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Are US Airways Star Alliance Awards Still Bookable?

by on December 13, 2013 · 17 comments

in star alliance, US Airways

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A lot of readers and FlyerTalkers have been reporting trouble recently when trying to use US Airways miles to book Star Alliance awards, especially since the merger officially went through and Oneworld announced that US Airways would be joining it on March 31, 2014 after leaving Star Alliance. That is 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.

Star Alliance

Are you having trouble booking Star Alliance awards through US Airways?

That’s quite troubling since US Airways is still supposed to be a full-fledged member of Star Alliance, and I know a lot of folks are hoping to book awards using the airline’s 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.

Curious about what was going on, I took a look at United.com and found award availability on several routes on various Star Alliance partners, so taking what I saw, I called up US Airways to try to book sample awards using the same availability I’d seen.

The good news is that in every single case I asked about, the US Airways rep I spoke to was able to see the exact same availability I’d found on United.com. The bad news was that I was on hold for a solid 45 minutes! But when I finally got through, the following itineraries were available.

To show you a quick example, I looked at booking a roundtrip flight from New York JFK to Munich in business class on Lufthansa over Memorial Day and found the following availability on May 27-June 7:

Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 1.45.13 PM

The rep was also able to put it on hold for me:

Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 7.26.00 PMIt was priced out at 100,000 miles and $153.32 in taxes, with no reservation service fee and no expedite fee, but a $50 processing fee for a total of $203.32, and they were able to place it on hold for me for 72 hours.

Other sample itineraries I found included Taipei to LAX on EVA Airways:

Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 5.50.11 PMAnd this itinerary on US Airways itself from Philadelphia to Dublin:

Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 6.08.31 PMI was playing around on United.com while I was on the phone with the rep, and in every instance, she saw the same availability as I did. Not only that, but TPG Managing Editor Eric was looking to burn some US Airways miles before the changeover to Oneworld and managed to book a fairly complicated award from the US to Asia with a stopover in Europe that involves segments on Air Canada, Air China, EVA and SAS, all without incident.

Maybe it was luck of the draw, or maybe the readers writing in are just having a run of bad luck or seeing phantom availability like Lufthansa sometimes displays, but I was relieved that for now, it seems like Star Alliance awards are still available to US Airways reps and hopefully will be for a while yet (and theoretically until the airline exits Star Alliance in March).

Just one correlated thing to note. Yesterday, UA Insider posted on FlyerTalk that Singapore Airlines award space would no longer display on United.com as of today:

“Hi everyone,

I wanted to give you an early heads up about an upcoming change to the Star partner award availability you see displayed online. Singapore Airlines and United have agreed to remove Singapore Airlines inventory from our award flight search results on united.com and on the United Mobile App. This will take effect starting tomorrow, December 13, You will still to be able to book and change award reservations involving Singapore Airlines by calling our reservations lines.

Please let me know if you have any clarifying questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Aaron Goldberg
Sr. Manager – Customer Experience Planning
United Airlines”

Nor will the phone booking fee be waived, so that’s a bit of bad news, but you should still be able to find SQ space by searching ANA, so that’s what I’d suggest.

Have any of you tried booking US Airways awards lately? If so, share your experiences below.

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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  • gilnyc

    I’ve been trying to book a C-class award NYC-VCE-NYC for next November. I finally have JFK-BRU-VCE on hold for the outbound. For the return, the agents I’ve spoke to can find no availability VCE-FRA even though I see LH award space in both Y & C available on both United.com and EF. I’ll try again tonight. It seems to be hit and miss.

  • Walker

    Your bookings are for Lufthansa on Wednesday and Saturday flights. The issues that other people are having are Lufthansa flights on other days. It appears that the only two days that Lufthansa business class is available for booking with US Airways miles are Wed and Sat. Did you try to booking Lufthansa business class on any other days of the week?

  • http://www.awardplanners.com/ DennisSFO

    I did have problems this week with Lufthansa’s space as well. KVS, UA and other search tools show tons of available seats in Business or Economy, but US airways agents can’t see them. It’s seems like a glitch in their Shares system, which was discussed before. The only solution is to convince agent to long sell it and wait for it to come back confirmed. After 5 calls I was able to find agent willing to do that and I snagged LH flight I needed. Really frustrating issue, but not sure if US airways will fix it.

  • Jill

    I had a similar situation today. Showed award availability online, but not when I called. I too will try again tonight.

  • jill

    called back pointed them to the exact flight from united.com…success!

  • NewYorkWendy

    I needed to book NYC to FCO for September 4 and was told the only available flights in biz were USAir. No partner awards available at all. And it was 162000 miles each way and that with a stop in PHL! Ugly.

  • Cleber Rosa

    I just booked a trip from South America to Tokyo, including TAP Portugal, Swiss, Singapore and Turkish. All segments that I saw on United were also visible from US Airways. Had a great experience redeeming this award. Now the tickets have been issued and even seats assigned.

  • Steve

    I’ve used the ANA search engine over the years with great success to book flights on Star Alliance partners, now that USAIR is leaving Star for One World what is the best option to find space on their new partners?

  • austinpop

    I was able to book 4 business tickets in Aug 2014 with segments on Air China, Singapore, and Turkish, so I agree it is still possible.

    I realize I won’t be able to make changes after March 31, but what concerns me is what happens if there is a schedule change? If the change requires segments modifications, I/m guessing we’re out of luck and they will just cancel.and reinstate the miles.

    In minor cases that don’t require any changes, will US still reticket the itinerary?

    I guess these are all unknonws at this point.

  • James

    I found plenty of business class availability on Avianca / Taca to south america yesterday when I was booking. I got my first choice on flights and days. It seemed pretty wide open.

  • Nelson

    Hi, is the US Airways Dividend Miles program worth it for Australian residents?
    If I earn US Airways miles, can I use it to redeem flights from Australia?
    Or is it only available for flights originating out of the United States?

  • Andrew

    While everyone is having success with united.com showing availability for US/Star Alliance awards, I didn’t have the same luck. I spent over two hours on the phone last night with US, and they said that sometimes what is available to United isn’t always available to US. Based on my conversations, both agents were very competent and weren’t just giving me a line. In the end, I was able to book PHl-FRA-BKK-HKT-ICN-ORD-PHL in business in June for 120K and $142. Thanks, TPG, for your help in at least pointing me to united.com as a starting point!

  • Tom

    Hi TPG ,thank you for good information evreyday.
    I’m Tom and this is my first comment from Japan.

    Now I have a trouble with ANA award availability from US Airways.
    I’ll show you specific flights.

    Dec31 NH001 NRT/IAD (First)
    NH201 NRT/LHR(Business)
    Jan01 NH012 NRT/ORD (First)
    NH1012 NRT/ORD (First)

    All these 3 flighs, First classe is available from ANA,United and Aeroplan websites. But All of 3 US reps I talked couldn’t find them at all.

    What’s going on here?
    Does ANA block the award availability to Dividend Miles like Lufthansa?

    Please help me…

  • Tom

    Hi TPG ,thank you for good information evreyday.
    I’m Tom and this is my first comment from Japan.

    Now I have a trouble with ANA award availability from US Airways.

    I’ll show you specific flights.

    Dec31 NH001 NRT/IAD (First) ,NH201 NRT/LHR(Business)
    Jan01 NH012 NRT/ORD (First),NH1012 NRT/ORD (First)

    All these 4 flighs, are available from ANA,United and Aeroplan websites. But All of 3 US reps I talked couldn’t find them at all.

    What’s going on here?
    Does ANA block the award availability to Dividend Miles like Lufthansa?

    Please help me…

  • Saxon

    I tried to book on the phone this week and was told by the US Airways operator that they no longer have the ability to book travel after March 31 on Star Alliance partners – but they can do American Airlines. Does anyone have a work-around? I am trying to book a safari honeymoon to Africa in mid June and I am worried if I wait until April 1 all award flights will be gone once US Airways switches to being able to book on OneWorld

  • Patrick Griswold

    Just tried to book JFK-SIN or JFK-BKK for January 2015 and had lots of availability on United site but US agent said they don’t have same access. They had no flights for either place over several day window.

  • Patrick Griswold

    Update- called back the next day and got different agent who was very helpful. When we broke down the trip into JFK-Taipei and then Taipei – SIN, the seats were available. Same thing coming back. Just goes to show you need to get the right agent and come up with suggestions on how to search.

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