My WBC strategy ... advice?

 
Old May 30, 07, 2:37 pm
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My WBC strategy ... advice?

OK ... I'm looking to get 3 WBC tickets to Europe about a year or so from now. Current situation - I'm a Silver and have about 225K. If the current gig keeps up, I'll be GE by late summer, and PE by Fall. I'll also have more miles than needed ... then.

My first thought was: Forget it -- it's never been done.

However, there have been rumours of people actually doing just that, so I gave it the ol' college try.

By applying what I've learned here, I was able to find a few segments with 2 seats, and there are probably some with 3 (the TA stuff is all I'm really worried about). But, I don't have the miles right at this moment, and I don't even have the dates nailed down.

Would it work if I got the 2 J seats that I have miles for right now, and then get a coach seat in a couple of weeks or so, and then keep checking to see if another J seat opens up? Would it be possible to upgrade (w/miles) at the gate? (A friend of mine claims he did just that on a trip to Rome a couple of months ago)

Would it help if I become a plat at the time I'm doing this upgrading? Sorry for the questions, but every flight I've taken on NW has been paid and I'm not sure how the award stuff works.
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Old May 30, 07, 3:13 pm
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If you can grab two of three seats now I would probably do it. You may need to be prepared to pay redeposit fees if you can't get the third seat, or want to switch flights. Do you all have to travel on the same flight?

If you book coach and find WBC later I think you are stuck with a redeposit fee on your miles ($50??). I believe this is waived for plats, so if you can hold out until you make it you can save the cost.

Higher elite levels supposedly open better availability, so the higher your rank the more potential seats.

I don't think there is any way they would upgrade you at the gate for more miles on an award ticket. That only works from B/Y fares and I'm two for 10 snagging the upgrade (from B) this year on TATL flights, so never a sure thing.
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Old May 30, 07, 3:25 pm
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Originally Posted by BigLar View Post
OK ... I'm looking to get 3 WBC tickets to Europe about a year or so from now. Current situation - I'm a Silver and have about 225K. If the current gig keeps up, I'll be GE by late summer, and PE by Fall. I'll also have more miles than needed ... then.

My first thought was: Forget it -- it's never been done.

However, there have been rumours of people actually doing just that, so I gave it the ol' college try.

By applying what I've learned here, I was able to find a few segments with 2 seats, and there are probably some with 3 (the TA stuff is all I'm really worried about). But, I don't have the miles right at this moment, and I don't even have the dates nailed down.

Would it work if I got the 2 J seats that I have miles for right now, and then get a coach seat in a couple of weeks or so, and then keep checking to see if another J seat opens up? Would it be possible to upgrade (w/miles) at the gate? (A friend of mine claims he did just that on a trip to Rome a couple of months ago)

Would it help if I become a plat at the time I'm doing this upgrading? Sorry for the questions, but every flight I've taken on NW has been paid and I'm not sure how the award stuff works.
You have done well. While multiple C award seats are not quite a mythical as you may be led to believe, the timing can be. My advise: Do exactly what you have proposed and do it quickly. You are all safley on the flights and you can montor availability from here on out. Once you are plat there is no change fee so it is a simple phone call to convert your Y seat to a biz seat. BOOK TODAY! And good work! Think about how tough this stuff would be without FT
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Old May 30, 07, 4:19 pm
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Interestingly enough ...

To see what the situation might be like, I checked availability between tomorrow and the rest of the month, and there were several days where I could book 3 biz tickets! I guess they do actually release unsold seats as the date approaches.

It's starting to warm my heart a little.
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Old May 30, 07, 4:33 pm
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Remeber if by a seat in Y it needs to B or higher to UG with miles later. And yes, those UG's are available I belive until like 4 hours (might be 24 can't remember) b4 flight time so keep calling till the bitter end.
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Old May 30, 07, 4:38 pm
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Originally Posted by BigLar View Post
Interestingly enough ...

To see what the situation might be like, I checked availability between tomorrow and the rest of the month, and there were several days where I could book 3 biz tickets! I guess they do actually release unsold seats as the date approaches.

It's starting to warm my heart a little.
They do open up and they are quite predictable. Here is a thread I started a while back after a lot of testing and research. It is now a FAQ link on KVS. This is dealing with upgrade seats but the timing observations (7 days/1day) are true for any award seat. I can tell you that my % is actually very high. You do need to pay attention and even get up real early to catch the worm though. Good luck! http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=670566
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Old May 30, 07, 4:46 pm
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Originally Posted by avidflyer View Post
They do open up and they are quite predictable. Here is a thread I started a while back after a lot of testing and research. It is now a FAQ link on KVS. This is dealing with upgrade seats but the timing observations (7 days/1day) are true for any award seat. I can tell you that my % is actually very high. You do need to pay attention and even get up real early to catch the worm though. Good luck! http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=670566
Are we talking about the same thing here?

(in theory) I will have a coach award seat. If a biz award seat becomes available, I would cancel my coach award and book the biz award.

Upgrading an award ticket is a different matter and I don't pretend to know the details.

For the first scenario, I would trade in my 50Kmile ticket for a 100Kmile ticket -- net increase in cost 50Kmiles.

To upgrade a coach award, I didn't know if it was possible, I don't know what it costs ($ or miles), and I don't think these u/g's are complementary for plats either.

Enlighten me, please.
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Old May 30, 07, 4:58 pm
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Originally Posted by BigLar View Post
Are we talking about the same thing here?

(in theory) I will have a coach award seat. If a biz award seat becomes available, I would cancel my coach award and book the biz award.

Upgrading an award ticket is a different matter and I don't pretend to know the details.

For the first scenario, I would trade in my 50Kmile ticket for a 100Kmile ticket -- net increase in cost 50Kmiles.

To upgrade a coach award, I didn't know if it was possible, I don't know what it costs ($ or miles), and I don't think these u/g's are complementary for plats either.

Enlighten me, please.
You need to redeem the WBC level of mileage for the "coach" seat outright - this would allow the traveler to get a WBC seat if one opened up at anytime, up to and including the day of departure at the gate. Any other way of doing it carries a high risk of either hitting a brick wall or causing a sh!tshow...
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Old May 30, 07, 5:09 pm
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Originally Posted by BigLar View Post
Are we talking about the same thing here?

(in theory) I will have a coach award seat. If a biz award seat becomes available, I would cancel my coach award and book the biz award.

Upgrading an award ticket is a different matter and I don't pretend to know the details.

For the first scenario, I would trade in my 50Kmile ticket for a 100Kmile ticket -- net increase in cost 50Kmiles.

To upgrade a coach award, I didn't know if it was possible, I don't know what it costs ($ or miles), and I don't think these u/g's are complementary for plats either.

Enlighten me, please.
The release of "award seats" follows the same pattern. I am not talking about upgrading but trading in your Y for a C. When they release biz award seats (CS+ and CA+) the inventory is the same whether it is an upgrade or a full ticket (CS+ = "saver” award available UG or full and CA+ = "Perkpass"award available UG or full). If you do some experimenting (sounds like you have) you will see that if there are X open biz seats at 6-7 days out, NW will release some number for awards (any). The same algorithm applies at 1 day out in my experience. It is all driven by how many seats they think they can sell vs. how many they will release for awards, which is better for nw than flying empty seats. So, get your Y seat and watch availaability paying EXTRA special attention at the days and times reported in the string I attached and you will have a good shot at snagging a C seat for your Y (with the additional miles required of course). As a Plat there is no charge to do that "trade in"
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Old May 30, 07, 5:41 pm
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Originally Posted by HeathrowGuy View Post
You need to redeem the WBC level of mileage for the "coach" seat outright - this would allow the traveler to get a WBC seat if one opened up at anytime, up to and including the day of departure at the gate. Any other way of doing it carries a high risk of either hitting a brick wall or causing a sh!tshow...
Pay 100K now (perksaver C ticket price) for a 50K perksaver Y ticket. Right?

This sound vaguely like, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." Except they're saying, "Pay me for a hamburger today I might have one available on Tuesday."

Will the res agent know about this drill?
Will I automatically get assigned a C ticket, or would I still have to do all the checking myself?
Will it work if I buy a perkpass (100K) anytime coach ticket?
If I don't luck out, do I get my 50K back?

This is a new wrinkle for me.
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Old May 30, 07, 5:55 pm
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Will the res agent know about this drill?

Absolutely. And since you now know it too, this is all straightforward.

Will I automatically get assigned a C ticket, or would I still have to do all the checking myself?

Will still need to do all the checking, as NWA does not permit waitlisting.

Will it work if I buy a perkpass (100K) anytime coach ticket?

Not at all. You need to get the 100K WBC award - anything else would require a cancel and redeposit of the entire award booking, with a possible permanent loss of any seats already confirmed in Business Class.

If I don't luck out, do I get my 50K back?

If no seats have opened up, say, 3 days or so before the flight, speak *directly* with a NW supervisor who can either get Inventory Management to open up seats or, failing that, adjust your award to a PerkSaver Coach award level. But this all needs to be done before you travel, of course.
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Old May 30, 07, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by BigLar View Post
Pay 100K now (perksaver C ticket price) for a 50K perksaver Y ticket. Right?

This sound vaguely like, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." Except they're saying, "Pay me for a hamburger today I might have one available on Tuesday."

Will the res agent know about this drill?
Will I automatically get assigned a C ticket, or would I still have to do all the checking myself?
Will it work if I buy a perkpass (100K) anytime coach ticket?
If I don't luck out, do I get my 50K back?

This is a new wrinkle for me.
I think you are asking that if you purchase a PerkPass Coach ticket for 100K, will you get a WBC seat now. The answer would be no, you will be assigned a coach seat. If a WBC opens (you will have to keep checking) in PerkSaver for 100K, you would have to redeposit your 100K PerkPass coach ticket and repurchase the PerkSaver WBC. Same would happen if PerkPass coach opened at 50K and you wanted to get your miles back. I believe there is a risk that you could lose that WBC seat while the transaction is being processed, and could end up with no seat. Not sure if an agent can hold it while processing your redeposit or let you go negative in your account for a few minutes. There will also be a fee for the redeposit if you are not plat. You could purchase the new WBC ticket if you have an extra 100K miles in your account before redepositing the coach ticket.

Basically the award tickets are not upgradeable or exchangeable. You can only redeposit them and then purchase a brand new ticket.
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