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United MileagePlus members are currently unable to use all Lufthansa award slots.
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This week, TPG discovered that although some Lufthansa awards appeared on the websites of Air Canada, All Nippon Airways and other Star Alliance partners, they did not appear on the United Airlines website. For example, Air Canada Aeroplan shows a Lufthansa business class award ticket from Frankfurt (FRA) to Newark (EWR) on August 25, 2021.
FRA to EWR Lufthansa
one-way award ticket (screenshot provided by Air Canada. com)
This award can also be booked on the ANA website as part of the round trip itinerary, because you cannot book one-way awards through the ANA Mileage Club Air tickets.
EWR to FRA ANA Lufthansa
round-trip award ticket (screenshot provided by ana.co.jp)
United website does not show flights; instead, you can only book United Airlines’ own flights between Frankfurt and Newark at the daily award level flight.
Find FRA to EWR award tickets on the United website
(screenshot provided by United.com)
The same is true for flights from Dallas (DFW) to Frankfurt. Air Canada, Singapore Airlines and All Nippon Airways have indicated that Business Class offers a reward for one passenger.
DFW to FRA Lufthansa Award Singapore Airlines website
(screenshot provided by singaporeair.com)
But when we search United, there are only economy class seats on the same flight.

DFW Awards to FRA Lufthansa on United Airlines website (screenshot provided by United.com)
At the end of the year, we have seen some differences in the prize space of Lufthansa flights. Initially we thought it was a virtual reward space, in which the airline displayed a reward space that could not actually be reserved. but it is not the truth. A TPG employee managed to book a Lufthansa flight through Air Canada Aeroplan, but the flight was not displayed on United’s website.
We tried calling United and booking two Lufthansa award tickets that were listed on the Air Canada website. Two agents told us that these award tickets could not be reserved. An agent told the author that United cannot access a specific partner reward space, even if it appears on the partner’s website.
It’s worth noting that there are still some Lufthansa awards on the United website, but the number is significantly less than what you see on Air Canada and other partners.
Lufthansa Award Ticket
from JFK to MUC United (screenshot provided by United.com)
Related: Lufthansa details the future of its first-class experience
Is Lufthansa holding award inventory from
United?
Lufthansa 7478
(Photo by Lukas Wunderlich / Shutterstock)
This leads us to believe that Lufthansa is holding United Airlines rewards inventory, something we have never seen before.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a rhyme or reason, because Manchester United has not publicly recognized this change. TPG’s Zach Griff speculated that Lufthansa might be trying to renegotiate the refund rate for Unitedbooked award tickets. Reducing United’s incentive space may be a bargaining chip for Lufthansa, as bookings are rebounding as Germany reopens its borders to American tourists.
On the other hand, United Airlines may limit the space for Lufthansa members to book flights on their own aircraft. In the past, United Airlines cancelled the partner award chart and increased the price by more than 10% across the board, thereby enabling partners Depreciation of swaps.
When asked about this question, United told TPG:
“We provide our customers with the full availability of our partner seats. As always, award tickets for partner flights depend on the airline’s availability ”
TPG has contacted Lufthansa for comments. We will update this story when we receive a response.
Related: Find the Best Sites for Star Alliance Award Availability
Conclusion
United currently receives fewer award seats from Lufthansa than other Star Alliance partners. As Europe effectively reopens and downgrades United’s mileage, this makes it difficult to book transatlantic flights. This also makes it more difficult to accurately search for award space, because a seat reserved on one airline may not be able to be reserved on another airline. We recommend that you use the Air Canada or ANA website to search for Lufthansa rewards space until the problem is resolved.
This may set a bad precedent for the future of reward travel. We often hear that airlines provide more prize space for their loyal members. However, it is new to see an airline give up fewer seats to a partner airline.
Featured photos of Nate Hovee / Shutterstock.com
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Andrew Kunesh is a Senior Reporter at The Points Guy, responsible for credit cards and loyalty programs. He has been a fan of mileage and points since 2014, having previously written for Upgraded Points and Credit Karma. Outside of the travel world, Andrew is a cyclist and artisan coffee lover, although he now lives in New York, his heart is Chicago.

 

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