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Help with choosing carrier for US to Italy

Help with choosing carrier for US to Italy

Old Jan 2, 13, 9:55 pm
  #16  
 
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What about Air Berlin using AA miles? No YQ charges.
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Old Jan 2, 13, 10:00 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by sbc94523 View Post
What about Air Berlin using AA miles? No YQ charges.
Unless I remember incorrectly, all the TRs I've seen don't show them having much of a J class, either... May as well just fly coach which can be had on just about any airline pretty easily.
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Old Jan 3, 13, 7:44 am
  #18  
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I've got to sit down and read all of your advice after work. I am new to the game and have only redeemed domestic flights, so yes - the blogs and pretty pictures are what I'm basing my goals on. We have not scheduled the cruise (we're military - which makes planning particularly difficult) but have selected the one we'd like to do. It sails in and out of Venice, but I'm excited to try and fit in a stopover or two. If it doesn't happen for another year, we can still have a nice domestic vacation later this year. As I mentioned, this is a learning experience for me and you've all shared the exact type of opinions and suggestions I was looking for.

As for mile balance - we're each around 75k in Avios, on UA, and a balance sitting in Chase. Total of about 200k each across the carriers. Looking to choose three more cards for my next set of applications.

Thanks, everyone. Will do my homework and figure out what you're talking about...!!
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Old Jan 3, 13, 8:50 am
  #19  
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Originally Posted by DC777Fan
Originally Posted by sbc94523 View Post
What about Air Berlin using AA miles? No YQ charges.
Unless I remember incorrectly, all the TRs I've seen don't show them having much of a J class, either... May as well just fly coach which can be had on just about any airline pretty easily.
AB only offers Business Class on its long-haul flights. There are reports that it is converting its rocker-type Business Class seats to angled lie-flats, but I don't know how far along the conversion is.

I have also read posts on FT that there are low (or no) fuel surcharges even when redeeming BA Avios for AB flights, but I have not investigated that yet.
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Old Jan 3, 13, 9:16 am
  #20  
 
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One thing you might want to keep in mind, given that your plans are subject to unexpected change, is that you often pay a fee (around $75-$150) for canceling or even changing an award ticket, unless you have some elite status. (I went for Platinum status with Delta solely so I could avoid award ticket change fees.)

There are lots of "How do I get started?" posts on here, so I suggest you start with a few of those to get a sense of what's out there. Earlier posters have talked about the different airlines and alliances. You'll see also that some award tickets charge high fees--e.g., British Airways. Others don't (AA), but are much harder to find availability on.

Since you are just starting out, you might consider flying economy to Rome for your current trip. I just did a quick search on united.com, and there's actually pretty good economy award inventory in August and September 2013. You'd pay 60k for the roundtrip, probably on Air Canada (AC). In the meantime, you can start building up your point balances for a bigger award.

If you do have Ultimate Reward points, you can probably transfer to UA and do the trip in business, flying either AC or UA. The problem is that I see business class on the transatlantic (TATL) sector but economy from LAX-EWR (if you fly UA) or LAX-YYZ(Toronto) if you fly AC. I didn't look very hard, though, so there may be more space open. Of course, this just gets you to Europe in a premium cabin, not one of the super-fancy first class cabins (EY, CX, etc.) One example I found is:

Depart: 8:30 a.m., Sun., Aug. 18, 2013 -- Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Arrive: 4:07 p.m., Sun., Aug. 18, 2013 -- Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ)
Flight: AC794; Fare Class: Economy (X)

Change Planes. Connect time in Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ) is 3 hours 8 minutes.

Depart: 7:15 p.m., Sun., Aug. 18, 2013 -- Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ)
Arrive: 9:45 a.m. +1 Day, Mon., Aug. 19, 2013 -- Rome, Italy (FCO)
Flight: AC890; Fare Class: Business (I)

Depart: 11:30 a.m., Thu., Sep. 5, 2013 -- Rome, Italy (FCO)
Arrive: 3:10 p.m., Thu., Sep. 5, 2013 -- Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ)
Flight: AC891; Fare Class: Business (I)

Depart: 8:15 p.m., Thu., Sep. 5, 2013 -- Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ)
Arrive: 10:27 p.m., Thu., Sep. 5, 2013 -- Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Flight: AC787; Fare Class: Business (I)
You should also be able to add a "free oneway" to this trip. See here: http://milevalue.com/master-thread-f...united-awards/
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Old Jan 3, 13, 10:54 am
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by sbc94523 View Post
What about Air Berlin using AA miles? No YQ charges.
Originally Posted by DC777Fan View Post
Unless I remember incorrectly, all the TRs I've seen don't show them having much of a J class, either... May as well just fly coach which can be had on just about any airline pretty easily.
There aren't many reviews at all and of those, it's seemingly black and white of those thinking it's great and those disliking it. I think AB is supposed to have upgraded all their J in early 2013. I certainly hope so since in order to cash in our Oneworld points we are flying AA domestic, AB to TXL then BA to VCE...all for 50k pp one way.
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