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Using USAir miles on Partner Airlines (Lufthansa)

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I have flights on hold. Going to Italy in June (I know, short notice) and since USAir does not fly where I want to go, checked on UA website - found a large variety of flights, including some 50,000 each way Business Class tickets and also some 30,000 each way Economy seats - mostly on Lufthansa. When I called USAir, they said that they did not recognize this availability and the only way I could find out what was available on a partner airline was to call them and they would check. Also, since USAir does not sell 1-way FF seats, if they found a 50,000 Business seat, the RT would be at least 100,000 - even if the return trip was in coach. (I had been hoping to do Business to Europe and Economy back).

USAir guy tediously went over my options (since it involved 3 potential cities - into one, out of another) and we found something that worked. And the seat availability had no match with the United or Lufthansa websites. Does this make any sense or did I miss something? Is it really impossible to check availability on a partner airlines on-line - I know it has to be booked by phone.

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