Old Sep 11, 19, 5:36 pm
Join Date: Nov 2017
Programs: United Gold, BA Exec Club, Via Rail
Posts: 3,359
Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
Congratulations! Any academic achievement is a huge milestone.
Thanks for that. I'm looking at other opportunities but know that this offer is time-sensitive so will likely accept it. One of the disadvantages (or advantages) depending on how you look at it is Oceania is very far removed from the rest of the world. Hence, conferences organized in the Americas and Europe will be the way in which I present my research findings and connect with fellow researchers. This means a ton of flying on the horizon (some of which may be GPU eligible!)

Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
Fo you know which city in Australia. I find Audtralian GPUs are rare but achievable with lots of advance planning. MEL is generally better than SYD. I needed to get to Perth in July and flew to SIN and got upgraded both ways. Then connected using miles on SQ to PER.

For SYD I will often catch NZ PE. Better ride than coach if busy time if year and upgrades are unlikely.
So what would the logical * connection options be for flights to the Americas? I'm guessing UA, NZ, SQ, NH and AC? IIRC UA and NH are both GPU eligible routes? I also have a friend who is a GS member who can sometimes sponsor my upgrades using her GPUs. I take it that will boost my chances of an upgrade occurring?

What does the connection process look like for NZ? I'm guessing you'd connect at AKL? How smooth are connections at AKL? Is it just going to the gate since you're arriving on a "domestic" flight from SYD? What are the * lounges like at SYD and AKL?

As for travel planning, I'm usually booking my flights out 3-6 months in advance. Ideally I'd like to get a confirmed upgrade on purchase and am willing to spend a little more to make that happen (i.e. a W fare or Premium Plus flight).

One final question, I have relatives and conferences next year on the East coast of the Americas region. I notice that NZ now operates an AKL > ORD flight. Have you had a chance to try out that flight? What are your thoughts? As it stands, NZ earns full PQM on K(ettle) class tickets and I don't mind the occasional long-haul flight in Y (perhaps that'll change when I'm at 100,000 miles a year).

Originally Posted by findark View Post
Australia is one of the better remaining markets for GPUs, especially if you can fly Mon/Tue/Wed on each TPAC sector. UA serves SYD-SFO/LAX/IAH and MEL-SFO/LAX on its own metal, plus the option of connecting to AKL-SFO after a SYD-AKL on NZ which I have always found to be a pleasant flight. SYD-SFO is probably the hardest to clear, but I have seen PZ space at times on all routes, and I would recommend looking for it.

W fares are consistently in the $1,600 to $2,200 range, with cheaper G/K fares crashing downwards recently (I've seen $699 r/t) as a number of new entrants have led to a heavy oversupply of seats US to Australia. In some cases it can be close to equal to just use a miles+cash upgrade instead. Don't fly during high season (13-Dec-19 to 09-Jan-20 this year) as it's ruinously expensive.
Thanks for all the info! I'm flexible on routing and in some respects wouldn't mind connecting at LAX if it means I can use the *A lounge with it's glorious shower suites than the UA FCL at SFO. From an upgrade standpoint is it better to start out with a W fare if the fare differential is small (say $200-$300 r/t)? It's also my understanding that GPUs can only be applied on W fares and above. Is it possible to get an upgrade confirmed at the time of booking, particularly if you are booking many months in advance?

Anyway, thanks everyone for the wonderful advice.

Originally Posted by findark View Post
If you need to travel within Australia domestically, there is no way to do it on Star Alliance. BA and AA offer good redemptions on QF metal (10k Y and 20k J anywhere in Oz -- BA might have gone up I'm not up-to-date on the Avios devaluation). I have flown both VA and QF and they both seem fine, although domestic sectors on long trips rarely stand out to me
Well there's always Ansett Australia... oh wait . I'm guessing Australia has cabotage rules that prevent one from taking NZ flights to connecting within Australia (i.e. SYD > MEL via AKL)?

Originally Posted by findark View Post
A fun fact.. SYD-MEL is one of the busiest routes in the world and is served nearly every 15 minutes from 6am to 10pm by QF alone.
Good to know. I'm guessing I can use my BA Avios points to book a QF domestic flight? Is it good value for money?

Safe Travels,

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