United made a major announcement of devaluing MileagePlus miles used for partner itineraries on November 1, 2013, that will take effect on February 1, 2014. You can read my take of these changes here and here.
The bottom line is that, if you use your United award miles for partner awards in business and first class, your miles will be worth a lot less come February 1.
You should make your every effort to get your partner award itineraries booked by Friday for the next year.
Also, United made another move later making Singapore Airlines awards totally unbookable online (read more here) and, according to my friend, only supervisors at the United call centers are able to book this.
You must always request the agent to check the Singapore Airlines availability. They will not do this unprompted. This is not a customer friendly move.
I remember the times, when United was blocking partner availability from agents. Certain flights were showing only every other day on the system agents were supposed to use to book awards.
This not showing of SQ availability and it being available only by request and having to book using a supervisor is almost the same.
There is still some value left on United miles even after this devaluation. You don’t have to pay fuel surcharges on United issued awards and there were some routes were the number of miles required went down.