I know I mentioned this yesterday in my long treatise about booking award tickets on United, but I cannot stress enough that you need to keep checking – even up until the day of travel – to see if award seats open up.
I’d been trying to move our departure flight to connect through LAX (instead of SFO) and availability would occasionally open up on either the JFK-LAX leg or the LAX-Maui leg, but never on both. Then yesterday I became even more obsessed than usual about checking and saw that availability was changing several times over the course of the day. First no availability; then JFK-LAX opened up; then it disappeared; then LAX-Maui opened up but not the first leg. Then both disappeared. Then this morning – 24 hours before departure – both legs were available (4 seats in business class) and I changed flights. Other flights that had not been available for ages were suddenly available as well.
I’ve heard so many people say that they checked for an award ticket and saw that it wasn’t available — and then gave up. If you want a seat, you need to keep checking (or use a service like Expertflyer to send you alerts). It pays off.
Except when it doesn’t, of course, as I’ve been trying to change our return flight for 4 months and nothing has opened up. Win some, lose some.