London May 2015

Old May 16, 14, 10:53 am
  #1  
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London May 2015

I'm new to all this travel hacking stuff and I hope I'm posting in the right spot, but I have a few questions.

My husband & I are planning a trip to London next May(dates are kind of open) and I'm trying to get all our sky mile points together so they can at least get us a discount on the flight.
When I say 'points together' I mean opening AMEX cards and spend the money. In the end we will only have 95,000 Skymiles.

My question is…

Is it better to book a r/t ticket and have the points help out with the full cost, or to book the one way award ticket to London on the first day it's available to book, then just purchase my return flight later on. My understanding was that the sooner you book the award tickets the less Skymiles it costs.

I don't even know if 95K Skymiles will really touch the cost of the flight, but it's worth a shot. I do plan on opening the Chase Ink Plus card to help with hotels or even the flight home.

I do have other points available through Wells Fargo…but I don't think they can help with any travel stuff.

Any help is appreciated…I want to become as successful as all you regular travel hackers on here…you got to start somewhere, right!?
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Old May 16, 14, 11:19 am
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Welcome to FT,

Delta currently charges the same number of miles for a one-way as for a roundtrip award. That is not expected to change until some time in 2015.

A one-way cash ticket to or from London can cost as much as, or more than a roundtrip cash ticket, depending on the airline.

You would probably do better by accumulating AA and UA miles for this trip. Both AA and UA offer one-way awards for half the number of miles as a roundtrip award. Check the FT Credit Cards forum for current bonus offers on cards that can earn those miles. And be aware that AA redemptions on AA's partner BA are a bad idea, because of hefty surcharges for award travel on BA flights.

Last edited by guv1976; May 16, 14 at 11:22 am
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Old May 16, 14, 11:43 am
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Thank you Guv1976. If I apply for the Chase Ink plus card I can transfer those miles over to AA or UA right?
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Old May 16, 14, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Nikki1156
Thank you Guv1976. If I apply for the Chase Ink plus card I can transfer those miles over to AA or UA right?
Nope. AA is not a Chase transfer partner. For AA miles, your options are any of a number of co-branded AA cards issued by Citi, or the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex card.

As for UA, the Ink Plus Business Card, as well as the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase/UA Explorer personal cards, all earn either UA Mileage Plus miles directly, or Ultimate Rewards points which can be converted to Mileage Plus miles.
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Old May 16, 14, 12:10 pm
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Welcome to FlyerTalk!

First, is there a particular reason you've decided to focus on Delta? Also, I don't see any location details in your profile — you'll usually get more helpful replies if we know the airport you'd be flying from.

I'm not specifically knowledgable about Delta's policies on award bookings, but you should be able to change award ticket travel dates as long as the departure and arrival airports don't change. If delta allows that, you might want to book the full round trip ticket, even if the return is initially on an earlier date than truly desired. Then, when seats become available on the preferred return date, you can make a change.

Again, I don't know Delta's rules, so you'd need to verify that this approach works.
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Old May 16, 14, 10:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Nikki1156 View Post
My husband & I are planning a trip to London next May(dates are kind of open) and I'm trying to get all our sky mile points together so they can at least get us a discount on the flight.
It might be important for the OP to know that SkyMiles cannot be used to "discount" an economy ticket -- you pay either with all miles or all dollars.

Originally Posted by Nikki1156
When I say 'points together' I mean opening AMEX cards and spend the money. In the end we will only have 95,000 Skymiles.
That will likely be enough for one round-trip ticket, not two. A "standard" SM award from the US to Europe next spring is 95,000 miles roundtrip if you book before the end of 2014. A "saver" award would be 60,000 miles, but they're very hard to come by. A "peak" award would be 130,000 miles, which would be poor value even if OP had them in hand.

Originally Posted by Nikki1156
Is it better to book a r/t ticket and have the points help out with the full cost, or to book the one way award ticket to London on the first day it's available to book, then just purchase my return flight later on. My understanding was that the sooner you book the award tickets the less Skymiles it costs.
Not really -- availability all depends on when and where you want to go and can change at any time. But the big thing is, think in terms of round-trips, not one-ways. Best advice is to start scanning this summer for one round-trip saver or "standard" award, book it the moment you see it, then buy a second ticket on the same itinerary.
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Old May 17, 14, 12:16 am
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Thanks guv1976, these credit cards are so confusing in the beginning.

aBroadABroad
Delta is the airlines I've flown with the most, and the only one I've used to fly internationally. So I had some SkyMiles, not many but had some to start with. What's your fav airlines and why?

Thanks again your opinions and help.
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Old May 17, 14, 9:40 am
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Originally Posted by Nikki1156 View Post
aBroadABroad
Delta is the airlines I've flown with the most, and the only one I've used to fly internationally. So I had some SkyMiles, not many but had some to start with. What's your fav airlines and why?
To repeat a question someone else asked upthread, what is your departure city? That makes a big difference.

To get from the United States to London you have a choice of DL, AA, UA, US, BA, or VS nonstop. You can also take a one-stop connection on the major European airlines (LH, KL, AF, EI, etc.) or Air Canada (AC).

IMO the only airline to outright avoid is United, owing to service and reliability issues. BA is also terrible for mileage redemption because they tack on outrageous "fuel surcharges" (YQ), but in general the European airlines offer better service / amenities and are more fun to fly.

I would back off a little from your Delta bias and consider:

1. What city you're leaving from (if you're in New York you have many nonstop choices; if you're in Rapid City, South Dakota you have less choice and perhaps two connections to get to London).
2. What program you're accumulating points in and what airline alliance it's tied in with (Delta SkyMiles = SkyTeam (KL, AF) and VS... United Mileage Plus = Star Alliance (AC, LH)... etc.).
3. What your alliance redemption options are and, pragmatically, what's available.

Does it have to be SkyMiles? SM has the stingiest, poorest-value award redemption rates. United's Mileage Plus program offers much better, higher-value redemption options. Not that I would redeem for flights on UA itself -- only its partners -- but depending on your starting point you might find it feasible (and probably easier to score an award seat) to fly on Lufthansa via Frankfurt/Munich, Air Canada via Toronto/Montreal, or Aer Lingus via Dublin.
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