Award availability and related questions

Old Oct 29, 13, 7:19 pm
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Programs: AA PLT,AS,UA PP,J6,FB,EY,LH,SQ,HH Dmd,Hyatt Expl,Marriott Plat,IHG Plat,Accor Gold
Posts: 10,439
Question Award availability and related questions

Sorry if some of these questions are pretty basic. I've perused what seem to be various relevant threads, but am starting from a position of ignorance re Flying Blue and Air France, and may not be searching the right way.

In any event, I'm interested in obtaining business class award tickets from San Francisco to Mauritius for next year or possibly the year after. I'd use FB points that I have if I convert Amex Mileage Reward points to FB and via possible AF flights I might take. So my questions:

1. I haven't yet established an AF account in the hopes that a new account status match to my AA Exec Platinum or United 1K would help. It doesn't seem like such a match is a current option. But if it is, what is the highest FB status I could hope for?
2. It seems that high enough FB elite status opens up more award seats. Is this the case? If so, what status entitles a member to that?
3. Am I correct in assuming that without elite status I could find appropriate business class seats if I persistently search and then book 11 months in advance? Or is that unrealistic of me?
4. The appropriate booking code is O, right?
5. Once I join and can search the AF site, what is the name of the appropriate business class award for non-elite flyers? Is that Classic? And what is the name of the business class award space for elites?
6. I also assume that partner awards such as via DL. KE, Kenya Airlines and AS are less likely to yield AF business class award availability than going directly through AF. (I'm particularly interested in KE in this regard, as I have a lot of Chase Ultimate Reward points I can convert to KE's program.) Do I assume correctly?
7. I also assume that Air Mauritius is a good option for the final segment from select destinations to MRU. For example, could I book an award CDG-(AF)-DXB-(Air Maritius)-MRU?

Again, sorry that some of the questions are so basic. Thanks for any answers and any other relevant advice.
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Oct 30, 13, 4:04 am
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: Gold: A3, KL Silver: AZ, BA
Posts: 24,088
1. Unlikely any time soon, Flying Blue is all status-matched out now (Link 1, Link 2]). Besides, I have never heard of a status match in which only brand-new members were allowed to match - certainly, this is not how FB has ever matched (you could have an old, unused FB, and still get it matched if you met the terms of whatever status match campaign they ran in the past). FB have, in the past, matched right up to the top (Platinum) level, though there may not always be a direct or logical correlation between the targetted level and the matched level for every airline in question..
2. Not any more. FB scrapped extra award space for Elites, now it's open to everyone, and the extra seats cost extra miles.
3. In theory, yes. In practice, limiting yourself to one single route means that even if availability opens up, you could easily miss it.
4. Yes.
5. The names are irrelevant. See also answer 2 - your understanding of the system is wrong. Perform a search and you will see the lowest available options, presented on a calendar, for each date around your selected dates.
6. This question doesn't make much sense. You have to "go directly" to AF/KL to book a Flying Blue ticket. You can't select which airline you want to see when forming a search request (you just fill in your route, and it comes back with some- maybe not all - possibilities). Partners are typically not well represented on the online booking tool, and if you want to book KE, you will almost certainly have to ring up rather than being able to book online. (You seem not to realise that Kenya Airways uses FB as their FFP also (along with Air Europa, Tarom, Aircalin). As an American, you should already be aware of long-running issues with AF (and sporadically KL) availability on transatlantic segments not being available to book via DL's programme).
7. It is an option, but I would not assume that it is "good", or better than AF. I have no idea about how easy it is to find or book seats on Air Mauritius.

Last edited by irishguy28; Oct 30, 13 at 4:21 am
irishguy28 is offline  
Old Oct 30, 13, 2:09 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Programs: AA PLT,AS,UA PP,J6,FB,EY,LH,SQ,HH Dmd,Hyatt Expl,Marriott Plat,IHG Plat,Accor Gold
Posts: 10,439
Thanks very much, irishguy. This is all very useful.

I'm afraid, though, that I phrased my question #6 poorly. I was not asking about finding award availability on partner flights using FB miles. Rather, I was wondering whether AF award availability was more limited if using KE, DL and other partners' miles rather than FB miles. I.e., might there be AF flights available using FB miles that would not be available using, e.g., KE miles?

I suspected that was the case with DL given all the problems with its Skypesos program, though being unfamiliar with that program I did not know that for a fact until you mentioned it. But is AF award availability similarly constrained using, e.g., KE miles as opposed to FB miles?

Thanks for the clarification re Kenya Airways, by the way. You're right, I hadn't been aware of it and those other airlines being part of FB.
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Oct 30, 13, 3:51 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: Gold: A3, KL Silver: AZ, BA
Posts: 24,088
In general, members of an airline's own FFP should have the best options for booking flights on that particular airline. Some partners may be able to offer the same availability to their own fliers too; in many cases, though, partners see less availability; I am not aware of any programmes where the users of Airline B's programme have enhanced award availability on Airline A in comparison to that users of Airline A's FFP. That would seem to make little or no sense - but I guess that does not mean it could not/does not happen.

(There is a thread running at the moment about redeeming on MEA (Middle East Airlines, the Lebanese carrier) flights, whereby the AF codeshares on MEA cannot be booked via Flying Blue, but the same AF codeshares are bookable via Delta. This is somewhat anomalous though).

We rarely, if ever, hear anything from people wishing to redeem KE miles here. Presumably because such questions belong in the KE forum. Perhaps you should consult the experts over there.

But I really doubt you will find greater availability, or better prices, when booking via KE.
irishguy28 is offline  
Old Oct 30, 13, 6:53 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Ambassador, British Airways Executive Club
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Somewhere between 0 and 13,000 metres high
Programs: AF/KL Life Plat, BA GfL+CCR, Aclub Plat, Hilton Diam, Marriott Gold, blablablah, etc
Posts: 24,551
In addition to irishguy28's answer, it is worth noting that FB has moved away from single rate classic awards to enter a confusing world of multi band awards just like DL's. One of the difference between trying to redeem on 'your' programme (SM for DL, FB for AF or KL, etc) and trying to redeem on a programme's partner (use SM miles to book AF, use FB miles to book DL, etc) is that you can only access the non-lowest bands on your 'home' airlines. That means that a DL SM member won't be able to access the AF award seats NOT prices at the lowest level and conversely an AF FB member won't be able to access the DL awards that are not at the lowest level.
orbitmic is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread