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Earlier this week I wrote 2 posts about my troubles trying to find award availability for a domestic ticket from Portland to Cincinnati this April

(SEE ALSO: Why is American award availability so awful?)

(SEE ALSO: Ugh – United Award ticket availability seems just as bad!)

Following up on award availability

In the comments for the 2 posts, we’ve had quite a good discussion about several different topics, and I thought I would circle back and talk about a few of them.  First off, some people suggested that one reason we weren’t seeing much availability was due to it being Spring Break.

Our Spring Break is actually at the end of march, near Easter (March 27th), but I guess other places have Spring Break at other times. As I talked on Twitter:

The truth of the Traveler’s Triangle strikes again!the-travelers-triangle

Finding additional award availability on United


The other major vein of comments regarded what I had mentioned about there being “extra” award space for United elites and credit card holders.  There were some people who were not aware of this, so I thought I’d write a brief post about it.

Basically United has their standard saver economy award fares, which have fare code “X”, but they also open up ADDITIONAL economy saver availability for elite members or people who have one of the Chase United credit cards (fare code “XN”).  I used to have the Chase United Explorer card, but I no longer have it as I canceled it rather than paying the annual fee.

Commenter Kenny was one of the ones to mention the “extra” fare code, and I emailed him to ask him to check the availability for the same dates that I had checked in my post, since he had the United card and therefore access to the extra United award availability

For reference, here’s my original screenshot of the United award availability


Pretty sparse, no?

And here’s the award availability for the SAME flight on the SAME dates, if you have access to the XN fare bucket (as either a United elite or a United co-branded credit card holder)


Quite a bit more, no?  Kenny did mention that he was having trouble actually accessing some of those dates, but based on my past experience, that’s probably more of a website glitch.  So, if you have an interest in flying United frequently, here’s one more reason to either keep elite status, or pay the annual fee on the credit card (or at least rotate it between spouses)

There IS actually one way to view the XN fare bucket even if you DON’T have the credit card, which I’ll cover in an upcoming post.


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