US Airways After Nov 1: Yes – 90,000 miles

EVA Air LAX-TPE Business Class Dec 10- Dec 16

EVA Air LAX-TPE Business Class Dec 10-16

Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Taipei (TPE)
Business Class on EVA
Bookable with US Airways After Jan 1: Yes – 90,000 miles

EVA Air LAX-TPE Business Class Feb 4 - Feb 10

EVA Air LAX-TPE Business Class Feb 4-10

Lufthansa

Route: New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Business Class on Lufthansa
Bookable with US Airways Prior to Nov 1: Yes, 100,000 miles

Lufthansa JFK-FRA Business Class Aug 7- Aug 13

Lufthansa JFK-FRA Business Class Aug 7-13

Route: New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Business Class on Lufthansa
Bookable with US Airways After  Nov 1: Yes and No – only available on outbound, but I was not able to find availability on return on several dates I checked.

Lufthansa JFK-FRA Business Class Aug 7- Aug 13

Lufthansa JFK-FRA Business Class Dec 7-12

Route: New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Economy Class on Lufthansa
Bookable with US Airways After  Jan 1: Yes and No – only available on outbound, but I was not able to find availability on return despite showing availability on ANA.

Lufthansa EWR-FRA Business Class Feb 5 - Feb 10

Lufthansa EWR-FRA Business Class Feb 5-10

South African Airways

Route: Washington-Dulles (IAD) – Johannesburg (JNB)
Economy Class on South African Airways
Bookable with US Airways Prior to Nov 1: Yes – 70,000 miles

South African Airways IAD-JNB Business Class

South African Airways IAD-JNB Economy Class Aug 6-Sept 3

Route: Washington-Dulles (IAD) – Johannesburg (JNB)
Economy Class on South African Airways
Bookable with US Airways After Nov 1: Yes – 70,000 miles

South African Airways IAD-JNB Economy Class Nov 4 - Nov 9

South African Airways IAD-JNB Economy Class Nov 4-9

Route: Washington-Dulles (IAD) – Johannesburg (JNB)
Economy Class on South African Airways
Bookable with US Airways After Jan 1: Yes – 70,000 miles

South African Airways IAD-JNB Business Class Jan 13- Jan 20

South African Airways IAD-JNB Economy Class Jan 13-20

Thai Airways

Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Bangkok (LAX)
Economy Class on Thai Airways
Bookable with US Airways Prior to Nov 1: Yes – 80,000 miles

Thai LAX-BKK Economy Class Sept 3- Sept 26

Thai Airways LAX-BKK Economy Class Sept 3-26

Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Bangkok (LAX)
Economy Class on Thai Airways
Bookable with US Airways After Nov 1: Yes – 80,000 miles

Thai Airways LAX-BKK Economy Class Dec 3- Dec 8

Thai Airways LAX-BKK Economy Class Dec 3-8

Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Bangkok (LAX)
Economy Class on Thai Airways
Bookable with US Airways After Jan 1: Yes – 80,000 miles

Thai Airways LAX-BKK Economy Class Jan 11 - Jan 16

Thai Airways LAX-BKK Economy Class Jan 11-16

LAX-BKK on Thai for 80,000 miles.

LAX-BKK on Thai for 80,000 miles.

United

Route: New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Business Class on United
Bookable with US Airways Prior to Nov 1: Yes – 50,000 miles

United JFK-LAX Business Class Oct 1-Oct 4

United JFK-LAX Business Class Oct 1-4

Route: New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Business Class on United
Bookable with US Airways After Nov 1: Yes – 50,000 miles

United

United JFK-LAX Business Class Dec 7-12

Route: New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Business Class on United
Bookable with US Airways After Jan 1: Yes – 50,000 miles

United JFK-LAX Business Class Feb 2- Feb 6

United JFK-LAX Business Class Feb 2-6

Please feel free to share your firsthand experiences booking US Airway partner awards lately.

For more information, see these posts:

Rumor: US Airways Joining Oneworld – Book Awards Sooner Than Later

Official American Airlines US Airways Merger Announcement and What It Means For Consumers

Top 10 Potential Positive and Negative Changes of the US Airways American Merger

Maximizing A Potential US Airways American Airlines Merger

How To Prepare for a US Airways AA Merger

American and US Airways Board Approve Merger – The Potential Winners and Losers

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • arthur

    Great information.

  • JD

    This past weekend I booked a round trip award using USAirways points from ATL-ORD-NRT on ANA in First Square for mid-march 2014 with no problems. I hand fed the agent my flights and it was all completed within 10 minutes.

  • Bender

    Hopefully there will be some flexibility to book my honeymoon to Asia for July 2014 once the USDM calendar opens up. I’m starting to get nervous.

  • http://www.BaldThoughts.com/ Lee Huffman

    I was able to book LAX to ICN to SYD (Asiana) and SYD to LAX (United) about a month ago. All in business class for 110,000 miles each. This must be a very recent development.

  • Umut

    I could able to use my US Airways miles from Anchorage to Tokyo (RT) on All Nippon, Air Canada July 25th last Thursday. All flights Business Class, costed me 90k miles + 95 $ this was day b4 the development last Friday which I feel myself way lucky :)

  • Jeremy

    I flew the 747-8 today in first on LH FRA to IAD. To get the ticket I had to book the leg on united.com and call in to expand to a round trip from KC to Bangkok. Every time I called they kept saying the FRA to IAD was not available in first even though it showed online. I figured taking their word for it was a bad idea and I was right.

  • NEPIC

    Just booked ATL-IAH-PEK-BKK-SYD on UA/CA/TG for Dec/Jan no problems. Also, NZ was bookable ex HNL and domestic a few days prior. So as always with US, it’s the luck of the agent draw!

  • Diotallevi

    Last month I booked EWR-NRT, NRT-JFK from late March to Early April on ANA business class and I had no unusual issues. I’ve been buying the 2for1 US airways miles specials for years to fly to Japan business class with my wife to visit her family. Just about every time I call in to book I know immediately whether I have a customer service person who is willing to work with me. About 50% of the time they are not very helpful, so I politely say thank you, hang up, then call right back and try the next customer service person. I’ve accumulated 500,000 US Airways miles for future trips. I guess I’ll be flying to Tokyo on American and JAL in the future. I’ll miss ANA, great airline.

  • thepointsguy

    Similar experience.. seems like US agents just need to be fed the info i.e. nothing much different going on than usual

  • thepointsguy

    HUCA (Hang up Call again) in action!

  • thepointsguy

    Nice- I always forget about the HNL routings with ANZ… good option to remember since their trans-Pacific award availability is essentially nada in business class

  • thepointsguy

    Nice.. I will miss the days of 90k biz class to Asia!

  • thepointsguy

    Yea I had no issues booking Asiana/EVA/Thai from LAX-TPE-BKK-SYD-ICN-JFK

  • Alex Rosenzweig

    Just booked and flew JFK – ICN and ICN – EWR on Asiana F and Air Canada back for 120000. Reward space wasnt too hard to find 2 weeks out.

  • jtgray

    Thank you for all this research Brian! It’s why I keep coming back to this blog. Keep up the great work.

  • Mike

    I think the issue is Lufthansa bookings after November 1st. Several months ago I tried to book a trip to Europe on Lufthansa in 2014 and even though I found the availibility on UA.com, not one US agent could find it even after spoon feeding them my flights (I spoke to 6 US agents in total). I finally gave up and booked Asiana and Thai to Australia instead with no problems in US agents finding that availbility.

  • Guest

    Now all I need is points.com to “fix” their US Airways issue like they keep telling me they will.

  • SRH

    two questions I could use some help from the well informed travelers:
    -I have a currently offer from usair for 2 for 1 miles up to 100k miles for $1750 ($.035 per mile). Is this considered a good deal?
    -I am planning a trip to Paris in Sept. The lowest usair award for coach was 75K. After reading the blog sounds like there may be a way to get a better deal for coach and or envoy. Any suggestions on how a novice should proceed? I am currently chairman on usair and will lose status next year so will pay for one tix to paris and get my husband one with miles. thx for any help!!

  • NewYorkWendy

    I just tried to book Air Canada award travel through US Airways for July 2014 and they are no longer booking United or Air Canada for post-merger flights.

  • Pingback: Top 10 Reasons I Don’t Want A US Airways American Airlines Merger To Go Through | The Points Guy()

  • Steve

    I just booked a RT from IAD to TPE using 90K of dividend miles. I fed the agent flight information I got from Expertflyer and had no problem. In contrast, the last time I tried to book an Alliance trip and relied on the agent to find available flights, I got nowhere.

  • DennisSFO

    Just tried booking BOS-FRA in Business class with Lufthansa on Jan2nd using US airways miles. 3 different agents can’t see Lufthansa even if KVS and expert flyer shows seats. DTW-FRA and PHL-FRA also aren’t available,. something weird is going on with US airways/Lufthansa. ended up booking Air Canada flight, which they saw right away

  • CN

    Although United is showing standard award travel for the exact flights I want, USAirways is telling me that United hasn’t released those seats for booking award travel. I don’t understand this process and that the Star Alliance member can prevent another member from booking on their flights. The agent told me it has nothing to do with the merger and that it was always like this.

  • BreckenScott

    I’m in the process of booking business class reward travel to Africa. For some reason, that the agent couldn’t explain either, “the system” said I needed well over 110k miles for the trip. Any ideas on why that might be?

  • Tom

    I’m trying to do a first-time US Airways booking and I’m confused by the cost in miles for flights that have mixed USAir/Partner segments or just all Partner segments.

    Suppose I’m booking a round trip that includes both US Air and Air Canada. Is the miles cost dependent on what US Air declares it as (low/med/high)? Or is it ALWAYS 60K round trip because it includes a partner. Or is it whatever US Air deems it to be?

    Does the same apply for a flight that is only on LH airline round trip?

    Thanks!

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