What’s happening to awards?

As many of you may know, there’s nothing I love more than collecting miles, and more importantly using them for exotic trips I wouldn’t otherwise take. In the endless quest to find the perfect award I was recently searching for award availability using the ANA award checker (requires sign up, but is free) to see what kind of Star Alliance availability there was over the summer.

 I was interested in returning to New Zealand so was looking at Air New Zealand availability for the months of July and August on any of the North America to Auckland routes, which include LAX, SFO, and YVR. To my surprise I didn’t find a single award seat in BusinessPremier on any of those routes in July or August, so I decided to investigate further. I looked into September, October, November, December, and all the way through January 7, the last day that’s currently bookable for a Mileage Plus member, and found NOTHING! That’s right, not a single seat on Air New Zealand in a premium cabin on any of the three routes through their whole schedule!

 I really enjoy service on Air New Zealand, so I’m hoping that this is a temporary thing. While availability wasn’t easy in the past, it was definitely possible to get a pair of BusinessPremier seats with good planning. Add this to United’s notorious Starnet blocking, whereby they filter award availability of partner airlines in order to save money, and my miles are getting very hard to use!

Filed Under: Advice
  1. This is one of the reasons I don’t feel bad about leaving United for CO. Sure, it’s impossible to use your CO miles for anything, but it’s getting to be that way on UA as well. So I might as well fly a much better airline in the process.

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