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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500 Baht Departure Tax: The End of an Era!

Although one is not required to pay 500 baht for a square piece of paper with a hole punched through it when departing from Suvarnhabumi Airport in Thailand, this does not mean that one does not have to pay the departure tax anymore.

In fact, the departure tax increased to 700 baht as of 1 February 2007.

Find out additional details in the 500 Baht Departure Tax – the end of an era! thread.

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