Last week, I shared an e-mail I received from United about a new Mileage Plus website coming soon.
Much to my surprise, when I logged on to UA this afternoon I saw this:
I am amazed that this happened so quickly.
For now, only United, US Airways, and Continental awards can be booked online, but United promises:
Additional Star Alliance carriers will be added in the future.
Could this mean the end of Starnet blocking? Time will tell, but UA adds this caveat:
Capacity-control restrictions do apply, only a limited number of Saver/Star Alliance Awards are available per flight.
What is not clear is whether UA will continue to add their own capacity controls to Star Alliance awards for revenue purposes.
I have not tested the new search software yet, but even the ability to theoretically search for partner availability online is a huge step accomplishment for UA's IT team. Last year, I was told that Star Alliance award searches would be available online when "hell freezes over."
More details here.
Some screenshots from FT: