Award Travel to Spain or Portugal

Old Sep 3, 19, 9:35 pm
  #1  
formerly marubill
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Award Travel to Spain or Portugal

Hello all,

I am looking for an award travel on J for 2 to either Spain or Portugal for 5-7 nights in October/November. Is there a good way/tactic to look for business saver award besides the calendar option (not very reliable). It doesn't have to be round trip from the same city in EU. Any advice will be greatly appreciated

Thanks
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Old Sep 3, 19, 10:40 pm
  #2  
 
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My advice is to look first at international US gateway to EU hub cities for availability and then work from there. Can you find availability LAX or SFO or DEN to FRA/MUC? Then you can try to see if domestic legs are the issue or not. In my experience that’s the new issue—getting to the right gateway.
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Old Sep 3, 19, 10:54 pm
  #3  
 
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10/21: LAX-FRA-MAD or LAX-MUC-MAD (both Lufthansa) 70k miles and reasonable layover times
10/28: LIS-HAM-LHR-LAX (TAP/Eurowings/Air New Zealand) or LIS-LGW/LHR-LAX (TAP/Air New Zealand) 70k miles and reasonable layover times
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Old Sep 4, 19, 1:50 am
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you could try using expert flyer but there is a cost to that service. Worth it for some folks depending on how much booking you do and how advance you want to get
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Old Sep 4, 19, 2:37 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by bmr12 View Post
My advice is to look first at international US gateway to EU hub cities for availability and then work from there. Can you find availability LAX or SFO or DEN to FRA/MUC? Then you can try to see if domestic legs are the issue or not. In my experience that’s the new issue—getting to the right gateway.
Thanks will do a search this way. Once you find availability from LAX or SFO, then you add a segment SAN-SFO/LAX or do a separate reservation for this?

Originally Posted by DA201 View Post
10/21: LAX-FRA-MAD or LAX-MUC-MAD (both Lufthansa) 70k miles and reasonable layover times
10/28: LIS-HAM-LHR-LAX (TAP/Eurowings/Air New Zealand) or LIS-LGW/LHR-LAX (TAP/Air New Zealand) 70k miles and reasonable layover times
Thanks for this, good options, will look for them. Same as the question above, then for the segment SAN-LAX-SAN do you usually do a separate reservation

Originally Posted by Obsidian View Post
you could try using expert flyer but there is a cost to that service. Worth it for some folks depending on how much booking you do and how advance you want to get
Thanks
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Last edited by MrCUBS; Sep 4, 19 at 8:25 am Reason: Adding additional questions
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Old Sep 4, 19, 9:01 am
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I would think that TP should have decent availability, particularly since it is in offseason. Aim for the new A339neo if you can.
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Old Sep 4, 19, 9:57 am
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by MrCUBS View Post


Thanks will do a search this way. Once you find availability from LAX or SFO, then you add a segment SAN-SFO/LAX or do a separate reservation for this?



Thanks for this, good options, will look for them. Same as the question above, then for the segment SAN-LAX-SAN do you usually do a separate reservation



Thanks
Given that UA uses married-segment logic, if you find LAX or SFO space to/from Spain/Portugal, you can then try searching those specific days to see if you can get the entire connection on one ticket. If you can't, then you need to decide if you want to buy a positioning flight or not. LAX may not need one, given that you list your location as SAN. You could also try to call and see if an agent will try to piece this together for you, but that isn't highly likely to be successful. If you are having trouble finding the return legs on a round-trip, consider booking two one-ways. The search function on UA.com limits the number of results and when you are doing a search for two end-points that have a lot of potential routings, the system seems to crap out on the return legs. Also, remember that Mon-Wed are often the best days, if you have flexibility.

Personally, I start my search with what I want, then try other gateways to look for space. You'll likely find saver awards that are "mixed cabin" where the domestic UA legs are in Y.

You are correct that the 30 day calendar isn't the most reliable (it tends to only show the UA options). I find that I start with a date, then use the 7 day calendar to increment the date and sort on the "Business Saver Award" column. UA usually sorts the partner awards at the end of the list.
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Old Sep 4, 19, 10:52 am
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I'd also recommend aiming for LH LAX-FRA/MUC-XXX at 70k if you can find dates with them available.

Then check frequently within T-14 (and T-3/2/1) for 110K LH F awards and change your ticket for free (1K). LH often only release 1 F seat at a time, but it can occur right up to the departure time (i.e. incl. same day). LAX-FRA/MUC is a great flight length for LH F.
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Old Sep 4, 19, 2:03 pm
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(1) definitely search one-way, not r/t. If you need the ticket to be r/t you can call to book once you've found your flights

(2) Whenever I'm looking for award tickets to anywhere in Europe it's always offering me TAP and LOT...but it really all depends on the dates!
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Old Sep 4, 19, 2:36 pm
  #10  
formerly marubill
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Thanks for the advice, so far I have been able to find SAN-DEN-FRA-MAD (SAN-DEN on Y) and return OPO-BRU-IAD-SAN (same IAD-SAN on Y). But did it as o/w so will continue to look and change if I ind anything different.
Thanks again for the advice
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Old Sep 4, 19, 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by MrCUBS View Post
Thanks for the advice, so far I have been able to find SAN-DEN-FRA-MAD (SAN-DEN on Y) and return OPO-BRU-IAD-SAN (same IAD-SAN on Y). But did it as o/w so will continue to look and change if I ind anything different.
Thanks again for the advice
If you're in I for the TATL legs, don't forget to call and waitlist the SAN-DEN and IAD-SAN legs for I space.
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Old Sep 4, 19, 3:58 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by tods27 View Post
If you're in I for the TATL legs, don't forget to call and waitlist the SAN-DEN and IAD-SAN legs for I space.
Thanks, already did and waitlisted on both legs for IN
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Old Sep 4, 19, 4:25 pm
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Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
I would think that TP should have decent availability, particularly since it is in offseason. Aim for the new A339neo if you can.
Iíve run into irritating phantom availability issues with TP out of ORD. United agent informed me TP has been worst partner recently when it comes to phantom inventory
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Old Sep 4, 19, 10:23 pm
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Originally Posted by rflor View Post


Iíve run into irritating phantom availability issues with TP out of ORD. United agent informed me TP has been worst partner recently when it comes to phantom inventory
That says a lot!
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