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Help Selecting Best Way (MP, UR, AA, other?) to Purchase Multiple Flights

Help Selecting Best Way (MP, UR, AA, other?) to Purchase Multiple Flights

Old Oct 8, 18, 8:14 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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Help Selecting Best Airline (using MP, UR, AA, other?) to Purchase Multiple Flights

Things have been going pretty well with collecting miles/points and traveling about half of the year using them! Normally I was relying on United Mileage Plus miles, or Chase Ultimate Rewards points that I then transferred to United. This time, however, I have different trips and miles/points from different places and I'm wondering what the best airlines are for each of the flights, to maximize what I have with what I need. Advice is greatly appreciated!

Upcoming, I have the following one-way trips:

1 flight from PDX to Jaipur (depart PDX on Jan 13)
1 flight from Jaipur to Colombo, Sri Lanka (depart Jaipur on Feb 19)
1 flight (husband's) from PDX to Colombo, Sri Lanka (depart PDX on Feb 17)
2 flights from Colombo, Sri Lanka to Palermo, Italy (depart Colombo on Mar 19)
[Return flights from Italy to PDX not planned, yet]

I need help with the options for purchasing the above flights, through which airlines for each flight, based on what I have (no premium seats, as I prefer to have more miles/points than comfort when flying):
* Ultimate Rewards Points (quite a lot from multiple Chase cards)
* 35K United Mileage Plus (can add more from Ultimate Rewards, of course, if needed)
* 127,900 AA miles/points (new to me...never had these before)
* Capital One Venture (earning 50k in Jan...maybe use toward return flights?)

For the India portion of the trips, my plan is to be in Jaipur but flights land in Delhi first...and using United means they give me a later flight from Delhi to Jaipur than if I purchased an earlier separate flight from Delhi to Jaipur...but then I'm spending more for that extra flight). Same for flying from India to Sri Lanka...I have to head from Jaipur up to Delhi to get to Sri Lanka, but United is giving me bad times for the Jaipur to Delhi portion of the flight).

Any advice on how best to maximize points/miles for the above flights, and which airlines are best for each flight, is greatly appreciated!! <3 I've only ever flow by purchasing flights through United using my UR and MP points, and don't know if there's a better way to maximize the use of my points/miles by using other airlines, since I have no experience doing so.

Last edited by gypsyardor; Oct 9, 18 at 5:30 pm Reason: Clarifying that I need help with best use of miles for airline choices
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Old Oct 12, 18, 12:05 pm
  #2  
 
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AA miles are great for flights to India, but they're not as easy to use as United miles. For AA, your best bet is flying on Cathay Pacific (CX), but CX flights don't show when you search on aa.com. Instead, you'll need to create a British Airways Avios account and you can search for CX award flights on ba.com. Ignore BA's pricing; if the flight shows available, you can use it in an itinerary you book by phone with AA. Price for PDX-India or Sri Lanka is 40k one way in economy. From the west coast, CX flies to HKG from SFO, LAX, and YVR (also, AA flies LAX-HKG which could be of interest). When you search on ba.com, search by segment - starting with the overwater (e.g., SFO-HKG), then if you find availability you like, find the connecting flights you need (e.g., HKG-CMB and PDX-SFO), paying attention to connecting times as you'll have to satisfy minimum connection times that vary by airport. When you piece something together, call AA to hold/book. AA allows 5-day award holds. AA can't get you to Jaipur though. You can get to Delhi or Mumbai on your AA award, then you'd need to pay for the short hop to JAI.

For JAI-CMB, consider using your Cap1 points especially if United doesn't work for your schedule. If you have any Delta miles, you could use them on Jet Airways for JAI-BOM-CMB (current price for your date of travel is 12.5k). You may can use Flying Blue (a Chase transfer partner) to book the same, but they don't show online so you'd need to call and ask.

For CMB-PMO, I don't think you'll find much success using miles for that whole route. Instead, I'd consider using AA miles for CMB-FCO and then paying cash or using Cap1 points for FCO-PMO which looks to run < $50 one-way. AA charges only 20k for CMB-FCO with two great routing options: CMB-DOH-FCO on Qatar Airways or CMB-AUH-FCO on Etihad. You'll need to use ba.com again here to search for Qatar availability, and again, best to search segments separately (DOH-FCO and CMB-DOH). For Etihad, you search on Etihad's website. If you see "Guest Seat" available (price doesn't matter), you can call AA and book it for 20k per person.

For PMO-PDX, you may be best served paying cash / using Cap1 points for PMO-FCO again, then using miles for FCO-PDX. United and AA both charge 30k per person, but I think you'll have more success with United miles. AA's Europe routes are heavily reliant on BA, and flying BA with miles costs multiple hundreds of dollars in carrier-imposed surcharge (aka fuel surcharges). Another option is Flying Blue, which only charges 25k per person. They also have carrier-imposed surcharges, but they're usually reasonable ($100-$200).
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Last edited by dukerau; Oct 12, 18 at 1:31 pm
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Old Oct 31, 18, 8:38 am
  #3  
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@dukerau thanks so very much!!!! That's exactly the kind of help I was looking for!!

I have another question that I'll ask elsewhere, if you don't know the answer. My daughter would like to join us in Italy, so we're going to stay in Palermo for only one month, then head to Florence for a month (she'll meet us in Florence, with her boyfriend, and then they'll head to Venice to spend some time).

So, my husband and I will go from Palermo to Florence after one month. Then my husband will return home after a short time and I'll stay on longer with my daughter and her boyfriend. The three of us (me, daughter, boyfriend) will fly back to PDX from Venice at the end of May.

Anyway, when I'm booking the flight for my daughter's boyfriend, I'd like to purchase it in a way that I can be refunded 100% if he doesn't end up going with us (he seems to have fears of flying and I don't trust him 100% to go even if it is booked). What's the best way to purchase a flight (using miles, or cash) for someone else, in order to be able to receive 100% refund if the flight is cancelled?

Thanks, again, for all your advice!!!!

Last edited by gypsyardor; Oct 31, 18 at 9:03 am Reason: forgot to update info on additional two people flying Italy portion of trip
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Old Oct 31, 18, 9:21 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by gypsyardor View Post
@dukerau thanks so very much!!!! That's exactly the kind of help I was looking for!!

I have another question that I'll ask elsewhere, if you don't know the answer. My daughter would like to join us in Italy, so we're going to stay in Palermo for only one month, then head to Florence for a month (she'll meet us in Florence, with her boyfriend, and then they'll head to Venice to spend some time).

So, my husband and I will go from Palermo to Florence after one month. Then my husband will return home after a short time and I'll stay on longer with my daughter and her boyfriend. The three of us (me, daughter, boyfriend) will fly back to PDX from Venice at the end of May.

Anyway, when I'm booking the flight for my daughter's boyfriend, I'd like to purchase it in a way that I can be refunded 100% if he doesn't end up going with us (he seems to have fears of flying and I don't trust him 100% to go even if it is booked). What's the best way to purchase a flight (using miles, or cash) for someone else, in order to be able to receive 100% refund if the flight is cancelled?

Thanks, again, for all your advice!!!!
Fully refundable purchased flights are very expensive, often significantly more than discounted fares in a higher class of service. Depending on Awards issuers, you can usually cancel awards with varying redeposit fees - e.g. on AA $150 for the first award and $25 for subsequent awards when from the same account and canceled simultaneously - so an award might be better for him, and cheaper for you than a fully refundable flight.

Or maybe get him to buy in by having him pungle up a fare on one of the ultra-low carriers, or earn and use miles from his own account. I’ve seen cases of this, where someone bails at last minute, and it’s not been nice.
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Old Oct 31, 18, 10:09 am
  #5  
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@JDiver, Okay...thanks! That's helpful info. So I can purchase flights for others using awards points/miles and cancel them, if needed, and lose the cost of the redeposit fee for having my points/miles refunded? Do you, off hand, know the fee for cancelling award flights using United...and if they offer a similar reduced fee for subsequent cancellations on the same account, simultaneously canceled?

Unfortunately, there's no way he'll participate in any way with purchasing even part of a flight or signing up for miles earning, etc., on his own. Best I stick with miles help here on the forum, instead of what is truly needed in this particular case. :-P
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Old Oct 31, 18, 6:06 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by gypsyardor View Post
So I can purchase flights for others using awards points/miles and cancel them, if needed, and lose the cost of the redeposit fee for having my points/miles refunded? Do you, off hand, know the fee for cancelling award flights using United...and if they offer a similar reduced fee for subsequent cancellations on the same account, simultaneously canceled?
Yes, you can use your miles for others freely with AA and United (some airlines have familial restrictions but not these). United's redeposit fee (for non-status members) is $75 per ticket if it's more than 60 days away from flight date, or $125 if it's less than 60 days away from flight date. No savings for simultaneous cancellations.
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