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Best way to get LAX - CDG in late Feb?

Best way to get LAX - CDG in late Feb?

Old Sep 17, 13, 5:17 pm
  #1  
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Best way to get LAX - CDG in late Feb?

Hi all,

I'm planning a surprise trip for my wife and I to Paris in late February 2014 from LAX to celebrate an anniversary. I was hoping to get the best class possible and would love advice about what I can do between now and then to maximize mileage and try to get maybe business or first roundtrip tickets.

I'm *G on *A, through Aegean (23k miles). I've got 38k in UA, 16k in DL, and 83k UR pts. I've been reading the credit card forums to try to figure out if I should sign up for a bunch of cards or what to try to get the points in time for the February trip. Right now, I primarily use Chase Freedom Visa, but I'm considering a CSP or Ink to be able to transfer the UR pts to miles. Advice welcome!

Although ideally, I'd like to be on *A to be able to use the *G status, given that I'd like to fly either J or F, the status doesn't seem like it'll matter (i.e.: i'll get the benefits of the status just via the nature of the J/F ticket).

As far as upcoming flights, I've got probably a LAX-NYC trip in November and one more near the end of Jan.

I think if we could somehow swing a stop via JFK for a week or two either on the front or backend of the LAX-CDG trip, that'd be sweet too (but perhaps too much to ask/hope for?)

In any case, thanks again and look forward to your collective wisdom.

Thanks!

Cheers.
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Old Sep 17, 13, 5:45 pm
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I took a look at what might be the best way:

LAX - JFK (Feb 28)
JFK - CDG (Mar 4)
CDG - LAX (Mar 17)

for 200k miles.

Some rough "back of the napkin" calculations - if I can do 11k spend in 3 months, I can sign up for CSP, Ink Bold, and United Explorer for 120k (not counting the 11k spend points), add the 82k UR points that I already have, and the 38K I have in MP already, that should be enough, right? Is this the best combination to go?

Given that the points won't credit until January, is there going to be an issue waiting for the points to credit, and then transfer, and then booking the tickets in January for a late February trip? Is there any way I can use any United open-jaw/stopover or anything to get another trip between LAX/JFK out of this? I'm not sure I see one but maybe someone else knows how?

Last edited by kawaii; Sep 17, 13 at 5:46 pm Reason: Fixed my math.
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Old Sep 17, 13, 8:10 pm
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Originally Posted by kawaii View Post
Is this the best combination to go?
You may or may not be approved for so many Chase cards in such a short period of time. See also: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/chase...solidated.html

Given that the points won't credit until January, is there going to be an issue waiting for the points to credit, and then transfer, and then booking the tickets in January for a late February trip?
There is a significant risk the flights will no longer be available.

Is there any way I can use any United open-jaw/stopover or anything to get another trip between LAX/JFK out of this? I'm not sure I see one but maybe someone else knows how?
You get two open jaws and a stopover. As far as I've seen, the additional leg would need to be after or before a stopover at your home city. So, for example, LAX-CDG + CDG-LAX + LAX-XXX would work. But maybe, if you are creative using an open jaw, you could make it work. See also a blog post: http://milevalue.com/free-oneways-on-united-awards/
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Old Sep 17, 13, 8:51 pm
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Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
You get two open jaws and a stopover. As far as I've seen, the additional leg would need to be after or before a stopover at your home city. So, for example, LAX-CDG + CDG-LAX + LAX-XXX would work. But maybe, if you are creative using an open jaw, you could make it work. See also a blog post: http://milevalue.com/free-oneways-on-united-awards/
Thanks! That blogpost was helpful. I'm not quite sure I've got a grasp of everything yet, though.

Could I do a LAX-JFK-CDG-LAX, SFO-EWR/JFK? LAX-JFK (stopover) JFK-CDG-LAX (open jaw) SFO-EWR/JFK? It seems like it should work? Or am I misunderstanding how open jaws and stopovers work?
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Old Sep 17, 13, 9:36 pm
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Originally Posted by kawaii View Post
Could I do a LAX-JFK-CDG-LAX, SFO-EWR/JFK? LAX-JFK (stopover) JFK-CDG-LAX (open jaw) SFO-EWR/JFK? It seems like it should work? Or am I misunderstanding how open jaws and stopovers work?
The short answer is "anything united.com or a phone agent will book and ticket, is valid".

Those seem intuitively correct to me but I can rarely get these things to book, so I'll defer to an expert.
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Old Sep 17, 13, 11:21 pm
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If the OP qualifies for a business credit card and can get both a Citi/AA personal card as well as a Citi/AA business card, that should work as well. Both AA and UA offer one-way awards. Although UA does not permit free stopovers on its one-way awards, AA does. So if AA miles were used for the outbound, LAX/SFO-JFK (stopover) - CDG would be a possibility if award space could be found. Or, if AA miles were used for the return, then CDG-LAX (on AA partner TN) could be done, a stopover could be taken at LAX, and then LAX-Hawaii could be flown at a later date (all for the cost of CDG-LAX alone). Of course, an additional award or cash ticket would be needed to get back to California from Hawaii.
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Old Sep 18, 13, 4:40 pm
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You don't need to sign up for all three cards. You already have 121k between UA and UR (assuming you get a card that lets you transfer the points). So you only need 79k more for J, if there's availability. Including spend, any combination of two of the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold/Plus, and UA Explorer will do.

I would sign up for the Sapphire or Ink + UA card. Meet the $2k spend on the UA card quickly, and you'll have 176k UA miles by October/November. Book business outgoing and coach returning, if you can find something available. Then when the Sapphire/Ink points post, see if there's still availability for business on the return. You'll pay a fee to change the cabin, but it'll be worth it.
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Old Sep 18, 13, 4:45 pm
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I thought I might save a credit score hit if I do CSP + Ink at the same time, because if I applied for multiple cards with Chase in one day, it is the same pull? Is that not correct?
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Old Sep 18, 13, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by kawaii View Post
I thought I might save a credit score hit if I do CSP + Ink at the same time, because if I applied for multiple cards with Chase in one day, it is the same pull? Is that not correct?
That's true, but the UA Explorer is also Chase, and it's unlikely you'll get all three on the same day. If you qualify for the 55k (50k after spend + 5k for adding authorized user) Explorer offer, it's the better way to go for now. More miles for lower spend.

You can always get the other of Ink or Sapphire later, but you don't need it for this trip given the miles you already have.
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Old Sep 19, 13, 11:41 pm
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I agree with earlier poster who suggested using AA miles to fly Air Tahiti Nui. I flew them CDG-LAX last spring. Even with the old (recliner) business it was a pleasant flight. With the angled flat seats should be well worth it to avoid a layover. I hate layovers. Get a Citi personal and business card for a quick 100k points. Make sure to read wiki at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credi...ost-first.html and tack on a free oneway to/from hawaii like I did.
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Old Sep 19, 13, 11:58 pm
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Thanks for the advice. It looks like I can fly AA from CDG - LAX and then LAX - OGG so that sounds amazing! I think that way, I can save the CSP/Ink sign up deals, as I should have enough miles with just UR/miles to get one way from LAX - CDG. And the Citi cards are potentially churnable.

One question: I couldn't seem to find any Air Tahihi Nui flights? The only ones that I could find on the AA website were BA flights from CDG-LHR-LAX? How did you check availability for ATN flights?
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Old Sep 20, 13, 1:13 am
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Originally Posted by kawaii
Thanks for the advice. It looks like I can fly AA from CDG - LAX and then LAX - OGG so that sounds amazing! I think that way, I can save the CSP/Ink sign up deals, as I should have enough miles with just UR/miles to get one way from LAX - CDG. And the Citi cards are potentially churnable.

One question: I couldn't seem to find any Air Tahihi Nui flights? The only ones that I could find on the AA website were BA flights from CDG-LHR-LAX? How did you check availability for ATN flights?
You call AA to check on TN award availability. The aa.com website is not capable of showing award availability on the majority of AA's partners.
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Old Sep 20, 13, 5:24 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
You call AA to check on TN award availability. The aa.com website is not capable of showing award availability on the majority of AA's partners.
Calling works, but I've found agents can be hit or miss in terms of their speed, so I like to have my ducks lined up first.

ExpertFlyer can show you availability for a range of dates. Sign up for a free trial to test it out.

Flightstats.com can also see TN availability, but searching across multiple dates is not as convenient. You also need to know which fare code corresponds to an award ticket. I used this method for my trip. I had already booked an award flight in coach (didn't have enough miles at the time for business), but checked the site fairly regularly until availability opened on my travel date. AA is good about waiving change fees if you change to a higher redemption.
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