ORD to BKK Options (Help)

Jan 2nd, 2008, 12:29 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
ORD to BKK Options (Help)

I'm looking at my options for a Feb trip to BKK from ORD. I have plenty of miles to book a free "standard" business class ticket (200k) and be guaranteed business class seats all the way there and back (on UA/via NRT). I hardly EVER use miles for free tickets because I prefer to earn miles!!! But...

The cost of an economy upgradeable ticket is just under $2k!!! And.. Only two segments are actually guaranteed upgraded seats at this point (those are the two long haul flts from ORD to NRT and back, thank goodness).

I was wondering about some other options as well. I can book a free "standard" award ticket in ECONOMY, no problem, for 120k miles. IF I do this, do I have the option of stepping up to the counter at check-in and asking the price for an upgraded seat for that flight???

I've paid the $$ at check-in twice, to go to FRA and LHR, but those were not on free tickets from ORD. Is it POSSIBLE to ask to "buy" a bus. class seat if I book a free ticket to begin with???

Anyone have any quick answers for me? My "paid" ticket (2K) is being held for me until Friday so I have not purchased it yet.

What would you do in my situation?

Thanks guys ('n' gals).

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 01:26 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,995
Carol --

If you have some rough dates, I'd be happy to check some other routings for a saver award (for example, via PEK).
DonTopaz is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 01:54 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,054
I was wondering about some other options as well. I can book a free "standard" award ticket in ECONOMY, no problem, for 120k miles. IF I do this, do I have the option of stepping up to the counter at check-in and asking the price for an upgraded seat for that flight???

While nothing is impossible (although getting a Qantas business class award between LA and Sydney in December comes pretty close,) I have not heard of airlines allowing paid upgrades to award tickets. I'd think it highly unlikely, personally.

I did, however, just out of curiosity, have a look at Thai Airways' website (partner of UA) and saw where for some arbitrary dates that you could get a premium economy RT ticket from LAX or JFK to BKK for around $1500 all in. Earns full UA miles and is bound to be more comfortable than economy on UA. You would obviously need to get to the appropriate gateway on your own, since Thai doesn't offer ORD as a valid origin point. Might be worth a phone call, though.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 02:42 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,995
Agree w/Gare de Lieu: no way to upgrade an award ticket. (Obviously, there might be gate upgrades available for $$, but those can't be predicted.)

It's certainly possible to get saver awards to BKK for Feb. Quickly checking the Thai flight from LA, I found 3 days between Feb 1 and 20 where Bus class is available (Feb 3, 11, 19). [Disclaimer: these are award seats that Thai makes available to Star Alliance members. As I've mentioned, United will at times not make such seats available to MP members.]
DonTopaz is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 02:49 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
I appreciate the tips, guys. Thanks a lot!

I am a premier exec flier with UA so have "GOLD" Star Alliance standing. I wonder if that might help me get the ticket on Thai. Would LOVE to try that flight out of LAX sometime... and if it's in bus class, that would be awesome! I don't mind the price of an ORD/LAX ticket to get to the flight. I'd even spend the night in LA to catch the plane, if need be.

Re: gate upgrades for $$... still wondering if anyone has successfully paid for a bus class upgrade at the gate, on a free econ ticket?? Probably not... but a girl can hope, can't she?

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 05:20 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 779
Carol,
If you can get yourself to LA or NYC, I believe Thai requires only 90K FF miles for their non stop to BKK, and about 125K or so for their Premium Economy. Singapore is 80K from NYC or LA. Good luck.

tengohambre is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 05:35 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
tengo
I'm actually considering Thai from LAX right now. It's worth looking into.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 11:07 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,147
Frankly, I don't understand why you are holding onto the miles. Burn them. They are not going to do anything but lose value as you hold them. I would think that between Thai, Singapore, United, Asiana, and ANA, you stand a decent chance at snagging a business class award.

In short, just use the miles.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 12:03 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 55
The United Award desk should be able to get you from ORD to LAX on the same international award ticket, even if the next leg is on Thai or one of their other alliance partners. (Assuming there's availability.)
TravlinFool is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 05:33 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
travelgourmet

I have no plans to "burn the miles" as I've worked too hard to accumulate them. I usually use my miles for upgrades to bus/first class on purchased economy tickets. I have only flown on one free ticket in probably the last ten years! And that was one I got about two days before flying. It was a last minute trip.

I'm calling my UA premier exec number today to see about availibility on Thai from LAX. And yes, I can include the route from ORD to BKK in one award ticket. The cost is only 90k miles for bus class. Looks like I may have found my best option! We'll see what sort of barriers they put up... haha
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 08:01 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 342
Good luck on your TG award availability, it would be nice to go LAX-BKK.

As for upgrading an award ticket the definitive answer is NO.

You are not United Global Services (or you would have said that you have 1K status), and the only people who are offered this option are GS. I am 1K and it is NOT available to us.

It would be possible for someone to reply that an operational upgrade had occurred to them whilst on Award Travel, but I don't interpret your request as including OpUps.

Best, Dave
Dave is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 12:57 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,147
To each there own. I wasn't saying that you should throw them away or start spending them frivolously on things like domestic coach tickets (or even an international coach ticket for that matter), but if you could get into a quality J or F cabin (Singapore or Thai would definitely qualify) with miles, then I think you should use the miles.

Do remember that these balances aren't like bank accounts. The miles only have as much value as the airlines are willing to give them, and lately, they are giving less and less value. Between reduced availability and increased redemption rates, the value of each mile will absolutely only go down. That was my only point.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 01:10 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 371
I'm not sure of a reason to save miles unless you're waiting to have enough to fly F or J. My wife & I used all our miles to fly IAD-LHR-BKK in F on BA this April. Already filling the bank back up.
Pulley is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 02:43 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
DH got lucky... he has his 90k ff mile bus class ticket on UA/Thai (ORD-LAX-BKK). I can't get those flights on my own dates (we are traveling different days for business reasons). My local (fantastic) travel agent was able to get the flights that he wanted. She is still working on mine... Still hoping for something fantastic.

Anyway, I guess I don't have a real good reason for saving those ff miles other than "I want them when I want them..."... does that make sense? If I spend a bunch of them, then I'll wish I still had them!! lol

I will probably have to use 200k for this BKK trip. I just hope it is on something nice. For sure it will be in business class.

I know that I'll make up for lost miles this year, because I will no doubt fly enough paid miles to keep my premier executive status w/UA. I've already looked ahead for this year to see if it is still do-able, even if I fly free in February.

I'll know tomorrow which direction I'm going. Keep your fingers crossed.

Again, thanks for all the great suggestions from my fodorite friends.

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 06:04 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
I've got the 240,000 miles needed (and then some) for a first class ticket... I think I'll just go first class!

SPEND THOSE MILES, you say... maybe I WILL do that...

smile
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 11:20 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,147
You are doing the right thing to ensure you keep your status. About the only time I wouldn't burn on an international biz award and fly paid coach is if I needed the miles to make status or the next level. If I needed this flight to keep Premier Exec (or hit 1k), I would probably suck it up and fly coach.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jan 4th, 2008, 04:20 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,995
Until you can be sure of a new business class seat on UA (and that won't happen for a few years), the extra 40k miles for F is absolutely worth it if getting some sleep is a high priority. By far the best thing about United F product is their First Suite, and their existing business class seat is painfully antiquated.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jan 4th, 2008, 04:39 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
travelgourmet
My premier exec level, which I've maintained for about the last 5 to 6 years, is usually because I use those miles for upgrades on paid economy tickets. I've never been close enough to 1k in any year. In 07 I reached just under 60k. My biggest year of flying was about 70k. I do anything I can to maintain premier exec!! But, even though I'll do this first class freebie, I think I can still fly over 50k in 08, just looking at the schedule ahead.

Rizzuto,
I put sleep at the top of my list of requirements on long haul fights. I'm used to the old style business class seat on UA and can usually get some shut-eye. I'm really excited about trying the first suite!! Will I get sooo spoiled that business class will be "poo poo-ed" from now on? Hope not! Yikes! I can't afford THAT splurge...

I'm about 95% sure I'll splurge on the first-class freebie in Feb on UA, or spend fewer miles if first is available on the LAX-BKK Thai flight. I'll hear from my (excellent) local travel agent this morning and then decide. I'm sure I'll post here to let you know what I get!

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2008, 05:35 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,995
Sleep is also my 1st priority on long-hauls. I sleep extremely well on true flat seats, including F seats/suites on virtually all the airlines, as well as the true flat business class seats on BA. (Haven't tried to new gen bus seats on CX/SQ/AC/etc, but I'd imagine I'd be fine with them.) I sleep almost, but mmaybe not quite as well, on the angled flat seats on Thai/Lufthansa/old SQ. I find it very difficult to get a good sleep on the old-style business class seats (UA's current offering, the old AA seats, Swiss).

DonTopaz is offline  
Jan 4th, 2008, 06:15 AM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
rizzuto
I sent you an email question about ANA site.
Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:38 PM.