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Do Star Alliance carriers have different award availability on partner airlines?
I have Gold with Aegean, and I’ve been using United’s portal to look for business award tickets from ZRH to anywhere in Australia/NZ. United shows plenty of availability, but when I called Aegean, they said that they could only find economy tickets for the days in question. This lead me to wonder if different Star Alliance carriers have different availability when trying to redeem miles on partner airlines. Does anyone know if this is the case? If not, meaning that every SA carrier has the same access to award tickets on all partner airlines, does anyone know how to address the issue? I tried to give them specific flight numbers and dates but the person at the call center either didn’t understand me, couldn’t find it, or wasn’t interested.
Also, as an aside, I would figure that I’d see lots of different airlines with awards routing through Asia, but so far, only Air China, Thai, Asiana, and the odd Air India flight seem to come up. Nothing from EVA, ANA, Air NZ, or Singapore (though I seem to remember that Singapore awards aren’t reservable through United’s portal).
PS: Aegean said that they don’t have their own portal for booking award tickets yet, but they’re working on it.
In general many award programs release more space for their own members.
*A examples are LH not releasing F space until 14 days before flight to partners.
Then there are programs that release very little or no space to partners like Swiss with F space and Singapore with most long haul premium award space.
And finally you have the problem of phantom space, aka award booking portals showing space that is not there.
In addition to that you have to add in whatever routing rules UA bakes into its award search engine. Always worth it to double check availability by looking at an engine like ANA or Aeroplan. However, saver availability should be the same across the alliance.
Good to know. United and Aeroplan show completely different availability, and I haven’t checked ANA yet. I’ll need to continue looking, thanks for the suggestion.
Could you clarify what you mean by routing rules? Does UA do something special or have certain restrictions on the awards that they show?
PS: I just learned that Aegean has a “max 1 connection” rule, which may have led to some confusion on my part (United showed a ton of 2+ connection routes, Aegean kept saying there were none). Supposedly there’s a way to get around the rule, but I don’t know what it is.
That’s good to know about Aegean. The United routing rule comment was because you were searching for space using the UA engine and surprised because more carriers were not showing up. The UA site is now programmed to offer specific itineraries which could be to blame for specific space not showing up. You may find more searching segment by segment.