Ideas for great award redemptions

Old Sep 9, 19, 8:59 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: San Diego, CA
Programs: Southwest A-List; Alaska MVP; Hilton Diamond
Posts: 285
Ideas for great award redemptions

SAN based, scheduled to hit MVPG this year.
Two travelers, me and my wife (no status).
I mostly travel for work, although we take at least one trip a year to BOS, and another likely domestic (or Mexico) vacation trip. I have the AS Visa card, which I am allowed to use for work bookings. I mostly understand the upgrade system, and find that I can mostly fly AS as cheaply as WN, so Iíve been shifting my travel to AS.

What I donít have is a goal for my miles. Our only international travel has been UK & France (in college), Mexico, and the Caribbean. Iíd love to figure out some great vacation to go on in the next couple of years, and would consider saving up points if I figure out something within reach.

I think I understand that a lot of AS flyers save their domestic miles to use for international partner awards. What Iím not sure of is what sort of destinations and award redemptions are available.

I realize that nobody can pick a vacation destination for an internet stranger... but I wondered if someone could help me dream... if I had 150k miles in a year or two, what could I do with them? What sort of miles would I need to do something really great for the two of us?

Thanks for any inspiration you might provide.
twitch76 is offline  
Old Sep 9, 19, 9:06 am
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SEA, but up and down the coast a lot
Programs: OneSky Alliance Elite+ with Zirconium and oak leaf cluster, Braniff Unobtainium
Posts: 17,144
150k miles is two round trip coach tickets, basically.

Have you tried looking at Alaskaís award charts?
eponymous_coward is offline  
Old Sep 9, 19, 9:06 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SEA
Programs: AS MVP Gold
Posts: 1,226
I don't know about the perfect destination for you, I can tell you to make full use of your miles you need to include at least one stopover, which is allowed both ways on Alaska awards. As an example I booked SEA-TXL (Berlin) but with a five day stopover in (LHR) London on the way. It turns one vacation into two with the only cost being taxes.
jsguyrus is offline  
Old Sep 9, 19, 10:27 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: SAN
Programs: AS MVPG, UA Silver, DL Silver, IHG Platinum, Choice Platinum, Hyatt Discoverist, National Exec
Posts: 222
Sounds like youíve never been to Asia. Itís a long way in economy, but try taking advantage of the great redemptions on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines to explore some Asian destinations. As much as I enjoy Paris and London, I prefer traveling to Asia where my dollars go a lot further.
wolfpacktrojan is offline  
Old Sep 9, 19, 10:34 am
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Back home in the REAL Washington (SEA); still working occasionally in the other Washington (DCA area)
Programs: DL PM 1.3MM; AS MVPG 75K
Posts: 13,104
the one caveat is that AS only allows one international partner on an award ticket

presuming you can find J/F space, Cathay is an excellent option, as you can book a stopover in HKG on a one-way award — examples being another Asian destination with the return on Japan; Australia/New Zealand with the return on Qantas or Fiji
jrl767 is offline  
Old Sep 10, 19, 7:42 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: SEA-LIH
Programs: Alaska 75K, Marriott Platinum and Chairman's Club
Posts: 162
Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post

presuming you can find J/F space, Cathay is an excellent option, as you can book a stopover in HKG on a one-way award ó examples being another Asian destination with the return on Japan; Australia/New Zealand with the return on Qantas or Fiji
Totally agree with above. We've taken 5 RTW trips using partner miles - Cathay J is a great use of miles, and can get you to Asia. Emirates isn't a great use of miles but can get you from Asia to Europe via DXB, then back to the states.

My son is currently on a 6 day SEA-HKG-SIN-DXB-SEA jaunt using miles, it was simple to set up.
QT31415 is offline  
Old Sep 10, 19, 10:23 pm
  #7  
Community Director
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Anywhere warm
Posts: 29,564
JAL is a partner of AS. JAL has a nonstop flight from SAN to Tokyo.

Hainan Airlines is a partner of AS. Hainan has a nonstop flight from Tijuana to Beijing. It's very easy to cross the border crossing bridge and fly from Tijuana.
SanDiego1K is offline  
Old Sep 10, 19, 11:22 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: British Columbia
Programs: AS MVPG75K, UA PP, Marriott Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 2,963
With a goal of 150K AS miles for 2 people, you won't be able to fly to Asia in business class, that would require at least 200K. However, you can book Premium Economy return for 2 to Asia on CX for 140K (35K per direction per person) and availability is usually not difficult to find.

For 5K more per direction per person you could go to Australia or New Zealand with a HKG stopover in either or both directions for 160K

Premium Economy on QF to Australia would be 180K return for 2.

JL also has Premium economy but it can't be booked with Mileage Plan so for PE your options are CX or QF.

Equate International Premium Economy to domestic First.

Keep in mind that you don't have to fly the same partner in both directions but limited to one partner plus AS in each direction. You could also do PE in one direction and Business in the other if your miles permit.

James
Flying for Fun is offline  
Old Sep 11, 19, 6:55 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: San Diego, CA
Programs: Southwest A-List; Alaska MVP; Hilton Diamond
Posts: 285
These are all very helpful, thanks!

What I needed most was a reason to not spend miles domestically... which you gave me. I think I need to save enough to fly in something better than economy for those long hauls!!! Iím gonna bump the goal up a bit. I think I understand that a lot of Premium/Business Class seats are a pretty good compromise, but it would be nice to fly a real F experience once in my life.
twitch76 is offline  
Old Sep 11, 19, 8:46 am
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SEA, but up and down the coast a lot
Programs: OneSky Alliance Elite+ with Zirconium and oak leaf cluster, Braniff Unobtainium
Posts: 17,144
Originally Posted by twitch76 View Post
These are all very helpful, thanks!

What I needed most was a reason to not spend miles domestically... which you gave me. I think I need to save enough to fly in something better than economy for those long hauls!!! Iím gonna bump the goal up a bit. I think I understand that a lot of Premium/Business Class seats are a pretty good compromise, but it would be nice to fly a real F experience once in my life.
That's more like it; if you approximately double your miles to 300k a longhaul F trip is quite feasible.

At about 420-450k miles a RTW in F is also feasible using some combination of JL, CX and BA.
eponymous_coward is offline  
Old Sep 11, 19, 9:11 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: LAX_AMS_MNL
Programs: AS MVP, AA GLD - 1MM, BAEC SLV, SPG GLD, Hilton DIA, Hyatt GLB
Posts: 522
Here's a trip that might be interesting

LAX - NAN(x) - Australia or New Zealand 55K one way pp in Business (Fiji Airways)

Australia or New Zealand - HKG(x) - Somewhere else in Asia, maybe Japan, China, Korea etc oneway 30K pp in Business (Cathay Pacific)

Then head back to USA from here for 50K one way pp in Business (Cathay Pacific)

Total cost 135K pp in Business

OR

From Asia you can continue to Europe or Africa

ASIA - HKG - Europe or Johannesburg or Capetown for 42.5K one way pp in Business (Cathay Pacific)

Africa back to USA with a free stop over in Frankfurt on (Condor) = 65K pp in Business

or Europe back to USA for 55K pp in Business (Condor)

So with Africa and Europe back the total will be 242.5K Alaska points in Business
or with Europe only 232.5K Alaska points in Business.

For *10k more Africa would probably be a nice addition to maximize the trip
moondog likes this.
KL808 is offline  
Old Sep 11, 19, 10:22 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SEA, but up and down the coast a lot
Programs: OneSky Alliance Elite+ with Zirconium and oak leaf cluster, Braniff Unobtainium
Posts: 17,144
Originally Posted by KL808 View Post
Here's a trip that might be interesting

LAX - NAN(x) - Australia or New Zealand 55K one way pp in Business (Fiji Airways)

Australia or New Zealand - HKG(x) - Somewhere else in Asia, maybe Japan, China, Korea etc oneway 30K pp in Business (Cathay Pacific)

Then head back to USA from here for 50K one way pp in Business (Cathay Pacific)

Total cost 135K pp in Business

OR

From Asia you can continue to Europe or Africa

ASIA - HKG - Europe or Johannesburg or Capetown for 42.5K one way pp in Business (Cathay Pacific)

Africa back to USA with a free stop over in Frankfurt on (Condor) = 65K pp in Business

or Europe back to USA for 55K pp in Business (Condor)

So with Africa and Europe back the total will be 242.5K Alaska points in Business
or with Europe only 232.5K Alaska points in Business.

For *10k more Africa would probably be a nice addition to maximize the trip
Not quite. CX awards not involving North America or just intra-Asia flights break at HKG. MEL-HKG-ICN or PVG-HKG-JNB is a two award itinerary.
Flying for Fun likes this.

Last edited by eponymous_coward; Sep 11, 19 at 4:49 pm
eponymous_coward is offline  
Old Sep 11, 19, 10:40 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: British Columbia
Programs: AS MVPG75K, UA PP, Marriott Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 2,963
Originally Posted by KL808 View Post

Australia or New Zealand - HKG(x) - Somewhere else in Asia, maybe Japan, China, Korea etc oneway 30K pp in Business (Cathay Pacific)
Outside of Asia all CX awards terminate in Hong Kong unless heading to North America. Beyond HKG from Australia or New Zealand is two awards. Also two awards on CX to Europe even if arriving from / departing to North America.

When you look at the award charts here and select two regions excluding North America you will see CX listed as Hong Kong, not Asia.


CX J from NA to SA (South Africa) is an awesome redemption at 62.5K; even better is flying the TPAC in F for only 7.5K more. There is no F on HKG-JNB/CPT

You can also book QF awards on all domestic AU flights but nothing outside of AU including New Zealand. NZ on QF is only available in conjunction with a North America redemption.

James
QT31415 likes this.

Last edited by Flying for Fun; Sep 11, 19 at 10:59 am
Flying for Fun is offline  
Old Sep 12, 19, 10:57 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: BA Executive Club, AS Airlines Mileage Plan
Posts: 702
Book one waynat a time, and you can mix partners, and put a "nested" paid flight in between.

places we have gone or will go with our Alaska miles, all in Business Class or First: Venice, Switzerland ( 2 times) Sydney Australia, and Tokyo Japan. With 150K miles you would be flying in Economy, but could still go lots of places.

The trick to award redemptions is to either plan and book way ahead, when the award seats are released ( what we do), or wait and watch for last-minute availability if you are flexible. ( Note that this second way is risky with one-way bookings so you should book roundtrip).

we have also used them numerous time to fly to Alaska and the East Coast.
enzian is offline  
Old Sep 12, 19, 9:08 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: British Columbia
Programs: AS MVPG75K, UA PP, Marriott Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 2,963
Originally Posted by enzian View Post
Book one way at a time, and you can mix partners, and put a "nested" paid flight in between.

You can mix partners on a return award as well, just not in one direction. All KE awards are return pricing. The only way to utilize KE with one-way pricing is to book it in conjunction with a return ticket with KE or another partner when only half of the miles will be charged.

James
Flying for Fun is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread