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Anyone know of obscure transatlantic routes for mileage redemption

Anyone know of obscure transatlantic routes for mileage redemption

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Old Mar 26, 07, 6:49 am
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Anyone know of obscure transatlantic routes for mileage redemption

Hi all.

First of all apologies in advance if this is in the wrong forum. Mods, please move or delete this thread if necessary.

So, basically I am getting married in July in Jamaica and I am trying to get my good friend in Bergen, Norway a plane ticket. So, far I have called every major airline to check for award availability: nothing. The problem is always the transatlantic segment. All of the other segments including the transatlantic return often show availability. I have spent days calling and checking on this and still can't find anything. I have also been using the ANA *alliance award checker to check routes that the phone agents might not be thinking of e.g. transatlantics from Poland, Glasgow etc. However, still nothing.

So what I am asking is if anyone can think of a transatlantic route on any airline that might have availability because phone agents do not think of it. We are extremely flexible with the dates: he can fly anywhere between approx the 7th and the 19th - and it is hard for me to believe that there is not a single transatlantic seat on any airline for that period.

Any suggestions will be tremendously appreciated.

Cheers
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Old Mar 26, 07, 7:57 am
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Originally Posted by martian View Post
Hi all.

First of all apologies in advance if this is in the wrong forum. Mods, please move or delete this thread if necessary.

So, basically I am getting married in July in Jamaica and I am trying to get my good friend in Bergen, Norway a plane ticket. So, far I have called every major airline to check for award availability: nothing. The problem is always the transatlantic segment. All of the other segments including the transatlantic return often show availability. I have spent days calling and checking on this and still can't find anything. I have also been using the ANA *alliance award checker to check routes that the phone agents might not be thinking of e.g. transatlantics from Poland, Glasgow etc. However, still nothing.

So what I am asking is if anyone can think of a transatlantic route on any airline that might have availability because phone agents do not think of it. We are extremely flexible with the dates: he can fly anywhere between approx the 7th and the 19th - and it is hard for me to believe that there is not a single transatlantic seat on any airline for that period.

Any suggestions will be tremendously appreciated.

Cheers

Try using CO's routes from LIS to EWR. As CO is a member of SkyTeam, DL, Flying Blue and NW miles also should work. Also, its' routes from BRS, as well.

FRA is wide-open in Fisrt, every day in July to the US and BRU is almost, as well.

Even OSL has some 1st class seats to EWR on certain days in July -- 18th and
19th are available right now!!!

Last edited by NJUPINTHEAIR; Mar 26, 07 at 8:12 am
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Old Mar 26, 07, 8:27 am
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F or J might be easier to find yes, but a trans-Atlantic Y seat in July on this short of notice is going to be VERY difficult if not impossible.
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Old Mar 26, 07, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by NJUPINTHEAIR View Post
Try using CO's routes from LIS to EWR. As CO is a member of SkyTeam, DL, Flying Blue and NW miles also should work. Also, its' routes from BRS, as well.

FRA is wide-open in Fisrt, every day in July to the US and BRU is almost, as well.

Even OSL has some 1st class seats to EWR on certain days in July -- 18th and
19th are available right now!!!
Sorry I forgot to mention that we can only afford economy

Could it really be possible that there is not a single economy award seat on any of the hundreds of route across the ocean for a 2 week period?

Thank you for looking up those dates though...
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Old Mar 26, 07, 8:49 am
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Martian,

Unfortunately, at this late date, I would be shocked if there were any award seats left for the busy summer season.

They have a tendency to go very quickly. I could not find anything on several airlines... and paid tickets are pretty expensive also.

GOOD LUCK!
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Old Mar 26, 07, 8:51 am
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You probably need to put more structure around your request, and use this forum do understand what options are available.

Firstly, it seems you are looking to redeem United miles on a Star Alliance carrier. Is this correct?

Are you planning on redeeming in economy, upgrading with miles or travelling in a premium cabin?

How many miles do you have at your disposal for this trip – could you redeem in Business Class or Premium Economy of no economy seats are available? Do you know how many miles a premium cabin would cost?

July is obviously peak period for travel, and this is relatively short notice for an international peak period reward booking – most airlines can sell their seats in this period, especially from Europe to the Caribbean. But you do have flexibility on your side. But the savings made by redeeming miles for the flights may be wiped out by having to stay longer in a hotel, so do consider the overall cost of the trip, and indeed your friend may not want/be able to take such a long vacation from work/studies etc.

What is his ultimate destination – Kingston or Montego Bay? Do let the agent know KIN and MBJ are the locator codes for these airports, in case they are not familiar with them.

You need to have an understanding of which routes are available – and which hub he will be connecting through. What are the key connecting routes from Jamaica to US and between Bergen and the US/European hub. A routing Bergen-Oslo-New York-Montego Bay and then by road to Kingston would be a nightmare trip; do consider more direct routings - you are most likley to find availability on a LON-NYC routing, but given the hassle of multiple plane changes it may well not be worth it.

It may be easier to fly Bergen-Gatwick on a Low Cost Carrier (Ryanair or EasyJet or other?) and then direct to Jamaica from London on either ww.BA.com or www.AirJamaica.com Also, bear in mind what it would actually cost to pay for the ticket. I see a fare of around $1600 return including taxes from Oslo on BA the whole way, the Gatwick-Kingston return sector costs around $1200 incl tax on BA, from around $1000 on Air Jamaica. Are your hard earned miles worth more or less than $1000? Also there may be charter flights operating from his local market for much less than that, but at least they will be direct, and cheap.

It may be that there are no reward routings between Bergen and anywhere useful which can get you a Star Alliance trip across the pond, and that is most likely to be what is causing the problem. Try routing Oslo-Jamaica or London-Jamaica and see if you have any luck.

In summary, narrow down your request to help the agent supply you with the routings which are most useful to you. Once you have a range of possible options and have tried the ANA tool, call up, find a helpful agent, and keep calling until you get someone who can help. Make sure you call at a quieter time which means the agent won’t have a string of flashing red lights distracting him/her and will have time to assist.

But remember you have already spent several hours considering this, and there are huge variations in what is available. An agent should have a good grasp of what is out there, but this is not exactly a typical London – New York request, as Bergen is a little out of the way.

Also consider a package deal - hotel and flight all in one. That might work out very cost effective.
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Old Mar 26, 07, 9:06 am
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Originally Posted by krug View Post
You probably need to put more structure around your request, and use this forum do understand what options are available.

Firstly, it seems you are looking to redeem United miles on a Star Alliance carrier. Is this correct?

Are you planning on redeeming in economy, upgrading with miles or travelling in a premium cabin?

How many miles do you have at your disposal for this trip – could you redeem in Business Class or Premium Economy of no economy seats are available? Do you know how many miles a premium cabin would cost?


July is obviously peak period for travel, and this is relatively short notice for an international peak period reward booking – most airlines can sell their seats in this period, especially from Europe to the Caribbean. But you do have flexibility on your side. But the savings made by redeeming miles for the flights may be wiped out by having to stay longer in a hotel, so do consider the overall cost of the trip, and indeed your friend may not want/be able to take such a long vacation from work/studies etc.

What is his ultimate destination – Kingston or Montego Bay? Do let the agent know KIN and MBJ are the locator codes for these airports, in case they are not familiar with them.
We only have 50k miles that we can hopefully trade on the CC with someone who has miles on whatever airline has availability. We are both students and can't afford the super-priced tickets from Europe to Jamaica in the summer. We have a cheap hostel to stay sorted out (only $10 a night), so length or time isn't an issue. He doesn't car one bit if he gets to KIN or MBJ, as long as we can get him on the island he can hitch hike or take a bus the rest of the way. All we are concerned about is that he can't actually get a flight into anywhere in Jamaica.

Originally Posted by krug View Post
You need to have an understanding of which routes are available – and which hub he will be connecting through. What are the key connecting routes from Jamaica to US and between Bergen and the US/European hub. A routing Bergen-Oslo-New York-Montego Bay and then by road to Kingston would be a nightmare trip; do consider more direct routings - you are most likley to find availability on a LON-NYC routing, but given the hassle of multiple plane changes it may well not be worth it.
We also don't care about the hassle. There is no availability I can see on any LON-NYC route. Do you know of any specific dates? Again, as long as he can get to the island then we are all happy.

Originally Posted by krug View Post
It may be easier to fly Bergen-Gatwick on a Low Cost Carrier (Ryanair or EasyJet or other?) and then direct to Jamaica from London on either ww.BA.com or www.AirJamaica.com Also, bear in mind what it would actually cost to pay for the ticket. I see a fare of around $1600 return including taxes from Oslo on BA the whole way, the Gatwick-Kingston return sector costs around $1200 incl tax on BA, from around $1000 on Air Jamaica. Are your hard earned miles worth more or less than $1000? Also there may be charter flights operating from his local market for much less than that, but at least they will be direct, and cheap.
Again, we simply unfortunately can't afford those sort of prices. I wish we could, but all we have to work with is our 50k miles.

Originally Posted by krug View Post
It may be that there are no reward routings between Bergen and anywhere useful which can get you a Star Alliance trip across the pond, and that is most likely to be what is causing the problem. Try routing Oslo-Jamaica or London-Jamaica and see if you have any luck.

In summary, narrow down your request to help the agent supply you with the routings which are most useful to you. Once you have a range of possible options and have tried the ANA tool, call up, find a helpful agent, and keep calling until you get someone who can help. Make sure you call at a quieter time which means the agent won’t have a string of flashing red lights distracting him/her and will have time to assist.

But remember you have already spent several hours considering this, and there are huge variations in what is available. An agent should have a good grasp of what is out there, but this is not exactly a typical London – New York request, as Bergen is a little out of the way.

Also consider a package deal - hotel and flight all in one. That might work out very cost effective.
I have tried every variation of routing I can think of on a variety of carriers and can't find any availability on any day in July. So if anyone can think of an overlooked route then please let me know.

Cheers
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Old Mar 26, 07, 9:41 am
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Gosh, it does sound like a challenge. But do not lose hope! I am sure someone on here will have a plan which can help you.

What are you studying? I hope it’s not Economics!

You do seem very focussed on getting transatlantic – don’t forget there are significant costs for the other elements of your trip getting from the US to Jamaica, and probably from Bergen to a hub which can get you to the US. You need to take all this into account when consider the value of your “free” mileage redemption. Plus the cost of maybe an overnight stay in NYC and feeding yourself etc during your trip.

And remember you still have to pay some of the taxes on the redemption flights, so it’s not completely nil cost option.

It does look like mileage redemptions will be tricky that time of year, but once you have explored a clearer, better researched framework within which to ask your question and put that to the test with an agent, and if you are still unsuccessful, you should have a back up plan.

With not much effort I already mentioned I had found a fare London-Montego Bay direct for $1000 round trip. Now I am sure with some digging you can get a similar flight cheaper, especially if you explore the charter market.

Ask your friend to look in local newspapers and travel agents for bargain deals, especially as you may well get accommodation thrown in free for less than $1000 all in – which would mean you could put the $200 you are planning on paying for a hostel towards a charter flight on the dates you both want and get a proper hotel with pool. You will probably end up paying about $100 in taxes and fees on a redemption.

Have you actually been to Jamaica before – a hostel would not I think be a very safe place to leave valuables of any kind eg a camera for wedding pics? You might as suggested below find a better deal in a package and/or via www.priceline.com. And the road trip between Montego Bay and Kingston is both arduous and dangerous, especially if you plan hitchhiking.

So already you have $300 to put towards a paid for flight/hotel package. That means you have to find $700 between now and when you have to pay for the trip. Now between the two of you I am sure you can come up with $700 – I bet even if you went round a decent neighbourhood you could get that washing/valeting cars within two or three weekends between you. Though it would be nice for an award to open up, I am afraid you maybe out of luck here, and the better plan would be to look to earn a couple of hundred dollars somehow in the coming weeks.

Other cheap purchase options are flights like Air India London-New York (usually very cheap) and Icelandair used to be a great deal, though you have to stopover in Iceland.

If you can't earn the money, then maybe someone on here can find a way to increase you mileage balance quickly so you can try out for a business award whcih might be easier to come by?
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Old Mar 26, 07, 10:25 am
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VS has availability showing LHR-NYC for a couple of random dates I tried in July - and they have an award sale on.
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Old Mar 26, 07, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by krug View Post
Gosh, it does sound like a challenge. But do not lose hope! I am sure someone on here will have a plan which can help you.

What are you studying? I hope it’s not Economics!

You do seem very focussed on getting transatlantic – don’t forget there are significant costs for the other elements of your trip getting from the US to Jamaica, and probably from Bergen to a hub which can get you to the US. You need to take all this into account when consider the value of your “free” mileage redemption. Plus the cost of maybe an overnight stay in NYC and feeding yourself etc during your trip.

And remember you still have to pay some of the taxes on the redemption flights, so it’s not completely nil cost option.

It does look like mileage redemptions will be tricky that time of year, but once you have explored a clearer, better researched framework within which to ask your question and put that to the test with an agent, and if you are still unsuccessful, you should have a back up plan.

With not much effort I already mentioned I had found a fare London-Montego Bay direct for $1000 round trip. Now I am sure with some digging you can get a similar flight cheaper, especially if you explore the charter market.

Ask your friend to look in local newspapers and travel agents for bargain deals, especially as you may well get accommodation thrown in free for less than $1000 all in – which would mean you could put the $200 you are planning on paying for a hostel towards a charter flight on the dates you both want and get a proper hotel with pool. You will probably end up paying about $100 in taxes and fees on a redemption.

Have you actually been to Jamaica before – a hostel would not I think be a very safe place to leave valuables of any kind eg a camera for wedding pics? You might as suggested below find a better deal in a package and/or via www.priceline.com. And the road trip between Montego Bay and Kingston is both arduous and dangerous, especially if you plan hitchhiking.

So already you have $300 to put towards a paid for flight/hotel package. That means you have to find $700 between now and when you have to pay for the trip. Now between the two of you I am sure you can come up with $700 – I bet even if you went round a decent neighbourhood you could get that washing/valeting cars within two or three weekends between you. Though it would be nice for an award to open up, I am afraid you maybe out of luck here, and the better plan would be to look to earn a couple of hundred dollars somehow in the coming weeks.

Other cheap purchase options are flights like Air India London-New York (usually very cheap) and Icelandair used to be a great deal, though you have to stopover in Iceland.

If you can't earn the money, then maybe someone on here can find a way to increase you mileage balance quickly so you can try out for a business award whcih might be easier to come by?

Thanks again for your post.

However, I am not sure what you mean by developing a better framework. Can you explain?

I have researched so many variations of routes that go from Bergen to Jamaica. First of all I looked into direct Europe-Jamaica services. Then, I looked into stops in the US or Canada. I have by now checked availability on hundreds of route combinations.

As for the hostel it is seriously not a problem for us. My fiancee's parents have got us (my fiancee and I) a hotel room where any belongings can be left and he might even use couchsurfing.com and stay for free for some or all of the time there.

As for looking into the paid option. That was actually the first thing that we did. After lots of research, nothing seems to be available that will get him from Bergen to Jamaica for less than $1100. The $1100 option involved a bus to the nearest Ryanair airport, a flight to London, a bus to Manchester, and a 'Firstchoice" charter flight to Montego Bay.

As for trying to make that money, I wish it were possible. I am currently in Thailand doing research for uni and can't exactly make a lot of money here. He is in Bergen, but bogged down with writing papers and end of semester exams and such.

I had never thought about this before, but could it actually be possible that there are absolutely no awards on any airline for half a month? I am focusing on transatlantic because I realize that getting a direct Europe - Jamaica would be very difficult given that there are only a few flights and award availability is long gone. However, given the massive number of flights between Europe and the US/Canada, it astounds me that there is absolutely nothing available on any flight whatsoever that crosses the Atlantic.

Thanks genuinely for trying to help me though. I appreciate your help
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Old Mar 26, 07, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by dgwright99 View Post
VS has availability showing LHR-NYC for a couple of random dates I tried in July - and they have an award sale on.
really!! can you tell me the dates that you checked?
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Old Mar 26, 07, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by martian View Post
... could it actually be possible that there are absolutely no awards on any airline for half a month? ... it astounds me that there is absolutely nothing available on any flight whatsoever that crosses the Atlantic.
Right now it's absolutely possible. Three or four months out is the worst time to search for awards, because people are buying tickets for summer travel in droves right now. Awards come out at the 330+/- day mark, and then some unsold inventory will dribble out much closer to departure dates (say, two weeks away), but this is the hardest time to shake something loose.

I do think $1100 from Bergen to Montego Bay in summer is a heck of a deal.
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Old Mar 26, 07, 11:01 am
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Originally Posted by martian View Post
... transatlantic route on any airline that might have availability because phone agents do not think of it. We are extremely flexible with the dates: he can fly anywhere between approx the 7th and the 19th
British Airways shows economy class award availability from Oslo to Kingston on July 8 and 17. The return flight Kingston to Oslo is available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in July and the first half of August.
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Old Mar 26, 07, 12:10 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
British Airways shows economy class award availability from Oslo to Kingston on July 8 and 17. The return flight Kingston to Oslo is available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in July and the first half of August.
To expand on this a bit:
OneWorld Alliance is showing routings from OSL to KIN via LHR and DFW.
To get creative, you might try for trans-pond departure out of London Gatwick (LGW) and get to KIN via RDU. American flies LGW-RDU and RDU-KIN. American is showing award availability LGW-KIN with July 4 and July 11 departures -- for 60,000 AAdvantage miles.
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Old Mar 26, 07, 10:37 pm
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As I noted in my first post LIS and BRS have COACH award seating for your needs.

So, it may be difficult but not impossible. Moreover, this corresponds with what one would expect. Both LIS and BRS are literally and figuratively at the fringes of Europe so they would be expected to have some seats available.


Your trip to these airports will likely require you to spend some money, though.
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