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Please help me figure out how to book very expensive flight!

Please help me figure out how to book very expensive flight!

Old Jan 22, 19, 2:37 pm
  #1  
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Please help me figure out how to book very expensive flight!

Not sure this is the most all encompassing place to post this question, but i figure can't hurt to see if anyone here has a helpful opinion what you would do.

I'm looking to book 2 RT tickets from EWR to MSY at very busy time late April for jazzfest. Our dates are set and we are very keen on only booking direct flights. \

To book the flights that work the absolute best for us it would cost $850 cash each ticket.

I could use miles and that would cost 62k miles per ticket.

I could also redeem chase UR points and using a reserve card that would redeem at 136,000 points for both flights.

I could also sign up for the amex platinum; i have a 100k offer pending for signup and could purchase on that card to earn towards my signup bonus and receive 5x points for the $1,700 ticket cost.

Any advice which way to go with this one? I'm not great at using my points effectively and even though using the points might not be best utilization of them does it just pay to use them since i have them as opposed to shelling out that much cash?
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Old Jan 22, 19, 2:47 pm
  #2  
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Late April is still a long time away, at that price. What is the current apparent load factor (guess from the seatmap) vs inventory? Is the flight inventory bound (probably)? I think the first step would be to see if the price will drop, and then probably use cash if it does. 62k miles against $850 is not a great redemption but also not terrible. It should be 56.7k UR to buy an $850 cash ticket (1:$0.015).
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Old Jan 22, 19, 3:07 pm
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Pricing around Mardi gras and Jazzfest usually only goes one direction... up. I think Jazzfest had something like a half million attendees last year. Now that's spread over 6-7 days, but it's still a LOT of people in town. When I used to commute there a few years back I would also come across weeks with large conventions that would create similar flight pricing/availability issues. On numerous occasions I had to fly into GPT or BTR and rent a car.

Hopefully you've already secured lodging or else you are going to be starting another thread after you see what hotels and airbnbs cost during that time frame, at least habitable ones anyway.
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Old Jan 22, 19, 3:38 pm
  #4  
 
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go to App Store or Google Play, download the app 'Hopper', watch the flight you want.

iphone: https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id904052407
android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...ntainview.play
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Old Jan 22, 19, 3:51 pm
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Agree with the earlier comment that pricing is likely to go up, and that includes both cash prices and rewards miles needed. You have a couple of very limiting restrictions --- specific dates and non-stop flights. If it were me, I would book it with miles now and have one less thing to worry about.
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Old Jan 22, 19, 5:09 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by gadfly View Post
Agree with the earlier comment that pricing is likely to go up, and that includes both cash prices and rewards miles needed. You have a couple of very limiting restrictions --- specific dates and non-stop flights. If it were me, I would book it with miles now and have one less thing to worry about.
I agree, and as others have suggested. it's not a great redemption value but it's not bad either. The particular flights you want are available now, but might not be if you wait.

I would also use the UA miles you have rather than points as points are so much more flexible and can be used for other airlines/alliances etc.
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Old Jan 22, 19, 7:36 pm
  #7  
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Findark you are right, itís about 113k UR points to book both I quoted the 1.25 preferred rate.

Gadfly I was going to ask why you say to book with miles as opposed to using UR points to pay with because that earns miles for the flights, but I think I see now after last comment - use your UA miles if you have them because those are harder to use than UR points so even with miles earned better value to redeem UA miles
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Old Jan 22, 19, 8:12 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by gadfly View Post
Agree with the earlier comment that pricing is likely to go up, and that includes both cash prices and rewards miles needed..
For the time being, anyway, mileage costs are capped -- Everyday Y can go no higher than 32.5K per person each way.

If OP has status or a United-branded Chase credit card, that includes last-seat availability at the Everyday award level. If not, the bigger risk is that award space may be eliminated. That said...

OP: You're attempting to travel during a busy period, on nonstop flights, with little flexibility. That is not the way to get a high-value redemption. For the miles involved to get two tickets to MSY, you could get one roundtrip business class ticket to Europe -- if you have flexibility, to look for a saver award, and a desire to go to Europe. . Ultimately, the question is yours -- whether you'd value the miles more or the $1700 more. Personally, with the constraints that you mentioned, I'd probably bite the bullet and pay for the tickets -- but it also depends on what else you'd use the miles for in the future.

BTW -- before you decide, make sure you price out one-way tickets. If you're lucky, you may find that the fare is $200 in one direction and $600 in the other, in which case I'd buy two separate tickets.-- cash for the cheap date and miles for the expensive date.
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Old Jan 22, 19, 9:18 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by tetrahydrofuran View Post
go to App Store or Google Play, download the app 'Hopper', watch the flight you want.

iphone: https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id904052407
android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...ntainview.play
i just looked at Hopper. It seems very basic. No multi city itins, no ability to specify class of service. No airline or alliance limit. Google flights seems to do much more.
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Old Jan 23, 19, 1:20 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by mpw81 View Post
Pricing around Mardi gras and Jazzfest usually only goes one direction... up. I think Jazzfest had something like a half million attendees last year. Now that's spread over 6-7 days, but it's still a LOT of people in town. When I used to commute there a few years back I would also come across weeks with large conventions that would create similar flight pricing/availability issues. On numerous occasions I had to fly into GPT or BTR and rent a car.

Hopefully you've already secured lodging or else you are going to be starting another thread after you see what hotels and airbnbs cost during that time frame, at least habitable ones anyway.
Agreed! I lived in New Orleans for years, and we always saw this. Getting into or out of New Orleans around Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras, Essence, and a few other times of year is super pricey. I would not wait for the price to go down, it likely won't. Especially from EWR where you will have international connections trying to get there as well.
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Old Jan 23, 19, 3:58 am
  #11  
 
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I'd probably just fly to Baton Rouge or Gulfport/Biloxi and drive, neither are very far away, assuming you'd have a car anyway?
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Old Jan 23, 19, 5:21 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Dillsnik View Post
I'm looking to book 2 RT tickets from EWR to MSY at very busy time late April for jazzfest. Our dates are set and we are very keen on only booking direct flights. \
Are you committed to EWR, or could LGA or JFK be not too inconvenient?
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Old Jan 23, 19, 6:42 am
  #13  
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If the fares made it worthwhile I personally would have considered that, but my brother in law is insistent he wants to fly direct out of Newark so Iím going to stick with him on that
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Old Jan 24, 19, 7:49 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
For the time being, anyway, mileage costs are capped -- Everyday Y can go no higher than 32.5K per person each way.

If OP has status or a United-branded Chase credit card, that includes last-seat availability at the Everyday award level. If not, the bigger risk is that award space may be eliminated. That said...

OP: You're attempting to travel during a busy period, on nonstop flights, with little flexibility. That is not the way to get a high-value redemption. For the miles involved to get two tickets to MSY, you could get one roundtrip business class ticket to Europe -- if you have flexibility, to look for a saver award, and a desire to go to Europe. . Ultimately, the question is yours -- whether you'd value the miles more or the $1700 more. Personally, with the constraints that you mentioned, I'd probably bite the bullet and pay for the tickets -- but it also depends on what else you'd use the miles for in the future.

BTW -- before you decide, make sure you price out one-way tickets. If you're lucky, you may find that the fare is $200 in one direction and $600 in the other, in which case I'd buy two separate tickets.-- cash for the cheap date and miles for the expensive date.
Thank you for this post. there's a lot i've been taking into consideration from what you've said. I'd just like to try confirm that these 2 key things you've said are correct or not, but haven't been able to verify for sure.

I have the $95 per year fee United card, not the $450 fee card. If that allows me to book with miles as long as there are still seats it's huge to know, along with the info that mileage costs are capped at 32k for one way? So if the award fare can't get any higher than that, and knowing i could wait to book allows me to watch the prices for a while. But i wasn't sure if all that is true.
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Old Jan 24, 19, 8:33 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Dillsnik View Post
I have the $95 per year fee United card, not the $450 fee card. If that allows me to book with miles as long as there are still seats it's huge to know, along with the info that mileage costs are capped at 32k for one way? So if the award fare can't get any higher than that, and knowing i could wait to book allows me to watch the prices for a while. But i wasn't sure if all that is true.
Yes, the Explorer card ($95 AF) gives you last seat availability for Standard Awards. As long as there is a seat left for sale, you can book it for a maximum of 32.5k miles each way.
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