Where did United’s domestic first class award space go?

This is just a quick post to ask if readers have seen similar patterns.  While researching an upcoming post I wanted to find an example of non-stop United domestic business/first class saver award space, but on every route I’ve tried so far I’ve come up empty except with next day flights.  I have no doubt that I’ll find some examples for my post, but this is a troubling finding.  Are you finding similar issues with United?

No saver-level business or first class award space found on domestic non-stop routes that I’ve tried so far. Business or first class would show up as dotted lines on the calendar. Solid lines represent saver economy award space.

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Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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22 Comments on "Where did United’s domestic first class award space go?"

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Yup. I have been tracking few flights domestically…and one to Hawaii… nothing. 90/95k one way to Hawaii. I hate to say it but AA actually has more availability (sparce as it is) than United now.

Joseph Petrovic

Funny you mention this. I was just noticing that last week. I can’t find first saver award space to anywhere.


Absolutely nothing (including next day/next few days, which historically would open up fairly consistently) for LAX to EWR for as far out as they let you search.

And yes, AA has a shockingly high (for them) amount of 32.5k saver biz seats available for LAX to JFK.

United’s search results page is among the buggiest I’ve ever seen on the internet so I guess there’s a chance it’s a bug in the “calendar view”. But more likely, it seems that they pulled all saver biz awards across the board for some reason – hopefully some will return.


I had no issues with lots of first class showing up two weeks ago.

Have you tried comparing to expert flyer (then calling united to see if agents can see it)? Maybe it’s the website glitch? My subscription EF just expired.


I agree – I have been looking the last week for both Hawaii and Denver and noticed this as well. I was actually looking for economy but thought it was interesting there was no business/first anywhere. As an aside I found five tickets on the outbound to Hawaii on AA no problem – I was shocked!


Unrelated, I just wanted to mention how much I appreciate your blog, Greg. After so many years you’re still the highest integrity and one of the highest quality bloggers out there. Please keep it up!


The calendar often shows no availability but if you click through to a specific date you might find more availability than shows on the calendar.


I usually find that to be the case, too. You can’t go by the calendar.


Newark to HNL / LAX / SFO
HNL nonexistent at saver level
LAX and SFO slim picking maybe two weeks out space I have seen

FHY : Granted this is my own individual experience and dates I am personally looking always looking for saver level


IAHHNL mid Jan
I booked this trip in economy saver separately for the outbound/return segments and as the days got closer to departure started looking for business saver awards. Was amazed to find NONE.
For the return segment, the flight up to day of departure was booked less than 65% of capacity and plenty of seats also in business/first class yet no business saver awards were available!

I am lifetime Gold status and haven’t been upgraded on a paid fare in years – appears the airline(s) are programmed to sell these seats rather than offer a reduced mileage award ticket

Dennis Bauer

United only shows saver award space one month out.


I’ve noticed the same thing. I’ve been looking at ORD-SFO and noticed basically zero seats. This is a hub to hub route with a ton of capacity….and literally zero seats over the several months i’ve been looking. It’s one thing to tighten controls…but to zero it out is bogus.


The following has happened three times in a few months while searching non stop economy EWR to San Diego. I select flights and did not purchase right away. When I returned to computer the selected flights are GONE or suddenly 32.5K miles, not the 12.5K that was previously displayed. I believe this is intentional on United’s part. When United tracks what I am looking at the mileage required suddenly increases. In the end, I paid with lots of miles:(


You can easily just clear your cookies if you think it is a result of United tracking your activity.


Agreed. Very Little in F from all LA airports to all DC airports for the entire months of June and July, unless you want to depart after midnight, which I don’t do with young kids


I’m going to pin this latest “enhancement” on Scott Kirby.

Thomas Roth

I’ve actually been noticing something similar with regard to using upgrades for a long time. Maybe almost a year? International: I try to use my “systemwide” global upgrades on international flights. Previous years, there were several green-dot options for confirmed upgrade booking on most routes. Now (and for a long time) there are zero. Every flight is yellow-dot upgrade waitlist only, which sucks… Big roll of the dice to book an economy flight to EZE and wait and hope for the upgrade (which in my case didn’t clear). And on the SFO-EWR route, same thing trying to use my regional upgrades. Nothing available to confirm, ever. Just waitlist, and they don’t clear. Big change from previous where I could select an upgrade-available flight with some advance planning. Same policy for shorter domestic routes, all waitlist; nothing available to confirm days, weeks or months out. This is no mistake. UA is selling off all upgrades and avoiding our use of the “free” upgrades we’ve earned with our status. I end my year with unused upgrades that disappear. Bad treatment of their premium customers.


Been looking for a month for seats SFO to EWR next fall but nothing! Even though most flights have NOBODY booked, United is purposely holding back award seats for some reason? The best part is they actually want to charge me for economy plus on the domestic leg in coach of an international business class award. Crazy! These guys suck, yet we all keep giving them our business……