|by Jason Steele|
I recently wrote about how Continental And United Miles Can Now Be Transferred Back And Forth. There are all sorts of advantages to this, but I neglected to mention one of the biggest ones.
Starnet Blocking Can Be Considered Extinct….For The Moment
Your may remember that I have an intense dislike of United for all sorts of reasons. One of which is their policy of Starnet Blocking. Starnet is the system used by member airlines of the Star Alliance in order to make award space available to member airlines. The idea is that if say, Lufthansa has a business class award seat available, members of say Thai or US Airways frequent flier programs can book that seat. The problem was that United was arbitrarily blocking a good number of the seats being made available by other airlines. If you belong to any other Star Alliance carrier’s frequent flier program, you could book that seat, but if you unlucky and unwise enough to be a part of United’s MileagePlus program, you were screwed.
It was bad enough that they were doing this, and it was even worse that this policy was not disclosed anywhere. The only way we know it exists is by comparing award space availability on United with that of other programs. Eventually a great reporter, Nicholas Kralev, was able to get United to admit to the practice. One of the worst things about it was that United never informed it’s own people of the policy. Customers would call up and be told ridiculous untruths that their partners were not offering the seats, when in fact it was United that was blocking other carrier’s offerings from being redeemed.
Now, You Can Easily Get Around Starnet Blocking
By quickly transferring your United miles to Continental, you can book your awards there. Continental, for the moment, is not doing Starnet blocking. It is not known if they will, someday, adopt this odious and dishonest practice.