United Airlines has pulled all Singapore Airlines award seats – seats available in exchange for frequent flyer points – from its website.
In what frequent flyers will hope isn't the start of a sorry trend, United's Mileage Plus members seeking to redeem their miles on a free SQ seat will no longer be able to check which seats are available on which flights online, which includes using United's mobile apps.
From today they'll have to call United's reservations line to check on availability and pay a standard 'telephone service fee' for the privilege.
The surprise move was announced overnight on the FlyerTalk website overnight by Aaron Goldberg, United's Senior Manager for Customer Experience Planning.
"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" Goldberg wrote.
"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."
Goldberg defended the decision to charge a fee for those phone bookings because "there is substantial additional work required to price and ticket these awards in our contact centers."
United Airlines and Singapore Airlines are members of the Star Alliance family, and the ability to easily use frequent flyer points earned on one airline to book an award seat on a partner airline has always been a major feature of alliances such as Star, SkyTeam and oneworld.
Those award seats provide benefits such as frequent flyer points and status credits which are not available under Classic Award deals.
However, while those seats can now be booked only by contacting the Qantas call centre, the telephone booking fee is waived.
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