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Reduced award availability on partner airlines

In the United Airlines Mileage Plus forum there is frequent discussion on the reduced availability for awards flying on partner airlines, relative to using some other Star Alliance frequent flyer miles.  A sample of recent threads includes Air New Zealand (UA filtering NZ), Asian airlines (UA filtering NH, OZ, SQ and TG), Lufthansa (UA being stingy with LH), general (UA gets tough on manual sell for award seats), and I hate the ANA tool.  A simple search on “Starnet” brings up many more threads.

For those unfamiliar with the ANA tool, anyone can sign up to the ANA program and search for awards on all Star Alliance airlines (except Swiss) online.

This is not something as simple as a blackout for a short period, or the oft-discussed situation whereby Qantas releases awards 355 days before departure but AAdvantage can only access them 330 days prior (thus many prime awards have already gone).

Do other frequent flyer programs have a similar issue of reduced availability on partner airlines? 

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100% etickets will not be ready in time

This thread on the Air NZ forum confirms what many of us suspected that airlines are not ready for 100% eticketing by IATA’s self imposed deadline of 1 June 2008.  There is a long list of circumstances where e-tickets are not supported.  Most items on the list I’d expect to be in common for all airlines, but some will be airline specific (eg depending on which airlines are interlined).

The worrying aspect is the warning that (re)issuing of any paper tickets after 31 May 2008 may take 5 or more working days.  Too bad if your plans change at the last minute and your itinerary is not eticketable.

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