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Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Old Jul 24th 2015, 1:21 am
  #781  
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Hi guys

I've posted a lot less on this thread for quite a while now due to a big surge in work-related travel (my tally for the first half of the year according to flight memory.com is 68,371 miles). Anyway, I don't want to give up on this thread as despite the work commitments I am still earning miles an points far faster than I can spend them, with the minority being earned by actually flying. Therefore hoping that we can make this more efficient for a while by you posting questions about things you're interested in doing rather than me guessing what might be of general interest.

Please, please, so us both a favor by doing a spot of Googling first. Don't simply say "I live near airport X and need to fly to airport Y and can't find availability with miles". Instead say what airlines specifically you're interested in (you may need to look at timetables to see which ones suit your needs), which programmes you have miles in so far (and how many), which credit cards you're using (if applicable) and maybe what dates are of interest. Less info = less focussed advice.

I hope that we can continue this thread as it seems too have the potential to save a lot of people both aggro and money (and help deplete the world's champagne stocks).
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Old Jul 24th 2015, 8:15 pm
  #782  
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Ok, I have one for you.
I can get flights with my avios points to London on economy with BA.

I called and actually got hold of someone at BA and asked about flights I saw on American for Business - they said not available but to book economy.

In your experience - if I book the economy now (for Oct) and check every couple of weeks - what are the chances that I can upgrade to business with points?
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Old Jul 25th 2015, 12:17 pm
  #783  
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by toopie28 View Post
Ok, I have one for you.
I can get flights with my avios points to London on economy with BA.

I called and actually got hold of someone at BA and asked about flights I saw on American for Business - they said not available but to book economy.

In your experience - if I book the economy now (for Oct) and check every couple of weeks - what are the chances that I can upgrade to business with points?
How many seats are you looking to buy?
Which airports are suitable ones for departing from?
Would you consider connecting somewhere if it made it possible for you to fly business?

Some general points:

1) You can't use BA miles to upgrade an existing booking on AA, but you can - subject to availability, book in business at the outset.
2) Depending on the route/flight, AA's latest business seats knock spots off BA's.
3) Use aa.com to search for availability (look for SAAver awards), but then book through BA and at BA's award prices.
4) When searching for award or upgrade availability, I tend to check at east once a day - several times a day if it's within a month or two from travel. Inventory changes are real-time and happen constantly. It's not uncommon to see a business award seat open up on a flight and then disappear again several times on a single day. (That said on other flights there can be no changes for weeks/months at a time).
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Old Jul 31st 2015, 8:38 pm
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Sorry for the late reply - things have changed.

But going back to the original question -
How many seats are you looking to buy? - 2
Which airports are suitable ones for departing from? LAX
Would you consider connecting somewhere if it made it possible for you to fly business? Yes


So I searched aa.com for availability and FOUND 2 biz seats (saver thingy) fom LAX to LHR. Called BA to book and they couldn't find it. I told them which flight and so on and they said on their end - coach only.

Things have changed now though - I will be going in Nov by myself and may be able to get an ANZ flight (coach) for free since I flew business last time and it was horrendous. I have enough points to upgrade to business and will do that.

I'll update since I'm still checking every day with BA for business flights.
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Old Aug 1st 2015, 12:06 pm
  #785  
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by toopie28 View Post
Sorry for the late reply - things have changed.

But going back to the original question -
How many seats are you looking to buy? - 2
Which airports are suitable ones for departing from? LAX
Would you consider connecting somewhere if it made it possible for you to fly business? Yes


So I searched aa.com for availability and FOUND 2 biz seats (saver thingy) fom LAX to LHR. Called BA to book and they couldn't find it. I told them which flight and so on and they said on their end - coach only.

Things have changed now though - I will be going in Nov by myself and may be able to get an ANZ flight (coach) for free since I flew business last time and it was horrendous. I have enough points to upgrade to business and will do that.

I'll update since I'm still checking every day with BA for business flights.
MileSAAver flights seen on AA are bookable using Avios. It's unfortunate that ba.com's award booking engine is pants, a fair few phone agents are clueless and the wait times are often long... :bang head: Although note that you can now call any BA call centre in the world and get served (used to be they'd only deal with US-based members using the US number). HUCA (hang up, call again) is sometimes something that needs to be done.

I'm searching random dates now and can see availability changing in Austin or Chicago.

I see now that your plans have changed, so what I wrote above is just for the record rather than being of practical use to you now.

What points are you using to upgrade the NZ flight?
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Old Aug 2nd 2015, 6:55 pm
  #786  
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

I had been trying ba for ages and then I was going to try an international number and thought - what the hey - try one more time.

One ring and it was PICKED UP! I couldn't believe it. Several times I asked if I reached the correct number.

He helped me with a flight for LHR to Rome, then I went on to ask on about the other flights. That's when he found coach seats only (on both BA and AA)

And yep, HUCA - story of my life with ALL customer service agents

ANZ Airpoints, I have silver status now which is also taken into consideration when you bid for a seat. You have to try close to the date of flying though so i can update if it works.

In your opinion, if you had to pick ONE card that gives you value for air points - which one would that be?
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Old Aug 3rd 2015, 12:40 am
  #787  
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by toopie28 View Post
In your opinion, if you had to pick ONE card that gives you value for air points - which one would that be?
I'd take one of the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, where points transfer to BA (for OneWorld), United (for Star Alliance) and Delta (for Skyteam) among others.

One of these cards? I'd take the Chase INK Plus business card. 50K sign-up bonus, then 1x/$ spent or 5x/$ at office supply stores, where they sell gift cards for a variety of other places that you might shop (inc. Amazon).
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Old Aug 3rd 2015, 10:10 pm
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Great - that's what I have - Chase INK.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 12:09 am
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
MileSAAver flights seen on AA are bookable using Avios. It's unfortunate that ba.com's award booking engine is pants, a fair few phone agents are clueless and the wait times are often long... :bang head: Although note that you can now call any BA call centre in the world and get served (used to be they'd only deal with US-based members using the US number). HUCA (hang up, call again) is sometimes something that needs to be done.
+1


On a recent mileage reward trip, I resorted to focusing on individual sectors of the journey - getting the long-haul sectors locked down with avios, and then worst case having to pay for the domestic sectors in cash (but didn't have to in the end).


If you haven't already used it, the BA avios explorer tool is handy to check availability by cabin & route for specified months:


https://www.britishairways.com/trave..._gb?eId=106160
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Old Aug 6th 2015, 5:18 am
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
I'd take one of the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, where points transfer to BA (for OneWorld), United (for Star Alliance) and Delta (for Skyteam) among others.
Tonrob are your sure you can transfer to Delta, I thought you couldn't. Virgin are on the list.
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Old Aug 6th 2015, 11:32 am
  #791  
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
Tonrob are your sure you can transfer to Delta, I thought you couldn't. Virgin are on the list.
You're right. Korean Air are the SkyTeam transfer partner, not Delta. Never used them myself, but read about others who have. From memory the redemption process can be fiddly, but the value can far outstrip Delta - especially now Delta's instituted dynamic award pricing (which sometimes leads to better value than before but in many more instances not).

For those interested - here's an article (Feb 2014, not looked for updates) that gives a handy overview of the Korean programme.
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Old Aug 6th 2015, 11:58 am
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

I'd previously posted details of my circuitous return from Germany for my forthcoming late summer trip here, taking minor detours via Copenhagen and Vietnam on my return to JFK.

For sake of completeness, my outbound journey is now finalized:

JFK-LAX AA First Class Trans-Con A321
LAX-Dallas AA "First Class" 757

This booked using 37.5K AA miles from a big pool of miles earned from multiple applications for the Citi AA Executive card last year.

Hyatt DFW (1 night)
Using the annual free night benefit from the Chase Hyatt card.

Dallas-Dubai Emirates First Class A380
Using 100K Alaskan Airlines miles, obtained by transferring in 80K Starwood Preferred Guest miles, which had been gained through a mixture of AMEX card sign-up bonuses and general spend on their SPG cards.

Conrad Dubai (3 nights)
Using Hilton points earned mainly through Citi Hilton card sign up bonuses.

Dubai-Munich Emirates First Class A380
Continuation of above DFW-DXB-MUC ticket.

Hilton Munich Airport
Hilton points, as above.

Now this is where it does get a bit silly. I'll have arrived in Germany 24 hours too soon (Mrs tonrob is away for a few days visiting a friend), so to burn a few miles and have a bit of fun....

Munich-Manchester Singapore Airlines First "Suites" class B773
Seemed a better option than breakfast at the Hilton.... Using Singapore miles gained by transferring in AMEX Membership Rewards points.

Manchester-Heathrow BA Economy
Heathrow-Dusseldorf BA Business

BA Avios Reward Flight Saver (13.5K points total). This gets me a nice, relaxed champagne lunch in the First lounge at Heathrow and then onto the right part of Germany and at the time I actually need to be there.

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Old Aug 7th 2015, 7:25 pm
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
I'd previously posted details of my circuitous return from Germany for my forthcoming late summer trip here, taking minor detours via Copenhagen and Vietnam on my return to JFK.

For sake of completeness, my outbound journey is now finalized:

JFK-LAX AA First Class Trans-Con A321
LAX-Dallas AA "First Class" 757

This booked using 37.5K AA miles from a big pool of miles earned from multiple applications for the Citi AA Executive card last year.

Hyatt DFW (1 night)
Using the annual free night benefit from the Chase Hyatt card.

Dallas-Dubai Emirates First Class A380
Using 100K Alaskan Airlines miles, obtained by transferring in 80K Starwood Preferred Guest miles, which had been gained through a mixture of AMEX card sign-up bonuses and general spend on their SPG cards.

Conrad Dubai (3 nights)
Using Hilton points earned mainly through Citi Hilton card sign up bonuses.

Dubai-Munich Emirates First Class A380
Continuation of above DFW-DXB-MUC ticket.

Hilton Munich Airport
Hilton points, as above.

Now this is where it does get a bit silly. I'll have arrived in Germany 24 hours too soon (Mrs tonrob is away for a few days visiting a friend), so to burn a few miles and have a bit of fun....

Munich-Manchester Singapore Airlines First "Suites" class B773
Seemed a better option than breakfast at the Hilton.... Using Singapore miles gained by transferring in AMEX Membership Rewards points.

Manchester-Heathrow BA Economy
Heathrow-Dusseldorf BA Business

BA Avios Reward Flight Saver (13.5K points total). This gets me a nice, relaxed champagne lunch in the First lounge at Heathrow and then onto the right part of Germany and at the time I actually need to be there.

http://i1301.photobucket.com/albums/...psiycbcmyt.gif
How many miles was the MUC-MAN.

As my family is Yorkshire based your itinerary is of interest but of course starting in DFW. (Or IAH for that matter)
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Old Aug 8th 2015, 1:49 am
  #794  
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by g1ant View Post
How many miles was the MUC-MAN.

As my family is Yorkshire based your itinerary is of interest but of course starting in DFW. (Or IAH for that matter)
32,500 minus the 10% online booking discount. Emirates flies DXB-MAN so you could try for that. Wasn't available in F on my dates.
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Old Aug 14th 2015, 7:45 pm
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Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
32,500 minus the 10% online booking discount. Emirates flies DXB-MAN so you could try for that. Wasn't available in F on my dates.
I looks to me like DXB-MAN is virtually impossible to get awards in ANY class at any time.

I'll do DXB-LHR and train to Leeds. Not sure that it's worth 30k for MUC-MAN

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