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Should we use our miles for a trip to Asia or Europe?

Should we use our miles for a trip to Asia or Europe?

Apr 22nd, 2006, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Like some others here, I like to think in terms of multiple trips. Also, rather than having to choose between either Asia or Europe (or Australia or Africa), I also consider Round the World tickets. RTW tickets tend to be more expensive when you begin the trip in the US. For example, a business-class RTW on Star Alliance that costs $7,400 costs only $4,760 in Thailand. The same ticket in economy costs $3,800 in the States and $2,486 in Thailand.

So, I'll use a frequent flier ticket to go to Thailand (or other country where RTWs are inexpensive), then fly home on the RTW ticket, stopping here and there on the way. After several months at home I'll continue on my RTW ticket until I get back to where I started the RTW. Then, I'll use the return portion of my frequent flier ticket to get home to the States. Because both RTW tickets and frequen flier tickets are valid for 1 year, it works out perfectly. And, I rack up lots and lots and lots of FF miles on my RTW ticket.
DonTopaz is online now  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 01:02 PM
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Just to say I agree with Gpanda that with the weak dollar Asia is a great deal - it's the reason we're heading there in July again!

DrZZ I have to clarify your advice on United...I just called them to check and you certainly can change your dates WITHOUT incuring any costs prior to departure...as long as there is FF availability and you don't change the routin - ie you still have the same arrival and departure cities.

They let me know that an itinerary on a partner airline cannot be change once you have begun the trip but an all United itinerary can be change if there is availability.

Hope this helps!
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 01:24 PM
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rizzuto - love your idea. It'll be a few more years before I expect I can really use your strategy!
Kathie is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:23 PM
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I recommend that you use your miles to go where you want to go and don't be too concerned about "maximizing" the value.

I assume that you are not Premier Executive in Mileage Plus and that you aren't chasing FF elite status. In that case, I recommend that you not use your miles for an upgrade.

You mentioned Hong Kong and Bangkok. You can use your United miles to fly to both cities on the same award. You would get a ticket to Bangkok with a free stopover in Hong Kong. Assuming that you are flying from the USA you would fly United between Hong Kong and USA and Thai between Bangkok and Hong Kong. You could make your stopover in either direction, but only once.

You could buy 30,000 miles for $866 and then you would be able to get a business class award to Asia. Or buy 20,000 miles for $587 to get a business class ticket to Europe. Purchased miles get deposited in your account in 3-5 business days, according to:

OR get a United Mileage Visa card with a 20,000 mile bonus. This will take about 6 weeks before you get the miles, though.

The best of United miles, though, might be a business class roundtrip to New Zealand with a stopover in Tahiti for 90,000 miles.

A coach r/t to Asia costs 60,000 mileage plus miles. A business r/t costs 90,000 miles. Therefore, the upgrade only costs 30,000 miles roundtrip (plus the ~15000 miles not earned).

A good price for a coach ticket to BKK is $900 which makes the 60,000 miles worth 1.5 cents. This is good deal.

Just because a business class tickets costs $5000 more than a coach class ticket does not mean it is worth it. It is not worth it if you are not willing to pay the price. Apparently, to some it is worth $1800 plus 60,000 miles. At 1,5 cents a mile, the miles are worth $900. That means that your business class ticket would be worth $2700 to you (plus the 50% mileage/EQM bonus that would not be earned).

"They" used to say that it costs 2 cents a mile to earn FF miles but was not easy to get an award that would be worth much more than 1 cent a mile, so that if the price of the ticket vs the miles came out to be 1.5 cents per mile then you had a good deal. This was several years ago, before you could get double miles for buying bananas at Safeway.

Actually, the miles cost a penny a piece. You can get a mileage earning cc that gives a mile per dollar. Or you can get a cc with a 1% cash rebate. So that mile earned is worth the penny rebate because that is what you are willing to pay for it. Actually less, since you can get 2 miles for each $ of bananas, and if you register your safeway card with mileage plus, can earn 125 miles for every $250 worth of groceries.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:38 PM
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I'm starting to feel sorry for JennyP who now knows far more about FF miles that she wanted to!!!
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 03:16 PM
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Definately do the free ticket to BKK with a free stopover in HKG..Next year, with my Cathay Pacific Asia Miles I am doing the free ticket to Delhi with a stopover in HKG.

TracyB is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 03:15 PM
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Thank you all for the wealth of information. You all have been extremely helpful.

I think I will just go ahead and use my FF miles for a free ticket to Asia. Although it would be nice to fly business, we're hoping to save the money for other trips.
JennyP is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 05:11 PM
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JennyP, I just booked out flight to New Zealand using our United ff miles, and the previous posts are very right. If you call and they tell you there is no availablilty, simply say okay and call back. It depends who is helping you. Some are willing to go the extra mile and look at different routing or different days, other don't want to help. I was told there was no availability and I called back 2 hours later and they had about 5 different options for me (things change frequently).

Also, you can change the times and dates of you flights up to around 3 days before you leave as long as the routing and airlines are the same for NO fee. If you need to make a change with the routing, then they charge you $100 per ticket.

So my advice is, if your dates are flexible, take what they have available and make sure the routing is available on the day you prefer, you can always call back and try to see if the day you wanted is available. This way you at least have a ticket although it may not be exactly what you originally wanted.

Also, be flexible and willing to change planes. Our flight to Christchurch has us stopping in Sydney.

One last thing, you definately have to call them (even though the charge a small fee to reserve over the phone). They only have United flights available online. The agent can access all of the partners only by phone.

I would also not use the extra miles for Business. The flights to Asia are very comfortable in coach and save the miles for another trip. We have already used our miles to go to South Africa and now New Zealand.
24Lisa is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 05:21 PM
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Lisa - You have to be a very small person or just joking to say that the flights to Asia are "very" comfortable in coach or maybe you know of an airline (certainly not United) that I do not know of.
Craig is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 06:47 PM
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JennyP - If you have the money, use the miles for upgrading. Buy you could try another option. This was my experience. I always try to fly on midweek to destinations in Asia. That way you can find more seat availables for you. In my case I flew from San Juan, Puerto Rico, To New York-Tokyo and Bangkok, and had lines of seats to choose (could even sleep laying down). With the American Airlines FF program I Just paid around 50 dollars for taxes for the whole trip (2,200 dollars each - we were two -if I have to pay). I used the money for the tickets for paying my trip to Thailand and Cambodia.
gilawi01 is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 02:46 AM
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Craig, I am only 5'4" but my boyfriend is 6' and he agreed that the flight "wasn't that bad".

But your right, I wasn't refering to United, I was refering to Singapore Airlines. The flight on United was NOT comfortable. Sorry, I should have said that to begin with.
24Lisa is offline  
May 24th, 2006, 04:53 PM
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I tried upgrading on United's partners for a trip to Europe. Don't bother. United and TAP and SwissAir would not allow upgrades on their European partners. United said (4 different agents on the phone and at the Red Carpet Club)that only Lufthansa and Air Canada would honor United FF miles for upgrades or even seats. So, why the heck are they called partners??? I've cancelled my United VISA card that helped create miles and have switched to a card that allows points for a variety of airlines. I'm using up my United miles and and am purposely flying other airlines to gather FF miles. Also, United is upsetting their Red Carpet Club members by closing many clubs at 5pm ! However, I was delighted with service aboard Swiss Air --in economy!
kerbe is offline  
May 24th, 2006, 05:01 PM
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Why get upset with UA? Most airlines partnerships do not allow upgrading with Airline A's FF miles on a flight operated by Airline B. There are a few exceptions, but it's rare.

Nothing unusual about this.
rkkwan is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 02:45 PM
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kerbe, you mentioned "purposely flying other airlines to gather FF miles". Best that you stick to one airline or carriers in the same airline partnership to consolidate your miles into one account. But you ought to research the rules for the FF program before you use it and are disappointed again because you didn't know the rules.

I didn't know that MP miles could be used for upgrades on Air Canada. Upgrade availability on other Star Alliance carriers is "coming soon" (see www.united.com/starupgrades). I expect it will be 30,000 miles each way on Y/B fares only.
mrwunrfl is online now  
May 26th, 2006, 10:21 PM
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Katiemay is offline  

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