I'm looking to burn some of my remaining 280k GP miles on a family vacation this summer. Traveling with children from here in the DC area, Costa Rica has always been far and away our best option. There are Taca flights from IAD-SAL with very convenient connections to SJO. All other options to that I've explored using the current partners involve too many transfers or an overnight stay in SAL to catch early morning flights.
This summer, we have been invited to NYC for a few free days at the Manhattan Club. Since we've been to Costa Rica before, I'm trying to figure out if there are any GP destinations that can be more easily reached from NYC than WAS. We could either do a RT from NYC or do an open jaw in either direction to/from WAS/NYC. Does anyone have any good ideas? If not, I'm sure we will enjoy a return trip Costa Rica. Thanks.
Jun 8, 04, 10:14 am
dhacker, how many miles are you planning to burn???
Let me assume some things.... ;)
1. You want to fly coach to maximize remaining benefit.
2. You would rather stretch the 280k over 2 trips instead of just 1.
3. I'll consider options for 2 sets of 4- 35k tickets.
Now, I don't know how you're getting from DC to NYC, but I would prefer to overnight somewhere on the return to be able to fly into DC vs. fly to NYC and have to ground transfer back to DC.
So, saying that..................
One challenge re. schedules and GlobalPass is it's hard to connect from DC south of Central America in one day---- however, the early early LACSA JFK-SJO flight leaves early enough to make quick SJO connections.
The 35k award is good for Central America, plus Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela--- I would strongly recommend you check out one of those places. Remember you can use up to 2 partner carriers, meaning you have the Avianca and Aeropostal domestic systems at your disposal.-- and with a 2pm LACSA arrival into BOG and a 3:15pm departure from BOG (or a 3:30pm LACSA arrival in CCS and a 4:25pm departure), you'd have enough time to connect on and back.
I would try to hit someplace you can't easily get to otherwise with other mileage programs--- I'm thinking something off the beaten path like Curacao; Margarita Island, Venezuela; Medellin or Barranquila, Colombia... along those lines. For return connections, fly as far as SJO in one day, overnight, then from SJO via SAL to IAD the following day. Remember that SJO airport taxes are much cheaper than SAL, so for 4 people, I would prefer the SJO overnight.
Just a few thoughts. I'm trying hard to find an AeroPostal route map.....
Jun 8, 04, 10:59 am
Thanks, this is just the kind of help thinking through options that I was looking for. I like your ideas about the SJO overnight on the return, and I don't mind taking Amtrak to and/or from NYC.
But let's assume that we want to travel up front and don't mind blowing the entire 280k in one trip. So that means anything for 70k per business class award. I'm very interested in possible routings to Curacao or Margarita, less so Colombia due to the civil war there. I would also be interested in Belize or Roatan, but they are unreachable from IAD with the SAL overnight. Are there even any hotels near the airport in SAL?
I know very little about destinations in South America other than Quito and Cuzco. I'm looking for somewhere I can take kids aged 10 and 13 without too many hassles. Peru, including Cuzco and maybe one other spot might work out well if I can make it down there in a day. However, I believe an overnight in LIM would be required to catch the early morning flights Cuzco.
Also, didn't there used to be a limit on flight segments in LP awards (maybe 3 in each direction)?
Jun 8, 04, 5:54 pm
But let's assume that we want to travel up front and don't mind blowing the entire 280k in one trip. So that means anything for 70k per business class award.
You will have difficulty trying to score 4 business class seats on any one flight. This said, Avianca's 767 service out of NY is a nice run with a good arrival time.
I'm very interested in possible routings to Curacao or Margarita, less so Colombia due to the civil war there. My wife and I visited Margarita Island 2 years ago and I would not recommend it. The island is littered from shore to shore and unless you like dry arid landscapes, this will not satisfy the typical image of a Caribbean destination. (Booze is cheap!).
I know very little about destinations in South America other than Quito and Cuzco. I'm looking for somewhere I can take kids aged 10 and 13 without too many hassles.
I would recommend Trinidad & Tobago (using Aeropostal and either a Taca or AV connection) via Caracas. I have not been to Roatan but I hear it is nice, and of course B.A. , Argentina is a winner with Avianca.
Other than that - travelling with kids always highlights the obvious - take a direct flight (San Salvador) and spend time in one resort by the coast.
Jun 8, 04, 5:55 pm
:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
I did a long, detailed, beautiful response with loads and loads of schedules, connections, etc..... but FT timed out when I went to post. It's all gone now. :mad:
I would scratch Belize and Roatan options. Both are reachable by CO, or by cheap cruise ship in the future.
Good, plentiful connections via CCS onto Aeropostal to Margarita Island or Maracaibo, Venezuela. Many flight options.
Long same day connection to Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Overnight connection to Curacao.
Remember high CCS tax if you leave security.
Good, plentiful connections via BOG onto Avianca to Cartagena or Barranquilla, Colombia. Safety transiting BOG airport shouldn't be much issue. Cartagena and Barranquilla are fairly safe from what I understand (from Colombian friends). Private message flyinfroggie--- the FT resident expert on Colombia. ;)
If you decide you want to fly Biz, then your 280k / 4 will only net one set of Biz tickets--- to upper or to lower South America. May as well head to Lower. If you do, I suggest Bolivia, as you can't easily get there otherwise. Connections as follows:
From JFK, long connection in SJO, then short connection in LIM. Flight goes LIM to La Paz, continues to Santa Cruz. For the return, early AM from Bolivia to LIM, quick connection to SJO, quick connection to SAL, and quick connection to IAD--- arrive that night. Same day travel to IAD doesn't connect from upper South America--- only for travel via LIM. Will work to/from Buenos Aires and Santiago (SJO--LIM continues to/from SCL)-- but I would suggest you wait on EZE/SCL until later as they are easier to reach on other carriers.
Jun 8, 04, 6:02 pm
Notes: if you want to fly back into IAD, and GP only allows 2 int'l carriers, you are limited to either using Grupo Taca//Aeropostal for Venezuela/Caribbean, or you could use TACA//Avianca to/from Colombia.... but you wouldn't be able to take Avianca out of NYC and still hit non-CCS Venezuela. ;)
Other thing I asked in my original reply was if you wanted cultural/historical sights, nature, or beaches.
Jun 9, 04, 6:18 am
Thanks! I hate when I lose a long detailed post. There's a lot of great information here that helps me understand the connection possibilites better. We are more intereted in natural beauty and beached than historical sites, with exceptions like ancient ruins or sites like Machu Picchu. Bolivia sounds like it's worth some research. Is there any limit on segments per award or am I just mis-remembering the two carrier limit?
I'm not particularly worried about going somewhere no one else flys, I also wonder about family friendly itineraries from SCL or EZE. How hard/expensive is it to get to Iguazu Falls or other places within Argentina? Is it safe driving around in a rental car?
Just found some good information over on FT Travel about EZE:
Yeah, max connections. That was another thing I lost... :mad:
I myself have had GP reservations with as many as 8 segs and 2 airlines, no problem. The number of segments shouldn't be an issue.
Going to Iguazu will require an airport transfer in Buenos Aires.... or you can go via GRU/Sao Paolo with no airport transfer. Iguazu has cities/airports on both the Argentine and Brazilian sides.
(>>>> If you check out Angel Falls in Venezuela, you can make 2 trips in coach! ;) )
Jun 9, 04, 9:59 am
You can use GP carrier Southern Winds to go from Arepaqua, local airport in Buenos Aires to Iguazu. 20,000 miles. I was told it could not be combined with EZE ticktet, stopovers are not allowed anyway.
Found you can buy ticket in Argentina round trip to Igauzu for about $100. made little sense to use 20,000 miles. Did not rent car when I was there in December but remember it was quite expensive.
Iguazu is great and if you have some Starwood points the Sheraton is great.