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My daughter and I are planning a trip to Taiwan / Beijing, mostly to fly the Hello Kitty plane on EVA Air rom Chicago to Taiwan. We booked our tickets awhile back using 95,000 ANA miles (transferred from American Express) for a roundtrip business class ticket from the US to Asia. Even better, because we flew on United, EVA and Air Canada, there were no (minimal) fuel surcharges!

(SEE ALSO: ANA fuel surcharges on award tickets: a comprehensive guide)

Making those connecting flights

One nice thing about booking award tickets, is that you can often (sometimes? usually?) find availability all the way from your home airport. Contrast that to using bank / flexible points to book a cheap cash (economy) ticket, like I did when I flew Icelandair to Europe.

(SEE ALSO: The folly and fallacy of using miles for economy tickets)

(SEE ALSO: 10 sweet spots for using miles to fly economy)

I booked the Icelandair flight from ORD-KEF-CPH, but then had to make my own accommodations to get from Cincinnati to Chicago (I picked up 2 cheap Southwest flights).  And of course you also have to worry about the possibilities of connecting flights on different airlines, including what happens if your connecting flight is delayed / canceled.

Why United is irritating me

When I booked my ticket back a few months ago, there was only economy availability on the first leg from CVG-ORD. And that’s fine since it’s only like an hour flight.  But I’ve been checking back periodically as we get closer to the time to see if anything opens up.  And here’s where we’re at right now

No Saver First availability on any of the flights on my flight date from CVG-ORD.

But if I go into seat selection, here is what it looks like

11 out of the 12 seats in the “first class” cabin are available!  And half of Economy Plus is available and even economy is not really full.  But still no award availability…

I am open to suggestions in the comments, but I’m not sure there’s much (anything) that I can do.  I have no status with United, and the ticket is owned by ANA since I used their miles to book it. Maybe I can plead my case with a gate agent at the airport?

Like I said, at the end of the day, it’s a 1 hour flight, so sitting in Row 11 where we’re at is fine – it’s just irritating..

Readers – ever had United play award availability games with you like this? Share your experiences in the comments!

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