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Old Jun 4, 12, 6:24 am   #1
 
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Best *A Carrier for UA Award Travel to China in F from NYC

Hi All,

I am planning a trip to China for early next year, would like to experience First Class for the first time (having done Business to Asia on JAL, AA, CO, ANA in the past).

Looking for some insight as to how best use my UA miles for this award, which carrier would give the most impressive experience and how easy/likely it is to be able to find award availability on them.

I did enjoy the ANA business product from NRT to JFK in the past, and am looking at Singapore, ANA as being the most likely options - any insight on what I am missing here?

Also, I would be looking for the saver award level, which seems hard to find - are these viable for such types of redemption?

Appreciate any ideas on this - even such as going with an European Carrier instead and having a layover somewhere if the product is that much better.

Thanks all!

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jun 4, 12 at 8:03 am. Reason: vague thread title
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Old Jun 4, 12, 7:40 am   #2
 
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Asiana would be my top choice.
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Old Jun 4, 12, 9:14 am   #3
 
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I got 2 United first, saver pass in October. EWR via ORD to HKG.
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Old Jun 4, 12, 9:23 am   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infomark View Post
United first
OP asked which carriers were likely to give him the "most impressive experience".

SQ (very limited F availability), NH and OZ are all widely praised -- start by seeing what's available for your dates (and don't underestimate the importance of limiting connections and overall trip duration). For some dates (especially close in) you may also see LH or other very acceptable options via Europe.
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Old Jun 4, 12, 9:28 am   #5
 
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Singapore F awards are essentially not available going TPAC. Once upon a time, you could redeem them on their 747s, but those are gone now - F awards are blocked for TPAC on the A380 and 777.

I have not used ANA or Asiana, but I've heard they are excellent. I have used TG F in the past and it is wonderful - service both on the ground and in the air always exceed my expectations.

Air China is supposed to have a very nice new F product on some of their equipment, but the trip reports I've read indicate service is spotty at best.

One other idea: have you considered going via Europe? If you can get a LH or LX F award, you are in for a major treat.
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Old Jun 4, 12, 9:32 am   #6
 
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I've heard great things about Qatari, but that is going to be a short-lived option.

Lufthansa First looks to be a phenomenal product.

I'm trying to figure out the best Business or First class award routing for IAD-AKL-DOH-IAD. Despite being home to a Star Alliance carrier, surprisingly AKL is very tough to get to on an award.
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Old Jun 4, 12, 9:36 am   #7
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OZ has great F availability, NH not so much (out of NYC that is), nor SQ.
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Old Jun 4, 12, 11:57 am   #8
 
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Thanks for the input so far - I checked out a few of them and LH does look excellent.

I guess the other concern is making sure that I don't get codeshare metal when doing this (if I am doing it for the experience). I just checked to see about availability for Asiana from NYC and only found 2 options, both flying on Air Canada and Air China metal (using Expedia as that seems to be their booking site?).

If I go for the LH 2 weeks out are these going to open up as Saver awards?
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Old Jun 4, 12, 12:21 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynmatt View Post
Thanks for the input so far - I checked out a few of them and LH does look excellent.

I guess the other concern is making sure that I don't get codeshare metal when doing this (if I am doing it for the experience). I just checked to see about availability for Asiana from NYC and only found 2 options, both flying on Air Canada and Air China metal (using Expedia as that seems to be their booking site?).

If I go for the LH 2 weeks out are these going to open up as Saver awards?
If you go through Europe, don't you need to redeem 2 awards to get to Asia? I think you have to get the most direct routing. UA has always charged me two awards for going to Asia through Europe as going through the Pacific is considered the most direct route. You should double check that.
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Old Jun 4, 12, 12:22 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynmatt View Post
If I go for the LH 2 weeks out are these going to open up as Saver awards?
They often do, but there's no way of being sure. It varies a lot by route and season, too -- not to mention holidays (including lunar new year, of course), trade fairs and other events. On some routes it is possible to spot patterns, e.g. "usually some availability on Thursdays" -- but once again these are not guaranteed at all.

Sometimes it makes sense to book an acceptable redemption and accept the costs involved in changing it to a great one nearer the date of travel -- I've recently used UA miles to book an MAA-FRA segment in LH C and will change it to F if availability opens up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycua1k View Post
If you go through Europe, don't you need to redeem 2 awards to get to Asia? I think you have to get the most direct routing.
A routing like EWR-FRA-PVG isn't really indirect -- and if you search online for award flights over the next couple of weeks you'll see it offered for the same number of miles as other options.
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Old Jun 4, 12, 2:16 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IMH View Post
They often do, but there's no way of being sure. It varies a lot by route and season, too -- not to mention holidays (including lunar new year, of course), trade fairs and other events. On some routes it is possible to spot patterns, e.g. "usually some availability on Thursdays" -- but once again these are not guaranteed at all.

Sometimes it makes sense to book an acceptable redemption and accept the costs involved in changing it to a great one nearer the date of travel -- I've recently used UA miles to book an MAA-FRA segment in LH C and will change it to F if availability opens up.



A routing like EWR-FRA-PVG isn't really indirect -- and if you search online for award flights over the next couple of weeks you'll see it offered for the same number of miles as other options.
Appreciated.

I just tried a couple of different dates and didn't see any LH in any class - do you get this by doing a multi city and forcing through FRA?
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Old Jun 4, 12, 2:38 pm   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynmatt View Post
I just tried a couple of different dates and didn't see any LH in any class - do you get this by doing a multi city and forcing through FRA?
No, just a straightforward search for (in my example) EWR-PVG. The problem is that you'll only see a particular route if there's availability of some kind (which might just be standard awards in coach). If you run through the next few weeks you'll see odd days where routings via ZRH or FRA is available -- but nothing in F. LH has drastically cut TATL F availability in recent months, which doesn't help at all.

It might take a while to find what you're looking for, but if you're flexible (and if you're only looking for one seat) then you've got a fair chance of being successful.
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Old Jun 4, 12, 2:43 pm   #13
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another choice is the long way NYC-FRA/CDG on UA followed by FRA/CDG-BKK on TG A380 F and then BKK-PEK

but in general I would avoid UA like the plague.
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Old Jun 4, 12, 11:41 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atcguy View Post

Lufthansa First looks to be a phenomenal product.
New F only, especially on the 744.

If it is old F on LH I would rather take UA new F.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nycua1k View Post
If you go through Europe, don't you need to redeem 2 awards to get to Asia? I think you have to get the most direct routing. UA has always charged me two awards for going to Asia through Europe as going through the Pacific is considered the most direct route. You should double check that.
This is a practice PMUA had. However, since new UA is using CO SHARES system, therefore you can go to Asia from US thru Europe with one award, same amount of miles like going thru TPAC, as PMCO can always use TATL to Asia from US without MPM.


Quote:
Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
OZ has great F availability, NH not so much (out of NYC that is), nor SQ.
OZ has great F availability but OZ also has the most blackout dates of all *A carriers, and the blackout dates are different from US to ICN and ICN to Asia.


Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynmatt View Post

I just tried a couple of different dates and didn't see any LH in any class - do you get this by doing a multi city and forcing through FRA?
You won't see anything especially if the LH flight is 744 or 380 unless it is short notice like less than a month out, or more like 2 weeks.

You don't need to do multi city or forcing through FRA, but try to find out all the gateways LH has from US to FRA/MUC first (rule no.1: be flexible on dates, also be flexible on routings, you may need to make an extra stop or two to get what you want), then look for the flights separate like US to FRA/MUC, then FRA/MUC to Asia to see what comes up, if you find something then piece by piece together, rather than just search US-Asia. As the past November I did ORD-HKG thru FRA, NRT, and BKK. There was nothing if I just search for ORD-HKG, and it only shows routing thru TPAC, however when I search for JFK-HKG then tons of flights comes up, and even more options when I search JFK-FRA, then FRA-HKG separately. After I got all the routings for JFK-HKG, then I called UA to find a way to link ORD-JFK together, in the end the agent find me a better routing going thru IAD in UA F instead of LH C JFK-FRA.

Last edited by ORDnHKG; Jun 5, 12 at 12:06 am.
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Old Jun 5, 12, 6:21 am   #15
 
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TPAC your best options are NH and OZ. NH availability is pretty hard to come by and usually only opens up in the week before departure. If you fancy going via Europe, LX is the best F product IMO however getting availability will be pretty tough. LH is a good compromise because availability close in isn't too bad and also the product is decent.
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