You can now see Singapore Airlines award space on united.com, which means you can book Singapore award space on united.com. This was not the case as of a few days ago.
Singapore doesn’t really release premium cabin award space to its Star Alliance partners, so you won’t see much Singapore Business and First Class on United’s website. You can see plenty of economy space though…and select routes (not those touching the United States) should show premium cabin space as well.
For example, here’s a search for one traveler from Singapore to Sydney in July and August of 2018.
Singapore space showing up on United’s website could be considered good and bad news for various reasons.
Why It’s Good
A) It’s easier to search for Singapore award space…kind of.
This one’s obvious. You don’t have to search for Singapore award space week by week anymore. You can now see one month’s worth at a time on United.com–kind of. In general United’s award search tool is more user friendly than Singapore’s.
I say kind of because there’s not a way to isolate just Singapore award space on the results calendar. So you’ll still need to look at a specific day to see if it’s Singapore or another Star Alliance carrier’s award space unless it’s a route that no other Star Alliance carrier flies (and you choose to display only non-stop flights). You can easily figure that out by looking at an airport’s Wikipedia page.
B) It’s simpler to include a Singapore segment to a more complicated multi-carrier United award or one with an Excursionist Perk.
Agents lost much of their ability to hand build awards segment-by-segment back in October of 2016, when United changed the way their awards priced online. Whatever United’s search engine gave you as results became the options you had to choose from. You could no longer search segment-by-segment and input your segments into the multi-city search tool or feed them to an agent to force a connection, despite abiding by routing rules. Doing so now fragments your award into two prices, dramatically increasing the price.
You can see how adding a segment on Singapore to a complicated United award would have been complicated before. It required calling United getting an agent to hand build an award, segment-by-segment, with their hands half tied behind their back.
Now you can just include a Singapore segment online.
Why It’s Bad
A) It closed a loophole.
For the same reason this a good change, it’s also kind of a bad change.
By including at least a segment on Singapore, who’s space wasn’t previously on united.com, you could essentially hand-build your trip like we often did to pre-October 2016. It wasn’t always easy to accomplish, as agents would sometimes not be able to or not know how, but now that loophole is totally closed. Since you can see and book Singapore award space on United’s website now, there’s no reason to call. You’re only award options redeeming United miles on Singapore flights or other Star Alliance partners’ segments + Singapore segments will be what United’s search engine gives you.
Singapore award space is now visible and bookable on united.com. Whether or not you consider this good or bad news depends on your perspective–you could argue both ways.
What do you make of this news?
Hat tip One Mile at a Time