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UK to New York strategy

UK to New York strategy

Old Oct 30, 22, 10:16 am
  #1  
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UK to New York strategy

Hi there, I'm not a frequent flyer, but I've amassed a few points from supermarket shopping and credit cards, and am wondering if the hive mind here can help me with an award flight strategy so I can then spend appropriately to get the right points to the right places. I've only ever made one airline redemption, a BA Avios RFS in Y from London to ORD, so this is all very new to me.

I'm going to New York next year for the marathon, which is the beginning of November. I already know I'm going, so that hopefully gets me ahead of the game. I'd like to fly business class both ways, but particularly home, as I want an overnight flight from New York.

I don't have much in the way of points just now. I have 40k Virgin and 50k Avios, along with about 100k Amex.

Logic would suggest BA out and back, premium economy and upgrade, so I focus my strategy on Avios?

However, I live very close to a KLM outstation, 40 minute puddle-jump to Schiphol, and I'm not averse to positioning the night before flying out. It's quicker and easier (and potentially cheaper) for me to get to Amsterdam than London. If I were flying via AMS then I'd like a morning flight out of AMS, and a return flight arriving AMS well before noon, as I'd probably book the positioning flight separately.

I'm conscious that VS is joining SkyTeam next year, will this give me more options?

I don't think I've got enough points to upgrade a return ticket, have I. Would two singles on two carriers be a feasible option? Do you reckon I'd be able to upgrade KL flights with VS points?

I'm happy to pay a reasonable sum in cash as the competition on this route keeps prices relatively low, but if I can keep the cash element down, naturally that gives me more to spend.

Or am I just miles away from the points I need just now?
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Old Oct 30, 22, 11:18 am
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Amex transfer partners vary from country to country. What are the airline transfer partners for GB Amex cardholders?

There's also this intriguing post, which was recently made in the FT BA forum:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/34694093-post6.html
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Old Oct 30, 22, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Amex transfer partners vary from country to country. What are the airline transfer partners for GB Amex cardholders?
Oh, right, I can transfer to Avios and Virgin, also Flying Blue (but with a total of 4k points for that, almost all about to expire at the end of the year, I've discounted that.)

Also Cathay, Delta, Emirates (I have an account but not many miles), Etihad, Finnair, Qantas, Iberia, SAS and Singapore.
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Old Oct 30, 22, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
There's also this intriguing post, which was recently made in the FT BA forum:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/34694093-post6.html
Yes, interesting. Imagine a return to airmiles paying for flights? As I understand it, though, Air Passenger Duty doesn't help any redemption higher than Y.
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Old Oct 30, 22, 11:40 am
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If you are based in or around MAN, don't overlook the possibility of redeeming Avios on EI, which offers both nonstop and connecting service on the MAN-JFK route. But watch out for the carrier surcharges.
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Old Oct 30, 22, 11:46 am
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
If you are based in or around MAN, don't overlook the possibility of redeeming Avios on EI, which offers both nonstop and connecting service on the MAN-JFK route. But watch out for the carrier surcharges.
I have briefly looked at EI. MAN is probably a little cheaper than London for me to get to, although I'm the opposite end of the railway line from there. Is that also something I can upgrade from a cash booking? Or might I be able to directly afford a business class redemption using Avios that way?

Is it a proper Business Class "feeling" product? I want to feel like I'm treating myself.
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Old Oct 30, 22, 11:59 am
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Originally Posted by DeeGee26.2 View Post
I have briefly looked at EI. MAN is probably a little cheaper than London for me to get to, although I'm the opposite end of the railway line from there. Is that also something I can upgrade from a cash booking? Or might I be able to directly afford a business class redemption using Avios that way?

Is it a proper Business Class "feeling" product? I want to feel like I'm treating myself.
I've never flown EI, so you should check online reviews of their Business Class product. Not sure about upgrading cash bookings, but I see that, like BA, EI has an off-peak calendar for redemption bookings, and all of November, 2023, is listed as off-peak. I expect that posters in the FT EI forum can answer questions about upgrading cash bookings.

I don't know if it makes any difference in terms of pricing as to whether you redeem BA Avios for travel on EI, or transfer BA Avios to EI's Aer Club, and redeem from there.
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Old Nov 7, 22, 7:02 am
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So, I've looked into this in a bit more depth. Obvs, as we're at D-360 or thereabouts, I can't quite get the dates that I want, but I can look for similar dates.

I've gone back to mid October for EI, and even selecting DUB-NYC it's forcing me to take connecting flights via LHR, which seems crazy. Likewise, I've gone back to mid October for VS looking specifically for KL flights AMS-NYC and they're making me connect in London as well, which I really don't want.

I'm thinking that my preferred option right now is AMS-NYC and then a KL flight from home to AMS. I can find KL itineraries on KL's website, but I can't make the same itineraries on VS. Is tat because those particular flights won't ever have/have had reward space?

Actually, I can get a DL flight on the reward search, but then I don't get the little Dutch house!

What's the best way of going about searching now? I've not done this sort of redemption before.
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Old Nov 7, 22, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by DeeGee26.2 View Post
So, I've looked into this in a bit more depth. Obvs, as we're at D-360 or thereabouts, I can't quite get the dates that I want, but I can look for similar dates.

I've gone back to mid October for EI, and even selecting DUB-NYC it's forcing me to take connecting flights via LHR, which seems crazy. Likewise, I've gone back to mid October for VS looking specifically for KL flights AMS-NYC and they're making me connect in London as well, which I really don't want.

I'm thinking that my preferred option right now is AMS-NYC and then a KL flight from home to AMS. I can find KL itineraries on KL's website, but I can't make the same itineraries on VS. Is tat because those particular flights won't ever have/have had reward space?

Actually, I can get a DL flight on the reward search, but then I don't get the little Dutch house!

What's the best way of going about searching now? I've not done this sort of redemption before.
AF/KL holds more availability back for its own users than it does for partners like VS or DL. Those flights may eventually become available on partners, but nobody can say for sure.

I would prioritize your goals as you consider what you might want to do. The little Dutch house is a good example. Is your goal to have an overnight flight that's convenient for your dates/times that's bookable in J with the miles you have, or all of that and getting a little Dutch house? You can buy a KLM house on eBay for 20 bucks.
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Old Nov 7, 22, 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by steveholt View Post
I would prioritize your goals as you consider what you might want to do. The little Dutch house is a good example.
Good point. The Dutch house is me being silly, I think. I think my priority is an overnight flight home that I can lie down on, between NYC and AMS, which gives me as much of the day as possible in New York, and arrives at a time to allow me to comfortably connect back to Humberside, or alternatively between New York and MAN or LHR. I'm hoping that's broad enough.

If I can also get a direct flight from AMS to NYC that leaves after 10am and arrives in time for dinner as well, that would be an awesome itinerary. I'd settle for LHR or MAN, though, and suspect that might be the way to go given that I've lots more Avios than Virgin Points.

I've got the hotel booked for free already, just want to see if I can get a flight that feels like I'm on holiday as well...
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Old Nov 7, 22, 2:37 pm
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Originally Posted by DeeGee26.2 View Post
Good point. The Dutch house is me being silly, I think. I think my priority is an overnight flight home that I can lie down on, between NYC and AMS, which gives me as much of the day as possible in New York, and arrives at a time to allow me to comfortably connect back to Humberside, or alternatively between New York and MAN or LHR. I'm hoping that's broad enough.

If I can also get a direct flight from AMS to NYC that leaves after 10am and arrives in time for dinner as well, that would be an awesome itinerary. I'd settle for LHR or MAN, though, and suspect that might be the way to go given that I've lots more Avios than Virgin Points.

I've got the hotel booked for free already, just want to see if I can get a flight that feels like I'm on holiday as well...
I think that should be possible, especially given that you're booking for low season. BA availability is almost always going to be best, although you'll pay plenty in fees.
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Old Nov 7, 22, 3:36 pm
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Originally Posted by DeeGee26.2 View Post
So, I've looked into this in a bit more depth. Obvs, as we're at D-360 or thereabouts, I can't quite get the dates that I want, but I can look for similar dates.

I've gone back to mid October for EI, and even selecting DUB-NYC it's forcing me to take connecting flights via LHR, which seems crazy.
How have you been searching for EI award seats? Even though you can redeem BA Avios for EI flights, I do not think that ba.com is able to display award availability for EI flights. You might need to create an avios.com account, or an EI Aer Club account.
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Old Nov 8, 22, 2:30 am
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
How have you been searching for EI award seats? Even though you can redeem BA Avios for EI flights, I do not think that ba.com is able to display award availability for EI flights. You might need to create an avios.com account, or an EI Aer Club account.
Yes, I have an Aerclub account and have been searching on the Avios site. I'm thinking that EI's reward inventory isn't yet open for the dates I've looked at? Transferring through DUB is certainly appealing as I like the idea of passing immigration before boarding, I think I can get a relatively late flight the night before from LBA as well.

I'm looking flights back from NYC - AMS at the minute and there's some interesting pricing which seems to be on on DL (less than 50k pts, less than $350), which, according to the VS calendar seems to be available for quite a lot of Mondays, although I haven't seen yet if the timings work. I think I'm going to have to abandon my plans for a KL flight if I'm going to fly business.

If not, then looking at a round trip LHR-JFK, I've priced up Y cash fares on VS. They then upsell an upgrade to Premium, which comes in at about 800 in total. Am I then able to upgrade this to Upper Class with VS points? Are there additional fees for this, because if not, then this comes well within my budget, and I quite fancy using the Clubhouse and trying the VS Upper Class product. It's kind of the experience I'm hoping for.
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