Help routing home from OZ via Asia, business?

 
Old Sep 1, 14, 10:01 am
  #1  
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Help routing home from OZ via Asia, business?

Hi Everyone!

I could use some expert help. I am now 10-15 hours in for searching on Qaantas, BA, and AA, and my brain hurts. I would appreciate any advice or feedback greatly.

We are planning a trip to visit friends in Australia during prime season and are having no problems securing an outbound economy trip around 12.10.14 for the 4 of us. We'd love to fly business but understand that is like finding a unicorn.

The real trouble is that we are limited in our coming home time-frame, and need to fly home anytime between 12.27-1.5.15. We'd love to go business class and fly home via Asia from Australia as we have enough miles. We have 2 adults and 2 kids.

I'm unable to find any flights home at all to Austin from Australia during our time frame, economy. (or to any US hub.) The earliest I am finding in economy is AKL-LA on 1.12.15. I can also see BNE to SFO on 1.12. Those are just too late for us with work and school but we don't want to cancel our trip.

I have searched SYD, AKL, BNE, and MEL to: HKG, NRT, and PVG. No dice during the 12.27.14-1.5.15 time-frame.

Does anyone else have any ideas for us to consider? We really want to do the trip badly--time off arranged and friends looking forward to our arrival-- and we need to use our miles. We have 680k available now and are willing to buy more if needed.

Thanks in advance!

Jenn
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Old Sep 1, 14, 10:38 am
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.1030 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

How did you search? The aa.com website will not show award-seat availability on CX, JL, or MH.

You might also have to search for fewer than four seats. Can you split up into two groups of two? Or, can two of you fly in Business while two of you fly in Coach?
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Old Sep 1, 14, 11:36 am
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As AAdvantage is still operating as a distinct programme, this question is being moved over to the pre-merger American Airlines forum.

Please note the sticky at the top of the consolidated thread which is titled PLEASE READ ME BEFORE POSTING! Welcome to the New American Airlines Forum!. With all of the changes about, it is important to know where to post, and reading that thread before posting (as the title suggests ) will help get you in the right place.

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Old Sep 1, 14, 11:57 am
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Hi Guv,

I searched using Qantas, BA, and AA. I go back and forth between them. I am not sure how to see CX or JAL seats.

We're willing to be creative and split if needed. That would be better if we were on the same flight, harder on different flights. We just need to get home by 1.5.15, and preferably a bit earlier. Ideally, we'd be home by 1.2.15.

Thanks for your reply!

Jenn
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Old Sep 1, 14, 12:06 pm
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Originally Posted by jennlindberg View Post
Hi Everyone!
...The real trouble is that we are limited in our coming home time-frame, and need to fly home anytime between 12.27-1.5.15.
Will be very, very, very, very tough. VERY. I'd bet only way it will happen is if you're willing to find your way home as your already there-- no airline will be giving out award space in that time period to the US in advance.

if you can move your return to more like the 8th or 9th you'll have better luck (although still much closer in till award space opens) but if you need to be home by the 5th of Jan or so, this trip, IMO, should not be booked w/ -ANY- hopes of award space opening up any time before a week or so before your return date.

It's with a few exceptions the single most difficult award anyone would ever seek-- I've looked for friends a few times, and sometimes a paid ticket home on FJ is only option.

If you'll be needing 4 awards and must fly home when you say, and want certainty of your return flights before you depart from the US, I'd personally go so far as to say this trip is not possible/practical.

If your AAdv account has a million miles sitting in it (or whatever the math is) obviously AAnytime award (at their highest level, no doubt) can/will get you home from Asia-- but at an astronomical amount of miles for 4 people and you'd still probably end up having to purchase some tix to get to Asia, or at least be fully prepared for that possibility.

Last edited by JonNYC; Sep 1, 14 at 12:12 pm
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Old Sep 1, 14, 12:11 pm
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Hi Jon,

That helps! This does seem super hard to route. So my question is: if we hunt for award space once we're there in hopes of finding something sooner, does it matter which routing we book home? Is there an optimal route I should book that will help the change to be easier *if* award space opens up?

Thank you very very much!

Jenn
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Old Sep 1, 14, 12:21 pm
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Originally Posted by jennlindberg View Post
Hi Jon,

That helps! This does seem super hard to route. So my question is: if we hunt for award space once we're there in hopes of finding something sooner, does it matter which routing we book home? Is there an optimal route I should book that will help the change to be easier *if* award space opens up?

Thank you very very much!

Jenn
You'd have to scan and hope and pray-- there are some outlier options, but can be tougher to search for-- FJ, Etihad, Qatar, etc-- many, many possibilities.

But, again, first week Jan-- forget about it, IMO. Things will be so booked you won't enjoy your vacation.

Frankly, I wouldn't hesitate for a pair of awards, but 4 would make me very nervous. And-- biggest factor-- I personally would feel more comfortable doing it because i have huge supplies of UA miles -and- because I've done it so many times that I "know the patterns". I also (as many here do) am a living database of some of the options. Random, random example; Thai Airways' flight AKL-BKK is always easy to get. Lufthansa flies BKK-FRA, etc., etc. OZ's flight from ICN-JFK can be a pretty easy award. Obviously those are using star alliance miles.

Point is; an expert will have the nerve, the miles and the experience to "get out somehow" but that time period, from OZ, is, again IMHO, just the most challenging award there is.

As far as something just happening to open up in the months leading up to then, strong personal opinion here-- I don't think it will and would almost bet on it, unfortunately.

Last edited by JonNYC; Sep 1, 14 at 12:35 pm
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Old Sep 1, 14, 12:34 pm
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Jon,

In your opinion, would it be any easier to book if we left later, say around 12.20.14, and return later (after 1.10.15)? Getting desperate!

Thank you for your help and insight,

Jenn
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Old Sep 1, 14, 12:37 pm
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Originally Posted by jennlindberg View Post
Jon,

In your opinion, would it be any easier to book if we left later, say around 12.20.14, and return later (after 1.10.15)? Getting desperate!

Thank you for your help and insight,

Jenn
You're very welcome, and, yes, definitely. I *still* don't think you'll see any awards opening in the months leading up, but you're ability to get home on awards would be greatly increased.

Although, looking at the calendar, probably more like the 12th of Jan would be the big difference, in my opinion.
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Old Sep 1, 14, 12:41 pm
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Thank you, Jon! That's ok...We could make leaving later and returning earlier work for us.
But I still see the latest date going out to OZ with award space as 12.10. Are you saying that you think award space will indeed open up for December, like a week or 2 before we take off for OZ? This gives me hope!
Best,

Jenn
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Old Sep 1, 14, 12:47 pm
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Originally Posted by jennlindberg View Post
Thank you, Jon! That's ok...We could make leaving later and returning earlier work for us.
But I still see the latest date going out to OZ with award space as 12.10. Are you saying that you think award space will indeed open up for December, like a week or 2 before we take off for OZ? This gives me hope!
Best,

Jenn
There's problems on departure side too-- I always use Cathay for that and, indeed the close one come to Christmas the harder it will be. IF you currently have Qantas award space, I have far less experience with QF in economy that time of year.
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Old Sep 1, 14, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by jennlindberg View Post
Hi Guv,

I searched using Qantas, BA, and AA. I go back and forth between them. I am not sure how to see CX or JAL seats.

We're willing to be creative and split if needed. That would be better if we were on the same flight, harder on different flights. We just need to get home by 1.5.15, and preferably a bit earlier. Ideally, we'd be home by 1.2.15.

Thanks for your reply!

Jenn
I dont have any experience with award travel to OZ, but I have found the following helpful in finding seats to Asia. I assume that you found seats outbound.

1. Be prepared to split into a combination of business and economy and search starting 2 seats at a time.
2. Consider some tickets with paid one way return in Y. I have seen one way back from Asia (not sure about OZ) be not expensive compared to the one-way outbound which can often exceed RT price.
3. Look for CX to HKG and then US or JL to TYO and then US. The number of miles needed may go up. You can search for these on ba.com after getting a BA FF account - but I suspect you have tried this already. CX/JL options should list along with other BA options.
4. Look for seats to US gateways plus an additional 25K one way AAnytime. Dallas might be another option (drive to Austin).
5. There are other award search options, but I have not tried any yet, since CX works for me most of the time.
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Old Sep 1, 14, 1:31 pm
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OP should also be using awardnexus.com with alerts set - along with the customary advice to get an ExpertFlyer subscription and to set alerts there as well.

Perhaps OP should look for HKG award seats DFW-HKG and then from there, use JetStar to get further south on paid tickets. OP - if I were you, I'd snatch up the best routings for the TPAC and then buy the revenue seats to Australia/New Zealand. Lots of Low Cost Carriers operating in SE Asia and Australia now.
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Old Sep 1, 14, 4:56 pm
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Fellow Austinite here.

Something time consuming, but I still see possibilities, is to do this:
http://milevalue.com/how-to-get-to-a...-miles-part-2/

AKL/SYD/etc to Fiji, then Fiji to Los Angeles. May have to buy your way home from LAX to give max flexibility.

You can use Qantas' search engine (in Classic Mode) to search segment by segment. Their automated search won't generally piece it together for you.


If you want to try going from Asia, JAL's search engine I've found the quickest once you've got it down.

For example, I don't see anything from see SYD/MEL/BNE/AKL-HKG, 4 economy seats, so if you're willing to buy your AKL - Hong Kong flight one way, you can fly from Hong Kong home via New York. LAX/ORD may have some availability (I just didn't check).

HKG - NYC, 4 economy seats:
12/27 Sat

Code:
4
Y	CX890
77W	Hong Kong
18:20	Newark INTL
21:00	15hr(s) 40min(s)
	4
Y	CX846
77W	Hong Kong
19:45	John F Kennedy
22:25	15hr(s) 40min(s)
12/28 Sun

Code:
4
Y	CX890
77W	Hong Kong
18:20	Newark INTL
21:00	15hr(s) 40min(s)
	4
Y	CX846
77W	Hong Kong
19:45	John F Kennedy
22:25	15hr(s) 40min(s)
Same for 12/29, 12/30, 12/31 (just CX890).
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Old Sep 1, 14, 5:21 pm
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Originally Posted by beaktor View Post
Fellow Austinite here.

Something time consuming, but I still see possibilities, is to do this:
http://milevalue.com/how-to-get-to-a...-miles-part-2/
That's a pretty great primer, glad you posted it!

There's also the long, long, longshot of getting out via SCL on SYD-SCL, once one is paying for multiple awards.
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