United Airlines Withholding Award Space from Partners

United Airlines Withholding Award Space from Partners


United Airlines is Restricting Some Saver Award Space Released to Partners. Typically all of United's saver level award space has been released to partners, while more expensive “Everyday” awards are only able to be reserved using United MileagePlus miles. This isn't unique to United Airlines; other airline frequent flyer programs, such as the Miles & More program for Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, and Brussels Airlines also does this, as does Air France/KLM Flying Blue and British Airways Executive Club.

More recently, it appears United is being stingier with releasing certain saver Economy awards.

Economy awards are classified as:

  • YN: Everyday awards (priced dynamically, so these require more miles than saver awards)
  • XN: Saver awards for MileagePlus elite members and certain United credit cardholders
  • X: Saver award space that historically has been made available to both MileagePlus members and Star Alliance partners

Here are a couple recent examples:

1. San Francisco SFO to Boston BOS: 2 Saver Award Flights Withheld from Partners

As you can see, on United.com, for 12/8/24, four nonstop SFO-BOS award flights have X, indicating saver award space:

United Airlines Saver Award Space SFO-BOS


When we searched the same 12/8/24 date on Star Alliance partner Aeroplan, however, only the later two flights were available to book using Aeroplan points; the earlier nonstop flights at 2:45pm and 4:15pm weren't available at all.

Aeroplan unable to book all United saver award space


Example 2: SFO to Washington Dulles IAD: 2 Saver Award Flights Withheld from Partners

For SFO to IAD on 4/13/24, there were 5 options with saver award space in economy (X) on United.com:

United saver award space SFO-Washington Dulles IAD


Yet Aeroplan only had access to the three latest award flights, not to the departures at 10:45am or at 1pm:

Aeroplan unable to book all United saver award space


It's not all bad news, however. For this example of a 4/14/24 saver Business Class (I) award to Tahiti PPT, United had released the space to Aeroplan, and by using Aeroplan, you'd save 30,000 miles compared to United MileagePlus (although you do pay CAD $77 instead of USD $5.60 in taxes).

United saver business class award space to Tahiti PPT
Aeroplan charges less for United Business Class award space

Have you noticed United withholding certain saver awards from Star Alliance partners, and if so, which ones?

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