Singapore Airlines awards are no longer available for booking using United.com or United’s mobile app effective immediately. You can still continue booking these over the phone, however.
United made the following announcement on Thursday (access here):
I wanted to give you an early heads up about an upcoming change to the Star partner award availability you see displayed online. Singapore Airlines and United have agreed to remove Singapore Airlines inventory from our award flight search results on united.com and on the United Mobile App. This will take effect starting tomorrow, December 13, You will still to be able to book and change award reservations involving Singapore Airlines by calling our reservations lines.
Please let me know if you have any clarifying questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Sr. Manager – Customer Experience Planning
For the time being, you can still see Singapore Airlines award availability on ANA, Aeroplan and Lifemiles websites.
Awards are still available by phoning in, but not on the website that would be the most convenient channel to book them?
You may wonder what might be the reason for this drastic change? Hare are some possible scnerarios that came to my mind:
1. United Doesn’t want to issue as many awards on SQ and taking them out from the online award search will lower the number of redemptions
2. United and Singapore Airlines have not been able to negotiate award compensation scheme that would fit most. How many United frequent fliers redeem on Singapore Airlines and vice versa?
3. Singapore Airlines is tired of United scooping their award availability.
On the positive side, this will likely make more awards available on the phone, as most people are just plain lazy to pick up the phone and do the reservation the old fashioned way.
It just makes you wonder what is happening with these airline alliances? Certainly SQ could have just limited the number of award seats they make available for United, if that is the problem.
Let’s just hope that this is not part of the plan of bringing back the Starnet Blocking that the old United used to do.