The other night I wanted to book a Star Alliance reward with my UNITED miles, so I called the 1K desk, I found the flights I wanted to get me from Manchester, UK (MAN) to Terceira, Azores (TER). I wanted to book MAN-FRA-LIS-TER and return, a reward within Europe for 25K miles. I wanted to route via FRA as my friend is going with me and he is based in FRA.
The UNITED agent told me routing via FRA would not work as I was “going to far out of the way” She added the only legal routing is MAN-LHR-LIS-TER, on a mix of bmi and TAP. I explained I really did not want to book on bmi as they might not be part of Star Alliance much longer, I then asked her to check with someone about the routing I requested. She was very nice and put me on hold, during my wait I checked on Continental.com to see how the reward booking tool on CO.com would route me, and MAN-FRA-LIS-TER was an option. The agent came back and told me it would be two tickets, one MAN-FRA and return the other FRA-TER and return, 50,000 miles not 25,000. I thanked her for checking and told her what I found on continental’s page.. She then asked so do you want me to book this as two tickets? or not? I said no thanks and hung up.
I transferred miles from my UA account to my CO account, booked what I wanted online and got the flight and routing I wanted for 25,000 miles. This just shows never take no for an answer. Here is just some random dates showing the option on CO.com