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Advice needed complete Noob!

Advice needed complete Noob!

Old Sep 1, 19, 11:19 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Dublin soon to be NYC
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Posts: 11
Advice needed complete Noob!

Hoping to get some help with booking last minute First/Business award flights from New York to Southeast Asia (23 Nov to 4th Jan) for two people (our honeymoon trip). We're flexible on what airport we start our trip in (Singapore, Bangkok, Chang Mai etc) and I have miles across AMEX (300K), Chase (450K), BA (120K), Marriott (300K) but trying to find award availability on anything other than some of the lesser recommended airlines has been really tough. I've been accumulating these miles but have never really been able to figure out the best way to use them. Any advice on the the best way to go about this given where my miles are based?
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Old Sep 1, 19, 11:29 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Brocks View Post
Hoping to get some help with booking last minute First/Business award flights from New York to Southeast Asia (23 Nov to 4th Jan) for two people (our honeymoon trip). We're flexible on what airport we start our trip in (Singapore, Bangkok, Chang Mai etc) and I have miles across AMEX (300K), Chase (450K), BA (120K), Marriott (300K) but trying to find award availability on anything other than some of the lesser recommended airlines has been really tough. I've been accumulating these miles but have never really been able to figure out the best way to use them. Any advice on the the best way to go about this given where my miles are based?
Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!

Your BA Avios won't really do you much good for your trans-Pacific flights, so I would ignore them. I would start by doing award searches on delta.com and united.com, just to get a sense of what, if anything, is available on Star Alliance or Sky Team carriers. If you find something suitable, you then have to figure out which of the MR and UR transfer partners offers the best deal for your redemption, taking into account both the cost in miles and the carrier surcharges -- if any.

Note that Amex charges a fee for transfers to domestic FFPs, but not to foreign FFPs.
​​​​​​
Good luck!
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Old Sep 1, 19, 11:42 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
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There are people who post here who provide award booking services for a fee. Here is one link to a thread on this topic. If it looks too hard it might be worth paying for assistance.
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Old Sep 1, 19, 12:44 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Originally Posted by Brocks View Post
Hoping to get some help with booking last minute First/Business award flights from New York to Southeast Asia (23 Nov to 4th Jan) for two people (our honeymoon trip). We're flexible on what airport we start our trip in (Singapore, Bangkok, Chang Mai etc) and I have miles across AMEX (300K), Chase (450K), BA (120K), Marriott (300K) but trying to find award availability on anything other than some of the lesser recommended airlines has been really tough. I've been accumulating these miles but have never really been able to figure out the best way to use them. Any advice on the the best way to go about this given where my miles are based?
Regarding "lesser recommended airlines"...certain carriers get much of the buzz within some circles, particularly many of the more well-known blogs. I'd just be careful of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Which is a good principle for award redemption in general. While there are some carriers (or usually some particular aircraft type at those carriers) with say, and outdated business class seat...with rare exceptions, most of what you will find is likely going to still be very nice and a much more comfortable experience than dragging across the pacific in economy.

Award booking services will of course do the legwork for you for additional cost, but obviously can't open up availability that doesn't exist and they don't use any tools that aren't available to everyone. So on the "teach a man to fish" principle if you want to do more in-depth research on your own... AwardNexus is a good tool for searching availability across multiple options simultaneously. Login with your FlyerTalk login for free usage.

https://awardnexus.com/user/login?url=%2F

You can set award seat availability alerts for many airlines using the paid ExpertFlyer subscription - $9.99/month and you can cancel once you're no longer using it. This can help you get a jump on new availability.
https://www.expertflyer.com/

Many programs permit one-way awards at half the roundtrip price. So don't forget that you could redeem from one mileage program for a flight on airline A on the outbound, and redeem from the same or a different mileage program for a flight on airline B for the return trip. (I know that's probably stating the obvious but I've found many beginners haven't realized this, so wanted to mention it.)

Some mileage programs' websites don't show all partner award availability online, meaning you'll have to either search on another partner's site first and then call to try and book, or just call straight away (though it's usually best to have checked on another partner's site first). That's where AwardNexus can help, too. Also check the FlyerTalk forums for the airline programs that are transfer partners of Chase, Amex, and Marriott where there are often threads with booking info and tips.

Good luck and congrats!
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Old Sep 1, 19, 3:39 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Brocks View Post
Hoping to get some help with booking last minute First/Business award flights from New York to Southeast Asia (23 Nov to 4th Jan) for two people (our honeymoon trip). We're flexible on what airport we start our trip in (Singapore, Bangkok, Chang Mai etc) and I have miles across AMEX (300K), Chase (450K), BA (120K), Marriott (300K) but trying to find award availability on anything other than some of the lesser recommended airlines has been really tough. I've been accumulating these miles but have never really been able to figure out the best way to use them. Any advice on the the best way to go about this given where my miles are based?
Saturday 23 Nov 2019 is not far away for an award. Saturday 4 Jan 2020 will be a busy time for travel. Take note of date line - time zone changes. With awards you need to be very very flexible with dates & routes.

You may have more luck looking starting from USA/Canada west coast than NYC. More flights from west coast airports (LAX SFO SEA YVR). Chicago is another possible departure airport. Pay with money or miles to get to/from west coast from NYC if needed.

Other than BA, what ffp are you a member of now?
Across the pacific to Asia BA (Oneworld) is a partner on AA, CX, & JL
AA now has married award segments, making awards, with AA ff miles, far harder to get.

A very general guide--> https://www.awardhacker.com/#f=LAX&f...=0&c=j&s=2&p=1

As above, I would consider one of the paid award services---> Award booking services - a list and some reviews

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Sep 1, 19 at 4:12 pm
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Sep 1, 19, 7:48 pm
  #6  
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Dublin soon to be NYC
Programs: BA
Posts: 11
Thanks for the advice, this is really helpful & I appreciate you all taking the time & being patient with me. I'm trying to learn how to do this myself so I was hoping to avoid using an award booking service but agreed that it might be the easiest (& maybe best value based on the amount of time I've already spent on this!).

I've one specific question - how do you search award availability on Qatar airways - I keep getting an error message because I don't have any points with them directly & I tried to find availability on Award Nexus but that was a bust too. I was looking at JFK to BKK or SIN on 23rd Nov & I kept getting this. I also tried the reverse flight on Jan 3rd & the same pop-up.

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Old Sep 1, 19, 8:26 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Brocks View Post
I've one specific question - how do you search award availability on Qatar airways - I keep getting an error message because I don't have any points with them directly & I tried to find availability on Award Nexus but that was a bust too. I was looking at JFK to BKK or SIN on 23rd Nov & I kept getting this. I also tried the reverse flight on Jan 3rd & the same pop-up.
Why Qatar QR? That could be going the long way. Great Circle Mapper
As you have BA avios, look in the BAEC web site for the individual segments NYC-DOH & DOH-SIN. BAEC has distance based awards. (= takes a lot of avios)

For information. Look at the wiki
QR---> QR / Qatar Airways oneworld Partner: Earn and Redeem AA Miles

What ffp's are you looking at? BAEC and xxxx?
Some ffp's do not show all partners on line: need to phone
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