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Need to spend $3k to requalify for 1K. Best way for an infrequent J flyer?

Need to spend $3k to requalify for 1K. Best way for an infrequent J flyer?

Old Oct 9, 18, 10:54 pm
  #1  
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Need to spend $3k to requalify for 1K. Best way for an infrequent J flyer?

Before people start asking if itís worth it or not, to me it is.

Iím going to be about $2600 PQD short of requalifying for 1K. I just got a new job that will have lots of travel, but nothing until next calendar year.

The only long haul J I have flown has been AA, but Iím back on the star alliance team for now. Iíve always wanted to try it out, so just wondering what everyone thinks is the best bang for the buck. I want to experience as much as I can on United and perhaps some other *A.

Im based in Detroit, but know thereís a lot of good fares ex-YYZ. Some quick searching end of December had $2900 open jaw fares YYZ to NRT (lots of options) back to DTW or GRR. I could route via EWR on the way out and back via ORD (on UA or NH), that would let me try the Polaris lounge at both locations (if UA way back) and fly the real polaris product EWR-NRT.

I also have two GPUs, so maybe itís worth trying to fly on LH or ANA and upgrade into first. Iíve always wanted to try Austrian in J as well, maybe Swiss. Maybe through YYZ on the way out for their special lounge? I want to be able to experience just as much when not flying too.

So I guess what Iím really trying to say, is what do you think the best experience I can buy in J for $3,000? Iím not looking for the simplest or easiest - I want to experience as much as I can, as I donít usually get the opportunity to do. Iíd be looking for probably no more then 36 hours in my destination, probably right before Christmas. Thoughts?
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Old Oct 9, 18, 11:06 pm
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I noticed really cheap J fares from ORD to Bucharest (~$4,200 r/t) in Nov routing through Munich and Vienna. Some were on UA metal, some were LH or OS. You might finagle a stop in MUC or VIE and take in their Xmas ambience? Use google flights as search engine, then link into UA.com.
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Old Oct 9, 18, 11:26 pm
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San Francisco & London, J is $2600ish

Toronto & Singapore, about the same.

Check out premium fare deal thread for more:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/premium-fare-deals-740/

If you add on the ORD-YYZ or ORD-SFO, you should hit your $3k...
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Old Oct 10, 18, 12:17 am
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I like your NRT itinerary, with the NH / UA 77W combo plus Polaris lounges. If you want to do Europe instead, there's often an EWR-FRA fare available in the $2700 range.
Originally Posted by NoLaGent View Post
San Francisco & London, J is $2600ish
You mean the 180 day advance purchase LHR fare . . . not sure that will work for OP

Agree with the Premium Fares forum suggestion.

Last edited by Kacee; Oct 10, 18 at 12:37 am
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Old Oct 10, 18, 12:58 am
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
I also have two GPUs, so maybe itís worth trying to fly on LH or ANA and upgrade into first.
It's extremely unlikely that you could find a GPU-able business class fare on LH or ANA within your budget, now that UA has closed the P-fare loophole (LH P fares were very briefly GPU-able).
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Old Oct 10, 18, 12:59 am
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Don't airlines usually run specials in business class over the US holiday weeks? Anything coming up?
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Old Oct 10, 18, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B View Post
I noticed really cheap J fares from ORD to Bucharest (~$4,200 r/t) in Nov routing through Munich and Vienna. Some were on UA metal, some were LH or OS. You might finagle a stop in MUC or VIE and take in their Xmas ambience? Use google flights as search engine, then link into UA.com.
I'm very familiar with google flights. What products/sample routings would you recommend then?

Originally Posted by NoLaGent View Post
San Francisco & London, J is $2600ish

Toronto & Singapore, about the same.

Check out premium fare deal thread for more:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/premium-fare-deals-740/

If you add on the ORD-YYZ or ORD-SFO, you should hit your $3k...
I'm not necessarily looking for what the best deal is, but rather how to get the best experience. My first thoughts are perhaps Air Canada on the way out to maybe try their premium lounge at YYZ, then polaris on the 777-300 on my way back (and the lounge too)

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
It's extremely unlikely that you could find a GPU-able business class fare on LH or ANA within your budget, now that UA has closed the P-fare loophole (LH P fares were very briefly GPU-able).
Yep, you're right. Still might be worthwhile to consider the 748i upper deck.

Originally Posted by username View Post
Don't airlines usually run specials in business class over the US holiday weeks? Anything coming up?
There is usually some good fares around christmas time as business travelers aren't flying. I'll keep watching, but for me, it's not so much about finding a cheap deal as it is focusing on the experience itself (lounges, hard product, optional supporting ground service, etc).

Price itself isn't the issue, but rather how can I make the most of my time at the airport and in the air. So let me rephrase my questions - and snarky responses aside - what is the best experience you can possibly get on a (I'll focus on UA) itinerary. Is it the real polaris product on the 777-300, and one of the Polaris lounges? Flying something like EWR-LAX-xxx and trying the transcon product and then another business leg?
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Old Oct 10, 18, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
Is it the real polaris product on the 777-300, and one of the Polaris lounges? Flying something like EWR-LAX-xxx and trying the transcon product and then another business leg?
The new Polaris seat is on the 77W. If you want to make the most of the UA lounge experience, I would do EWR-SFO-Intíl destination and back. This would allow you to use the Polaris lounges in both EWR and SFO. Same thing if you decide to route via ORD, but ORD wonít have any guaranteed routes with the new seat, whereas SFO has many routes using the 77W.
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Old Oct 10, 18, 9:06 am
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IME historically, the DTW-FRA gets considerably cheaper thanksgiving week. It doesn't help your quest for Polaris lounges.
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Old Oct 10, 18, 9:32 am
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Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
If you want to make the most of the UA lounge experience, I would do EWR-SFO-Intíl destination and back.
The SFO Polaris lounge is not worth flying cross country.
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Old Oct 10, 18, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
Maybe through YYZ on the way out for their special lounge? I want to be able to experience just as much when not flying too.
I assume you are referring to the Signature Suite at YYZ. Given entry requirement for SSL requires PAID J (no upgrades) ticket on Air Canada long-haul INTL flights only, it may be hard to plate the ticket on 016, which you would need for PQD purposes.

That said, the SSL is fantastic.
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Old Oct 10, 18, 9:46 am
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Originally Posted by Repooc17 View Post
I assume you are referring to the Signature Suite at YYZ. Given entry requirement for SSL requires PAID J (no upgrades) ticket on Air Canada long-haul INTL flights only, it may be hard to plate the ticket on 016, which you would need for PQD purposes.

That said, the SSL is fantastic.
You're right, I don't see much on AC for the TPAC legs (unless I go AC both ways, which would be an issue plating on 016). IS that JV related? Does UA or ANA have to fly the TPAC leg?

So maybe I just focus more on YYZ-EWR-NRT and then whatever back. It's looking like I don't have as many options as I thought I might at first.
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Old Oct 10, 18, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
You're right, I don't see much on AC for the TPAC legs (unless I go AC both ways, which would be an issue plating on 016). IS that JV related? Does UA or ANA have to fly the TPAC leg?

So maybe I just focus more on YYZ-EWR-NRT and then whatever back. It's looking like I don't have as many options as I thought I might at first.
I believe NH is the only TPAC revenue-sharer for UA. There is something (not sure of the details) for TATL with UA/AC/LH. I do notice CA credits with significant PQM bonuses for full fare J/F tickets, but I don't know what that's about.

YYZ-EWR-NRT seems like a respectable trip to me. You'll get the Polaris lounge outbound and the NH lounge back. Those are among my favourites worldwide. If you wrestle with the routing, you may be able to tack on a leg to China to extend the trip and have the connection experience in Japan, but that would only be worth the effort if you're comfortable navigating China visa rules (and China itself!).
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Old Oct 10, 18, 10:24 am
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Iíve found if you want / need to do a TPAC in J adding a leg through SIN really reduces to $$$$. In Nov I found (in bis-F) a DTW - EWR - NRT - SIN - NRT - SFO or EWR - DTW for 3.4K. Itís over your requirements but it is 77W and 787 for the long haul legs. You get your choices on Polaris lounges in both directions and the NH lounge in NRT.
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Old Oct 10, 18, 10:40 am
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YYZ-SIN is dirt cheap right now (won't even get you enough PQD), although not sure the routing offhand when it comes to a diversity of products. I have a soft spot for the LH 744s (in preference to the 748s) but that's mostly an upper deck thing.
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