Best options for honeymoon???

 
Old Aug 14, 10, 4:54 pm
  #1  
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Question Best options for honeymoon???

All,

My fiance and I are attempting to book our honeymoon for next May (the last 2 weeks of the month). We'd like to go to Athens and Istanbul. I've currently got 210k miles in CO, 120k points in AMEX and about 95k points in Starwood. I'm having a heck of a time trying to find any reasonable options on Continental's reward flight search . We'd obviously love to fly firstclass if possible, and I have enough for the saverpass tickets. So I bow to you all, the experts, and ask a few questions...

1. Can CO do more over the phone then the website? How reliable is the website's results for reward searches?

2. We're more concerned about the long haul being first class then the Intra-Europe travel. Is it possible to combine a reward NYC to Europe flight with a paid intra-europe flight to our final destination? (Since CO doesn't fly to Istanbul direct)

3. Should I be trying to pay for my tickets and upgrade them instead?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!
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Old Aug 14, 10, 5:03 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by paugom View Post
1. Can CO do more over the phone then the website? How reliable is the website's results for reward searches?
Yes. ANA is a good place to start, too.

Originally Posted by paugom View Post
2. We're more concerned about the long haul being first class then the Intra-Europe travel. Is it possible to combine a reward NYC to Europe flight with a paid intra-europe flight to our final destination? (Since CO doesn't fly to Istanbul direct)
No, but you shouldn't have to pay for that segment. Getting NYC-ATH, ATH-IST, IST-NYC on a single ticket is possible, assuming you find the inventory.

Originally Posted by paugom View Post
3. Should I be trying to pay for my tickets and upgrade them instead?
Probably not, IMO. It will cost more and finding the upgrades are often harder than the reward seats.

Do you have specific dates?

ETA: Without specific dates I found the following...

LH 403 or 405 in F on 5/14/2011. That's either Newark or JFK to FRA. LH 401 (early flight ex-JFK) is available in C but I don't like the 4pm departure; too early to get a decent night's sleep.

LH 1282 on 5/15/2011 in C. That's FRA-ATH with a 2 hour layover. Not enough time for much lounge excitement but the only other flight FRA-ATH with inventory arrives after midnight so probably not worth it.

TK 1848 or 1850 on 5/22/2011 in C. That's ATH-IST. Either a morning or evening flight. Your choice.

TK 1 is a bit harder on 5/28/2011. I see plenty of days where 1 seat is published in F but not with 2. The tricky part here is that in some previous similar scenarios I've seen CO issue two F seats. Just request it and see where you get.

Should be 135K each in F for the r/t F ticket. Get CO to confirm the seats and then transfer the points over from AmEx to top off the account.

Last edited by sbm12; Aug 14, 10 at 5:20 pm
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Old Aug 14, 10, 5:07 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by paugom View Post
All,

My fiance and I are attempting to book our honeymoon for next May (the last 2 weeks of the month). We'd like to go to Athens and Istanbul. I've currently got 210k miles in CO, 120k points in AMEX and about 95k points in Starwood. I'm having a heck of a time trying to find any reasonable options on Continental's reward flight search . We'd obviously love to fly firstclass if possible, and I have enough for the saverpass tickets. So I bow to you all, the experts, and ask a few questions...

1. Can CO do more over the phone then the website? How reliable is the website's results for reward searches?

2. We're more concerned about the long haul being first class then the Intra-Europe travel. Is it possible to combine a reward NYC to Europe flight with a paid intra-europe flight to our final destination? (Since CO doesn't fly to Istanbul direct)

3. Should I be trying to pay for my tickets and upgrade them instead?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

Some of the biggest carriers to Europe are not reflected on CO's site (e.g., LH). You mentioned IST, and TK doesn't even show up at co.com, IIRC. You should find space using the ANA took as sbm12 mentioned, then call it in.

I don't think this should be much of a problem unless you constrain your search unreasonably (e.g., single specific date, or insist on nonstops). Your intra-Europe segment should be very easy, so I wouldn't sweat that at all.

If you want to go for First, familiarize yourself with the different first class offerings out there. LX is very nice in the new config plane, for example. As is TK via JFK.
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Old Aug 14, 10, 5:19 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Yes. ANA is a good place to start, too.

No, but you shouldn't have to pay for that segment. Getting NYC-ATH, ATH-IST, IST-NYC on a single ticket is possible, assuming you find the inventory.

Probably not, IMO. It will cost more and finding the upgrades are often harder than the reward seats.

Do you have specific dates?

ETA: Without specific dates I found the following...

LH 403 or 405 in F on 5/14/2011. That's either Newark or JFK to FRA. LH 401 (early flight ex-JFK) is available in C but I don't like the 4pm departure; too early to get a decent night's sleep.

LH 1282 on 5/15/2011 in C. That's FRA-ATH with a 2 hour layover. Not enough time for much lounge excitement but the only other flight FRA-ATH with inventory arrives after midnight so probably not worth it.

TK 1848 or 1850 on 5/22/2011 in C. That's ATH-IST. Either a morning or evening flight. Your choice.

TK 1 is a bit harder on 5/28/2011. I see plenty of days where 1 seat is published in F but not with 2. The tricky part here is that in some previous similar scenarios I've seen CO issue two F seats. Just request it and see where you get.
Thanks! I'm signing up for my ANA account now!

Our wedding is on the 14th of May, so we're looking to leave on May 16th (Monday) and come back around May 29th (Sunday). However we are flexible with a few days after the 16th or after the 29th.

Thanks!
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Old Aug 14, 10, 5:36 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by paugom View Post
Thanks! I'm signing up for my ANA account now!

Our wedding is on the 14th of May, so we're looking to leave on May 16th (Monday) and come back around May 29th (Sunday). However we are flexible with a few days after the 16th or after the 29th.

Thanks!
Given that flexibility and what I was seeing I'd just call in and see what CO can give you on your requested dates right now. I'm betting you're pretty close without too much digging.

On the ANA site if you don't have any miles in your account (which you obviously don't if you're opening it today) you won't be able to search immediately without a bit of working around the recent limitations they just implemented. There are some discussions here on FT about getting around them. One way around it is here.
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Old Aug 14, 10, 6:38 pm
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Thanks for all your help!!! We ended up booking Business class all the way through on the dates we wanted (JFK-IST, IST-ATH, AST-MUC-JFK)... We even included our intra-europe flight for a total of 210k miles! Oh and thanks for the heads up on the ANA search, its pretty sweet (I used the Greasemonkey script and it worked perfectly!)

Thanks again!!
-PJ and Liz
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