12,500 Mile First Class Hawaii Awards Easier to Get

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. United Airlines award space using TK and other partner airline miles will be much harder to come by from some time late this year. So enjoy it while it lasts.

  2. @ Gary — Yes, but I assume the 12.5k award availability doesn’t actually exist since premium cabin award space on United at the lowest (“saver”) price no longer seems to exist for flights to any describable domestic locations. I would love to hear otherwise!

  3. @Gene: Just yesterday, I saw 6 (yes, SIX) seats on a lie-flat from EWR to SFO one one day and 4 on another. We had a reader who reported booking her family of 6 in lie-flat seats on a flight from LAX-OGG just yesterday.

    You’re right that it’s a bit like finding a needle in a hatystack, but there are some needles out there. No, it’s not going to be Friday or Sunday at the most desirable time, but there is some limited availability to be found.

  4. I had the same question as @Gene re availability, and appreciate @Nick Reyes’ useful “needle in a haystack reply.”

    But my other question regards @GUWonder’s point: What is happening at the end of the year to make TK and partner miles’ even less available for UA flights than currently?

  5. When an airline goes even more extremely to multi-tier and dynamic award pricing, the airline’s award availability using partner airline miles takes a dive. It happened with trying to redeem partner miles for DL-operated flights and it’s going to happen for UA- and AA-operated flights more and more.

  6. @Nick – “We had a reader who reported booking her family of 6 in lie-flat seats on a flight from LAX-OGG just yesterday.”

    United doesn’t operate a lie flat product on that route.

  7. 5,000 pts = $20-30 off your 2 night Waldorf Astoria / Conrad stay? I guess better than $0 but if you’re staying at those properties do you even stop on the sidewalk to pick up a $20 bill?

  8. From the Uber article: “…we are making these changes because presenting a powerful, unified, and dynamic vision to the world has never been more important…”

    God how many hours did lawyers and non-laid off marketing executives spend writing this meaningless corporate-speak?

  9. @Alex: According to the reader who reported it, the flight is scheduled to be operated by a 757-200 that day.

  10. Good call Nick no one wants to spend time on this they just say no it can’t be done ..One told me today I’ll just ask u and I replied No Way ..If something goes that person has to know how to correct it.

  11. @Alex, you’re right, but there are unicorns, apparently. Check Aug 4.

    And to naysayers, there is decent award space on transcons (better from the West Coast). Adding the phone functionality is a game changer.

  12. @Andy Shuman. Thanks for this info, but is the award space in economy or business? And I assume you’re not talking about to Hawaii. Any particular West Coast-East Coast city pairs you’ve found availability for?

  13. @Steve: Andy is telling you that they do actually sometimes operate lie-flats from LAX-OGG — like one of the flights on August 4th for example. I don’t know if that’s the one our reader booked or not, but it’s scheduled to be operated by a 757-200 with lie-flat seats.

    As for award space, economy class is wide open on transcons, but I assume when Andy said “decent” and “better from the West Coast”, he means business class availability. I shared a tip in our FB group yesterday because there were (at least at the time) at least a half dozen dates in August with at least 2 seats (some with as many as 5) in actual Polaris biz class seats from SFO-EWR. One day even had two flights with at least 2 seats each. Space is out there. Just check United.com.

  14. @Steve — Business lie-flat, on 757-200. Again I’ve found it for one day only, Aug 4, which is why it’s a Unicorn. Just check United.com, but quickly, I presume it’ll be snatched soon.

    In terms of other routes, yes, I meant Business lie-flat seats on transcons (again, award space from the West Coast to EWR is better than the opposite direction), but there are other routes, too.


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