Need help MSP to KBP

 
Old Feb 9, 08, 11:35 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: MSP
Programs: Delta, Lufthansa
Posts: 6
Need help MSP to KBP

Hi,

Iíve looking through the forum here and is seems filled with a bunch of knowledgeable and helpful people. I need both at the moment. From what I've seen its a great forum unfortunately I am in a bit of an information overload here from reading through all the posts here. Dang it is addictive though. I keep getting sidetracked from why I am here.

The reason I am posting is I am considering a flight from MSP to KBP (Minneapolis to Kiev, Ukraine). Iíve never booked an award travel ticket on NWA so I am not familiar with all the nuances and I am not sure if it is my best bet.

I am Silver Elite and have about 120,000 miles banked at the moment. I plan to leave 2/29/08 and return 3/9/08. It appears there are no PerkSaver seats available and only PerkPass. I honestly have no idea what the difference is. I was sort of shocked that they wanted 50,000 miles for each leg of the trip for coach. Is this normal? Is PerkSaver lower?

What I am trying to balance is should I use the miles or buy a ticket. The best price Iíve seen on a ticket is $703 or so including taxes. So should I use my miles? By a ticket at the $700 price and see if I can get an upgrade later or some other option I havenít thought of or Iím unaware of? Is there some place I can find the number of available seats for Business class upgrades?

I don't want to make an expensive mistake and I will likely need to travel back to Ukraine in mid April so maybe that is a better time to consider using my miles if the fares go up then.

What is the difference between the PerkSaver and PerkPass? What is the normal mileage required for an award ticket to Europe? According to where I looked on NWA it appeared to be 120,000 for RT on coach but that seems very high.

If it matters or not, Iíve been traveling a lot over the last few months. Iíve gotten a lot of complimentary upgrades. Does this some how factor into my odds of getting an upgrade later on this? For example Iíd done 5 RT to Boston over the last 2 months and Iíve been upgraded to first class on 7 out of those 10 flight segments.


Thanks in advance for any help. I need to decide by tomorrow if at all possible so any immediate help will be appreciated. Iíve tried finding as much info on this site as possible but I seem to be missing what would be most relevant and I am running out of time. Almost are any of those websites like "Firstclassflyer" worth the money?
Taz_man is offline  
Old Feb 10, 08, 2:41 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: OMA
Programs: DL
Posts: 55
I am a newbie to this forum but I can try to help

Seat Count -> http://www.seatcounter.com/
My knowledge about it is: Zero means no more, >0 means available. Not sure though
I googled this link in another discussion. Any tips telling me how to use it is appreciated.

For miles:
http://www.nwa.com/worldperks/direct/charts/us49.shtml
Wonder if it helps?

I am having problem to deal with Maths at night, so I have no idea how many miles you will use for your R/T. Sorry about that

Shawn

p.s.: it's 3AM now :O (CST)
trineanT is offline  
Old Feb 10, 08, 6:05 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: MSP - NW Gold - PC Plat - Hertz Presidents Circle
Posts: 2,478
Welcome to FT

Here is the official NW explanation....
http://www.nwa.com/worldperks/travel/flex.shtml

You have more chance with a Mon-Thur travel - but in general it can be a crap shoot. Sometimes it is a matter of trying months in advance.
In your place - if I have the money - paying $700 all in is not a bad price and you will earn many more miles.
jimc_usa is offline  
Old Feb 10, 08, 8:29 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: DL tin elite flying between TYS -VIE / ILZ / BTS
Programs: DL, ZSR, MHD ;)
Posts: 938
Originally Posted by Taz_man View Post

What I am trying to balance is should I use the miles or buy a ticket. The best price Iíve seen on a ticket is $703 or so including taxes. So should I use my miles? By a ticket at the $700 price and see if I can get an upgrade later or some other option I havenít thought of or Iím unaware of? Is there some place I can find the number of available seats for Business class upgrades?
Pay $700 for the ticket. This price is so low that it is not worth spending miles on this ticket. Save your miles when you go to fly to EU in summer. Then the tickets are $1200+.

To give you en example, I just got a tix for my wife, EU-USA-EU, outbound 7/23, inbound 12/9. NWA wanted $1900 for it (cheapest was on UA for $1400). We paid $75k miles, one way in WBC, and back in Y. I consider this a very good deal.
Jano is offline  
Old Feb 10, 08, 9:33 am
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: MSP
Programs: Delta, Lufthansa
Posts: 6
Thanks for the help so far. I appreciate it. Is there anyway on NWA's site to search JUST for PerkSaver tickets? I logged in, selected Search by WorldPerks Award Travel.

Is there any way to limit it to just PerkSaver and not show PerkPass as well? I followed the rules as listed here by NWA:

How do I search PerkSaverSM Awards Award Only?

To search PerkSaver Awards only, follow these steps:

1. Enter the name of the city or the three-letter code for the airport you want to depart from. If you do not know the three-letter code for your destination city, click the 'airport code' link above the city name field.
2. Use the 'from/to' fields to tell us where you want to fly.
3. Use the 'Depart/Return' pull-down menus to choose your preferred departure or arrival date and time.
4. Use the 'Who's Going?' pull-down menus to let us know how many adults, seniors and children are in your party.
5. To search for flights with PerkSaver Award Availability only, select Search PerkSaver Award Only. This will only return flights with PerkSaver Award availability, if it is available.

Problem is I don't see this particular option anywhere select Search PerkSaver Award Only. Am I missing it? Is it hidden somewhere? Is it hidden somewhere in the advanced menu? All I see is the one for all award travel.

Thanks again to all of your time so far. Based on the initial fare prices I'll buy a ticket for my trip in a few weeks and use my miles later if I can figure out how to search for a PerkSaver ticket only. I found I may have to go again in June or July so it might be better to wait and use miles then when the fares are even higher.
Taz_man is offline  
Old Feb 10, 08, 10:46 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Programs: DL 1 million, AA 1 mil, HH lapsed Diamond, Marriott Plat
Posts: 28,174
Originally Posted by Taz_man View Post
Thanks again to all of your time so far. Based on the initial fare prices I'll buy a ticket for my trip in a few weeks and use my miles later if I can figure out how to search for a PerkSaver ticket only. I found I may have to go again in June or July so it might be better to wait and use miles then when the fares are even higher.
Don't overlook the fact that you can also use your NW miles for award travel on Delta (saver awards only), and that DL operates JFK-KBP. The U.S. NW award search engine doesn't do partner award searches very well (if at all) so you'll need to call NW (and pay a call service fee if you book an award). A Fare of $700 now should be very appealig to earn miles, but remember it may also be more difficult to find awards in summer when fares are higher, assuming summer is the high season to KBP.
3Cforme is offline  
Old Feb 10, 08, 11:41 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: DFW/SEA
Programs: *A Silver, AA Gold + Miles Scattered Everywhere.
Posts: 2,045
if you're thinking about using miles...there are a few options. You could use Czech airlines (Skyteam) member through JFK/Prague to get to Kiev. Or even Air France through Paris. You would have to call NW directly.

AH...you ask about the perksaver and perkpass..If Perksaver is not available..it'll just show perkpass. There's no way to select just perkpass i don't' think...it's defaulted to search just that. You might use the calender to see what dates are available. Note that the calendar is not always accurate.

In Y (Coach) perksaver is 50K RT perkpass is 100K.


Using miles to Europe during summer in one word is-DIFFICULT. You have to plan way ahead...like 360 days when they release the award seats.

If you're planning to use a website to help you find award tickets...my personal choice would be expertflyer.com...do a search through the threads and you'll find more info about it.
aaron1262 is offline  
Old Feb 10, 08, 2:15 pm
  #8  
ed1
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: TPA, PHL
Programs: NW: SE & WC
Posts: 2,136
Originally Posted by Taz_man View Post
Thanks for the help so far. I appreciate it. Is there anyway on NWA's site to search JUST for PerkSaver tickets? I logged in, selected Search by WorldPerks Award Travel.

Is there any way to limit it to just PerkSaver and not show PerkPass as well? I followed the rules as listed here by NWA:

How do I search PerkSaverSM Awards Award Only?

To search PerkSaver Awards only, follow these steps:

1. Enter the name of the city or the three-letter code for the airport you want to depart from. If you do not know the three-letter code for your destination city, click the 'airport code' link above the city name field.
2. Use the 'from/to' fields to tell us where you want to fly.
3. Use the 'Depart/Return' pull-down menus to choose your preferred departure or arrival date and time.
4. Use the 'Who's Going?' pull-down menus to let us know how many adults, seniors and children are in your party.
5. To search for flights with PerkSaver Award Availability only, select Search PerkSaver Award Only. This will only return flights with PerkSaver Award availability, if it is available.

Problem is I don't see this particular option anywhere select Search PerkSaver Award Only. Am I missing it? Is it hidden somewhere? Is it hidden somewhere in the advanced menu? All I see is the one for all award travel.

Thanks again to all of your time so far. Based on the initial fare prices I'll buy a ticket for my trip in a few weeks and use my miles later if I can figure out how to search for a PerkSaver ticket only. I found I may have to go again in June or July so it might be better to wait and use miles then when the fares are even higher.
If you start at award flights and go to more search options, in the additional search options there is a drop-down menu that should let you pick, but it's non-functional for me in both IE7 and Firefox.

However if you do a search from the more search options page for the dates you want, at the top of the results page there is a calendar
Please click on the award calendar to search for more flight options. [Award Calendar icon]
if you click on the calendar you will get a page with a calendar showing the days where certain award levels are available. In this case the last PerkSaver award available is Tue., 26Feb08. Click on a date with saver availability and you will get a list of flight options (not all flights will have saver - you'll have to scroll down to get to them). Tue., 26Feb08 does actually have several flights with saver availability.
ed1 is offline  
Old Feb 10, 08, 6:20 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: MKE
Programs: SPG LTP & Hyatt Globalist. IHG, Radisson, HH, National from credit cards
Posts: 879
Ultimate guide to getting out of KBP as a NW elite

For relatively obscure Eastern-Europe destinations like KBP it is VITAL to call up and check out options through the partners. Most of the relevant Skyteam and partner inventory is NOT available online. Others have covered the general issues with transatlantic award availability. As has been noted, the OP would be crazy to use miles rather than cash when the total cost is below $750. But here's a general guide to KBP flying as a NW elite.

I was based KBP for the first half of 2007, so some of this may be out of date. KBP is not like most European destinations where the problem is getting a transatlantic connection. Connecting to the USA on KLM metal was almost impossible with miles because KLM had only one flight a day on its own planes. This didn't arrive in time to connect with US flights. From the USA on KL was much easier. KL sold code shares with Ukraine International (PS), but these would not earn miles for NW flyers and were not available for miles. Life would be much easier for KL fliers as Ukraine International is a KL partner.

The root cause of this is that slots to fly in and out of KBP are rationed to protect the two local airlines PS and Aerosvit. Foreign carriers can apparently only fly in one plane for each flight that a local airline chooses to operate to the same destination. That keeps prices very high on European routes and forces foreign carriers to do code shares. The same mafia-industry-government coziness means that a duopoly of local suppliers gouges airlines for fuel there, which prompted foreign airlines to threaten to pull out. No budget airlines operated to Ukraine. Oddly, transatlantic flights were cheaper than from most European destinations -- presumably more competition there as everyone is connecting somewhere.

A day or two a week there was a morning KLM flight out of KBP. Somehow even when standard award availability was there on both the KBP-AMS and AMS-USA sections it could not be ticketed as an overall standard award. Both the computer and the human agent demanded double miles for a "Perk Pass."

Fortunately there are other options for getting our of KBP. Air France operates planes that can make transatlantic connections, and these are redeemable with NW miles. (Not so great for mileage earning now on cheap tickets). If you connect in CDG allow at least 2 hours, even if AF will sell you a shorter connection. The codeshare situation means not all AF coded flights are available with NW miles.

If you think further outside the box OK (CSA) runs pleasant, friendly 737s out of KBP connecting in PRG. Try to get a seat in front of the exit rows, as these have a lot more leg room. Like KLM, CSA relies on code shares for half its connections to KBP which makes onward connections using NW miles hard to find.

Another option is Malev Hungarian. Sometimes routings were available via Budapest. You can't earn EQMs on MA, but they're a perfectly decent redemption choice and one you'll never know about unless you call and ask. Their timings aren't great though, so you'd be faced with a layover of at least one night in Budapest -- which might be a plus.

Alitalia was running at least two flights a day in and our of Kiev. These may be gone, as they were routed through Milan and that is about to be dehubbed. They also tend to cancel them when loads are low and deny all compensation, so when you add in the chronic customer service problems and the fact that AZ may finally be liquidated soon I'd really do my best to avoid this option.

The final option is a direct flight to JFK on Delta, another option you'd have to call up to check out. I'm not sure if this is still operating, but it ran almost every day of the week on a 757. NW doesn't have a great choice of connections out of JFK, but I assume they can get you to MSP.

If you're paying with money there's no particular reason other than the lost miles to avoid PS operated flights. They're clean and reasonably comfortable, with some quirky touches like an amazingly small but hot meal in coach on European flights, and gin served from a full sized bottle with tonic but no ice (Ukrainians tend to believe that iced drinks are a serious health threat). If you demand ice you'll get one or two tiny cubes. As post-Soviet airlines go they have a good service and safety record.

Other useful info: there's a lounge in KBP. Not a skyteam lounge, and definitely not a World Club partner. But NW elites might get an invite anyway, so ask. I think all checkins for the foreign carriers are outsourced to local staff, but presumably the training and instructions vary between airlines. The staff are friendly and speak English. They don't see many elites and tend to be nice to us. As of mid-2007 KL would consistently offer a pass when the agent saw a NW Gold Elite card, as would AF. AF also gave me the extra elite luggage weight limit, which I don't think technically I was entitled to -- much nicer than the real AF staff in France. Saved me and Mrs Eniac several hundred dollars in overweight charges on our return. AZ and OK were giving lounge invites only to platinum NW elites -- someone had told them about the Elite/Elite Plus thing and they knew to look at that rather than the color of the card. The lounge is fun you can get a freshly made sandwich and try the local "cognac." Allow a little extra time for boarding, as most flights use buses rather than the skybridges and screening is sometimes chaotic.

Aside from the lounge there is nothing post-immigration but a duty free shop (local products are much more expensive there than downtown) and, incogrously, an Irish Pub. So do your shopping first.

Last edited by ENIAC; Feb 10, 08 at 10:25 pm
ENIAC is offline  
Old Feb 10, 08, 8:40 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: DL tin elite flying between TYS -VIE / ILZ / BTS
Programs: DL, ZSR, MHD ;)
Posts: 938
Originally Posted by ENIAC View Post

If you think further outside the box OK (CSA) runs pleasant, friendly 737s out of KBP connecting in PRG. Try to get a seat in front of the exit rows, as these have a lot more leg room. Like KLM, CSA relies on code shares for half its connections to KBP which makes onward connections using NW miles hard to find.
Taz_man

Follow the above advice. Check for connections to the CSA flights in FRA, DUS, CDG, etc. too (besides AMS). I tend to fly quite often TYS-DTW-FRA-PRG-ILZ on both paid and award tix. NW has decent award tix inventory to FRA. OK has generally excellent inventory, plenty of Z class (award business) and E class (award couch) tix available.

You might want to check KVS Plantinum tool (it's a paid version) to help you find these award tix.


--Jano
Jano is offline  
Old Feb 10, 08, 9:00 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Twilight Zone
Programs: One Star 'n Sky
Posts: 1,200
Welcome to FlyerTalk, Taz_man

are your dates flexible?
can you fly 03/09/08 with return 03/16/08 or 03/18/08?
SkyVillager is offline  
Old Feb 11, 08, 1:04 pm
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: MSP
Programs: Delta, Lufthansa
Posts: 6
Wow! Thanks for all the great and detailed feedback. I truly am appreciative.

Originally Posted by SkyVillager View Post
Welcome to FlyerTalk, Taz_man

are your dates flexible?
can you fly 03/09/08 with return 03/16/08 or 03/18/08?
Yes, my dates are a little flexible. Is there a tool that can help me more easily find what are the best days to go?

I am intrigued about the KVS Plantinum tool mentioned. What exactly does it do? I assume it is some airline specific search tool. I'll search when I get a few minutes and see what I can find out. I'm all in favor of learning new tools assuming I have time to learn how to effectively use them. Sadly I don't have a lot of free time with my work and travel schedule.

I do appreciate all of your attempts to "spoon feed" me what I need to know now until I can come up to speed on the way to do this myself. I am a strong proponent of "teach a man to fish..." I am trying to learn how to fish as fast I can here. Truly one of the best forums I've been to with respect to the thoroughness of replies and helpfulness. Kudos to all of you! I am definitely recommending this place to my co-workers who travel a lot.
Taz_man is offline  
Old Feb 12, 08, 6:20 am
  #13  
ed1
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: TPA, PHL
Programs: NW: SE & WC
Posts: 2,136
Now that search is working: KVS
ed1 is offline  
Old Feb 15, 08, 11:44 pm
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: MSP
Programs: Delta, Lufthansa
Posts: 6
Thanks. I'll look into KVS.
Taz_man is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread