Many Lufthansa First Class Awards Are Not Currently Bookable With United Miles; Has Starnet Blocking Returned Or Is This Just Another Bug?

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Update: United has fixed this bug in record time!


Star Alliance airlines share their availability via Starnet, so that if one partner airline shows award space, all partners should have access to it. That is unless they add a filter to block it.

Before Continental and United merger, United used to use Starnet blocking to deny select partner award space, such as Lufthansa first class awards, when they needed to for budgetary reasons. 

That practice was eliminated after the merger. But is it back now?

Lufthansa only released first class award space to partners within 2 weeks of a flight.

Air Canada Aeroplan shows availability today from Washington DC to Frankfurt today in first class. It’s only 70K miles one-way, but unfortunately Lufthansa is one of the airlines that Aeroplan collects heavy fuel surcharges on:

 

United.com does not show any first class availability. If they did it would be 110K miles+$5.60:

 

Singapore shows availability in first class for 107.5K miles, plus the hefty fuel surcharges:

 

Lifemiles does not show availability, but that is often the case for same day flights.

ANA won’t book awards within 3 days of a flight, so they don’t have this flight available for miles either.

 

Is it a fluke? Let’s try Boston-Frankfurt:

Aeroplan has first class space for today:

 

United.com does not:

 

Then I tried for a flight next week from Detroit to Frankfurt:

Aeroplan shows first class availability on May 21:

United.com does not:

 

Lifemiles shows availability for 87.5K miles with no fuel surcharges:

 

ANA requires round-trip travel and shows availability for 165K miles round-trip, before hefty fuel surcharges:

 

Perhaps United.com is just acting buggy?

I called United and the agent did not find the first class award space. Following my HUCA mantra I called again and was denied once again.

Hopefully this is just a bug and not a return of Starnet blocking. A return of Starnet blocking would just be icing on top of the horrendous devaluation of United miles that is coming our way.

Do you think this is a bug or just another devaluation of United miles?

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13 Comments On "Many Lufthansa First Class Awards Are Not Currently Bookable With United Miles; Has Starnet Blocking Returned Or Is This Just Another Bug?"

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Richard

This is a nightmare that I experienced just a couple of days ago. They don’t appear to blocking ALL F space, but absolutely they are blocking a lot. I was flying FRA-LAX and EF showed F4 all the way up until departure. Aeroplan had the seats released, as expected, at 10pm CEST. United? Zip. All the way up until departure.

The only odd thing I noticed was that SOME F seats were showing up in the business saver column, at 110k, mixed cabin. If you sorted the biz saver column, you’d see them.

Leading up to this, there was a 30 min delay in many cases between Aeroplan and United seeing the award (Aeroplan saw it first). I too tried calling UA, to no avail.

Man did this whole experience piss me off.

Joe4007

“The only odd thing I noticed was that SOME F seats were showing up in the business saver column, at 110k, mixed cabin. If you sorted the biz saver column, you’d see them.”

Same here.

Donnie .D

Was just on the phone with United earlier today for an hour about the same issue. Was trying to book FRA->DEL which seems available with Aeroplan (and actually also in the back end inventory of united.com, if you check the actual HTTP POST responses). Was transferred to a supervisor who did confirm she sees O fare availability, but gets an error when she tries to book it. She reached out to Lufthansa and to internal support, but no luck. She did say she opened an internal suppose case to fix it.

Al

The other day, saver space on Air Canada from LAX-YYZ was showing up on Aeroplan and Lifemiles, however, it not showing up on united.com which had me puzzled.

Lindnuck

I’ve been monitoring this and what I’ve found is that it is not listed as a First option, but as a Business Saver option. Still at 110k and when you check the fare class it says O. It’s just mid-sorted in the results.

SamG

its not just first class its also BC i’m currently watching the last few weeks the don’t post Lufthansa business class only limited and must time really close to the time traveling

genius

When booking with ANA miles they do require a 96 hour advance for international flights partners, however i was able recently to book a united flight a day before the flight by calling the ana call center @ 1-800-235-9262 for a $25 tel. booking fee, which was well worth it.

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