Virgin Atlantic or Continental

Sep 22nd, 2004, 11:06 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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Virgin Atlantic or Continental

After reading the comments on FF awards, I'm getting nervous about obtaining an award from LAX to London next year. Both Virgin and Continental airlines are in the AMEX program, so we can try either one. Which airline will I have a better chance of getting a Business class award?

Thanks...

larriola is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 11:10 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Just call VS and CO and see which one has the seats. At least on CO, you can then hold the seats and have AMEX transfer the miles to Onepass.

Don't know about VS, but CO's BusinessFirst seats are relatively hard to get at the standard award level (i.e. 100K roundtrip), especially if you don't have Elite status with CO.

But try CO's new website feature, which let you see what seat is available for 2 months.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 11:17 AM
  #3  
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Thanks.. unfortunately still a little over 330 days out from travel. Do you know if they will book 330 days departure date even if the return is greater than 330? Or do I need to wait for 330 on the return? Just anxious and looking forward to my first European trip!
larriola is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 12:32 PM
  #4  
 
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Yes, you can have them leave the return open until 330 days, and book the outbound right now.

I also want to add that CO doesn't fly direct from LAX to London. The flight you may see on CO's timetable is actually a codeshare on VS. If you're going to be on CO metal, then you'll need to change planes in either Houston or Newark, and nowadays most domestic flights are flown with just domestic 1st class and the much superior BusinessFirst.

Therefore, you would really want to fly Virgin non-stop from LAX.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 12:52 PM
  #5  
 
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With VS award reservations, I believe you're required to first transfer points over to Flying Club from Amex Membership Rewards before making a booking. I don't think they will hold a reservation for you without the necessary points, but check. If not you should still call VS first to get an idea of their availability before transfering. The Amex transfer process is fairly quick (they say 24-48 hours). In my experience, it can be the same day. I've never booked an award through VS Flying Club so I'm not sure how far in advance you can book. I have booked awards on VS using Delta Skymiles and the availability was pretty good. Booking your VS award through Delta Skymiles is another option. They will let you hold an award reservation for 14 days (so you can book first, then transfer) BUT it will cost you 20,000 more miles if you redeem through Skymiles rather than VS Flying Club.

On the VS LAX-LHR route, you'll want to go for the earlier flights (008 & 007) as those are on the 747 equipped with the suites. I would choose VS if you can get the Upper Class suite.

www.upperclasssuite.com

The only thing you do not get with the VS awards are the limo transfers. Although you can still buy the limo transfers with additional points if you wish.

I believe CO will hold your award reservation for 14 days so you can make a booking first and then transfer your points over from Membership Rewards. If your return date is within 14 days of your outbound, you can go ahead and book the outbound leg and call back at the 330 day mark to book your return. You can play around with the award reservations feature on the CO website using hypothetical dates to get an idea of availability. In my experience, CO awards (using the lower, standard mileage requirement) are difficult to come by. It looks like the CO award will also cost you 20,000 more miles.

rkkwan,
I have a question regarding the CO award chart. If the BusinessFirst award on CO metal is 100,000 miles, what is the 80,000 mile business class award on the North America to Europe chart? Is that for travel on Skyteam partners with 3 class service, like AF? What if I wanted to redeem Onepass miles for Delta Business Elite, would that be 80,000 or 100,000? I think I can use Skymiles to redeem CO BusinessFirst for 90,000. Just curious as I'm trying to figure out all the different options. Thanks.
Patty is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 01:01 PM
  #6  
 
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I forgot that CO codeshares with VS on the nonstop LAX-LHR flight, so you could be on VS metal either way.
Patty is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 05:22 PM
  #7  
 
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Patty - Great explanation of VS' award policy.

Yes, if you use CO's Onepass miles for Europe, BusinessFirst is indeed 100K miles, just like First Class for other airlines. A DL business class (or KL, NW, etc) will all be 80K. CO really thinks their BF product is as good as FC on other airlines.
rkkwan is offline  
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