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Newbie trying to sort out what direction I should go on

Newbie trying to sort out what direction I should go on

Old Mar 20, 10, 3:30 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2009
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Newbie trying to sort out what direction I should go on

We were and still are Alaska Airline mileage holders for many years while we lived in Alaska. We are now in Germany, and most of our flying in and out has been on Lufthansa, US Airways, or United. It looked like the best bet to get a Miles and More card to apply miles to in this case. A couple of times my hubby had to fly AA but we put those on our Alaska mileage plan.

Bottom line is, he is a USAF employee so he cannot always pick his airline.

This is where we are standing right now

Alaska Air miles accrued

Me-150,xxx

Hubby-59,xxx

Son-45,xxx

(we did miles towards trips when we lived there so not a ton left)

Now we have on Miles and More these amounts accrued since last summer 2009

Me-30xxx

Hubby - 36xxx (says also status miles 8381?)
Hubby will be accruing mileage for the flight back from SLC next week to FRA so that is not included there

Son-16557

Our son and I will be flying to PHX and back this summer probably on a Star Alliance Affiliate so that will add more in

What I am trying to figure out, if our goal is to fly business or first class Christmas 2011, which direction we should go? Should we try to start flying on AA more often and save and put that into our Alaska Air 'pot' and then try to fly Quantas or something? Should we figure out how to get more miles into our MnM accounts? Not sure how, we fly mostly Air Berlin, German Wings and Ryan Air around Europe. That is a bummer since none of them give miles to these programs and we have easily done 10k in flying in Europe since summer.

Anyhoo, what are your suggestions? Are there any tricks for 'moving' miles from our AK Air account to MnM or visa versa?

Any help is appreciated, we have been promising our little guy the Great Barrier Reef for years.
kristen1nv is offline  
Old Mar 20, 10, 4:35 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Programs: AS MVPG
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Originally Posted by kristen1nv View Post
Are there any tricks for 'moving' miles from our AK Air account to MnM or visa versa?
Nothing that will be worthwhile, if its even possible. I'm not sure how much it costs for a Europe to Australia award using AS miles (it doesn't look like its published, you would probably have to call.)

Without being able to pick the airline, it looks like it will be tough. You are probably the only one with enough miles to get a business ticket right now. Does MnM have a Cash + Miles option? That would lower the amount of miles you need, but increase the cost. Maybe do a couple of mileage runs? I've seen fares for less than $300 to the US from Germany in the past (maybe make it a mini-vacation.) Sign up for any promotions (usually can be found on Flyertalk) for earning bonus miles for things such as renting cars, hotels etc. Could also figure out how many miles it would be to upgrade to First/Business in each program, then how much the cheapest ticket would be that allows upgrades.

Bottom line, figure out how many miles you need in each program, how many miles you will be earning in future travel, and looks for bonus mileage promotions. Good luck

Edit: Just noticed you cross posted this a couple of times. That's a no-no, and the thread's will probably be merged.
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Old Mar 20, 10, 6:36 pm
  #3  
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Yes, OP's other identical thread-starter message in TravelBuzz has been spiked.

I can say a couple of things for sure: there's no point in feeding both your LH and AS accounts in parallel unless you want to split up and fly separately to Australia. There's no cost-effective transfer trick to consolidate your AS and LH accounts AFAIK, and there may not be any at all.

An AS business-class award from North America to Australia is 110,000 miles on Qantas, 120,000 miles on Cathay Pacific or 125,000 on Korean Air. The Europe-Australia redemption table is not publicly posted, I imagine the question hardly ever comes up for MP members, but let's assume it's in the same zone. You'd need at least 220,000-250,000 miles for two business class tickets via Mileage Plus, 330,000 to 375,000 for three.

You're a long way off, especially as you will need to start looking for Christmas 2011 seats in February 2011, when inventory begins to dribble out. Christmas is peak travel season to Australia.

As neither hubby nor son are likely to accrue 120,000 MP miles independently in the next 11 months, you should think about transferring their miles into your account to make one big lump / household account. You can transfer up to 30,000 miles per year at a cost of $10 per thousand miles, so for hubby's account you'd want to do two transfers, one in late 2010, one in early 2011.

I don't know if outside-US residents are eligible, but if you and your hubby each get a B of A Alaska Airlines Signature Visa, that's another 50,000 miles for the two of you. Add up your balance, your transfers, and the Visa bonuses, and you're at about 300,000 miles -- nearly there.

If your son flies AA, KL or DL to PHX this summer instead of a Star Alliance carrier and credits the flights to his AS account, that's another 10,000 or so miles. (Don't fly BA; they're an Alaska partner but they only give 25% of miles flown for discount economy tickets.) Assuming you are shooting for a lump sum of at least 330,000 AS miles, you should be able to make up the balance through Visa spending or some random trips around Europe. Stop flying RyanAir, etc. and book KL or AF around Europe instead. Also look at the other extracurricular earning opportunities AS offers:

http://www.alaskaair.com/as/mileagep...gePartners.asp

Again, not sure how many of these are off-limits to you as European residents, but check them out.

The mileage transfers mentioned above will set you back several hundred dollars, but think of the outlay in the context of the $30,000 worth of business class plane tickets you are trying to score.

If you don't want to pursue the above strategy the alternative, I think, is to try to amass 220,000 +/- AS miles, enough for parent + child to fly together on one business-class award (CX, QF, KE), and then build up enough LH miles in your husband's account to do one Star Alliance award ex-Frankfurt, on TG perhaps, for the other parent. This will be more difficult as LH doesn't permit transfers between accounts as AS does, so the lesser LH balances you and your son have are useless. I will warn you that it's sometimes tough to get three business class awards in one cabin to Australia, doubly so at Christmas; I've done US-Australia business class award bookings for my family and me a few times, and very often we've had to do 2+1 splits to make things work.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Last edited by BearX220; Mar 20, 10 at 6:45 pm
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Old Mar 20, 10, 8:26 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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If possible, each of you should get Starwood Amex cards. You can actually each credit the same SPG account. So, those sign up bonuses, plus if you talk your Mom or Dad or both into getting the card and giving you the points should easily get you there.

Any SPG members living together at an address can pool their miles and then credit Alaska. 20K SPG gets 25K Alaska miles.
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Old Mar 20, 10, 8:53 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
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Originally Posted by kristen1nv View Post
Bottom line is, he is a USAF employee
Just an FYI...be careful on "benefiting" from DOD perks. DOD rules spell out quite clearly on what you can and cannot do when it comes to miles and upgrades---especially award tickets. Please PM me for more details.
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Old Mar 21, 10, 3:52 am
  #6  
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I did print out AS partners, and I looked all over for flight requirements from Europe. What I can do later is look on each specific airline for Europe-OZ mileage requirements on carriers that do take AS miles

We had a B of A card for many years. When we moved here and realized we would rarely be flying AS or any of its partners, we cancelled it as the fee was crazy high and they were always 'forgetting' our companion pass etc.

We replaced it with a cash back card which has been nice, but does not give us miles. We also got a Capital one Miles card but it does not accrue much in the way of miles, we really got it for foreign transactions as it is truly 0% foreign transaction fees. That is nice because we do shop on the economy and our tickets also get billed in Euro when we travel.

I see what you are saying about traveling in Europe on other airlines but the HUGE differences in fares are as such, $30 USD round trip vs $300 is an example. Too big of a difference for a family like ours with a not so huge income that likes to venture off for 3 day weekends to Prague, Spain, Italy etc.

Ok, so.......a B of A card is something we def need to look into. If we each got one, you are saying that each of us would get the bonus sign up miles? Hmm. Cool. We pay an annual fee for it but that only becomes an 'issue' after the first year because the first year it is worth the bonus miles.

***I forgot to mention that we booked our tickets for Dec 2010 on Lufthansa to Hawaii via SFO. That is going to go into our LH 'pot'. I can still cancel and rebook on another airline with a 150E penalty pp but oddly enough some carriers do not discount for children and they do. Even if the adult fares appear higher, with the child discount many times it is lower. Part of the flight is on UA but that won't help my AS 'pot'. I could try to see if it would be cost effective to change to AA or another airline that is a partner of AS to put those miles in each of our accounts.

I also need to check on how to get this 30k or so miles from our Capital one card to one of our accounts, if that is even an option.

Ok, you mentioned something about not being able to put 3 in business class on mileage--I am assuming that there are limited amounts of mileage purchased business class tix, that is why? It makes sense, there are limited in all categories. Were you suggesting 2 of is in BC and one in coach? Hubby suggested the same. I even figured that if our son and I went in BC that half way into the flight I could switch with hubs and he could take a nap. I bet that is frowned upon, but he will have just come back from a deployment in the desert and I want him to enjoy the trip. He is the type that would not 'let' me be the one to sit in coach but I bet I could talk him into a nap in a comfy seat.

A big reason for BC is honestly that I cannot sleep in an upright seat. I need to figure out why. I am not larger than the average bear, so that is not an issue.

Another thing we considered is buying the whole row of 4 in coach. We did that one one of our FRA to USA flights and son and I took turns spreading out on 2 seats. I can sleep in 2 seats semi comfy. It was much cheaper than even one of us going to Business Class. Have any of you ever done that?
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Old Mar 21, 10, 12:33 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by kristen1nv View Post
I see what you are saying about traveling in Europe on other airlines but the HUGE differences in fares are as such, $30 USD round trip vs $300 is an example. Too big of a difference for a family like ours with a not so huge income that likes to venture off for 3 day weekends to Prague, Spain, Italy etc.
Understood. There's a premium to be paid for earning the miles you want.

I forgot to mention that we booked our tickets for Dec 2010 on Lufthansa to Hawaii via SFO. That is going to go into our LH 'pot'.
There is not really any such thing as an LH "pot" because you cannot combine individual balances by transferring miles. So it's better for you to travel on DL or AA, each of you accrue 10k-12k AS miles, and then pay to transfer them into one account so they make one grand total.

I also need to check on how to get this 30k or so miles from our Capital one card to one of our accounts, if that is even an option.
It's not. Capital One No Hassle Rewards points are not transferable / combinable with other programs. Cap One is an "orphan program" and useless to you in this case.

Ok, you mentioned something about not being able to put 3 in business class on mileage--I am assuming that there are limited amounts of mileage purchased business class tix, that is why? It makes sense, there are limited in all categories. Were you suggesting 2 of is in BC and one in coach?
No, I was suggesting two different airplanes / itineraries using your two different mileage programs, you and your kid using your AS miles, your husband using your LH miles. But you can certainly try to get 2 in biz, 1 in coach on the same flights if you want, using all AS miles. Award seats are capacity-controlled in all classes.

A big reason for BC is honestly that I cannot sleep in an upright seat. I need to figure out why. I am not larger than the average bear, so that is not an issue.
OK, but thousands survive longhaul economy class travel every day and I bet you do too; Europe-Hawaii is about as long a haul as Europe-Australia, and you're doing that in coach this Christmas.

Another thing we considered is buying the whole row of 4 in coach. We did that one one of our FRA to USA flights and son and I took turns spreading out on 2 seats. I can sleep in 2 seats semi comfy. It was much cheaper than even one of us going to Business Class. Have any of you ever done that?
No.
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