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JFK-BKK: Japan Air or Cathay on AA Miles?

JFK-BKK: Japan Air or Cathay on AA Miles?

Aug 29th, 2008, 10:24 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 37
JFK-BKK: Japan Air or Cathay on AA Miles?

Has anyone used American Airlines AAdvantage miles to book business class award tickets to Bangkok?

The choices for us seem to be either:

JFK-NRT on AA metal and then Japan Airlines for NRT-BKK
JFK-BKK on Cathay Pacific (connecting in Hong Kong)

Any advice on which would be a better experience? We'd love to sleep on the plane so we arrive to BKK in the best shape possible!

While we can make this trip just about any time between November 2009 and January 2010, we'd prefer the 2nd and 3rd weeks of December 2009.

From my research, I think I should call AA at the 330-day mark. Will it be possible to hold the JFK-BKK segment while waiting for the BKK-JFK segment to become available in the computer two weeks later?

I'd love to hear from anyone who's recently ticketed an award from the East Coast to Bangkok in business class. Was it a nightmare to get two tickets on the same flight or was availability pretty good right at the 330-day mark?

I appreciate any advice or suggestions!


PS - The only other time of the year we could take this trip is May - September. For those of you familiar with BKK, we're right to try for November - January instead, right? Too hot and humid in May, June, July, August and September. Correct?
LuxuryCruiseBible is offline  
Aug 29th, 2008, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,400
Well, my recent experience (this week) might help. Not the exactly the same, but similar, also with AA.

I've been trying to book 2 business class tickets LAX-Hanoi for the last two years for a July or August trip.
Last year, I waited too long and could not find tickets for my very specific dates.

This year, I set the alert on my Outlook calendar to tell me when I was 330 days out from departure.
I called and they had nothing. Plus, they told me I could not book the return yet; it also had to be 330 days out. I could have booked the outbound, but it would have expired before I could book the return. So I waited and called back on the 330 days from my return date.

On that day I was able to book 2 LAX-Tokyo-Hanoi on JAL in Business. I was not able to book a return at all. I waited a couple of days called back and was fortunate to get someone who was creative. I got a return BKK-Tokyo-SFO-LAX. It's not my "ideal" return, as I would prefer the Cathay flight which leaves later and arrives earlier into LAX. BUT, I did find out that if the Cathay return opens up, I can change to that with no fee as long as the routing stays the same.

Hope this helps a little.
Kristina is offline  
Aug 29th, 2008, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,664
November-Feb is the best time for BKK.
Gpanda is offline  
Aug 29th, 2008, 05:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,400
I have a couple of things to add to my recent experience.
I just got home and looked at the itinerary AA emailed me. There were a couple of surprises which were not mentioned by the booking agent.

1. The flight LAX to Tokyo is an AA aircraft not JAL. This may not be a bad thing as AA is in the process of reconfiguring all their Business class seats. Hopefully this will be done by the time we fly.

2. The flight back from BKK to Tokyo says this "Operated by JL for JO" I'm not really sure what JO is or if this will affect our flight in any way.

3. Make sure you ask for specific seats (if you care) when you book. I don't know why, but I didn't think about this and I do care. I use www.seatguru.com to check the location of specific seats. They gave us the "worst" seats in Business (if there is such a thing). I was able to change my AA flight seats, but I think I am going to have to call JAL to change the seats on those flights.
Kristina is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 595
I'm making a similar trip in November flying over Cathay and coming back JL. I was on the phone at 330 days out. AA let me book the outbound, and held it until the seats for the return opened up. I took the routing I could get at the time, which is MCI-DFW-YVR (7 hour layover, yech!)- HKG-HKT outbound. Return is BKK-NRT-ORD-MCI on JL. I hoped to be able to change it as time went on. I have been calling every week since January and there are no award seats from any other west coast city. Cathay recently just cut a lot of flights. You'll probably have better luck with JAL. They haven't cut back yet. Seats on Cathay aren't available for awards travel anymore due to the cuts.
susiesan is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 02:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,400
My saga continues.

I just found out that I cannot change to the Cathay flight for free. I was given the wrong information. There would be a $150 per ticket "change of carrier" fee. For me, it's not worth $300 to save 4 hrs travel time.

In addition, the "Operated by JL for JO" is on Jalways, a subsidiary of JAL.

LCB, let us know what you decide to do.
Kristina is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 09:02 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,870
We flew JAL Business using AA miles from LAX to NRT to BKK - wonderful experience. The return from NRT to LAX was AA - no comparison. That was two years ago, and as you said, AA business might have improved by now.

December was an ideal time to visit Bangkok and Siem Reap. It was slightly too chilly in the Golden Triangle area.
crosscheck is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 04:42 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 549
You are looking to book either a partner award, or an one world award depending on the stopovers you want to have.
AA and OW recently made some changes regarding holding the outbound to ticket the return. So you might not have the same luck as susie did. OT, hello to susie from a fellow mci flyer!

If you want serious help with the award seats, you should try flyertalk.com, go to the AA forum and there are tons of threads about using AA miles to asia.

You will have much better luck getting an award on JL than CX.

It might also be helpful to checkout expertflyer.com it is a pay site, I think like $9 a month, but you can set up alerts for when seats open up on the flights you want and really pays for itself even if you use it for this one trip and cancel it!

Just curious how many AA miles do you have? Do you use any the of AA citi cards? My wife and I have over a hald million miles on AA mostly from the citit cards!
travelduo is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 05:01 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 595
Have you been to Cambodia? We are going there too as part of this trip. First week a cruise on the Star Clipper from Phuket (hope the protests will be over by November) then to Cambodia on our own.
I just recently got million miles gold from AA points. Most accumulated from using and churning credit cards. Sounds like we do the same things with points.
email me if you want to talk susiesan at kc.rr.com
susiesan is offline  

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