United Starnet blocking is back in full force

Two days ago I wrote a follow up on my “what’s a mile or point” worth post from about six months ago, and I talked about how United’s miles have increased in value. My reasoning was that United hasn’t been Starnet blocking for several months now, which is the practice of blocking partner award availability to (essentially) save money. Now, I’m positive it’s a coincidence, but as if somehow magic, United seems to be Starnet blocking again as of two days ago.

Actually, for me it has been among the worst I’ve seen in a while. I’ve been working mostly with Lufthansa first and business class awards, so can’t speak to other airlines, but it has been really, really bad for Lufthansa flights.

Here’s to hoping it’s not a permanent change at Mileage Plus. C’mon, Jeff, show us the “changes in the months ahead” that you think we’ll like!

Filed Under: Awards, United
  1. US is doing the same (maybe or IT issue) I think it might be because of year end, maybe a high demand for reward seats during the hollidays, don’t you think?

  2. I had no problem booking UA F TATL, but couldn’t find anything else in F. It looks like all the LH and LX F has disappeared, but there is tons of C availability. Notable, I had no problem getting LH F on FRA-SIN. I was searching the same awards the last month and F is noticeable gone. In all honesty, as long as I can snag C awards I’m generally happy.

  3. @ bschaff1

    the whole point of *net blocking was to get people use UA inventory, and it looks like its working. Here’s to hopping its just a christmas thing.

  4. @Sam that is NOT correct. The whole point of Starnet blocking was to prevent Mileage Plus from paying partners more than they had budgeted, NOT to get them to book via United. That’s why blocking exists on routes not served by United, to destinations not served by United. When Mileage Plus blocked BKK-KTM flights almost every day it wasn’t because they wanted you to fly United to KTM…

    It’s been 3 months since the last major blockage which lasted about 10 days. We’ve been really fortunate, only 10 days of blocking in 7 months until now. So sad to see it return, presumably keeping costs down before year-end.

  5. @ gary

    so they are blocking so you can use the miles on a different *A carrier at the different time that’ll probably cost UA the same amount of money anyways? The miles are still on the books as a liability for UA until you’ve used them, and assuming that people aren’t just going to let the miles expire when they get *net blocked.

    The more they block the more people have the spend their miles on UA, and therefore UA will end up with a relatively balanced budget with its partners.

  6. I helped my parents book an LH award last night, which included DEN-FRA in F. C was available as well, on multiple days.

  7. Sigh… I’m going to be optimistic and predict this is just a temporary tightening while the fine folks managing that inventory have their holiday breaks.

  8. I booked my honeymoon on LH F a few months ago – best 270K miles anyone ever spent! Thank goodness I got it then and didn’t wait to decide where or when to go.

  9. Starnet Blocking + CO’s sparse saver reward inventory on their metal (especially premium international travel) = Big trouble for those who fly the ‘new United’

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