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Old Jul 9, 12, 7:29 am   #1
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Los Angeles
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Asia travel optimization with OW preference

I just went on a trip last month NYC-CPH (3 day stop) - NBO (5 day destination) - NYC all in business for 120K UA miles and had a great time. Thanks flyertalk!

I am trying to plan a trip to Asia this winter. This time, it's a bit complicated as I am trying to work with a few people to get it all done. I have about 120K UA, 100K SPG, 55K AA, 40K US, 80K BA, 35K AS and about to get another 50K BA expected to post in a few weeks. Let's assume no one else can apply for credit cards.

My plan currently is to fly NYC-HNL (stop for 4 days) - REP (destination) - travel around Thailand for 10 days - return HKT-NYC. This is all 120K UA miles in business or 65k in economy. I am planning to spend 120K UA to do this in business and found availability on my dates.

Once one gets into Thailand, short flights are supercheap so I plan to make my way around Thailand to HKT on local airlines.

2 people are going with me to HNL. One lives in SFO and one in LAX and I am thinking I can arrange a use of the Alaska Airlines companion certificate if they can both get in one place.

A third person is meeting me in Asia. I know I can transfer SPG to US Air and have her do an open jaw NYC-REP, HKT-NYC, but I am also trying to see whether I can use the BA/AA miles on this as that allows me to hold on to *A and more SPG. However, flying to REP without miles is expensive and I don't know which alliance airlines fly there other than Asiana. I suppose we can also meet in Phnom Penh and go to Siem Reap together, but it's just so much more convenient to go straight to Siem Reap and go into Thailand once we are done with Angkor Wat.

As a side question, how is Asiana business class? Highly worth it and comparable to Thai/Cathay?

Thanks in advance for all your help!
Aphrodite91 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 9, 12, 10:09 am   #2
 
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OW carriers in Asia include Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Malaysian. You should check if any of these airlines fly into the destination you are looking for. Thai Air is the major *A airline serving that part of Asia, though you have several options for the TPAC flight including United, Asiana, ANA, and Singapore.
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Old Jul 9, 12, 11:21 am   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aphrodite91 View Post
However, flying to REP without miles is expensive and I don't know which alliance airlines fly there other than Asiana.
Korean Air has flight to REP, but I think Thai Airways is a better option. You can transfer your SPG points to Delta or directly to Thai Airways to redeem for an award flight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aphrodite91 View Post
As a side question, how is Asiana business class? Highly worth it and comparable to Thai/Cathay?
I found the new lie-flat seat on the 777 to be pretty comfortable. It's a little bit narrow, but I'm a little guy, so it didn't bother me much because I still have a little bit of room for lateral movement. I found it to be better and more comfortable than the business class seat on Cathay's 747

I haven't flown business class on Thai Airline so I can't comment on that.
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Old Jul 9, 12, 1:00 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aphrodite91 View Post
I suppose we can also meet in Phnom Penh and go to Siem Reap together, but it's just so much more convenient to go straight to Siem Reap and go into Thailand once we are done with Angkor Wat.
I would urge you to consider meeting in Phnom Penh, especially if it is less expensive and/or easier to arrange. Too many people go to Cambodia but only see Angkor Wat. It is a very interesting country and worth spending more time in. You could fly into PP, spend two days there, then catch a bus to Siem Reap. There are tons of buses and they are cheap. The bus ride itself will be an experience and will allow you to see a lot of the countryside. It's by no means luxurious, but I highly recommend it.
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Old Jul 9, 12, 3:10 pm   #5
 
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A good resource for figuring out which airlines serve a particular aiport is wikipedia. I usually just type the airport code and "wiki" into Google and it comes right up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siem_Re...tional_Airport

There's a complete list of airlines and destinations
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Old Jul 9, 12, 3:16 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuongduong View Post
Korean Air has flight to REP, but I think Thai Airways is a better option. You can transfer your SPG points to Delta or directly to Thai Airways to redeem for an award flight.

I haven't flown business class on Thai Airline so I can't comment on that.
TG does not serve REP. Bangkok Airways has a monopoly on flights to/from REP serving Thailand.

TG business class is not that great. They are talking about upgrades but it will take some time. Angled lie-flat seats. 2-3-2 config in most cases.
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Old Jul 9, 12, 3:24 pm   #7
 
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So it seems the only OW airline that really flies to Siem Reap is Malaysia, but it doesn't seem to fly to JFK (not coming up on Kayak). I'd probably have to use the AA partner awards chart and since Siem Reap is 8000 miles away, it would cost a ton of miles this way.

@sk8uno:
While I appreciate Phnom Penh may be interesting and Cambodia an interesting country, the primary purpose of the trip is to visit places in Thailand so I prefer not to inconvenience ourselves with a long bus ride and spend less time in Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Phi Phi to see more or Cambodia. I suppose you're pointing out that starting in Phnom Penh won't be a total waste of time as it could be nice to see, but it's just not a high priority on this trip.

@cuongduong
Thanks for the review! Somehow, I didn't realize that Asiana has lie flat seats... well, that could be because I am going from Hawaii, but they are showing up as 168 degree recline on seatguru. Though Seatguru has been wrong before and doesn't seem extremely up to date on plane modifications. Is this the case?
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Old Jul 9, 12, 3:48 pm   #8
 
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Why doesn't your friend fly into REP from Phnom Penh or Singapore. Flights are about $60 from Phnom Penh (AnkorAir) or $75 from SIN (JetStar). I am sure there are other cheap flights as well. Even if your friend is not an experienced traveler, changing planes in SIN is easy and quite pleasant.
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Old Jul 9, 12, 4:07 pm   #9
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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No worries about my friend finding her way. She was actually a China analyst and regularly traveled to China for weeks at a time several times a year. She was also born in Shanghai.

That's actually a great idea. Maybe I can even arrange an under 24 hr stop in Singapore and have it not count as a stop . I would love to see Singapore and actually have friends there. It seems OW doesn't fly to Phnom Penh from NY either (didn't check before so that Phnom Penh discussion was a moot point) and tickets from Singapore are around about $150-$200 and a ton of airlines fly there, including AA, Cathay, Japan. Definitely a good option. I'll have to work on it.

I know, sounds obvious, but I am new to this miles optimization business.

Last edited by Aphrodite91; Jul 9, 12 at 4:57 pm.
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