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Finding First or Business awards to Europe

Finding First or Business awards to Europe

Old Dec 30, 19, 10:05 pm
  #1  
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Finding First or Business awards to Europe

I apologize if there is a thread about this but I canít find it. After many, many years of being a gold and racking up a couple of million miles by flying and charging and bonus miles, we want to cash in some and do some first or business flights to Europe. However after hours of searching I canít seem to find any at all. Is there a quicker way? We are Portland based, two of us and I know we need to look out 9-10 months but the only thing I am finding is the crazy 280k each person one way from Seattle on Air Lingus. Thanks in advance, Iím happy to use a 3rd party app if there is one, but the Alaska site seems cumbersome to find these.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 10:22 pm
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Do you care where you go? Or is anywhere in Europe fine?
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Old Dec 30, 19, 11:02 pm
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
Do you care where you go? Or is anywhere in Europe fine?
Thanks for asking VegasGambler. Prefer Nice, or Milan, or Athens. But willing to fly into Paris or Rome to get there. Can we use miles on Condor? I assume I have to call Alaska partner desk to do that. Also thinking about buying business class seats on Condor with 200% EQM credit or either business or premium on BA with 150%. Itís interesting the new PDX/LHR BA flight has zero business mileage seats on every singe flight through November 23rd.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 12:08 am
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I've often felt that Condor provided good value in terms of miles earned and cost of ticket for their cheaper business class fares. I haven't flown them -- some people complain about the product; others are fine with it. It's angled lie-flat.

For Greece you may want to consider Emirates it you don't mind spending the miles (105k for business one-way; 180k for F). The good thing is you will be in a real business class product all the way. With any other partner (except IcelandAir) you are going to be stuck in euro-business (econ with blocked middle seat) when you connect past the hub.

IcelandAir is a very comfortable recliner (sort of halfway between a premium economy and business class product). I flew it all the way to Helsinki (the product does not change on the intra-europe leg) and honestly I liked it, but people do like to complain. If you require a lie-flat to sleep well, it's not for you. There are also carrier surcharges, which is a deal-breaker for me on award tickets. That also means that BA is out for me for award tickets.

So if you want a true lie flat with no carrier surcharges, that leaves you with Emirates, Finnair, AA, or Aer Lingus (actually I'm not sure what the Aer Lingus product is so I could be wrong there). And I would stay away from AA right now; that airline is just a train wreck.

Personally I feel that the real value in the AS program is to earn miles flying to Europe and redeem them flying to Asia. JL, CX, and KE provide better value for redemptions than any European partner as far as I'm concerned, but it depends on your travel patterns. There's not much value there if you don't want to go to Asia!

Last edited by VegasGambler; Dec 31, 19 at 8:34 am
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Old Dec 31, 19, 6:25 am
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You will probably need to check other departure cities, such as SFO, SEA, LAX, maybe ORD. Make sure that, if you're trying to get Condor, your search dates align with their limited schedule.

Other tips - search for one award, possibly having to pay cash for the second seat. Search one ways too.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 8:21 am
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I found several days in early September with Condor availability to FRA from PDX (with stops in SEA or LAS or even MSP). Intra-Europe using Alaska miles can be difficult as I'm finding either Aer Lingus requiring overnights in Dublin or Finnair requiring overnights in Helsinki - no BA flights, even to London!

Alternatively, BOS seems to have all of the BA redemptions right now with nearly every day available in J, to and from, but with fees of $600+ so you might want to weigh that against what it would cost to make your own way to wherever from FRA if you go the Condor route.

Finnair availability in J does pop up here and there so maybe concentrate your searches from their North American gateways to Helsinki and then build on from there.

Good luck!
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Old Dec 31, 19, 9:56 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by TEDisgone View Post
I found several days in early September with Condor availability to FRA from PDX (with stops in SEA or LAS or even MSP). Intra-Europe using Alaska miles can be difficult as I'm finding either Aer Lingus requiring overnights in Dublin or Finnair requiring overnights in Helsinki - no BA flights, even to London!
you could look at combining an award to Europe with a cheap revenue ticket for intra Europe.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
I've often felt that Condor provided good value in terms of miles earned and cost of ticket for their cheaper business class fares. I haven't flown them -- some people complain about the product; others are fine with it. It's angled lie-flat.
I have bought their business class because the earnings (both EQM and RDM) made it a very good value. Not the greatest seat, but certainly a lot more comfortable than paying about the same price for BA’s premium economy on my travel dates

For Greece you may want to consider Emirates it you don't mind spending the miles (105k for business one-way; 180k for F). The good thing is you will be in a real business class product all the way. With any other partner (except IcelandAir) you are going to be stuck in euro-business (econ with blocked middle seat) when you connect past the hub.
It’s only about two hours from Greece to, say, FRA. Certainly doable in Euro Business. I paid about $150 for Condor Premium Economy (essentially Euro Business; blocked middle seat and free drinks/snack) from FRA to Crete. And earned some AS miles. Regular economy would have been around $100, but I was happy to pay a bit more for more miles, space, drinks, and free bags.

On the way back we did fly Emirates the long way back (ATH-DXB-SFO). Very comfortable for the 15+ hrs in J, but business class awards never opened up on the 4+ hr leg from Athens to Dubai. If I had to do it again and an award was available from FRA or similar, I’d probably fly the more direct route.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 11:03 am
  #9  
 
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I'm in the same boat. Looking at planning something a trip for 2 to Europe in J around next Christmas and I have no idea where to start. Seems like BA is the best option, but $2k in fees is killer (on top of ~250k miles).
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Old Dec 31, 19, 12:07 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by 91foxbody View Post
I'm in the same boat. Looking at planning something a trip for 2 to Europe in J around next Christmas and I have no idea where to start. Seems like BA is the best option, but $2k in fees is killer (on top of ~250k miles).
We are a bit unusual in that we are willing to pay the $500 or so each way ( per person) to fly in business class on BA.

We have 2 one- way bookings to Europe this year using our AS miles, YVR to Geneva in March, and SEA to London in July. The homebound flights are with BA Avios.

i book one way at a time' the day the seats are released to the airline. Avios bookings can be made the day the flights are released, 355 days ahead. The leftover award seats, if any, are then available to be booked with AS miles around 330 days in advance. Sometimes they will appear later as someone cancels an award booking, so if on the hunt just keep checking back. Often I will book just to London and then book onward travel later. We never mind spending a night or two in London.

It is too early to book flights with AS miles for next Christmas. Start looking in mid-January for outbound flights in mid-December. Then decide how long you want to stay and book your return later when those seats are released to AS mileage members.

we did fly home on Condor in Business Class class last year when we were short on miles. I booked that more than a year ahead ( Condor allowed that) and paid $1122 per person: little more than the supplemental fees to fly BA with mikes. It was the direct flight from FRA to SEA. No lie-flat seats, but for a daytime flight it was fine. Still, we would rather fly BA; we like the 747 and hopefully will like the 787-10 that will be replacing the big beefs on the Seattle route starting in July.

to the OP, I too have been looking for award seats on the new Portland flight as well ( for a friend). I have not seen any at all, and I wonder if they just have not been released yet, although the flights are on the schedule.

Edit: there are seats in Club World on the November PortlNd to LHR flights avIlable on BA for booking with Avios. Apparently they just aren't releasing the business class seats to partners yet; just the Economy seats.

Last edited by enzian; Dec 31, 19 at 4:54 pm Reason: Additional information
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Old Dec 31, 19, 12:39 pm
  #11  
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I flew Condor FRA-YVR over the summer in a 30 seat business class cabin with an empty seat next to me. Couldn't have been happier and would readily fly them again.
PHOTOS: https://tom911.smugmug.com/AirlinesI...usiness-class/

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Old Dec 31, 19, 1:14 pm
  #12  
 
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I did the same in the opposite direction in the 16 seat (2 reserved for crew rest) configuration. The hard product is definitely dated but the soft product is quite good. I was on my own (stranger next to me) so I imagine I'd have enjoyed it even more with a partner.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 2:11 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Waitlisted View Post
I apologize if there is a thread about this but I can’t find it. After many, many years of being a gold and racking up a couple of million miles by flying and charging and bonus miles, we want to cash in some and do some first or business flights to Europe.
However after hours of searching I can’t seem to find any at all. Is there a quicker way?
We are Portland based, two of us and I know we need to look out 9-10 months but the only thing I am finding is the crazy 280k each person one way from Seattle on Air Lingus.
Thanks in advance, I’m happy to use a 3rd party app if there is one, but the Alaska site seems cumbersome to find these.
Originally Posted by Waitlisted View Post
Thanks for asking VegasGambler. Prefer Nice, or Milan, or Athens. But willing to fly into Paris or Rome to get there.
Can we use miles on Condor? I assume I have to call Alaska partner desk to do that.
Also thinking about buying business class seats on Condor with 200% EQM credit or either business or premium on BA with 150%. It’s interesting the new PDX/LHR BA flight has zero business mileage seats on every singe flight through November 23rd.
Need to look at where airlines fly to, with AS and the one other airline.
Many USA-EU destinations will steer you to BA (with surcharges) at that will be the only solution that the AS award rules allow.
AY can do some EU destinations
The parent company of Condor is insolvent (Thomas Cook)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condor_(airline)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...t_destinations

You do not need to fly the same airlines/route out and back---> one way awards
Airlines/routes/aircraft with long haul international first class are decreasing
https://www.alaskaair.com/content/mi...s/award-charts

Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post
you could look at combining an award to Europe with a cheap revenue ticket for intra Europe.
Or a train ticket.
Starting other than in Portland OR may give different options. So that may require a cash paid positioning flight.

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Dec 31, 19 at 2:22 pm
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Old Dec 31, 19, 2:27 pm
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Anywhere in Europe search?
Alaska Partners to Europe
Mileage Plan Award Tickets to Europe - Any Secrets to Share?
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Old Dec 31, 19, 2:49 pm
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For Athens, you could go PDX-EWR-ATH with EWR-ATH nonstop in Emirates J/F.

For Milan, you could go PDX-JFK-MXP with JFK-MXP nonstop in Emirates J/F.

Although, for Milan, currently AS's PDX-JFK flight does not arrive before EK's JFK-MXP, so have to overnight in NYC barring a schedule change.
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