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Need Help With Award Flights; Invited to the Pacquiao Fight in Macau!

Need Help With Award Flights; Invited to the Pacquiao Fight in Macau!

Old Nov 3, 14, 1:28 am
  #1  
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Need Help With Award Flights; Invited to the Pacquiao Fight in Macau!

Hello All,

Are you able to help me with this itinerary below? If not, if you can lead me to the right direction, I could do the leg work. I'd really appreciate it.

One way/Round trip: Best way
Non-stop/Maximum stops/Any: Any
From: LAX
To: HKG, MFM
Departure dates: 11/18 or 11/19
Return airports: LAX
Return dates: 11/24
Class: Any cheapest
Seats: 2
Alliance/Airline: Any
I have a Citi Exec, UMPE, Amex Delta Gold, BA, Amex Plat as far as possible status goes.
I also have (as of 11/2):
105,322 AA
190,657 UR
59,046 UA
141,223 BA
76,548 MR
21,524 SPG
32,141 Delta Miles

My wife and I were invited to the Pacquiao fight in Macau on November 23rd. I'm not so savvy yet with the utilization aspect of points/miles, so I'd like some help. With the time difference, we need to be there by the 21st in their time zone, so we could leave at the latest the 19th here in the evening, but we would not mind leaving before, so we could tour HK or Macau and get rid of the jetlag before the fight. We are willing to go to HKG and take the ferry to Macau if it is not feasible to go directly to Macau. I'm looking for the cheapest way to get there with points. Hope you could help. Thanks in advance!

John
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Old Nov 3, 14, 1:50 am
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Cheapest is to find Cathay Pacific flights using AA points to get to HK and then taking the ferry. Usually good last minute F/J availability but not sure about economy class.

EDIT: just did a quick search, lots of Y/J availability on the two dates you mentioned. You should be fine to book using AA. Transfer SPG to AA to top it up if you need to. I'd advise going J there and then using UA points to get back?

Last edited by roastpuff; Nov 3, 14 at 1:55 am
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Old Nov 3, 14, 1:56 am
  #3  
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I'd suggest trying to use AA miles one-way (on CX's LAX nonstops to or from HKG), and UA miles the other way (after converting some of your UR points). Not sure if any UA partners serve MFM, but there are lots of ways to get between LAX and HKG with UA miles.

Note that the aa.com website cannot display CX award availability, so a call to AA is required to book. (Before calling AA, you can log into your BAEC account at ba.com and check CX award availability there.)

Also, if you have no status with AA, you will be subject to a close-in award booking fee of $75/passenger. BAEC has no such fee, but BAEC redemptions will incur carrier surcharges which will likely be greater.

If you only use AA miles for your return flight (from HKG) and book it at least 21 days in advance, then there will be no close-in award fee for such a redemption. So maybe see if you can use UA miles for LAX to HKG (or MFM), and AA miles back from HKG.
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Old Nov 3, 14, 2:11 am
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It looks like UA miles can be redeemed to MFM on Star Alliance member EVA for LAX-TPE-MFM, if you can find availability.

If you are considering transferring Starwood points to AA to redeem for Business Class on CX, note that Starwood transfers to AAdvantage are not instantaneous.
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Old Nov 3, 14, 12:08 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by roastpuff View Post
Cheapest is to find Cathay Pacific flights using AA points to get to HK and then taking the ferry. Usually good last minute F/J availability but not sure about economy class.

EDIT: just did a quick search, lots of Y/J availability on the two dates you mentioned. You should be fine to book using AA. Transfer SPG to AA to top it up if you need to. I'd advise going J there and then using UA points to get back?
Sorry for the noob question, but what is Y/J and F/J? Thanks for your help!
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Old Nov 3, 14, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
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I'd suggest trying to use AA miles one-way (on CX's LAX nonstops to or from HKG), and UA miles the other way (after converting some of your UR points). Not sure if any UA partners serve MFM, but there are lots of ways to get between LAX and HKG with UA miles.

Note that the aa.com website cannot display CX award availability, so a call to AA is required to book. (Before calling AA, you can log into your BAEC account at ba.com and check CX award availability there.)

Also, if you have no status with AA, you will be subject to a close-in award booking fee of $75/passenger. BAEC has no such fee, but BAEC redemptions will incur carrier surcharges which will likely be greater.

If you only use AA miles for your return flight (from HKG) and book it at least 21 days in advance, then there will be no close-in award fee for such a redemption. So maybe see if you can use UA miles for LAX to HKG (or MFM), and AA miles back from HKG.
I have a Citi Exec AA card, so I wonder if that gives me status? Also, if I have to call to book as it is not available on the website, wouldn't that be grounds for a waiver of said book fees? We are due to fly back on the 24th so that marks 21 days from today. Do you recommend doing AA still or UA is fine? I don't think I have enough AA miles for 2 for the one-way back, so I may just have to use UA anyways. Thoughts? Thanks in advance.
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Old Nov 3, 14, 12:28 pm
  #7  
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Y = coach

J = business class (some people write C for business class too)

F = first class

SO: Y/J means coach and/or business class, etc.

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Nov 3, 14 at 12:46 pm Reason: typo
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Old Nov 3, 14, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
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It looks like UA miles can be redeemed to MFM on Star Alliance member EVA for LAX-TPE-MFM, if you can find availability.

If you are considering transferring Starwood points to AA to redeem for Business Class on CX, note that Starwood transfers to AAdvantage are not instantaneous.
So, are you implying that using UA for LAX-TPE-MFM is best to do? Also, is it best to fly from MFM to LAX points and cash wise or take the ferry back to HKG to fly out to LAX?
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Old Nov 3, 14, 12:33 pm
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If your trip is long enough or if you've never been to Hong Kong, I would highly suggest making at least one direction through HKG. It would be a shame to be so close and not see any of this fascinating city.

There are hydrofoils directly between HKG airport and Macau that avoid going through immigration and customs formalities to enter HKG. Luggage is transferred for you, although this requires some time.
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Old Nov 3, 14, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Y = coach

J = business class (s0me people write C for business class too)

F = first class

SO: Y/J means coach and/or business class, etc.
Oh ok. Thanks.
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Old Nov 3, 14, 12:45 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If your trip is long enough or if you've never been to Hong Kong, I would highly suggest making at least one direction through HKG. It would be a shame to be so close and not see any of this fascinating city.

There are hydrofoils directly between HKG airport and Macau that avoid going through immigration and customs formalities to enter HKG. Luggage is transferred for you, although this requires some time.
We were in Hong Kong for 5 days last July. Amazing place! We stayed in Kowloon, and we regret not going to Hong Kong Island, so I would not mind doing more sightseeing there before taking the ferry to Macau.

So how does that work? Land in HKG and go straight to Macau via ferry (or plane?) without going through customs?
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Old Nov 3, 14, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by ajandraschell View Post
We were in Hong Kong for 5 days last July. Amazing place! We stayed in Kowloon, and we regret not going to Hong Kong Island, so I would not mind doing more sightseeing there before taking the ferry to Macau.

So how does that work? Land in HKG and go straight to Macau via ferry (or plane?) without going through customs?
Land in HKG and follow signs to boat (IIRC hydrofoil) to Macau, no immigration and customs as you don't enter Hong Kong. In the reverse, you can take a boat directly from Macau to HKG airport and go to international departures without entering Hong Kong.

IIRC there's at least one thread on this in the Hong Kong and Macau destination forum.
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Old Nov 3, 14, 2:08 pm
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Is J on CX really worth it? It seems that that is what 2 helpers have recommended. What is the point difference with Y and J?
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Old Nov 3, 14, 2:22 pm
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"I have a Citi Exec AA card, so I wonder if that gives me status? Also, if I have to call to book as it is not available on the website, wouldn't that be grounds for a waiver of said book fees?"

No, and no.

"So, are you implying that using UA for LAX-TPE-MFM is best to do? Also, is it best to fly from MFM to LAX points and cash wise or take the ferry back to HKG to fly out to LAX?"

If there is award availability on EVA LAX-TPE-MFM, and if there is award availability HKG-LAX on CX, then those are what I would recommend.

You currently have enough AA miles for two one-way Coach award tickets from HKG-LAX, which cost 35K AA miles; Business Class awards cost 55K AA miles one way, and you do not currently have the needed 110K AA miles. (As noted previously, SPG transfers to AAdvantage are not instantaneous. If you want Business on CX, you can either initiate a Starwood transfer and hope that the miles post before the hold on your award seats expire, or you could redeem AA miles for one seat, and BA Avios for the other, paying BAEC's surcharge for that award. BAEC charges more Avios than AA charges miles for HKG-LAX in Business Class.)

You might have to transfer some UR points to UA to have enough Mileage Plus miles for two one-way awards from LAX to MFM. If LAX to MFM is not available with UA miles, you can try redeeming UA miles for two one-way awards from LAX to HKG.

Check Mileage Plus award availability on united.com; call AA to check CX award availability HKG to LAX.
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Old Nov 3, 14, 2:37 pm
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Originally Posted by ajandraschell View Post
Is J on CX really worth it? It seems that that is what 2 helpers have recommended. What is the point difference with Y and J?
That's up to you. AA is 55K each way in J vs 35K in Y. CX J is an upper end J experience from what I read. Flat bed vs economy. United is 70K on UA metal or 80K on partner metal for J vs 40K for Y. If I were you, I'd go J.
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