Redeeming FF miles for BA CW

Old Aug 8, 2005, 2:33 pm
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Redeeming FF miles for BA CW

I have submitted my request for a CW BA flight, phx-lhr for Sept 2-10th, with a day variance either way, using 120K standard biz anytime miles. I just received the email saying they are working on it and will get back to me in 7-10 business days (why so long?? ).

This is a last minute trip, so I'm hoping they'll have it available. I know it's right around the corner, but I'm also hoping using anytime miles for J will yield higher % of seats available assuming less people redeem miles on J than Y. Is that safe to assume?
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Old Aug 8, 2005, 3:38 pm
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Hi enviroian,

Good luck on getting the tickets!!. ( using BA miles for LHR-PHX is very limited in september according to the BA website)- maybe seats offered to HP FF come out of a different bucket)

You may want to try LAX-LHR or SFO-LHR if PHX-LHR is unavailable as they have more flights daily

Regards

TBS
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Old Aug 8, 2005, 3:53 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian
I just received the email saying they are working on it and will get back to me in 7-10 business days (why so long?? ).
As a Platinum Elite member, I've never had a request for a BA ticket take longer than 2 or 3 days for them to come back to me with an option. You should hear much sooner than 7-10 days. I think that's their standard form reply. I know they prioritize working on them by elite level and they do it via in-house access to BA's computer system, so if my experience is any indication, you'll be hearing from by mid-week.

Originally Posted by enviroian
I'm also hoping using anytime miles for J will yield higher % of seats available assuming less people redeem miles on J than Y. Is that safe to assume?
Not on the PHX-LHR route. It's a low yield route for BA, meaning there are only 38 Club World seats vs. 70 on the standard 747-400. (Low yield routes have a higher proportion of leisure travelers and fewer business travelers willing to pay for CW or F.) That makes it much more difficult to get CW seats on the PHX flight, more difficult than most BA North American gateways, unfortunately.

I don't know if HP's allocation comes out of the same bucket as BA's free ticket availability or not, so what I'm about to say may not apply, but looking on ba.com for availability from PHX-LHR in September, there is nothing available, on any day, in either either direction, in either J or Y. There are seats in F outbound on the 3rd or 4th and returning on the 11th. That's the only availability there is. First will cost you another 50K miles.

Looking at availability via other gateways, I see lots of options via JFK on your dates. I'd expect HP FF to come back to you with some other routing, such as HP to/from JFK & LHR from there on. (Again, this is assuming the availability to HP is the same as BA offers to its own members.) The upside to a JFK routing is that there is a fabulous Terraces Lounge in JFK, including a Moulton Brown Spa, so ask them to give you a nice long layover at JFK on the outbound if that's what you end up doing.

Report back on what you hear. (You don't have to have it ticketed instantly -- they'll hold the reservation for you for a couple of days.) I've done a ton of these over the years, so I'll be happy to help you with some suggestions if you don't get what you're looking for and want some ideas. I'm also curious to see if they can get you a seat on the PHX route -- that will mean HP's inventory is allocated outside of BAEC's, which I've never been able to prove one way or the other.
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Old Aug 8, 2005, 6:00 pm
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If you don't mind flying into Gatwick, a friend of mine got PHX-IAH-LGW at short notice. PHX-LHR seems to have a high load and few award seats.
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Old Aug 8, 2005, 7:16 pm
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Originally Posted by alanh
If you don't mind flying into Gatwick, a friend of mine got PHX-IAH-LGW at short notice. PHX-LHR seems to have a high load and few award seats.
Indeed. Same with DFW. BA flies to Gatwick from both cities and there tends to be ample CW availability.

I have a trip coming up in October that's not a free trip, but it is a purchased WT+ ticket, upgraded with BA miles to CW (with the EQM's for the trip credited to HP! ^ ). The upgrade seats come from the same inventory as free seats on BA. We're flying out of IAH and back into DFW. Because it's not a HP award ticket, I have to buy the connecting flights. In this regard I strongly recommend IAH if you can get it, as PHX-DFW is a MUCH more expensive connecting ticket -- like 2x, even purchased well in advance. Though for environian that won't be an issue because the HP connections will be free.

I do the 'purchase WT+, upgrade with BA miles to CW' gig several times a year. If you're only going to London and the airport doesn't matter a lot, Gatwick is fine. In fact, the best in-flight experiences I've ever had on BA were compliments of Gatwick crews, some of which are down right legendary over on the BA board and my experience confirms.

However, if this isn't a regular thing, I highly recommend trying to route via JFK into LHR. The in-flight experience is shorter, but the ground experience is as good as it gets on both ends. The BA lounge experience that comes with CW at JFK is first-rate, as it is at LHR. It really makes for a wonderful day to show up about 3 hours early, schedule yourself a massage at the Moulton Brown spa, have a couple of cocktails in the Terraces Lounge, watch the 747's come and go (at least at LHR) and then stroll to your flight. The night flights out of JFK (which would be likely for environian given he'd be connecting from PHX) even offer a full-service restaurant in the lounge so that you can have a really nice meal, drink some fine vino or cocktails of your choosing and then be set to enjoy the fully flat bed across the pond.
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Old Aug 8, 2005, 8:39 pm
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Thank you all for your prompt and excellent info.

I see what you mean AZ about a Kennedy or even Houston connection, but I guess I'd have to say I wouldn't want to "waste" half my journey on HP's domestic F just to make a quick 5.5 hour journey to LHR.

Gatwick is actually a better option for me since my family lives in Kent. I just think though when I took the outbound DFW-LGW last fall in BA CW on their 772 it completely paled in comparison to my return 774 lhr-phx. Guess I'm spoiled

Here's what HP sent me:

Dear Ian,

Your International Mile Award Request has been received and is currently
being processed. A FlightFund International phone agent will contact
you within 7-10 business days.

We appreciate your participation in the FlightFund program. Thank you
for "Getting on Board" with America West Airlines!

The FlightFund International department is open 0700-1730 MST, 7 days a
week.

Sincerely,
Linda G
FlightFund Representative
America West Airlines


I'll see what I get, if anything. Of course I could fly VS out of LAX or SFO (LAS?) or even NW via msp or dtw, but am so sold on BA. What an experience.

I know AZ you talk about how valued that BA-HP relationship is, and I completely agree--I would hate to see it go with the 'new' US. I'll keep my fingers crossed and let you know of what flight fund tells me.

By the way, what other BA gateway US cities service Gatwick--LAS? MCO (yuck..lol)
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Old Aug 8, 2005, 8:50 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian
. . . Gatwick is actually a better option for me since my family lives in Kent.
Oh, come on -- convenience to family as a higher priority than the best airline and flight experience for yourself! What kind of FTer are you?? You should be ashamed of yourself!

Originally Posted by enviroian
. . . Of course I could fly VS out of LAX or SFO (LAS?) or even NW via msp or dtw, but am so sold on BA. What an experience.
A good friend of mine has flown VS Upper Class twice and says it is truly outstanding. A completely different experience compared to BA, but he says it is right up there in terms of the overall experience. I wouldn't hesitate to try it if offered as an option. The two or three times I've requested it via HP they said nothing was available.

Originally Posted by enviroian
. . . By the way, what other BA gateway US cities service Gatwick--LAS? MCO (yuck..lol)
BA doesn't serve LAS; VS does. I'm pretty sure that MCO is the only other LGW gateway. (That's why I didn't mention it earlier!)
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Old Aug 11, 2005, 12:22 pm
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Exclamation Need quick advice please

HP came back with this itinerary. The dates are great, but it's too bad I didn't get the nonstops, but then again all of you warned me.

Well I know lgw-dfw is a 772, how about Houston? 744?? Maybe? Maybe


Dear Ian,

Below you will find your International Award Reservation. This reservation
will not be ticketed without your authorization.

This reservation will be held until the 25th of August. At that time, if not
ticketed, the reservation will cancel and the seats will be released. You
may reply to this e-mail to request any changes or to cancel.

When you are ready to confirm your reservation, please reply with a contact
number that you can be reached at during business hours. We will then
contact you to collect the credit card information for international taxes
and security fees. We will also need an address in which FedEx can deliver
your ticket(s). A signature will be required upon delivery.

This reservation will require 120,000 miles to ticket in business class. The
nonstop flights were not available. Nothing was available to connect you
through Dallas on the outbound. The best available was Houston
1. *******/IAN MR
1 HP 274E 03SEP SA PHXIAH HK1 857A 150P
2 BA 2024U 03SEP SA IAHLGW HK1 355P 705A *Z3MWB7
3 BA 2193U 11SEP SU LGWDFW HK1 1040A 230P *Z3MWB7
4 HP 663E 11SEP SU DFWPHX HK1 609P 644P


It has been a privilege to serve you, and thank you for flying with America
West.

Last edited by enviroian; Aug 11, 2005 at 1:31 pm
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Old Aug 11, 2005, 12:41 pm
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Hi,

The Houston route is also served by the 777-sorry.

regards

TBS
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Old Aug 11, 2005, 12:46 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian
HP came back with this itinerary. The dates are great, but it's too bad I didn't get the nonstops, but then again all of you warned me.

Well I know lgw-dfw is a 772, how about Houston? 744?? Maybe? Maybe. . .
No, IAH is a 777 also. Both IAH flights are 777's; I'm pretty certain BA doesn't have any 744's serving LGW. I would have been shocked if you got the PHX non-stop in either direction.

I know you said you'd rather spend more time in the air on BA, but even given that, the lounge opportunites at both JFK and LHR (vs. LGW) are so significantly better than what you'll experience at IAH and LGW that, having done both, I would definitely ask whether a JFK routing was possible. It's international premium class travel that's as good as it gets these days. If not this time, perhaps another.
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Old Aug 11, 2005, 1:35 pm
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Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World
No, IAH is a 777 also. Both IAH flights are 777's; I'm pretty certain BA doesn't have any 744's serving LGW. I would have been shocked if you got the PHX non-stop in either direction.

I know you said you'd rather spend more time in the air on BA, but even given that, the lounge opportunites at both JFK and LHR (vs. LGW) are so significantly better than what you'll experience at IAH and LGW that, having done both, I would definitely ask whether a JFK routing was possible. It's international premium class travel that's as good as it gets these days. If not this time, perhaps another.
Thanks for the input AZ (and Banking Scott). How much better would a JFK-LHR be on BA when either way from Houston or otherwise it's CW? But then again, I'd hate to fly back to JFK only to do a 5 hour transcon eating tri colored tortillini on HP back home after having that wonderful experience. I'd rather fly 10 hrs on BA, then 2 over to Phoenix.

Does BA have a lounge at IAH? If not, do I have Admiral Club access at either airport?
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Old Aug 11, 2005, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian
Thanks for the input AZ (and Banking Scott). How much better would a JFK-LHR be on BA when either way from Houston or otherwise it's CW? But then again, I'd hate to fly back to JFK only to do a 5 hour transcon eating tri colored tortillini on HP back home after having that wonderful experience. I'd rather fly 10 hrs on BA, then 2 over to Phoenix.

Does BA have a lounge at IAH? If not, do I have Admiral Club access at either airport?
In my view, the flight isn't necessarily any better JFK-LHR vs. IAH-LGW, unless you prefer 744's vs. 777's. I personally do, especially if I can get seated in the upper deck, but it's fairly likely that at this late date you won't get one of those seats pre-assigned to you anyway.

What's better, much better, is the lounge experience at JFK vs. IAH. IAH has a BA lounge, not unlike BA's lounge in PHX if you've been to that. (IAH is a little larger.) JFK's lounge is a different animal completely. It has a spa with free services for CW and F passengers, a restaurant with good food and wine that you can eat in prior to departure. And it is massive. There is truly no comparison.

Conversely, arriving closer to home on the return definitely has merit. The worst part of my JFK flights is the HP leg home, having been spoiled by BA across the Atlantic. I once flew JFK-LHR and then LHR-PHX. That's ideal! (Assuming the PHX non-stop isn't available both ways.)

I'd probably ask if I could go via JFK on the outbound (with a nice long layover of 3-4 hours) and keep the return back into DFW. Gives you a "flavour" of both experiences.
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Old Aug 15, 2005, 1:00 pm
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No JFK routings avaiable...they just checked.

Here's another option I have:

PHX-DTW-LHR on BA CW
LHR-ORD-PHX on BA CW

I see both use 772's, so I'm not going to get my beloved 744's

If you had an option would you take any of these routings over a IAH routing?

Other than being able to spend some time in the new McNamara terminal, I'm not sure what benefit there is.

comments/suggestions?
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Old Aug 15, 2005, 1:40 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian
. . .
If you had an option would you take any of these routings over a IAH routing?. . .
No, I think I'd stick with Plan A. Longer flights on BA; shorter on HP.

Do recognize, though, that your layover at DFW on the return is 3:40. If the ORD connection & timing is better, you might want to take that return, leaving your outbound as it is via IAH.

The other benefit to the ORD routing is use of LHR lounges on your return, which are sooooooo much nicer. On the other hand, this trip is three weeks away. Given the current BA catering debacle on flights in and out of LHR, you might want to stick with LGW connections, as thus far those flights have full catering while LHR has nothing -- even in FIRST and Club . Personally, I can't believe it will go on for a month, but people are saying it's possible.

All things considered, I'd stick with the LGW routing you have. I've got a trip (not a FF redemption) to LHR ex-PHX four days before yours and I'm now wishing I had a LGW routing.
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Old Aug 15, 2005, 2:10 pm
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Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World
Given the current BA catering debacle on flights in and out of LHR, you might want to stick with LGW connections, as thus far those flights have full catering while LHR has nothing -- even in FIRST and Club . Personally, I can't believe it will go on for a month, but people are saying it's possible



I had no idea this was even going on. Looks like I'll be spending some time on BA's forum today.

I couldn't imagine not having any catering on a CW flight. Oh my!! I'd be so hungry I'd be dreaming of that tri colored tortillini and bread stick!

Thanks for the heads up AZ. I want to fly back via ord though so I can come back Saturday, not Sunday.
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