Just days after loosening up award routing rules, United has now made booking an award online a little easier–at least in theory.
New features rolled out this week on United’s Mileage Plus website include the ability to book:
- Mixed class, mixed type (saver/standard) flights in one itinerary
- Open jaw itineraries
- Miles + Money tickets for all classes of service (formally only available for saver economy tickets)
These changes sound great, but we don’t call united.com ".bomb" for nothing. Problems abound on the new site. The same old problem of availability showing up (for example one business class seat from Los Angeles to Australia) but being unbookable is still there. The premium award tricks continue as well. For example, a search for a first class ticket from SFO to SYD may turn up a "positive" result for SFO-LAX-SYD. But when you click through, you discover that SFO-LAX is in first class but LAX-SYD is in economy. That is trickery.
In addition to the pervasive booking problems I mention above (that have been around for years) the new site is very buggy and often crashes. For example, United and Continental tickets can’t be booked together right now (only UA, US, and CO tickets can be booked online). Today, I cannot even search for an award: every time I try to search I get the following error message:
Believe me, I know how to enter in city pairs–they just disappear when you click on search…
And that’s not all: prices have gone up on Miles + Money tickets. Tickets that used to be 15,000 miles plus about $150 are now 12,500 miles and approaching $400. That is not a good change.
It is essential that United get their act together in fixing their award site. While UA’s intentions are good, the newly revealed award site has only made award bookings harder.