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Best way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards & UA miles for trip to New Zealand from SFO

Best way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards & UA miles for trip to New Zealand from SFO

Old Dec 27, 15, 2:34 pm
  #1  
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Best way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards & UA miles for trip to New Zealand from SFO

We are seeking advice on a trip we are planning to New Zealand. We plan to be flying SFO to Queenstown or Aucklund during December of 2016 around holiday time. The group includes my wife and I and three children ranging from 11 to 5. We have 900,000 miles through Chase Travel rewards and we are wondering how to best use our miles for this trip. We don;t want to fly ecomony and we are okay with paying for upgrades to get to at least economy plus. We also have additional miles on united (about 100,000) if we need them.
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Old Dec 27, 15, 2:47 pm
  #2  
 
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Welcome to FT!

You are posting in the wrong forum. Ask the mods to move this thread.

You will find it almost impossible, IMO, to get so many business award seats for this routing. Good luck.
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Old Dec 27, 15, 2:49 pm
  #3  
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which forum do you think is best
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Old Dec 27, 15, 2:57 pm
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Chase since you are asking about Chase rewards. Why would you think Mileage Run would be the best place to post about Chase rewards?
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Old Dec 27, 15, 3:33 pm
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Please follow this thread in the Chase Ultimate Rewards forum.

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Old Dec 27, 15, 3:43 pm
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Greetings to Flyertalk,

At the risk of sounding dismissive, this particular request-family flying from California to NZ in business during the holiday period and have a huge number of miles/points to achieve it-is a common one on the bulletin board. It would be worth a search of existing threads.

Good luck..it is near impossible goal. You will discover the most likely candidate-Air New Zealand-just doesn't play the business class trans pacific award game any longer.
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Old Dec 27, 15, 4:23 pm
  #7  
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We have done some research and it since we are more then 11 months before the trip nothing is available yet but it seems that economy will likely be 40,000 miles each way and then we may be able to purchase upgrades to economy plus. Has anyone done that before?
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Old Dec 27, 15, 4:43 pm
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by jasonc45 View Post
We are seeking advice on a trip we are planning to New Zealand. We plan to be flying SFO to Queenstown or Aucklund during December of 2016 around holiday time. The group includes my wife and I and three children ranging from 11 to 5. We have 900,000 miles through Chase Travel rewards and we are wondering how to best use our miles for this trip. We don;t want to fly ecomony and we are okay with paying for upgrades to get to at least economy plus. We also have additional miles on united (about 100,000) if we need them.
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Old Dec 27, 15, 4:44 pm
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Have you looked into going via Asia if possible
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Old Dec 27, 15, 6:47 pm
  #10  
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i Havent looked into flying through asia or australia but I have been reading other threads and see that may be a possibility. We were hoping to fly direct. Can we pay for an upgrade to economy plus if we get the economy reward tickets?
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Old Dec 27, 15, 7:14 pm
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Originally Posted by jasonc45 View Post
i Havent looked into flying through asia or australia but I have been reading other threads and see that may be a possibility. We were hoping to fly direct. Can we pay for an upgrade to economy plus if we get the economy reward tickets?
Which airline are you talking about?

For some airlines (e.g. Air NZ), "Premium Economy" is a separate cabin. The availability of paid upgrades in such cases *may* be the same as or less than the availability of reward seats (i.e. you might as well book them using points in the first place). Paid upgrades *may* only be offered on day of departure, depending on the airline.

For other airlines (e.g. United), "Economy Plus" is still considered part of the economy cabin. Thus "Economy Plus" is not considered an upgrade, it is just paying for a better economy-class seat. Generally you can do that, but there may be time limits on when.
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Old Dec 28, 15, 4:24 am
  #12  
 
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Let me quickly sum it up (and take it with a grain of salt )

Redeeming points/miles for 5 people in biz=always bad, unless you try to fly like on BA
Redeeming any points/miles during high peak travel season and/or christmas time=even worse
Trying to fly on nonstop flights where not many airlines fly nonstop / airlines release award seats to only their own program (NZ)=bad
Trying to upgrade in any way during high peak travel season when most likely all revenue fares get sold out anyways=terrible

Also make sure you know the difference between Premium Economy (AF,LH,soon AA) and Economy Plus (UA,DL,...)
Premium economy most of the time means actual different food + service, not just a few more inches of seat leg.
It is booked in a different fare class, upgrading from economy to premium economy requires the ticket to get reissued

Economy+ is just a way of taking more money out of a customer's pocket, you don't get anything more than just a few inches of leg space.
For that you can buy the +seat online by selecting it in the seat map, no ticket needs to get reissued.

Also, in case you are not an award ticket expert, you might consider paying an award planning website to look for award seats for you since not all airline websites show award seats (example, no SQ or LO is shown on united.com).

Last edited by mia; Dec 28, 15 at 4:57 am Reason: Combine consecutive replies
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Old Dec 28, 15, 8:19 pm
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On the brighter side, the availability in 2016 should improve slightly since AA and UA are resuming long dormant service to AKL. Still one of the most difficult markets to get award tix.
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Old Dec 28, 15, 8:47 pm
  #14  
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thanks for the input everyone. Can anyone suggest a service that helps book tickets to maximize points?
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Old Dec 28, 15, 8:55 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by jasonc45 View Post
thanks for the input everyone. Can anyone suggest a service that helps book tickets to maximize points?
Many to choose from here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...eviews-10.html
Expect to pay $100>$200 per passenger. Well worth it for international travel.
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