According to this thread on FT, multiple United Airlines’ reservations agents have shared that one-way Star Alliance awards will be available for booking at the end of the month. Not taking their word for it, I called UA reservations myself and was also told (from a woman in the Chicago call center) that one-way awards will soon be available.
But questions remain and at this point we can only speculate about the answers. First, will the awards be bookable online or just via telephone? Despite my initial desire to be able to book Star Alliance awards online, I have had since had second thoughts. It continues to amaze me that so few UA flyers realize they can use their miles for more than just UA flights. Being able to easily book Star awards online will cut down on inventory for those in the know. I do realize I’m being quite selfish…
Second, what will happen to stopovers on round-trip flights? While I don’t expect to see stopovers allowed on one-way flights (after all, that would then mean two stopovers would be allowed on a r/t flight), I would be crestfallen if they were eliminated from r/t awards. American Airlines eliminated stopovers on r/t flights when they introduced one-way awards, but UA did not eliminate them when they introduced one-way awards on their own metal last year. Continental does not offer one-way awards but allows both stopovers and open-jaws on Star Alliance awards.
Because it is unclear what UA will do, I will be make a speculative booking to Africa via Europe this week with a stopover in London. With stopovers, you can literally squeeze in another destination on your award and I would hate to see that availability go.
Stay tuned for the official announcement.