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

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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

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