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Technical Issues Affect US Airways Star Alliance Award Availability: Mostly Fixed Now

by on August 22, 2013 · 10 comments

in star alliance, US Airways

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A lot of people on the US Airways Dividend Miles Flyertalk thread reported major issues yesterdays when they were unable to use US Airways miles to book awards on Star Alliance partners. Panic set in that US Airways had pushed up its exit date from Star Alliance to this week and that you would no longer be able to book Star Alliance Awards with Dividend miles at all, let alone next year.

US Airways customers were unable to book Star Alliance partner awards yesterday.

US Airways customers were unable to book Star Alliance partner awards yesterday.

With reader emails pouring in and panic rising, I did some research and phoned up US Airways to get to the bottom of this. It turns out they were having IT issues yesterday and could not see any partner award availability and so agents were just saying that there was none. However, as of 10pm ET last night, all their systems were up and running again except Lufthansa. They did not have an ETA on when Lufthansa would be bookable, but my guess is it should come back online today if it hasn’t already.

A peek at this Star Alliance Partner Award thread on Flyertalk revealed an interesting post from the KVS representative, explaining that the Sat Alliance StarNet datalink between the airlines was temporarily unavailable yesterday, which is why US Airways couldn’t see partner award availability, but everything should go back to normal now.

Just to double check, I decided to try booking a few partner awards for myself, and after about four successful attempts, it seemed like things were back on track. The specific examples I tried to book with US Airways were:

  • Air Canada Vancouver-Los Angeles January 1-4, 2014 in Economy Class (successful)
  • Air China Los Angeles-Beijing February 1-4, 2014 in Business Class (successful)
  • Air New Zealand Auckland-Tokyo February 28-March 1, 2014 in Business Class (successful)
  • Lufthansa New York (JFK) to Frankfurt February 1-4 in Business Class (unsuccessful since they were unable to load any Lufthansa flights)

So it does seem that this was indeed an IT issue doesn’t have anything to do with them leaving Star Alliance at this time, though we should all be preparing for that eventuality anyway since, despite the Department of Justice suit against US Airways’ merger with American, which could slow the merger timeline down, I still think we’ll see a transition sometime in 2014.

This was also another important reminder that airline programs can change in an instant with no formal notice to flyers – like Delta recently raising award levels on many of its routes out of the blue last week.

I know a lot of you are excited about the current 100% bonus on purchased US Airways miles that’s running through the end of the month – and I’ve purchased miles myself through it. If you’ve done so, or are still thinking of doing so, it looks like things will be fine, but I would caution you to book your awards sooner rather than later since there’s no definitive end date to US Airways’ membership in Star Alliance, and I certainly wouldn’t bank on buying US Airways miles and using them on Star Alliance awards past January 1. So if you’ve racked up the US Airways miles or bought some during this bonus and you were waiting to book a Star Alliance award using them, I would do so sooner rather than later so that you don’t miss out on the award that you want.

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  • Paul

    When you say you wouldn’t plan to use them past Jan 1 you mean book an award, right? We should be able to book stuff now or (hopefully) over the near term for flights 11 months out, no? Do you think US Airways leaves Star Alliance even with the merger on hold (if not dead).

  • sil

    Are you sure that Star Alliance booking deadline is THIS week for U.S. airways awards ticket? This is the first time I read it on any posting.

  • thepointsguy

    Where did you read that? All I said was “I still think we’ll see a transition sometime in 2014.”

  • thepointsguy

    Correct.. you should be able to book now for the next 11 months. However, anything can change so the point is to use them up sooner or later- unless you want them to become oneworld miles, in which case I’d recommend waiting

  • p

    Can you book star alliance award flights with US Air miles online? Or do you have to talk to an agent?

  • thepointsguy

    Phone only

  • globetrotter

    I wanted to book three business class seats to Australia via Japan, if possible and lucky enough, next Easter break but unable to succeed. Do you think I should buy extra miles this month to top it off needed miles but book economy seats this year and hopefully upgrade near departure time? What is the success probability?

  • Brennan

    The posts have been great! I look forward to your daily emails every morning.

    I have a question I’m hoping someone with experience in the area can answer. I’m looking to book a US Air off-peak award to Europe (hopefully Ireland/UK and a TBD location in mainland Europe) next Feb. However, when I search most of the cities on US Air’s route map, nothing will come up. Not just no award availability, but it comes back with an error saying that there are no flights to/from the cities.

    How would you suggest I figure out what my award options are for a Feb off peak award? Are there just a few cities that US Air flies to in Europe at that time of year? Can I search on United.com for only US Air flights?

    Thanks!

  • Andrew

    Still having issues today booking any availability with LH and LX using US Airways miles – KVS and UA seeing availabilities but US cannot.

  • IM

    Tried to book an award flight using US Airways miles to Europe about a month ago. I had checked award ticket availability on United’s web site prior to calling US Airways and found UA+LH conneting flights. However, when I called US Airways I was told that they do not see any award availability for the LH part of the itinerary. I was told that different Star Aliance members see different awailability on partner flights. So I could not use US Airways miles and had to book award ticket with United miles.
    This brings the question: Is what I was told true? Can it be so that different Star Aliance members see different awailability options on partner airlines?

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