Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!
Question about piecing together routes on awards.
Most Star Alliance airlines have zone-based redemption rates rather than purely distance based ones right? For example, using Asiana Club miles to book an itinerary out of a minor airport (let’s say CMH), connecting through a hub airport (let’s say ORD) and then flying to an airport in another zone (NRT) and then continuing on to another airport in the same zone (NGO) would cost the same amount of miles as flying solely between two hubs (ORD-NRT) because the first two airports (CMH,ORD) and the latter two (NRT,NGO) are within the same zones as each other. Correct?
Now, most people will tell you that the best way to book a multi-segment award ticket would be to search space on every leg individually using either ANA, Air Canada, or United’s website, and then calling your mileage program’s reservations center and feeding all the individual segments to the representative. Using United’s website to look for CMH-NGO tells me there is no saver award space available for that route but searching CMH-ORD, ORD-NRT, and NRT-NGO separately reveals that there is indeed space on all segments.
Assuming I had enough and opt to use MileagePlus miles instead; and if United [I]had[/I] shown me available space for my original, complete itinerary; I could have ticketed it for 65,000 miles for one way, in business class. If I search for all the segments individually and booked them separately through the United website, I would be charged for all the segments individually. 25,000 miles for CMH-ORD, 65,000 miles for ORD-NRT, and 12,000 miles for NRT-NGO (all in J) which would give me a total of 102,000 miles. Considerably more than the original.
It’s complicated because I don’t know much about Star Alliance’s reservations system and how inter-operational Asiana and United’s systems are. I don’t know if space that United can see as available necessarily means that Asiana can see it. Someone also brought to my attention the existence of “married segments”; which to my understanding means that tickets on consecutive flights are only sold in conjunction with each other i.e. you can’t buy them individually. It’s kind of the opposite of my situation since with me the segments are only available individually and not combined.
Which leads me to my question; if I were to call Asiana Club’s reservations center and tell them, “Please book me on UA**** from CMH to ORD,
UA/NH**** from ORD-NRT, and NH**** from NRT-NGO”; which amount would I be charged? Is it possible that if I call an agent and feed them all the individual segments and confirmed that there was indeed space on them, that they still would not be able to book it for me because of the married segments?
[USER=1177]@Weymar Osborne[/USER] — There’s a lot of nuance to these programs, but you’re definitely on the right track. My main advice would be not to overthink it, and just try.
Neither United nor ANA are prone to married segment logic, so that probably wouldn’t be an issue. However, United sometimes lies about award availability, so you’ll want to confirm anything you find against the Aeroplan site of ExpertFlyer.
In general, if O, I, or X inventory is available in Starnet, any Star Alliance partner should be able to book it as an award, pursuant to the rules of the program involved (like if it’s within the MPM of that program, or if they have rules about routings or connections). The systems should match up pretty well for those fare buckets.
There are of course exceptions, but you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to learn every last one. You already understand more of what’s going on here than I think you realize!