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Canadian Expat Seeks Australian United Travel Advice

Canadian Expat Seeks Australian United Travel Advice

Old Sep 16, 19, 8:54 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
To answer your question, Computer Science (Human-Computer-Interaction) my PhD thesis will be on how people perceive conversational interfaces (think Apple Siri). I did my undergraduate from the University of Waterloo (Canada), Master's at University of York (England) and will now be doing my PhD at Macquarie University (Australia). I'm not too worried about this considering I plan on publishing my research at mainly US centric conferences/journals (ACM). Also, I worked at a Canadian AI startup which got acquired by Microsoft recently. Also I'm still debating whether I want to even bother with industry since they don't seem to be doing much research at the intersection of AI and HCI (case in point when was the last time you saw someone use Google Assistant or Apple Siri in public?)

All that being said, my PhD strategy will rely heavily on presenting at top-tier conferences around the world, primarily in Europe and the Americas. As a student (who will likely have a limited budget set aside by the Uni to attend conferences) I'll need to find ways to stretch the travel budget (whilst accruing PQMs to ensuring I get those darned GPUs every year). Would greatly appreciate feedback on general routings strategies for getting to these destinations on * and ideally on UA metal.

-James
Okay, great. I think that you are being quite realistic about all of this, particularly the lack of a serious budget for conference travel. Many of my colleagues (I'm a faculty member, as might be obvious from my user name) in Australia/NZ struggle to have the budget to send even themselves to conferences in North America, Europe, etc., let alone their grad students and post-docs (I know of two top schools there that allocate under AU/NZ$1000/yr for student travel, and that money is competitive). I very much hope that this won't be the case, but you might even need to start tapping into your reserve of points/miles, rather than staying in an accrual phase. Again, I hope you can avoid that!

Your undergrad degree from Waterloo will also be tremendously helpful in terms of finding academic positions in N.A. One of the major concerns with hiring potential faculty from abroad isn't any sort of nationalistic fervor, but a question of whether they understand the unique features of the funding and publication requirements in an environment with fewer national government subsidies (somewhat less of an issue in Canada than the US ). Also, if you want to come back to academia in Canada specifically, they have mandates that require they look at Canadian citizens as part of the search process (or at least they did a few years ago; I assume that is still the case).
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mechteach is offline  
Old Sep 16, 19, 9:36 am
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
For round trip tickets starting in USA will likely have better pricing than ex Aust. Air NZ pushes hard with cheapish Aust-(AKL)-USA flights. More so with people who are starting from an Aust city other than SYD.
Depends, but it is definitely based on the strength of the currencies and economy. Right now, bottom of the fare table between LAX and SYD is (NUC half-round-trip base fare, ANZ has no YQ):

UA LAX-SYD: 379.00
UA SYD-LAX: 502.00
NZ LAX-SYD: 426.00
NZ SYD-LAX: 344.00

and

UA LAX-AKL: 535.00
UA AKL-LAX: 421.00
NZ LAX-AKL: 392.50
NZ AKL-LAX: 421.00

UA and NZ have a very unusual JV where they don't really try to harmonize fares, and it's always worth tracking the AKL market since you can stop over in Australia on an AKL fare, and vice-versa.

Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
For the last point, I'm guessing if I were to apply a GPU to say SYD > SFO > LHR on UA metal it would only count as one credit (supposing any of the segments clear?)
Correct. One GPU from SYD to LHR, and it is considered used if either segment clears.

Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Will investigate those further although I'm somewhat skeptical if the prices will be competitive to the lowest K fares I can find. I don't mind paying a slight premium (i.e. 25%) for the flexibility and the higher fare class. Otherwise, I guess I'll need to book in advance like I always do!
RTW tickets are almost never cost-effective in Economy unless you are significantly leveraging their stopover count.

Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
One question I forgot to ask : how does milage upgrade awards work for flights between Oceania and Europe on UA (obv flying through the 'States)? Would it just be 30,000 miles + co-pay or would they calculate it segment by segment (i.e. 30,000 miles + co-pay Oceania to US, 20,000 miles + co-pay US to Europe)?
Chart is published, it's 35k+$600 from STLKG fares.

Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
What are the plating rules for Oceania? For instance, could I purchase a ticket from UA where segment 1 is on NZ to AKL then segment 2 is UA back to SFO/LAX?
Yes.

Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
What about a SQ/UA combo?
No.

Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Can I plate with non-*A partners to get me where I need to go (i.e. VA or QF to a * hub then onwards with UA).
Assuming you mean to SYD/MEL/AKL, yes to QF/JQ no to VA or TT.

Standard routing rules for UA fares in Australia (templated from CNS-LAX):

Code:
/VIA THE PACIFIC/
MAP CONSTRUCTED LEFT TO RIGHT AND RIGHT TO LEFT
 1. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-BNE-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-HOU/LAX/SFO-LAX
 2. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-BNE-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-LAX
 3. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-BNE-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-LAX/SFO-LAX
 4. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-BNE-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-SFO-LAX
 5. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-BNE-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-UA-HOU/LAX/SFO-LAX
 6. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-BNE-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-UA-LAX
 7. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-MEL-QF/UA-SYD-HOU/LAX/SFO-LAX
 8. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-MEL-QF/UA-SYD-LAX
 9. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-MEL-QF/UA-SYD-LAX/SFO-LAX
10. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-MEL-QF/UA-SYD-SFO-LAX
11. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-MEL-QF/UA-SYD-UA-HOU/LAX/SFO-LAX
12. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-MEL-QF/UA-SYD-UA-LAX
13. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-HOU/LAX/SFO-LAX
14. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-LAX
15. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-LAX/SFO-LAX
16. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-SFO-LAX
17. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-UA-HOU/LAX/SFO-LAX
18. CNS-JQ/QF/UA-SYD-UA-LAX
19. CNS-NZ/UA-AKL-HOU/LAX/SFO-LAX
20. CNS-NZ/UA-AKL-LAX
21. CNS-NZ/UA-AKL-LAX/SFO-LAX
22. CNS-NZ/UA-AKL-SFO-LAX
23. CNS-NZ/UA-AKL-UA-HOU/LAX/SFO-LAX
24. CNS-NZ/UA-AKL-UA-LAX
Code:
   THE FARE COMPONENT MUST NOT BE ON
       ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING
           UA FLIGHTS 2836 THROUGH 2935.
   AND
   THE FARE COMPONENT MUST INCLUDE TRAVEL VIA TRANSPACIFIC
   SECTORS ON
       ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING
           ANY UA FLIGHT OPERATED BY UA.
   AND
   IF THE FARE COMPONENT INCLUDES TRAVEL WITHIN AUSTRALIA
       THEN THAT TRAVEL MUST BE ON
       ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING
           ANY QF FLIGHT OPERATED BY QF
           ANY UA FLIGHT OPERATED BY UA
           ANY JQ FLIGHT OPERATED BY JQ.
   AND
   IF THE FARE COMPONENT INCLUDES TRAVEL BETWEEN AUSTRALIA
   AND NEW ZEALAND
       THEN THAT TRAVEL MUST BE ON
       ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING
           ANY QF FLIGHT OPERATED BY QF
           ANY UA FLIGHT OPERATED BY UA
           ANY JQ FLIGHT OPERATED BY JQ
           ANY NZ FLIGHT OPERATED BY NZ
           ANY UA FLIGHT OPERATED BY NZ
           ANY LA FLIGHT OPERATED BY LA.
ex-SYD tends to be more restrictive (no AKL).
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Old Sep 16, 19, 9:39 am
  #33  
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Originally Posted by mechteach View Post
Okay, great. I think that you are being quite realistic about all of this, particularly the lack of a serious budget for conference travel. Many of my colleagues (I'm a faculty member, as might be obvious from my user name) in Australia/NZ struggle to have the budget to send even themselves to conferences in North America, Europe, etc., let alone their grad students and post-docs (I know of two top schools there that allocate under AU/NZ$1000/yr for student travel, and that money is competitive). I very much hope that this won't be the case, but you might even need to start tapping into your reserve of points/miles, rather than staying in an accrual phase. Again, I hope you can avoid that!
My plan here is to get funding from the conference's I attend (e.g. ACM) to cover travel along with the various student travel grants put out by tech companies like Microsoft. One conference I went to this year, I received funding which covered registration and got me a travel grant of $800 USD which just about covers my travel expenses for that conference. My concern of using award miles (aside from the lack of PQM accrual) is I suspect it will be difficult to make those award miles stretch particularly given UAs move to dynamic pricing.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Oct 19, 19, 7:59 pm
  #34  
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Just thought I'd follow up here given the recent enhancements at CoUniHound DollarsPlus program:
  1. Is it still wise for me to fly UA given the enhancements to the program? Should I switch to another program that values UA K's fare more than just dollar spend?
  2. If I was to continue flying with them which would be more likely for an upgrade their service out of IAH, SFO or LAX? I don't mind doing a milage upgrade on LHR > LAX > SYD for $650 + 35000 miles if it means 20+ hours in Polaris J (and 650 PQP). I think for *Gold LAX is the best airport given the lounges out there (i.e. *A, UC and AC MLL) but if any of my sectors clear into Polaris then it's a moot point given the access to PLs.
Safe Travels,

James
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Old Oct 19, 19, 10:23 pm
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Just thought I'd follow up here given the recent enhancements at CoUniHound DollarsPlus program:
  1. Is it still wise for me to fly UA given the enhancements to the program? Should I switch to another program that values UA K's fare more than just dollar spend?
  2. If I was to continue flying with them which would be more likely for an upgrade their service out of IAH, SFO or LAX? I don't mind doing a milage upgrade on LHR > LAX > SYD for $650 + 35000 miles if it means 20+ hours in Polaris J (and 650 PQP). I think for *Gold LAX is the best airport given the lounges out there (i.e. *A, UC and AC MLL) but if any of my sectors clear into Polaris then it's a moot point given the access to PLs.
Safe Travels,

James
You can have my upgrade seats after 2021, since I don't think I'll be maintaining 1K through PQPs then.
I'm looking at Alaska's Mileage Plan, and it has a few potential advantages for flying between Canada and Australia. First, QF is a partner Second, Canadians can get an Alaska airlines affiliated credit card through MBNA. You might want to look into AS, unless you will have no trouble getting 18-24k PQPs.
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Old Oct 19, 19, 11:34 pm
  #36  
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Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
You can have my upgrade seats after 2021, since I don't think I'll be maintaining 1K through PQPs then.
You might want to look into AS, unless you will have no trouble getting 18-24k PQPs.
I'm worried about getting any status on UA let alone 1K. I ran the numbers and if the PQP were instituted last year I wouldn't have hit even Silver (PQP = 2512, 1100 from partners and ~1500 PQD on UA metal) in spite me flying 21 segments, of which 15 segments were on UA metal. Granted I should be flying more next year given I'm based in SYD but still, if I remain loyal to flying UA I'm gonna get a slap in the face at the end of the year. I was thinking of flying with partners in Premium cabin once in long haul to bypass this nonsense. The only uncertainty there would be if UA changes the rules for us international travellers who have the luxury of selecting multiple *A partners to choose from.

Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
I'm looking at Alaska's Mileage Plan, and it has a few potential advantages for flying between Canada and Australia. First, QF is a partner Second, Canadians can get an Alaska airlines affiliated credit card through MBNA.
That's an interesting possibility I'll consider my only concern would be what benefits (if any) would I get when travelling international long haul on their partners? I know with UA that at a minimum I'll get an extra checked bag, priority everything, lounge access, IRROPs handling as *Gold. I was thinking of switching to A3 but am worried about the stability of the program and whether it will be any better for my needs given I would rarely be flying on A3 (although would still have access to *Gold benefits). I currently have MVP Gold as part of a status match.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Oct 20, 19, 1:07 am
  #37  
 
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You need be realistic. You are not getting to 1K by flying economy fares only; even PE paid fares on preferred partner flights (only) would be a huge undertaking. You say you are on limited amount of budget, why not fly when you need to, rather than expecting some kind of unicorn payoff with one program, and ending in an emotional roller coaster. UA has made it clear its customers need to be a profit center, and not a cost center.
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