What United Doesn’t Want You to Know: Use Brussels Airlines to get to Europe, Africa & Beyond!
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In ~10 days, starting from February 1, 2014, it will cost many more miles when you book award flights with United.
In particular, business class and first class awards, especially those on other Star Alliance partner airlines such as Lufthansa etc. will cost more United miles.
Coach award prices remain mostly the same, but you will find more ways to get to Europe and beyond along with better award seat availability when you learn to search for award flights on Brussels Airlines.
Many people are trying to book trips by January 31, 2014, so that they can use the much more favorable old award chart!
United Website Doesn’t Show Brussels Airlines Award Seats!
Here’s a link to an extensive series on how to book award flights with your United miles.United.com is a great way to check for award flights using United miles, but it doesn’t show every airline.
In particular, it does NOT show Brussels Airlines award flights.
But Brussels Airlines can be a great way to get from the US to Europe or to get from Europe to Africa.
And once you’ve found a way to get to Europe, you can then piece together award flights to India or other parts of Asia. See this post on how to get to India and this post on how to get to Africa with your United miles.
There are many flights from Brussels to Frankfurt, London, and other big cities in Europe.
Even though United.com will NOT show you Brussels Airlines award flights online, you can still book award seats on Brussels Airlines by calling United at 800-864-8331 once you find award seats.
The best way to specifically search for Brussels Airlines award seats is with the ANA Website.
ANA or All Nippon Airways is a Japanese airline with a great website to find award flights on Star Alliance airlines.
How to Use The ANA Website
I wrote about using the ANA website in an earlier post on using United miles.
ANA recently changed the look of their website, so let’s go over how to find Brussels Airlines award seats.
Step 1 – Sign Up For An Account
If you don’t have an ANA account, you can sign up for one here.
Step 2 – Log In To Your ANA AccountTIP: I store my ANA account information in AwardWallet. So I only have to click on my ANA account in AwardWallet to get automatically logged into my ANA account!
Step 3 – Go to The ANA Award Booking Engine
The quickest way to search for awards is to use this link to get to the ANA Award Booking Search Page.
Enter your ANA account number and password. Then click continue.
Skip to step 4 if you went to the ANA Award Booking Search Page via the link above.
You can also get to the ANA Award Booking Search page from the ANA.com homepage. This is a longer way to get to the Award Search Page, so I don’t suggest using this method.
On the ANA homepage, Click on “ANA Mileage Club” in the top blue banner. Then click on “Using Miles“ from the drop-down box.
Under “Partner Flight Awards,” click on “Application and Ticketing.“
Lastly under “ANA SKY WEB,” click the “to members-only function“ link.
Step 4 – Click On The Blue Button Titled “Use the Single Airline”
You’re now at the ANA Award Booking Search page.
You can search for all Star Alliance airlines or just ONE airline.
Because we are specifically looking for Brussels Airlines award seats, click “Use the Single Airline.”
If you want to search for multiple Star Alliance airlines, click “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines.“NOTE – if you have 0 miles in your ANA account, the airline buttons will be grayed out and you will not be able to click on them. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to ANA.
Follow the instructions below to learn how to search for award seats even if you have NO miles in your ANA account.
If You Have 0 Miles In Your ANA Account
If you have 0 miles in your ANA account, you can still search for award seats on ANA. There is a back-door method to search for Star Alliance airline awards!
Click on “ANA International Flight Awards.“
You will have to do a “dummy search” for a route that ANA flies.
ANA does not fly from New York to Brussels, so we will first search for New York to Tokyo, because ANA flies that route.
You will see results for New York to Tokyo.
If you scroll to the bottom, you will see the option to select both “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” and “Use the Single Airline.“
Step 5 – Select “Brussels Airlines”
Click on the “Use the Single Airline” & select “Brussels Airlines.“
Step 6 – Select Your Travel Dates, Cities, And Number Of Passengers
Let’s say we want to find 2 seats from New York (JFK) to Brussels (BRU) in May.
Select the date, cities, and number of passengers using the drop-down menus. You can also select the cities by entering the 3-letter airport codes.
Then click “Next.”
Step 7 – Review Results
The results show that at least 2 seats are available in both Business Class and Economy Class from New York (JFK) to Brussels on May 16, 2014. That’s because they have “OK” in the box.
For the return on May 26, 2014 at least 2 seats are available in Economy Class.
You can click on “Display 7 days” to see award seats for a week.
When you click on “Display 7 days,” the website shows award seats in Economy Class. You can search for Business Class by clicking on the drop-down menu and selecting “Change Class.”
Here we see 2 Economy Class seats available from:
- New York to Brussels seats are available on May 16, 17, 19, 20, and 21.
- And from Brussels to New York, seats are available on May 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30.
To search for award seats during the prior week, click the “Previous” button. And click “Next“ to search for the following week.
Let’s say you wanted to see business class award seats as well.
In Business Class, there are 2 seats available:
- From New York to Brussels on May 16, 17, 19, 20, and 22.
- On the return from Brussels to New York, there are 2 seats available only on May 27
Remember that United allows you to book a Business Class one-way and Economy Class on the return.
So you can mix and match award flights to get the seats which you want!
You can use United miles on Brussels Airlines to book flights to Europe. But United.com will NOT show you Brussels Airlines award seats.
So you’ve got to find them yourselves by using the ANA website. And once you’ve found those award seats, write down the flight number, dates and other information and call United at 800-864-8331 to book those flights.
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