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SF to LA. 2x mo. On Points. Best practices?

SF to LA. 2x mo. On Points. Best practices?

Old Sep 24, 15, 11:13 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2015
Programs: Paying student debt and traveling when i can
Posts: 312
SF to LA. 2x mo. On Points. Best practices?

I'm moving up to SFO. I want to travel regularly back to LA for 3d weekends (most trips won't be for business). Probably ~2 a month.

What are the best options to do this with points?

So far I've looked at southwest and AA. I've read about using BA points to book AA flights, but don't fully understand the process yet (I'm not seeing anything show up for AA on the BA website even though I'm seeing viable AA flights from SFO to LAX). Do I just need to call to book?

I've got a modest stash of chase UR and MR (i'm a beginner), so can transfer to both southwest and BA.

Amtrak / bus options look horrendous (they take a long time ~8-10hr and don't end up in downtown SF).

Anything obvious I might be missing?
odin99 is offline  
Old Sep 24, 15, 11:21 pm
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Atherton, CA
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP; Owner, Green Bay Packers
Posts: 21,690
Look for cheap fares and pay cash. It's not unheard of to get round trips for $100-150 if you can purchase reasonably in advance. Kind of waste of points to toss 'em away for that little.

Or do this:

Doc Savage is offline  
Old Sep 25, 15, 5:10 pm
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: SJC/SFO
Programs: UA 1MM/*A Gold, WN A+ CP, Mar LT Tit, IHG Plat, HH Gold
Posts: 5,294
I like Doc Savage's suggestion of starting by looking for cheap cash fares. If you're planning to make this trip regularly you should be able to plan at least some of your trips well in advance and find good fares.

BA's redemption rates are good for short-haul flights like SFO/LAX. Look in the AA or BA groups for more information on how to redeem Avios for AA flights.

Southwest is also good for finding cheap points flights. Their redemptions are based primarily on the current lowest cash fare. At the moment, for example, weekend roundtrips between SFO/LAX booked several weeks out cost about 10,500 points. Get the Chase Southwest Visa for its 50k signup bonus and that's almost 5 free roundtrips.

Finally, take another look at various bus services. A quick Google search identified several bus companies that serve SF/LA downtown. Travel times run about 7.5 hours because they make a few stops in between. But you save the time of having to get to the airport well before your flight to clear security and board, as well as the time of traveling between the airports & downtown (assuming downtown is where you are starting/going). Figure flying is actually 4 hours door-to-door, minimum.
darthbimmer is offline  
Old Sep 28, 15, 3:42 pm
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 99
I don't have schedules in front of me, but when you add flight options from SFO, OAK and SJC, I believe Southwest has the majority of flight options.

Also, depending where in SF you're living, OAK isn't too hard to get to with direct BART connection. Given SFO's higher rate of weather delays, something to consider.

Also, also, Southwest has no-fee change policy, and you can refare if the fare you paid (cash or points) on that specific flight goes down. The difference goes into your RR account for future use within 1 year, I believe.

Keep us posted on what you find, will be interesting to know. Good luck.
aptravel is offline  
Old Oct 1, 15, 12:29 am
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: SFO, IAH, EGE
Programs: AA-Platinum, UA-Silver
Posts: 5
1) Pay with cash. If you book ahead of time, there are tons of flights available for less than $200.
2) Use BA points for travel on AA. 9,000 round trip isn't bad.

Personally, I fly AA between SFO and LAX for long weekends a couple of times a year. Even as a pesky platinum, I have a pretty high hit rate on upgrades.
CMohajer is offline  

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