Best Strategy To Book 4 J Awards

Old Jun 19, 18, 7:14 pm
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Best Strategy To Book 4 J Awards

So, my ANA Mileage account has sufficient miles for me to book a family trip from the U.S. to Japan in June 2019. My preferred outbound would be mid June and return about 2 weeks later. If I wait until my return date to book, odds are I'll be waitlisted for the outbound flight. If I book the outbound at 355 days out, how do I book a "phantom" return flight to make it a "round trip" that I can change the return flight when my preferred date becomes available. Help please!
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Old Jun 19, 18, 10:07 pm
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I believe the recognized technique is to book the outbound and return for the same date 355 days out, then at 9:00 a.m. JST when the outbound becomes available, swallow the 3,000 miles for the itinerary change and grab that date. However, do you have status with ANA? I think there are generally only 2J seats per flight available for regular members at the -355 mark for the JFK/LAX/SFO routes, but possibly 4 on the Houston and Chicago routes.
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Old Jun 20, 18, 9:27 am
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Just a lowly base member right now. So, if I look to go out of ORD or IAH to Narita, what would be the best same day return pair? And you are saying that award seats show up at 0900 JST? So if I wished to book outbound for June 25, I would check for seats the evening of June 24 ( which would be morning of June 25 in Japan)?
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Old Jun 20, 18, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by Torode View Post
but possibly 4 on the Houston and Chicago routes.
I think 2 now only for IAH. Be lucky to even find 1 at the 355 mark.
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Old Jun 20, 18, 12:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Aloha1 View Post
Just a lowly base member right now. So, if I look to go out of ORD or IAH to Narita, what would be the best same day return pair? And you are saying that award seats show up at 0900 JST? So if I wished to book outbound for June 25, I would check for seats the evening of June 24 ( which would be morning of June 25 in Japan)?
I think other members could chime in on what the best pair is right now, but yes, the seats should become available at 0900 JST (or about a minute thereafter in my experience).

I would suggest you play around with the award booking tool at 0900 JST ias a practice run, select the forward-most dates it allows, and you should see the seats become available, or move from wait-listed to available. And click through a few steps (short of booking), to get a feel for what you need to do quickly when the time comes.
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Old Jun 20, 18, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by TennisNoob View Post
I think 2 now only for IAH. Be lucky to even find 1 at the 355 mark.
Depends on direction, I guess. Right now I can see 1 J for June 10, 2019 NRT-IAH, but a whopping 5 J for IHA-NRT on that same date. I suppose that indicates that the demand is coming for U.S.-originating travel and folks are snapping up their return legs.
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Old Jun 20, 18, 6:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Torode View Post
Depends on direction, I guess. Right now I can see 1 J for June 10, 2019 NRT-IAH, but a whopping 5 J for IHA-NRT on that same date. I suppose that indicates that the demand is coming for U.S.-originating travel and folks are snapping up their return legs.
People like me leaving IAH usually don't take the NH flight to because it's a morning flight. Than you get into NRT so late wherever you connect to Asia will be close to mid-night.

Return is always tough to IAH.
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Old Jun 20, 18, 6:27 pm
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Does it make sense to book Economy rather than waitlist and hope for upgrades or should I just book waitlist?
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Old Jun 20, 18, 6:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Aloha1 View Post
Does it make sense to book Economy rather than waitlist and hope for upgrades or should I just book waitlist?
When you say "book," I assume you mean purchase rather than book an economy award, because I don't think they let you upgrade an existing award. If purchasing, the economy fares that allow you to upgrade are pretty pricey. I would go for the cheapest premium economy, since they are all upgrade-able, and worst-case scenario you have reasonable comfort.

I would also check what the seat map (expert-flyer) looks like for the same flight(s) this year to see how much unsold space they have at the T-2WK mark.
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Old Jun 20, 18, 7:08 pm
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So, at 0900 today JST, I put in an outbound from ORD to NRT on 6/11/19 and saw 4 J seats. I put in a return for same day and it came back with a day later( 6/12/19) which meant no ANA flights but there was a Star Alliance (Asiana) flight in Economy. No ANA flights were showing. This is strange since the outbound flight lands at 14:30 and the return departs at 17:50. Should have been able to see that flight but it was not listed. Does ANA release Japan to USA flights later than 0900??
In order to lock in the outbound, should I accept the Asiana Economy seats now and make the change when my actual return date comes up?
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Old Jun 20, 18, 7:13 pm
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Torode; My thanks for your help so far! I've navigated ANA fine in the past but that was either one ticket or 2, not 4. Arrigato.
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Old Jun 21, 18, 11:00 am
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Originally Posted by Aloha1 View Post
So, at 0900 today JST, I put in an outbound from ORD to NRT on 6/11/19 and saw 4 J seats. I put in a return for same day and it came back with a day later( 6/12/19) which meant no ANA flights but there was a Star Alliance (Asiana) flight in Economy. No ANA flights were showing. This is strange since the outbound flight lands at 14:30 and the return departs at 17:50. Should have been able to see that flight but it was not listed. Does ANA release Japan to USA flights later than 0900??
In order to lock in the outbound, should I accept the Asiana Economy seats now and make the change when my actual return date comes up?
ORD NRT departing 6/11 and arriving 6/12 & NRT ORD departing 6/12, arriving 6/12, right?
You do realize that the return cannot leave on the 6/11, right?
If you are still asking for a decision, you might already have lost the outbound 4 seats.
If the seats are still there, wait till tomorrow when 6/12 departures open up.
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Old Jun 21, 18, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Tokyoite View Post
ORD NRT departing 6/11 and arriving 6/12 & NRT ORD departing 6/12, arriving 6/12, right?
You do realize that the return cannot leave on the 6/11, right?
If you are still asking for a decision, you might already have lost the outbound 4 seats.
If the seats are still there, wait till tomorrow when 6/12 departures open up.
So, do I feel like a Kettle. Totally forgot about the one day drag. Confirmed with a phone call to ANA that I can book the outbound and a dummy return as long as I have one day between. They also confirmed that I can change the return online when my actual return date comes up without putting my outbound seats in jeopardy.
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Old Jun 23, 18, 7:58 am
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Reporting back. Managed to book 2 J and 2 F outbound ( sorry, kids but Mom and Dad get the F). Booked a dummy return which confirmed in F but waitlisted in J. Plan to keep checking until I can confirm a return in J so all the credit card entries will be completed. I would then have 2 itineraries confirmed and ticketed. When my preferred return date opens, I will change both itineraries. Is all this correct? Also, I have seen posts alluding to a 3,000 mile charge to change a ticketed award but I cannot find this anywhere on the ANA website. Is this true and, if so, is it per reservation or per passenger?
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Old Jun 24, 18, 12:01 am
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Originally Posted by Aloha1 View Post
Reporting back. Managed to book 2 J and 2 F outbound ( sorry, kids but Mom and Dad get the F). Booked a dummy return which confirmed in F but waitlisted in J. Plan to keep checking until I can confirm a return in J so all the credit card entries will be completed. I would then have 2 itineraries confirmed and ticketed. When my preferred return date opens, I will change both itineraries. Is all this correct? Also, I have seen posts alluding to a 3,000 mile charge to change a ticketed award but I cannot find this anywhere on the ANA website. Is this true and, if so, is it per reservation or per passenger?
I think apologies are in order because I believe I was one of those posters who referred to the 3,000 mile change fee, because I thought I'd read it here, but from what I can tell from the website, the 3,000 mile charge is only for refunds, and not changes.
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