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United/Star Alliance Question

Having just booked a ticket to Sarajevo this summer, I am of course seeking validation I picked the right ticket. I am on an Austrian Air flight sold by United (booked through United, that's where my frequent flyer miles are). I went for regular economy as it seems like as of Jan 1st, basic economy are no longer eligible for refunds, but regular is until Jan 31, 2022 (meaning the flight is booked by then).

Question 2, if I somehow make some more money, I am eyeing a trip to Egypt. My only other attempt to book a Star Alliance flight NOT sold by United was with TAP air and I could not figure out how to enter my United Mileage plus info. Any advice on how this works with Egypt Air?

Posted by
21647 posts

My limited experience is that your ff number is only entered on the site of the number -- in your case United. If you book through United, then you enter your number with United. If using another airlines for a direct booking, then there no place to enter your United number. However, instead of relying on my experience why not call United directly and ASK.

Posted by
29 posts

Simply because hold times have been in the hours! If I get serious I will try chatting with the robots of United

Posted by
5377 posts

It's not 100% clear what your objectives are. Do you have a reason for preferring TAP?

The reason I ask is that if I were booking, I'd put a list of Star Alliance companies in front of me, and enter the itinerary into the USA/United website. I'm currently offered a $1,200 roundtrip to Cairo in December, 2022, on UA and LH, mostly. Why wouldn't that be good for you?

There are some downsides to doing this, that you may be aware of already, mainly that sometimes the partner seat assignment is done later and separately, so you might not get what you want. And you need to, sometimes, obtain the other company's confirmation number, so you can investigate the seating, and have it ready for any problems that may occur during the travel day(s).

You don't give your home country on your profile, but unless your entire trip could be on TAP, why would you risk having separate tickets for a long journey? You want to have your total itinerary confirmed by companies that will then be responsible for delivering you all the way. I mean, Egyptair dosn't have transatlantic code-shares with United!

Posted by
29 posts

Sorry, I mean I once tried to book through TAP, which was a star alliance partner and only option was to enter a TAP frequent flyer number. For a few reasons I never booked a flight with them in the end. So I am just trying to figure out how 1 airline knows you are not a member of their frequent flyer club, but you are with another Star Alliance member.

Posted by
5398 posts

You may be overthinking this (or else maybe I'm underthinking it -- which would be unusual for me, when it comes to obscure and often meaningless airline and flight details...).

It's not clear to me exactly what you are hoping to accomplish here. You mention "miles" but I think you have booked a paid ($$$) ticket; you paid United, you'll be flying on an Austrian Airlines plane (if you have multiple legs, you may be on a mix of United and Austrian planes). IME most airlines do not give users a convenient way/place to enter a partner airline's FF membership number (remember, FF programs are all about loyalty, and they want you to be focused on their own program, not a partner's).

Are you just wanting to ensure that you get mileage credit for the paid flight(s), and that the credit goes to your United FF account rather than Austria's program)? If that's the case, I would just do two things:

  1. Make sure you are/were logged in to the United website when you book(ed) the ticket. I assume you already did that. If so, then your flight (on Austrian Airlines) should be visible when you log back in on united.com. (While you are there, note the United Airlines Confirmation Number/Code (aka PNR) for your flight -- AND the Austrian Airlines confirmation code/PNR (always have both with you when you travel or interact with either airline, always use the airline-specific number when dealing with that airline). Also, check to see if there is an Austrian Airlines flight number for your flights on Austrian metal - if so, note that, too.
  2. When you check in for your outbound flight, check in (or stop by) the counter and speak with a live human, give them your United FF number, and make sure it's in their system, ask them to be sure that your mileage credit will go to your United FF account rather than Austrian's (I always do this before setting foot on a partner airline on a paid flight -- once you've flown the flight, it's too late, do it at check-in with a human agent). Do the same for any subsequent flights on Austrian. Keep your boarding pass stubb(s), when you get home, double-check to be sure the mileage was properly credited.

IME you need to do this (speak with a human agent and make sure the mileage will be credited to your intended account) anytime you are flying a paid ticket on a partner airline. Would be the same for TAP, Egyptair, whatever. There may be airlines that make it easy for customers to do it themselves online, but I would always ask/double-check at the check-in counter before boarding the first flight in an itinerary.

As a side note: I think it's generally worth signing up for the FF program of any airline (even obscure regional airlines you think you'll never fly again), before you fly them (and enter your FF number on their website to get it associated with your flight). Occasionally, there may be some small (usually very small) perk for members, sometimes it's useful to have a FF number with them to access your flight on their website (IIRC, TAP uses your FF number for this), and you might even get (slightly) better service from employees. There's no downside (as long as you verify before stepping on the plane that your mileage credit is going to the program you want - once you have flown, and the mileage credit has gone somewhere, it's all but impossible to get it changed to be credited to a different program, so be sure it's pointed where you want it before you walk down that jetway).

Hope that helps. Good luck.

Posted by
4631 posts

You can probably book an Egyptair flight through United, but you may need to call United to do this.

If you book directly with another airline, there is usually some way of entering a partner FF number when you make a reservation although it may not be obvious. If you can’t add it to the reservation, at check in (in person) ask the Egyptair agent to add your United FF number to the ticket. In the worst case, you can submit a form to United after you fly https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/mileageplus/mileagecredit/

Posted by
4631 posts

Just FYI. I went to the Egyptair site and started a booking. There is a section on the reservation labeled ”Membership Information” where you can select United and enter your mileage plus #.

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks folks, the last response answered my question!

The whole point of star alliance is that you can be a member of 1 airline frequent flyer program and get points while flying another. My attempt at booking with TAP (cancelled, no longer in play in any way) made it seem tricky. Apparently easier with Egypt air.

Posted by
29 posts

@David, in the case of Austrian/United, United actually sold the ticket on their website same price so I booked through them, even though I actually fly Austrian the whole way!