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Best / Cheapest way to do LHR > TYO > DEN > LHR

Best / Cheapest way to do LHR > TYO > DEN > LHR

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Old Apr 17, 19, 5:00 am
  #1  
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Best / Cheapest way to do LHR > TYO > DEN > LHR

Planning a long way in advance on this one... next year I'm planning on trying to get to the Olympics in Tokyo, but I've also got a mountain biking race straight after in Colorado, so I need to find the best way of getting it done, ideally via Oneworld so I can take advantage of status. Probably looking to fly in business for anything long haul.

Normally people seem to advise ex-EU for Tokyo, but I'm assuming this would be complicated somewhat by the need to come back via Denver? I was also considering getting to Tokyo via Seoul, Shanghai or Beijing as I'm guessing the fares might be less affected by the "Olympics premium"... I know it's basically going to cost me a small fortune no matter what, and I know the odds of being able to get reward flights for at least the Tokyo part of the flight will be slim to none!

From what I can tell there's no direct flights between Tokyo and Denver with Oneworld carriers, so that might end up being a bit more complicated (and more chance for them to lose my bike!).

I'm thinking roughly these dates:

22/07/20 - Tokyo
01/08/20 - Denver
12/08/20 - London

Any suggestions greatly appreciated. I've never really tried to work out a trip like this before.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 5:33 am
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I've never used one but this sounds like the kind of thing a OneWorld explorer (?) fare would cover? I imagine it comes at a cost but you have some flexibility on routing as I understand it.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 5:38 am
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Not sure the fares will even be loaded this far in advance for those dates? So it's hard to play around with real costings. You might be best with a 'round the world' ticket if your dates are more or less fixed - the OneWorld RTW planner will give you a good spread of all the flight options available, although the downside is it can be hard to see at each step how the specific choice of flights really affects the total price. For what it's worth, I tried loading that same itinerary for those same dates in 2019 (so at shorter notice than you will book, albeit without any 'Olympic premium') and it gave a grand total fare in business class of just over GBP 6k. That was using the best (Japan Airlines) and most direct flight options at every step...you might be able to try different alternatives and see what comes up lowest, once fare buckets are open. I used London as the starting point for this experiment - I don't know whether the 'ex-EU' trick would make a difference on a RTW fare basis

Someone will probably be along shortly with a cheaper alternative

https://www.oneworld.com/world-travel
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Old Apr 17, 19, 5:41 am
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No, they wont be available for a while. I'm more interested in general best advice rather than specific at this point.

I've never heard of a OneWorld explorer fare, so I'll have a look for that.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 5:42 am
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Would it be smarter to ship the bike to Denver to a store that you trust? I can't imagine bringing it with you to Tokyo for a week would be helpful. It seems like it's around 500-800 dollars to ship it from London to the US.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 5:45 am
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For what it's worth, I just tried using that OneWorld RTW tool again with some variants: (i) starting/ending in Amsterdam (ex-EU) (ii) flying BA and AA over JL and (iii) taking some more obvious 'trunk' routes and connecting, rather than say the direct Denver-London flights...

All variables which you might think have a bearing on price.

It came up with a EUR price which was almost exactly the same as the 'best' options starting from London. Unclear whether that's just a fluke, but suggests perhaps the RTW fares don't vary all that much...

It might conceivably be cheaper to fly two return ex-EU tickets, maybe on QR or something - so perhaps OSL-DOH-TYO-DOH-OSL // OSL-LHR-DEN-LHR-OSL if you can pick up sensible business fares in a sale (perhaps as low as c.1,300 - 1,500 GBP each if you get the right deals)
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Old Apr 17, 19, 5:59 am
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Originally Posted by MSYtoJFKagain View Post
Would it be smarter to ship the bike to Denver to a store that you trust? I can't imagine bringing it with you to Tokyo for a week would be helpful. It seems like it's around 500-800 dollars to ship it from London to the US.
I'll still need to be doing some training that week, so I was considering heading out to the hills. If it got lost / damaged I would have enough time to get a replacement, though it would be a pain.

That said, I don't know if other carriers are as good as BA when it comes to charging for bikes, so I'd need to look into that anyway. That said, I definitely wouldn't consider having the bike with me for an itinerary like below (!)...

Originally Posted by ratypus View Post
It might conceivably be cheaper to fly two return ex-EU tickets, maybe on QR or something - so perhaps OSL-DOH-TYO-DOH-OSL // OSL-LHR-DEN-LHR-OSL if you can pick up sensible business fares in a sale (perhaps as low as c.1,300 - 1,500 GBP each if you get the right deals)
Those are interesting options. Cheers.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 6:07 am
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Two options IMO: Two ex-EU flights, or an Avios redemption. The RTW tickets are too expensive for that kind of itinerary, they're mostly useful if you have lots of stops to do.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 6:09 am
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I think [and I'm sure someone actually knows] that the DONE fares - OneWorld round the world fares - are probably the best cash way of doing this if it is an acceptable price to you. I suspect that's what ratypus is seeing? The price is relatively insensitive because it is [AFAIK] metal neutral and is also looking for D fares - so fairly high up the buckets anyway, and thus reasonably easy to find availability a little while out. Not sure if these attract carrier surcharges, ex-EU would avoid APD I believe [or just stopover in a short haul destination to reduce to 26].

The other option - and what I'm doing for the Rugby World Cup in the Autumn - is the Multi-Partner reward chart. I won't go into the gory details, but I was encouraged to piece this together as each flight was released by the respective airlines [which was all done without a change fee]. It did, however, cause some issues with agents claiming it wasn't valid because of the gaps in the schedule as this happened - but was all held successfully until complete so it could be ticketed. This method will take a fair bit of research, and probably several late night calls to various BAEC lines to bag seats as soon as they are released.

The good part of the MPR is that if you fail to get the seats you want you'll know pretty early and it's only 35 to cancel and go back to the DONE fare - but if successful it will save you a fair chunk of change [even if you don't exploit it to the extent I have!]. Feel free to PM for more details.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 6:23 am
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If your considering a OW DONE fare RG1X the Oneworld forum on Flyertalk may also provide some useful general and specific advice too as well as on here.

It's quite a helpful place and also has a FAQ and a Newbie Lounge (Flame Free) so another thing to read up on so your able to choose the best options when it's time to book.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/oneworld-411/
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Old Apr 17, 19, 6:43 am
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Originally Posted by thebigben View Post
Two options IMO: Two ex-EU flights, or an Avios redemption. The RTW tickets are too expensive for that kind of itinerary, they're mostly useful if you have lots of stops to do.
Fair point: to clarify my above - I think a DONE would work out cheapest if one is only willing to do UK-JA-US-UK as the most convenient routing. One probably can save some [and get more TPs if Oneworld] with ex-EU fares if one is willing to do the extra flying. Cash one-ways are likely to be more than a DONE, I would guess - and given that it's the Olympics [rather than the RWC] ex-EU starting points to JA might not be very frequent or cheap due to the fairly widespread demand.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 7:04 am
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I generally take 1 or 2 OneWorld RTW trips a year, and would make following points:

1. The tickets are quite flexible, especially as to dates, but it pays to stick with the routing you dream up in the first place. Pricing is based on number of continents visited, class of service and (less important), starting point.

2. Fares from most European starting points tend to be much of a muchness (there used to be great deals starting somewhere whose currency was collapsing e.g Egypt, but more recently these have been eliminated IME). It would, however, be worth seeing if starting in Norway is worthwhile - it tends to be a little cheaper.

3. OP's itinerary would trigger a 3 continent fare (the cheapest) and since the ticket allows for up to 16 flights it would be possible to add various stopping points without adding materially to cost so long as these were in one of the 3 continents. So although this type of ticket is probably not the cheapest way of achieving OP's requirements, it would allow for, say, a stop in LA and/or NYC adjacent to the trip to Colorado, or a cheeky break in Dubai or Doha, or a visit to HK or India etc. to be incorporated into the trip for next to no (air travel) cost. It may also be possible to split everything into two trips (e.g. a Middle East break separated by a long "stopover" in London from the rest of the flights).

4. It's a great way to experience other OW carriers, if you haven't tried them, without any extra cost - so JAL to Tokyo will be no more expensive than BA, for example.

The OneWorld site has a fun (but bug prone) planning tool. I agree with others it would be worth playing around with that - it should give a feel for cost even if you have to use fake dates until the required ones are bookable.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 7:36 am
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I do quite fancy trying JAL.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 7:45 am
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Take into account any charges you may incur for carrying your bike. JL (and others) might charge you even if you're travelling in J, depending on how you purchase your ticket.

On a recent ski trip (in J) their policy was to charge passengers extra for skis but I was on a BA ticket and they 'apply the policy of the airline through which the ticket was purchased' so was ok.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 9:44 am
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Originally Posted by RG1X View Post
That said, I don't know if other carriers are as good as BA when it comes to charging for bikes, so I'd need to look into that anyway. That said, I definitely wouldn't consider having the bike with me for an itinerary like below (!)...
FWIW JL didn't charge me any incremental when I flew SYD-NRT-HEL-LHR a couple of years ago when I relocated from Aus to the UK. They were the most generous w/ luggage allowances that I could find at a decent price one way also, J pax w/ status afforded me 4x 32kg bags and the bike box made it with zero damage.

Only thing that freaked me out was getting a call in the NRT lounge to come to security as they'd found a CO2 canister that I'd forgotten about in a saddle bag - I thought it was bad news but the nice chap just photo'd it and taped it back up for me (it was under their allowable limit and packed to their satisfaction).

A bit more on-topic, I've looked into OW explorers a little before and am not sure there's much variance in price based on routing, in business I think they're all just "expensive".
Without the bike, if time allowed, I'd prob try and find an ex-EU - TYO fare (and back, and then the same to DEN rather than joining them together - but obvs w/ a bike that's a lot more handling to potentially go wrong...
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