Author Topic: Star Alliance Award Search Tips  (Read 170465 times)

Offline Dan

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Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« on: May 26, 2010, 09:32:09 PM »
Update: ANA has partially blocked their Star Alliance search function. See either of these 2 posts for info on how to work around it:
http://www.dansdeals.com/forums/index.php?topic=2569.0
http://www.dansdeals.com/forums/index.php?topic=2569.msg34269#msg34269


-The Star Alliance is the largest airline alliance which gives great options for using miles on partners.

These are the 27 current member airlines:
-Adria
-Air Canada
-Air China
-Air New Zealand
-ANA
-Asiana Airlines
-Austrian
-Blue1
-Bmi
-Brussels Airlines
-Continental Airlines
-Croatia Airlines
-Egyptair
-LOT Polish Airlines
-Lufthansa
-Scandinavian Airlines
-Shanghai Airlines
-Singapore Airlines
-South African Airways
-Spanair
-Swiss
-TAM
-TAP Portugal
-Thai
-Turkish Airlines
-United
-US Airways

-A great search engine is ANA.
-You need to first signup for an ANA account:
https://cam.ana.co.jp/psz/amc/jsp/regist0_e.jsp

-You can then use this link to search for Star Alliance award flights:
https://aswbe-i.ana.co.jp/p_per/sky_ip_per_en/preAwdSearchLogin.do

-Click "Use Star Alliance Member Airlines"
Perform the search, for example type in JFK to TLV.

-By default only nonstop flights are shown, for this route the Continental flights from EWR to TLV are shown.
Click "connecting flights" to display more flights.
Each leg will have:
- Which means that the class selected doesn't exist
x Which means awards are not available
OK Which means awards are available

-Click on the arrows above the flights to go back or more forward a day.
-Click "search again" to change the dates.

-ANA search is far from exhaustive, it does not search all possibilities.  To really search all options do a regular fare search on Orbitz and find all of the Star Alliance options.  Then enter in each leg separately into ANA.
For example search for JFK-IST and then IST-TLV to go on Turkish via Istanbul, or JFK-MUC and then MUC-TLV to go on Lufthansa via Munich, etc.

-If a flight is found on ANA it can be booked with the miles from any Star Alliance carrier.  The only exception is United which intentionally blocks availability when they feel like it, this is called Starnet blocking.  The mileage rate will be whatever the carrier you are redeeming with charges, not what the airline you are flying on charges.

-ANA is the best Star Alliance search engine, but it is worth also using Continental.com.  There are definitely times that Continental.com finds an option that ANA doesn't You do not need to be logged in, just enter the cities and click "reward search." 

-Once you find flights that work you need to call up the carrier on which you have the miles to book the ticket.  Tell them that you called in earlier and already found flights that worked for you, and ask if you can give them the flight numbers.  Sometimes they will let you do this other times they'll want to find the flights themselves. 

-Many agents are unfortunately incompetent and don't know how to properly look for partner availability.  When you get an agent like this just politely hang up and call again (repeat as necessary)

-Every ticketing airline has their own stopover, connection, and routing rules.  They are not always enforced.  Air Canada and USAirways are both pretty lenient and allow for multiple connections/stopovers.  United is pretty strict.

There's lots more, but that's all I have time for now...post your own tips here!


« Last Edit: September 02, 2010, 11:38:30 AM by Dan »
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline Lou Bob

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2010, 11:28:00 PM »
wow! Dan your awsome! Thanx alot
Always use an Amex, you'll thank me one day.

Offline aussiebochur

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2010, 01:22:20 AM »
You can also check matrix.itasoftware.com for routings between cities.

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2010, 01:24:35 AM »
If its possible to get a paid ticket with a certain routing, does it mean that such a routing is allowed with miles?

Offline MarkS

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2010, 01:41:14 AM »
If its possible to get a paid ticket with a certain routing, does it mean that such a routing is allowed with miles?
. not at all. All airlines only allow a certain amounts of award avail. Once that is used up, that flight can not be booked on miles even through a partner airline. Imagine if 300 people booked a particular flight on miles. The airline would lose tons of $. So flights that are full in award searches still come up on $ searches bec they still have empty seats- just not seats they are willing to give away free.

Offline aussiebochur

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2010, 01:49:50 AM »
. not at all. All airlines only allow a certain amounts of award avail. Once that is used up, that flight can not be booked on miles even through a partner airline. Imagine if 300 people booked a particular flight on miles. The airline would lose tons of $. So flights that are full in award searches still come up on $ searches bec they still have empty seats- just not seats they are willing to give away free.
I was asking about the routing, not availability.

Offline moish

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2010, 04:38:09 AM »
ozzy, he was joking. of course he understood what you were asking
« Last Edit: May 27, 2010, 04:52:37 AM by moish »

Offline Shlomi

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2010, 06:21:49 AM »
Cool!  8)

I've been waiting for such a his guide for a long long time...

Thanks so much Dan!

Offline Shlomi

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2010, 06:22:29 AM »
Cool!  8)

I've been waiting for such a his guide for a long long time...

Thanks so much Dan!

*such a guide...

Offline SuperFlyer

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2010, 07:07:06 AM »
this must become a must read for all members, which would save 1000's of hours to the members that are helping out.

Offline aussiebochur

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2010, 07:20:17 AM »
ozzy, he was joking. of course he understood what you were asking
And the answer is?

Offline Dan

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2010, 09:34:28 AM »
If its possible to get a paid ticket with a certain routing, does it mean that such a routing is allowed with miles?
Some airlines restrict routing.  For example AA and United won't let you fly to Australia via Asia while Continental will.
USAirways' agents often don't enforce rules at all...
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline aussiebochur

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2010, 02:34:10 PM »
Some airlines restrict routing.  For example AA and United won't let you fly to Australia via Asia while Continental will.
USAirways' agents often don't enforce rules at all...
Is there anywhere I can find the routing rules for award travel.

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2010, 05:55:53 PM »
I was told for transatlantics, iata restricts either 3 stops, or 1 open jaw and 1 stop. stopovers less then 24 hours don't count.

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Re: Star Alliance Award Search Tips
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2010, 07:27:45 PM »
Will AA let me go from TLV-MEL via LHR? This is the only route that is being shown as available on Qantas.com. I know ElAl definitely flies MEL-HKG-TEL which would be the optimum but I can't find availability for the life of me, at least on Qantas.com.