Last-minute frequent flier tickets

Old Jul 9th, 2010, 01:11 PM
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Last-minute frequent flier tickets

I got some very good advice here on the fodors forums, for which I am very thankful. I was advised that I could most probably snag a last-minute first class/biz class seat on UA at a saver award level rather than the standard level (which 'costs' twice as many miles) for my upcoming trip to Bangkok.

I want to end up in Bangkok (from ORD) on July 19 or 20th. I would like to leave on the 18th. I have been checking availability regularly, at least several times per day, and I see that there are seats on various routings both before and after my target date(s). If I see something ON the 18th, I'll take either first or biz class, and hope that the routing isn't toooooo crazy.

I've been considering the idea of flying ORD-HKG and then buying a biz class ticket on Thai to get me from HKG to BKK after a one-night stay in a hotel in HKG. I've already checked Thai's web site and I see that there would be plenty of options for getting to BKK on the 20th, no problem (and at a reasonable cost as well).

Question: It would seem that first class saver seats from ORD to HKG areREALLY hard to come by. Has anyone had any luck with this (last minute) or would care to share any experiences with trying to get last minute seats at saver award level for any routing to BKK.

I will 'buy' a one-way ticket to BKK and then snag my return (saver???) award seat when I see something available within my target return date(s) on or about Aug 2.

I'm thinking that a first class ticket to HKG, which would cost me $13k to purchase, is a really good use of 72,500 FF miles! A BKK first class ticket (via NRT) would be about $8k. Still a pretty good deal.

IF my fellow fodorites thing HKG is the way to go, I'd even consider spending miles for a standard award ticket. In the meantime, I'm checking availability everyday and will JUMP when the time is right..... hopefully that time actually comes (otherwise I do the standard award ticket). I WILL be going to BKK, by hook or by crook, on July 18.

So.... what say you? I'm all ears. What would YOU do? Miles are plentiful. Time is sort of flexible...
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Old Jul 9th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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I just took a look at availability for the next 7 days on UA ORD-BKK, and I found 1 F seat on Tuesday, and nothing else in F or J the other 5 days. Counting on scoring a saver award seems high-risk to me: you would need to clear space on 3 flight segments (unless you could snag the ORD-NRT flight), including the single UA flight to BKK.

Hong Kong looks even less likely: nothing on the ORD non-stop for any of the next 5 days.

ANA <u>does</u> have 1 F and 1 C award seat available on its ORD-NRT flight on Jul 19, but they don't seem to have anything on their connection to BKK. I don't recall UA's pricing, but it might be cheaper for you to fly on a saver award in f ORD-NRT, then a std award NRT-BKK (separate ticket).

If you've got the miles and must get to BKK on the 19th, it seems reasonable to me to spend those miles on a std award.
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Old Jul 9th, 2010, 05:06 PM
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Hi rizzuto... that's why I asked the fodorites. I always get answers to my questions.

Q: Where are you getting these seat numbers for flts to BKK? I look at standard award availability and see plenty of open seats for me to select! If I do a 'purchase ticket' sort of search, I look at flight details and can see F5 or whatever. That says to me that first class is not sold out on the 18th. I can keep hoping...right?

I agree about HKG availability. Probably NOT going to happen. Although, I could do a standard award ticket.

Would you book a one-way or just go ahead and book the whole thing on standard awards? I have never been checked upon arrival in BKK (in 20 trips there) for an onward ticket. Can I get by with a one-way there, and then book my return home, again hoping I can get a saver award ticket (altho the miles are in my acct for std award).

See you in BOS!
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Old Jul 9th, 2010, 05:09 PM
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One more question.... when does the "close-in" fee kick in? I'm 1K. Does that mean the fee is waived?
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Old Jul 9th, 2010, 05:38 PM
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The availability I mentioned in 1st paragraph is for saver award seats, not total available seats. The point was that close-in saver award seat availability is by no means a sure thing, or even probable. I get my info from ExpertFlyer.

No problem with having just a 1-way ticket. They're only going to check people who look like I did 40 years ago. If you're concerned, create yourself a return trip by editing an existing itinerary.

No idea about UA fees; I burned my UA miles (and then some -- I have an extremely negative balance) some time ago.
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Old Jul 10th, 2010, 03:09 AM
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This morning, there is one seat on the ORD-NRT-BKK route in 1st class on the 16th... getting closer to the 18th!!! Maybe I'll have my ticket within the next few days? If not, I'll probably do the std award.
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Old Jul 10th, 2010, 06:48 AM
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Conversation with 1k rep at UA convinced me to just go ahead and bite the bullet and book a standard award ticket... which I've now done. Now I can start booking my hotels! Am I a big chicken for not waiting just a little bit longer???
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Old Jul 10th, 2010, 08:06 AM
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A poster on flyertalk says that I can waitlist for a saver award seat. I've asked over there, and will ask here, how I go about waitlisting for saver award?? If it is possible to waitlist, then I will go ahead and book my standard award return seat as well, and will ask for waitlist for saver award.

So... how does one waitlist on a FF standard award tkt?
(thanks)
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 07:19 AM
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Waitlist with the UA agent when booking the award ticket.
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 09:02 AM
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OK, over on flyertalk, I've been advised that should a saver award ticket become available, I can grab it, and then just cancel the std award ticket I'm now holding. I'm a 1K, so there are no fees involved. (but I'll call the 1K rep when I'm ready to do something, just in case)
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Old Jul 12th, 2010, 04:53 AM
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Got it! Saver seats opened up just today for my target date. I made the call to 1K and got my seats (and half of the miles I'd 'spent' on a std award ticket were put back into my FF acct).
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