Go Back   FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Credit, Debit and Prepaid Card Programs > American Express | Membership Rewards
Sign in using an external account

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Apr 14, 12, 1:04 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 5
[Newb advice] NYC to Paris using MR to upgrade

Hi all,

As you can see, I'm new to the forums, but excited by all the threads I'm reading. I'm still picking up the lingo and I promise I've done a fair amount of browsing to make sure that my questions haven't already been addressed.

My wife and I are planning on using our MR points for the first time this August. We're planning a trip to Paris for the end of the month. We'd like to fly business or first class. From what I can gather, the best way to do this is as follows:

1) Search for flights for the right dates and times.
2) Book two economy seats. Make sure that this airline accepts transfers of MR points.
3) Open a new frequent-flyer account with the airline whose tickets I just booked.
4) Transfer MR points to the frequent-flyer account.
5) Upgrade our economy seats to business or first class.
6) Enjoy the trip.

Is that the best, most optimal plan? I have a few stray questions related to the above:

a) How do I figure out what airlines will accept MR points into their frequent-flyer accounts? I looked on the AmEx site, but may not have stumbled across a list.
b) Is there a way of determining how many points I'll need for the upgrade before I transfer? I gather that the transfers cannot be reversed. It'd be a shame to transfer MR points to the airline's FF program only to fall short of two business class upgrades!

Thanks for reading this far and for any responses.
ElectricMeat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 14, 12, 1:09 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Bellingham, WA
Programs: AMEX Platinum, Delta Gold, Alaska Air MVP Gold
Posts: 409
You'll need to book 2 business or first seats. Most economy award seats are not upgradeable.

Go to any airline website and look under award reservations and that should give you an idea of how many points are needed.
jandersinc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 14, 12, 3:35 pm   #3
mia
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Moderator: American Express, Diners Club
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA 2MM Perpetual Platinum; HH & SPG Gold
Posts: 20,524
Welcome to Flyertalk.

If I understand correctly you propose to purchase economy class tickets with money and use miles to upgrade. This can be done in most frequent flyer Programs, but you must purchase an upgrade eligible fare, which excludes the lowest fares on most airlines, and there may also be a cash copayment required to upgrade, in addition to the miles . Rules for upgrading with miles vary much more than the rules for award seat redemptions. You will need to learn about these in the program specific forum for the airline, not here in the Membership Rewards forum.

The list of transfer partners is published here:

http://www.membershiprewards.com/cat...readcrumb=true
mia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 14, 12, 4:52 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 5
Thanks for the tips. From what you're saying, it sounds like I should be on the lookout for an upgrade eligible fare. I guess I'll scout out some fares and then hit the airline-specific forums for some more precise advice. Thanks also for the link.
ElectricMeat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 14, 12, 5:35 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: NYC
Programs: AA EXP, COdbaUA 1K, Hyatt Plt, Hilton GLD, SPG Plat50, Marriott Gld, Hertz PC, NEXUS/GE
Posts: 2,840
You will probably be better off booking an award in business/first class rather than trying to upgrade by a single class with miles.

Consider United. You can upgrade any fare class with cash and miles. For your coach ticket, you might pay roughly $1k r/t per ticket. You'll then fork out 30k miles (if UA were still a MR transfer partner) and $500 or so per ticket each way to upgrade to business class. In this case, you'll be spending about $2k and 60k miles per ticket.

Instead, you could transfer 90k or 105k MR points to Aeroplan (Europe 1, Europe 2, respectively) per ticket and book the same UA flights in business class with only a handful of taxes (Aeroplan doesn't levy fuel surcharges on UA operated tickets, amongst a few other Star Alliance partners).
__________________
OpenFlights - My Blog, traveling.to
2013: 102,450 UA EQM, 100,815 AA EQM, 228713 Total BIS
FlyerChrisK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 15, 12, 7:33 pm   #6
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,128
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyerChrisK View Post
Instead, you could transfer 90k or 105k MR points to Aeroplan (Europe 1, Europe 2, respectively) per ticket and book the same UA flights in business class with only a handful of taxes (Aeroplan doesn't levy fuel surcharges on UA operated tickets, amongst a few other Star Alliance partners).
Except finding Business/First availability on United is like winning the lottery. Good luck. Maybe a legacy CO flight out of EWR, but I'm doubtful.
JFKLAX321 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 12, 6:20 am   #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Trapped inside the Matrix
Posts: 2,422
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzkaiser View Post
Except finding Business/First availability on United is like winning the lottery. Good luck. Maybe a legacy CO flight out of EWR, but I'm doubtful.
+1

Additionally, Non-elites on united have less than stellar award/upgrade availability on most flights.
TommyC80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 12, 10:57 am   #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Programs: CO, BA, UA, AA, PC, HH, MARRIOT, HYATT, MR, STARWOOD
Posts: 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzkaiser View Post
Except finding Business/First availability on United is like winning the lottery. Good luck. Maybe a legacy CO flight out of EWR, but I'm doubtful.
I am pretty new but have never ever found it a problem to book bus/first on United.
Given your rather quick booking window, i don't know.
edit
I should say "book through" United as many times its another *A carrier
finite7777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 12, 10:24 pm   #9
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Programs: SPG Gold, Delta PM
Posts: 269
It's a tough redemption. Another approach to the MR points to AC (Air Canada) transfer for a UA (United) partner award in J (business class) would be an MR to NH (ANA) transfer for a UA partner award in J. It will cost you significantly more in taxes and surcharges (can't remember exactly but I think you should be prepared for $500-$700 each), but fewer MR points (68,000 x 2 = 136,000 due to the distance-based NH award chart). It could be worth considering if you don't have enough MR Points to cover the AC redemption, and are willing to spend some cash.
I must say that with all the airlines now charging crazy fees for award tickets (BA, ANA etc.), I basically look at the miles/points as an upgrade tool for my "base fare". Also since as pointed out upthread, upgradeable fares are prohibitively expensive.
And by the way, according to the NH search engine, which is great for Star Alliance availabilty, it can be done either way on UA for EWR-CDG 8/18 @ 21:20 (double checking on ExpertFlyer shows 3 seats in I inventory) - CDG-EWR 8/26 @ 13:10 (ExpertFlyer shows 2 seats in I inventory) - but who knows how long that will last as there is virtually no other I2 for a week around those dates in either direction, so I would act quickly.
And whatever you do, get yourself an ExpertFlyer membership to check inventory right before you transfer any miles to any program, and beware that transfers to NH are not instantaneous - can't speak for sure about AC but I think I they are.

Last edited by snaporaz; Apr 16, 12 at 10:38 pm.
snaporaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8, 13, 12:42 pm   #10
 
Join Date: May 2013
Programs: MR, CO, VS
Posts: 1
I have a similar question to this one [Newb advice] NYC to Paris (RT) using MR

I have been lurking on the forums for years, but don't have too many miles. Thanks in advance for your help. I have about 111,000 points through Amex MR. I wanted to travel RT to Paris with my bf this month (May 2013) or next (June 2013). I've been reading the various posts. Do you have any advice on a reasonable MR redemption + payment for miles? Wanted to save money on tickets - currently looking at $1100 RT/pp on SAS, but perhaps it doesn't make sense to redeem points for a trip to Paris.

I have a regular Amex Gold and have a handful of miles on CO, VS, Amtrak Guest Rewards, and Cathay Pacific. Perhaps it's time I get a SPG? I don't spend or travel that much, so weighing that vs a Fidelity Amex (or other option).

Thanks for your help and hope that I can contribute in the future. My only comment is that if you need to take Amtrak in the NY region, searching the forums is a good way to find some discounts - there's an I Love NY promotion until May 28 - http://www.iloveny.com/What-To-Do/Re..._discount.aspx.
treeflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8, 13, 1:44 pm   #11
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: NYC
Programs: DL GM, AA Plat, Hertz 5*
Posts: 1,118
Quote:
Originally Posted by JFKLAX321 View Post
Except finding Business/First availability on United is like winning the lottery. Good luck. Maybe a legacy CO flight out of EWR, but I'm doubtful.
I've found it pretty readily available, certainly more so than, say, Delta. That said, for most carriers (not all, but most), the fare bucket out of which mileage upgrades come is the same bucket for full award seats. In other words, if there aren't award seats to be booked, there won't be (mileage) upgrade awards to be booked either.
cestmoi123 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 4:16 pm.