Ick, Boo! “Friendly” United Elite Upgrade and Award Inventory Gone From Expert Flyer

It was such a peaceful morning, too.  I just got a letter from Expert Flyer stating, in part:

UA has told us that ExpertFlyer can no longer access UA’s upgrade or elite award inventory. It is our understanding that this is a universal policy at UA regarding access to this data.

ExpertFlyer and UA continue to have an ongoing good faith dialogue that we hope will result in the future re-establishment of this information on ExpertFlyer. However, we have no choice but to honor their policy at this time. As such, any pending Flight Alerts or searches for this information will no longer be processed after this Thursday, October 31st. We regret that we must take this action and any inconvenience it causes you.

I haven’t seen any indications that this was coming, but maybe I missed it.  The award inventory isn’t a huge deal as this is one of the few parts of United dot bomb that work okay.  Award search is actually probably better than their legacy competitors, especially as it relates to partner award searches.

But, pulling the upgrade inventory is a big bummer.  I’m not sure what the back story is here, since I doubt this decision was made overnight.  The note has the tone that this has been an ongoing discussion.  I’ll try to find more information and follow up on this, but definitely not a positive in the world of miles and points.


Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. All this does is hurt UA’s legions of pro 1k’s who maximize the tools available to improve their personal flight experience. Very short sighted, it seems. 🙁

    1. Yes, David. Like AA with Award Wallet. The community of users is so small compared to the total amount of UA elites. They’re likely to spend more in legal bills fighting the likes of Award Wallet and Expert Flyer than they’ll make from any revenue agreement.

  2. From the verbiage in the ExpertFlyer e-mail, it sounds like award inventory will not be shown either. Can you confirm this either way?

    1. Correct. As stated in my post, it’s award inventory and elite upgrades. Both kinda suck, though the elite upgrades hurt me a bit more. That being said, know #s of award seats across all flights on a specific day and route was pretty darn helpful. I’m hoping other avenues for this info doesn’t go away.

  3. Was it a letter or email? I have not been notified, nor can I find any mention of this on their website. Poor form.

    1. Terry, it was an e-mail from Expert Flyer. I haven’t heard anything from UA and don’t expect to. EF users represent a pretty small part of UA’s loyalty program and they don’t have a full list of EF users. That being said, I think this move stinks. I understand the position the airlines take on things like this but it really feels like UA and other domestic airlines are only focusing on profitability as opposed to considering the customer service that helps earn them that profit.

  4. At least you can look for award space on UA.com
    YOu can use Seth’s travel tools for now; wonder if that will last as well.

    1. Ffi, here’s hoping Seth’s tool stays in place for now. The UA site isn’t horrible for award searches but the elite upgrade feature on EF was very helpful.

  5. “As stated in my post, it’s award inventory and elite upgrades.” This is not what the EF announcement states. The announcement says its “upgrade or elite award inventory”. So, just reading the plain English of the announcement, it refers to (1) upgrade inventory and (2) elite award inventory (i.e., extra award space inventory for 1Ks). It does not, on its plain English drafting, refer to regular/non-elite award inventory. This is a huge distinction. I certainly hope regular award inventory will still be covered.

    1. Thesilb, you’re right, there is a difference between those things. My understanding from folks that are more in the know than me is that UA told EF to stop scraping their site. If that’s true, that means all award inventory. We should find out tomorrow.

  6. But why does EF send YOU an email and not to all their subscribers? And why is this not noted on their website? If not for your post I would assume my UA notifications are still active. Poor form.

    1. Terry, it’s a good point and I know at least a handful of folks that didn’t get notification. Not sure what the conventional wisdom was there, that either they tried to e-mail everyone and failed or chose to only e-mail a subset of the customers.

  7. Still no personal notice from EF. Have they even made a public announcement yet? I notice UA was removed from the “Airline Award/Upgrade Classes supported by ExpertFlyer.com®”, and my saved queries have been deleted (without notice!).

    But I have a simple question – how would this affect EF’s ability to track award & upgrade availability using UA miles on LH (or any partner for that matter)? I’m guessing that’s gone too.

Leave a Reply