How to plan a US Airways 90,000 mile award from the US to Asia via Europe

A couple of days ago I shared the details of my US Airways 90,000 mile award from the US to Asia via Europe. I was surprised by how many of you weren’t familiar with the possibilities of the award, and several of you asked for more details, so I figured I’d make a “how to” style follow up post.

Introduction

One of the very best mileage redemption values in the industry is using US Airways miles between the US and North Asia. They only charge 90,000 miles in business class, while virtually every other airlines charges at least 110,000 miles for business class to North Asia. This is made even better by the fact that they’ll let you route via Europe with a stopover if you’d like. It’s funny because they charge 100,000 miles just to travel to Europe in business class, so they’re basically giving you a 10,000 mile discount for going to Europe and traveling more.

Keep in mind that US Airways frequently sells miles for under two cents each through their 100% bonus promotions on the purchase of miles. This award is a great example of what a great deal that can be.

Everyone is looking for different things in an award ticket, though in approaching this post I’ll assume the goal is to try as many good airline products as possible, because I think that’s the “art” to master here, while everything else can be tailored to individual circumstances.

Understanding the basics

Nearly a year ago I wrote a post about US Airways Dividend Miles basics, which can be found here. Just about everything in there is still true, so it’s worth reading that post first to understand US Airways’ stopover rules, ticketing fees, hold policies, etc. I also wrote a post about US Airways’ routing rules, which can be found here.

For the purposes of a 90,000 mile business class award between North America and North Asia, it’s worth noting that US Airways considers the following countries to be in North Asia:

China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Mongolia, South Korea, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan

So while you can transit other regions, your final destination/turnaround point has to be in one of those countries.

Deciding which products to fly

If flying from the US to Asia you realistically have four longhaul segments — one from the US to Europe, one from Europe to Asia, one from Asia to Europe, and one from Europe to the US. If you’re like me and want variety, you can potentially try at least four different airlines on one trip.

Below are what I consider to be some of the best Star Alliance business class products between the US and Europe, between Europe and Asia, and directly between the US and Asia (for those of you that prefer to skip Europe in one or both directions).

Best products between the US and Europe

  • LOT will start their longhaul 787 service next week, with Chicago being their first destination, followed by Toronto, then New York, and then Beijing. Not only is this a Boeing 787, but it also features their new fully flat business class product.
  • US Airways isn’t an airline you’d usually associate with a good product, though their Airbus 330s are configured with business class suites, all of which feature direct aisle access. This is a very similar product to the one Cathay Pacific has, which I recently flew. I’d argue this is hands down the best business class “hard” product in the industry. US Airways flies their Airbus 330s out of Charlotte and Philadelphia to destinations like Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Manchester, Munich, Paris, Rome, and Tel Aviv, depending on the season. Just be sure you stay clear of their 757s and 767s.


Lufthansa new business class

Best products between Europe and Asia

  • A majority of ANA’s longhaul flights feature their new business class product, including all 787s and their 777-300ERs coded as “77Ws.” Just avoid the aircraft simply coded as “777s.” Their new business class product is fully flat and staggered. ANA’s European destinations include London, Frankfurt, Paris, and Munich (though Munich is usually operated by the old 777). They also fly from Frankfurt to Tokyo Haneda on the 787.
  • As I said under the previous heading, Austrian is in the process of installing a new business class product throughout their longhaul fleet, and their Asian destinations include Beijing, Tokyo, and Bangkok. Their routes from Vienna to Beijing/Tokyo typically have plenty of business class award space.
  • Much like the previous section, LOT’s first 787 destination in Asia will be Beijing, so this is a great way to get there starting in March.
  • Swiss doesn’t release very much business class award space to the US, though does release a good bit to Asia. They fly to Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Bangkok. Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo tend to have more award space than Bangkok and Hong Kong.
  • Turkish has a fully flat business class product on their 777-300ERs with great catering, which they fly to several of their destinations in Asia, including Tokyo and Hong Kong.
  • Asiana has an excellent fully flat staggered business class product, though their only European destination which features it is London.

Best products between the US and Asia

  •  Asiana operates the same business class product they have to London on their routes to Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. There is some variance with this, so be sure you confirm that it’s the new business class product before making a booking, because the old product leaves a lot to be desired.
  • ANA flies their 787s to both San Jose and Seattle, and award availability is generally excellent. They also fly to Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington. As is the case with their European routes, be on the lookout for aircraft coded as “77Ws” and not “777s.”
  • Thai Airways just introduced a new aircraft configuration on their Los Angeles route, which features an excellent business class product. This flight routes through Seoul Incheon, so you can book it just between Los Angeles and Seoul, or all the way between Los Angeles and Bangkok.

Searching for award availability

Okay, above are some of the best business class products, but how do you turn it into an actual award ticket? While you can try and use the United website, they’ve been showing a lot of “phantom” award space lately, so I far prefer using the ANA tool.

Let’s assume you want to travel from New York to Beijing in business class sometime in the first couple of weeks of October. The first thing I’d do is brainstorm which airlines could potentially work. Being on the east coast we could potentially work in any of the following to Europe:

  • A flight on the Lufthansa 747-8 from Washington to Frankfurt
  • A flight in Austrian’s new business class from New York to Vienna
  • A flight in LOT’s new business class from New York to Warsaw
  • A flight on Brussels Airlines from New York to Brussels
  • A flight on US Airways out of Philadelphia

Then between Europe and Beijing we could potentially work in any of the following:

  • A flight in Austrian’s new business class from Vienna to Beijing
  • A flight in LOT’s new business class from Warsaw to Beijing
  • A flight in Swiss’ new business class from Zurich to Beijing

We could also potentially fly ANA via Tokyo, Asiana via Seoul, etc., but let’s keep this as simple as possible.

After having a rough summary of what might work, the next thing is to just randomly plug in routes on the ANA tool. Once you’re logged in just enter the origin and destination, and be sure you’re doing a seven day availability search for business class, which I find makes it much easier to get an overview of award availability.

Let’s look at availability for the desirable direct flights out of New York first — Austrian Airlines to Vienna, Brussels Airlines to Brussels, and LOT to Warsaw.

The results I get are as follows:

What do we see here? Austrian and Brussels Airlines have a good amount of award space on the way back from Europe to the US, while LOT has a good amount of award space both to and from Europe. Before making any decisions on the above, let’s first look at space between Europe and Beijing.

Let’s look at availability for the desirable direct flights to Beijing — Austrian Airlines out of Vienna, LOT out of Warsaw, and Swiss out of Zurich.

Once plugging in the dates, here are the results I get:

Picking the right flights

Now we know exactly what availability looks like for the dates we want to roughly travel, and we can start picking flights by process of elimination.

Let’s start with the outbound. We wanted to fly Austrian, Brussels, and LOT. Unfortunately neither Austrian or Brussels have award space for the outbound, so let’s pick out the LOT flight.

10/01 LOT 7 New York to Warsaw departing at 6:15PM and arriving at 8:55AM (+1 day)

What I always like to do then is figure out the return transatlantic portion of the trip so there’s a rough “shell,” and letter go back to add the flights between Europe and Asia, though that’s purely personal preference. On the return both Austrian and Brussels have award availability, though we have the opportunity to grab Austrian to Beijing, while Brussels doesn’t fly there. So let’s go ahead and grab Brussels for the return sector.

10/10 Brussels Airlines 501 Brussels to New York departing at 10:25AM and arriving at 12:40PM

Now we have utmost freedom within Europe. We have nine nights to visit Beijing and have a stopover at some destination in Europe. So from here the picking process is really random. Anyway, going to Beijing, it looks like the only airline with availability is Austrian, so let’s grab their flight on the 4th and plan a two night stopover in Vienna.

10/04 Austrian 63 Vienna to Beijing departing at 5:40PM and arriving at 9:15AM (+1 day)

Now the return is a no brainer, since the only option left is Swiss on the 9th. So let’s grab that.

10/09 Swiss 197 Beijing to Zurich departing at 6:45AM and arriving at 11:20AM

Putting it all together

Let’s recap the four longhaul flights we have so far.

10/01 LOT 7 New York to Warsaw departing at 6:15PM and arriving at 8:55AM (+1 day)
10/04 Austrian 63 Vienna to Beijing departing at 5:40PM and arriving at 9:15AM (+1 day)
10/09 Swiss 197 Beijing to Zurich departing at 6:45AM and arriving at 11:20AM
10/10 Brussels Airlines 501 Brussels to New York departing at 10:25AM and arriving at 12:40PM

The only thing left to do is to add the intra-Europe flights. Like I said earlier we’ll have a stopover in Vienna for two nights, so we need a flight from Warsaw to Vienna on the 2nd. Let’s pick up the earliest possible flight, which I’ve marked below.

On the return we once again have a night in Europe, so let’s say we want to spend that in Brussels. We’d simply have to pick up a flight between Zurich and Brussels, marked below.

So there you have it, we have our itinerary. To recap, here’s the itinerary in business class the whole way:

10/01 LOT 7 New York to Warsaw departing at 6:15PM and arriving at 8:55AM (+1 day)
10/02 Austrian 626 Warsaw to Vienna departing at 10:35AM and arriving at 11:55AM
10/04 Austrian 63 Vienna to Beijing departing at 5:40PM and arriving at 9:15AM (+1 day)
10/09 Swiss 197 Beijing to Zurich departing at 6:45AM and arriving at 11:20AM
10/09 Swiss 789 Zurich to Brussels departing at 12:30PM and arriving at 1:45PM
10/10 Brussels Airlines 501 Brussels to New York departing at 10:25AM and arriving at 12:40PM

As I said we could have gone a million different ways with this, but this is just one possibility sampling four different flat bed business class products.

Booking the award

US Airways doesn’t display Star Alliance award space on their website, so you have to book by phone. When you call up I suggest saying something along the lines of “an agent earlier gave me certain flights that are available and I just didn’t have my passport details, so would it be alright if I gave you the flight numbers and dates so we can place them on hold?”

Then spoon feed the agent the flight numbers, dates, routes, and cabins, and they should have no problem pricing it at 90,000 miles roundtrip. US Airways doesn’t impose fuel surcharges so you’re just responsible for the taxes and the $50 Dividend Miles processing fee (which is waived if you’re at least a Dividend Miles Gold member).

Any questions?

Comments

  1. WLN says

    Lucky – thanks for the helpful post. The best products part is useful. Any chance you could put together a post about which premium products are best for couples traveling together? Staggered seats are great as a solo traveler but less fun if you want to talk to the person next to you…

    Thanks!

  2. Yi says

    Hi Lucky,

    What do you think about the business class on SWISS’s LX65 from Miami to Zurich? On united.com, it shows it is on A330-300.

    It seems like there are few excellent products to Europe out of MIA….

  3. Nun says

    I think you should omit lines like “They only charge 90,000 miles in business class, while virtually every other airlines charges at least 110,000 miles for business class to North Asia.”

    This is a one way to get this benefit eliminated.

  4. lucky says

    @ Michael — Happy you found it helpful!

    @ WLN — Great idea for a post, I’ll have one in the future on that for sure.

    @ Yi — If you can find availability on it, it’s an excellent product, the same they have on their entire longhaul fleet.

  5. lucky says

    @ Nun — This isn’t a “benefit,” it’s their award chart. An award chart devaluation is on the way, and when it happens, they won’t be changing the costs between just two regions, but probably an overhaul of the whole chart.

    They know they’re underpriced, so it’s just a matter of time before the devaluation happens, as I’ve been predicting. They haven’t majorly changed their chart in two years.

  6. Geoff says

    Now that was a useful post!
    Agree with WLN, would like to see a post for a couple(assuming possible)from a product standpoint.
    Thanks

  7. Robert says

    Lucky – thanks for the heads up on the United phantom availability. I’ll have to get myself more familiar with the ANA tool.

    My grandmother has asked me to help her look at using her miles to take family members on a trip to China. If we’re successful in finding something, and I call to book for her, what info will they ask for in order for me to use her miles to book an award ticket for an aunt/uncle?

  8. MTG says

    Nice post!
    4 questions please:

    1) Can you stopover in other places instead of Europe (Middle East, India etc). If so will they still price at 90K
    2) Will US allow you to combine non-star partners on the award
    3) Can you do a stopover on the outbound and inbound, or only one stopover is permitted?
    4) Any way to leverage the extra ‘leg’ of a trip like you can do with UA/DL/AA?

    thanks.
    MTG

  9. lucky says

    @ Robert — You’ll just need their full names and dates of birth as they appear on the passports, Dividend Miles numbers, and the address/phone number on file for the accounts.

  10. lucky says

    @ MTG –
    1) In practice yes, though it can require some effort.
    2) Which partners? :D Their only current partners not in Star Alliance are Virgin Atlantic (in coach only) and Hawaiian (to South Pacific and intra-Hawaii only), so probably not all that useful.
    3) Only one stopover or one open jaw per roundtrip.
    4) US Airways only allows one stopover OR one open jaw, so you’re best off just using that enroute.

  11. says

    How long do these posts take to make? I’ve tried writing a guide, but it just takes way too long. Don’t make it too easy, all the availability will be gone! Haha.

  12. Gene says

    @Ben — Great post, thanks! Why do you use the ANA search tool over the United website? I like the calendar on united.com, and you can see multiple routings all at once.

  13. lucky says

    @ romsdeals — Wasn’t too bad, took maybe 2-3 hours to write with screenshots and all. :)

    Hah, hopefully someone can snag the above itinerary if it interests them.

  14. lucky says

    @ Gene — You can certainly use the United website as an overview, though I’ve found it shows a lot of phantom award space. If you’re like me and know exactly which routing you want, I find the 7-day search function on ANA to be more useful.

  15. Gene says

    @Ben — Good to know, I guess I need to change my searching habits. The phantom space isn’t just LH F?

    On a related note, do you find the KVS Tool useful for any specific purposes? I find myself using it frequently since I don’t have to go to a webpage and then log in, but it seems slow compared to other options like EF and UA.

    I’d love to see a post on which search tools are best for which searches (for advanced users that have access to them all). I know that you’ve covered the various options for searching, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the single best way to perform each type of search.

  16. Miguel says

    How much did you pay in taxes for the whole thing?
    (I’m thinking of going to Macau this year, and this could be really useful)

  17. ikonos says

    @Ben I doubt any one can piece the same itinerary :P (You have more than 24hr stop in vienna). I am trying to decide between a stopover in Eurpoe vs a stopover in SIN/BKK on the way to NRT. Any recommendation on the best months to go to Japan and BKK?

    Also does OZ have new business class seat between ICN-SEA? Thanks.

  18. lucky says

    @ Miguel — This itinerary would probably cost about $150 in taxes plus the processing fee.

    @ ikonos — Vienna is the stopover point, and you’re allowed one stopover, so that routing is legal. ICN-SEA isn’t presently operated by an aircraft with the new business class.

    Bangkok is pretty good year round, though I try to avoid the height of summer. As far as Japan goes, I prefer May-October so it’s not too cold.

  19. lucky says

    @ Gene — I’ve been seeing quite a bit of phantom space on United’s website beyond Lufthansa lately.

    I don’t use KVS, as it doesn’t show any unique information. It can save a bit of time, but only screen scrapes from a variety of websites, while ExpertFlyer at least shows space that can’t be searched otherwise.

  20. KevininRI says

    Although they don’t fly direct to Europe from the US, I think Air Canada is one of the best for business class redemptions between the US and Europe, particularly from cities in the Northeastern US. All AC longhaul flights (767, 777, and A330) have flatbed seats, and all seats have direct aisle access. They also have some of the best lounges as well.

  21. ikonos says

    @Ben not to nitpick but the gap in WAW is also more than 24hrs in the above itnerary. Who knows US might just allow it :)

    If you see saver economy award from A-B-C and C-D, but not A-D via B and C (A-B-C-D), can the UA or US agents book you the ticket at saver award? Thanks.

  22. lucky says

    @ ikonos — Not to nitpick, but I believe it’s actually 1hr40min. :p

    As far as your second question goes I don’t see much married segment logic with Star Alliance, so can you expand on what you’re saying?

  23. Gene says

    @Ben — As I suspected, but if it would save you time, why not pay the $99/year for it?

    To me, KVS is especially useful for Delta 3-tier award searches. So far, I’ve found it’s results to be reliable (unlike the DL award calendar!). I know that you can search for low-level DL award space on AF.com, but I (sadly) frequently book domestic mid-level awards on Delta since I’ve given up all hope for other uses. It’s not that I can’t find anything better to book with DL miles, but the options on OW and *A are just so much better (ie, first class!), that the DL miles never get used for anything. Maybe I should just buy a toaster with DL miles?

  24. ikonos says

    @Ben Ouch for ignoring “+1″. Bows to the master :)

    I am looking for an award ticket from A-D and united website shows nothing for the desired month. But if I search A-C and C-D, there is availability for both A-C and C-D. Since I can’t book this online, I would need to call united and was wondering if they can piece it together and still charge at the low level

  25. lucky says

    @ ikonos — Happy to hear I’m not going crazy. :p

    Chances are you can still book it using “multi-city” on the website. Otherwise you should have no problem booking it by phone. United’s website just isn’t good at displaying more complex itineraries.

  26. ikonos says

    @Gene I am in the same boat with DL miles. Have ton of them and don’t really know where to use them.

  27. Jack says

    Lucky – you mention that USDM allows only one stopover OR open jaw per round trip, but it looks like you have two on this itinerary – in warsaw and then in Zurich? Am I missing something?

  28. lucky says

    @ Jack — The only stopover is in Vienna. In Warsaw and Zurich they’re just connections under 24 hours.

    @ Travel Summary — Thanks!

  29. PhatMiles says

    Truly awesome. Ton of information and so much insight.
    I flew the Lufthansa 747-8 during last thanks giving twice, between Frankfurt and Bangalore, India. Great aircraft and awesome experience. I tried the upper deck and the lower deck. Both are very good, but seats in the upper deck feel(actually are!) little smaller than the lower ones.

  30. ken says

    Also, if your stopover in Europe exceed your destination (i.e. spend 10 days in Europe, and 5 days in Beijing), they will price it at 100k miles and change the award to Europe as destination instead.

  31. Dan says

    Hi Lucky,

    You mentioned not transiting Europe in one or both directions, so can you go US-Europe-North Asia then return direct over Pacific back to US effectively making it around the world? And 120000 to make it all in F?

    Thanks.

  32. ikonos says

    @PhatMiles I tried both the First class and Business class seat on the FRA-BLR 747-8 flight in December. The seats were excellent and I had good sleep. The seat on the upper deck might be smaller, but it was really quiet compared to the lower deck. On the other hand I did not like the seat on the SEA-FRA A330. I got couple of hours of sleep in the FC seat and none in the BC seat.

  33. Ryan E says

    I’ve been annoyed with UA’s phantom award availability online, though I haven’t tried looking in a couple of months. Last spring it kept happening to me even with regard to UA-metal flights.

  34. Spencer W. says

    Is the US Airways processing fee (for using a phone rep, right?…since there’s no other way to do it) per PERSON or per BOOKING? i.e. if I book tickets for four of us, is it a quadruple fee?

  35. says

    @lucky (or anyone) – has anyone ever had success booking a US – Australia award via Europe? e.g. SYD-SIN-FRA-JFK on SQ?

  36. Maury says

    Can this be done in economy? I would like to fly from MIA-STOCKHOLM-TOKYO-MIA. Will this cost 60000 US Airways miles R/T? Thanks

  37. Ismael says

    Great post. Coincidently, I was putting such an itenerary together last night. Now only if my wife will agree.

  38. Kai says

    Looking at winter availability, i realised OS doesn’t really release any seats for VIE-NRT whereas the reverse seems to have decent availability. LX is the opposite, for some reason.

  39. lucky says

    @ Jon — You could route via Toronto on Austrian/Air Canada, via Vancouver on Air Canada, or via Los Angeles on Lufthansa, just to name a few.

    @ PhatMiles — Awesome, sounds like a great redemption!

  40. lucky says

    @ Pablo — Given that US Airways blocks Lufthansa first class award availability and Swiss no longer releases first class award space to partner airlines, it can be difficult/impractical. Your only decent options are first class on Air China, Asiana, United, or Thai. That’s why I think you’re better off redeeming for business class in most instances.

    @ ken — I’ve never found that to be the case. Yes, some agents might say that, but it’s not the rule, and as is the case with all things US Airways, it’s when you hang up and call again.

  41. lucky says

    @ Dan — Yes and yes.

    @ Spencer W. — It’s per person.

    @ atxtravel — Nope, the 767s have horrible recliner seats on US Airways.

  42. lucky says

    @ Keith — I’ve many times booked US to Australia via Europe and Asia. Not sure whether it’s supposed to be allowed, but if you limit the number of segments it’s not too tough to pull off.

    Keep in mind that Singapore doesn’t release award space to their partner airlines in their new business/first class cabins.

    @ Maury — Yes!

  43. Andy says

    Great post!
    Question: besides US Airways credit card, are there tricks to accumulate US Airways Miles quickly?

    US Air is extremely frugal. I had a short flight (NY City to Buffalo) to earn 292 miles only. Delta and AA always give at least 500 miles for each flight no matter how short travel you take.

  44. lucky says

    @ Andy — In addition to the credit card you can transfer points from Starwood or purchase them directly from US Airways. I’d say those are the easiest ways.

  45. tri says

    @Ben instead of doing the work… we can pay you to book for us right? Ha. !@##$ that was a good post.

  46. mitch says

    beware Brussels Airlines A330 configuration in business.
    It’s 2-1-2 and 1-2-1 in alternating rows. THe solo seats seem ideal for solo travelers, but… the have limited legroom in the bed position. Your legs are basically in between the 2 seats ahead of you!

  47. Mike B says

    Outstanding post, but I just want to clarify one thing, as it is kind of unclear to me. Are you saying that it is possible to use 90,000 miles and fly business say NYC to FRA, spend a few weeks, then continue on to North Asia for a few weeks, and then fly across the Pacific back to NY? This same routing in F would be 120,000, but with more limited options? A guess one final stopover in HNL would be out of the question? Thanks!

  48. lucky says

    @ Mike B — Your understanding is correct on the first two questions. You can’t have a stopover in Honolulu as well since you’re only allowed a single stopover.

  49. Michael says

    This is how it is done. I still don’t understand how you can fly around the world in so few days. I guess that’s one way to beat the jetlag.

  50. lucky says

    @ Christian — That’s really pushing it. All comes down to the agent, but I doubt you’ll find many agents willing to allow that.

  51. Michael says

    @ christian no that’s not possible. But you can fly to Australia with a stopover in Asia for 120K in biz.

  52. Jake says

    Great post, lucky!

    But as a blog-reader from Europe…can we also fly to two continents on one award, e.g. FRA-ICN-HNL-ICN-FRA? Someone told me that it isn’t possible…even if the ‘stop’ at ICN is less than 24 hours?

    Thanks!

  53. danny says

    For a flight like this what is the reasonable amount of tax to expect? Also on the flight back can you fly directly from Asia back to US or do you have to stopover in europe?

    thanks!

  54. danny says

    If I want to do a trip to australia with a stopover in asia with usairway miles, can you suggest any airlines to try?

  55. lucky says

    @ danny — Taxes are probably in the range of $100-250 per passenger, depending on which country in Europe you stop over in. To Australia I’d recommend Air New Zealand or Asiana via Seoul.

  56. Max M says

    Lucky:

    Fantastic post!

    One question: You mention using Thai, and list flying their LAX-ICN route, but go on to suggest using them to continue onward ICN-BKK—isn’t BKK considered a South and Central Asia award, not North Asia award?

  57. lucky says

    @ Max M — it is, I was simply pointing out it’s a good product regardless of whether you go to ICN (North Asia) or BKK (South Asia). In practice you may be able to find an agent willing to route you to North Asia via South Asia, though that can be a bit of work.

  58. Max M says

    Thanks for clearing that up for me. :)

    Looks like a long night of award hunting thanks to your brilliant post! ;)

  59. Max M says

    Lucky-

    Must the starting/ending point in U.S. Canada be the same? In other words, could I start the trip from ORD, for example, and end the trip in LAX, or would I have to both start and end my trip in the same U.S./Canadian city?

    Thanks!

  60. lucky says

    @ Max M — Departing from one city and returning to another would be considered an open jaw. You’re allowed either a stopover OR an open jaw on an award reservation, so you could do that, though it would come at the cost of a stopover.

  61. Gerd says

    Great post, thank you for your tips!

    I found business class availability for two on Austrian from VIE to JFK on 8/4 on the ANA search tool. When I called US Airways they did not have those seats available. Is ANA showing phantom inventory? Any way to get around it?

  62. Talha says

    Hi Lucky any suggestion leaving from boston to asia via europe in june. Can you recommend a route, having trouble finding availability hkg or nrt, thanks. Business ofcourse

  63. Jim says

    Award availability on the ANA 787s to Seattle does appear excellent both on the ANA tool and on UA’s website, but unfortunately none of it is available for USDM based on my experiences calling up US over this last week. The US agents state that any availability shown by other *Alliance members is due to a difference in award allocation among *Alliance members.

  64. lucky says

    @ Talha — I’d say a similar route as shown above would be good, with connecting flights from Boston to New York on US Airways. It would still only be four segments each way, so allowed.

  65. lucky says

    @ Gerd — Hmm, I’d try calling back, that should be available through US Airways. I’ve never heard of them blocking Austrian.

  66. LX says

    Ben, have you had or heard of anyone having success booking US – North Asia but with a stopover in South Asia? It seems like if USAir is allowing Europe stop-overs, South Asia wouldn’t be too unreasonable?

  67. John Grasty says

    In the fall, I’m not seeing any OS JFK/IAD-VIE availability, but plenty from VIE to JFK/IAD. Is this normal? Do they wait to release the seats to VIE?

    I’ll admit it; I’m a newb.

    Thanks.

  68. lucky says

    @ LX — It’s definitely not totally impossible. All depends on the agent you get.

    @ John Grasty — Not too unusual for them to release space in one direction but not the other. I’d recommend just flying another carrier in the other direction.

  69. DrewBird says

    2 things:

    1) I also would love a post specifically on Best Product from a couples-flying-together standpoint.

    2) Regarding the $50 Award Processing fee unless you are Chairman’s Gold, would that fee also be waived if you were a Gold-equivalant status on another STAR Alliance airline (such as Aegean)?

  70. Mike B says

    A few additional questions:

    1) Is there anyway of finding a link that lists which routes run the new business classes by airline?

    2) Are you able to fly into a city such as Tokyo, and out of Osaka, or must they remain consistent? Thanks.

  71. lucky says

    @ DrewBird — Will work on the other post. As far as your second question goes, nope, it’s not waived for partner elites Old for Dividend Miles Gold and above.

  72. lucky says

    @ Mike B — There isn’t. Sometimes individual airline websites will have a tracker for which routes have the new business class, but there’s not a general website

    You’re allowed an open jaw OR a stopover, so you could fly into Tokyo and out of Osaka, but then you wouldn’t be allowed a stopover.

  73. Christopher says

    Ben, great post. Questions:
    1. If ANA website search tool is showing space available, is it for “standard award” or “saver award”?
    2. Is the route here “legal”? DFW-IAH-LHR-NRT-SIN-KUL for one way ticket, no stopover.
    Thanks.

  74. lucky says

    @ Christopher — The ANA website shows saver award availability. As far as your routing goes, US Airways charges the same for a one-way award that they charge for a roundtrip award, so I’d look into a different program. I usually have issues going beyond four segments per direction with US Airways, so I think you’d be hard pressed to find an agent willing to book that.

    @ LX — Awesome! Did you manage to ticket it or just hold it?

  75. Christopher says

    Ben, sorry I should be more clear in my question. I am using what you have in this post, and hoping to book through United Airlines.

  76. lucky says

    @ Christopher — United has a funky pricing system at times. I suspect that will automatically price, though can’t guarantee it.

  77. Jason says

    @Lucky – Thanks for this info. I was just able to book an amazing ticket with US Air and clearly the agents were manually calculating and overriding rules. For 120,000 miles I just ticketed Business Class:

    ATL-ORD
    ORD-WAW (Hopefully on the 787 – we’ll see)
    WAW-KRK – 24 hour layover
    KRK-CAIRO – 36 hours in Cairo. Just enough time to see the Pyrmaids
    CAI-KUL via BKK (EgyptAir 777-300 and LH 340-600
    KUL-BKK-DME-VIE (Thia, and Austrian)
    VIE-LHR-IAD (Austrian / United)

    I’ll visit 3 cities I haven’t been to (KRK, CAI, and KUL) not to mention I will be on

    787, 320,777-300,340-600, 777-200, A300-600, and a couple of RJ’s.

    Any suggestions for must see’s or where to stay in KRK, KUL, are appreciated. SPG guy here.

  78. EricT says

    Hi Lucky,

    Do you have any experience booking through North Asia via Africa? Planning to go to South Africa this year, and am wondering if that could work.

    Many thanks, Eric

  79. lucky says

    @ EricT — I’ve booked those a couple of times assuming the routing is otherwise easy (ie JFK-JNB-HKG). Probably shouldn’t technically be possible, but with US Airways it’s always “your mileage may vary.”

  80. jack says

    Would it be possible to make it a RTW by returning to the US from Asia instead of going back to Europe for the 90k?

  81. E says

    Is an intra-America flight included in the redemption, e.g. LAX-JFK onto Europe stopover before Asia? Since there seems to be more flight options from east cost to Europe popping up.

  82. lucky says

    @ E — Absolutely, domestic flights aren’t an issue as long as you don’t exceed the four transfer limit per direction.

  83. E says

    Thanks Ben, this really is an excellent post. After a couple hours I finally put together 8 business segments. Is there a way to see the number of seats available? I’m thinking to book 4 seats, but can imagine some of the long hauls being limited to less than that.

  84. lucky says

    @ E — While they don’t explicitly display the number of award seats, you can see how many are left by searching more progressively more seats till no more seats show up. So in other words if you search for two seats and there’s space and then you search for three seats and there isn’t, you know there are two award seats remaining.

  85. Jeremy says

    Hi Ben! This post is awesome. I was wondering if you can use other airlines in similar fashion (ie UA, AA, DL). Basically can you go to Asia from the US via Europe on any of those with a stopover for the US-Asia price? I know it’d be more than US but as long as it lets you have a stopover that’d be pretty sweet. I’d love to see more posts like this one! Thanks!

  86. Siso says

    Lucky I found this article so informative and helpfull. Although, I only fly on one world because I fly out of DFW. I would realy appreceate the same type of article but focusing on one world products. Im always wondering whats the best product / experiance in business clas to europe or asia. I want to try the distance based award but cant decide on my connections and alot of my deisions are based on what airline I would be experiancing! All I know is I loved cathay seats and service!

  87. DaninSTL says

    I just used these tips to book STL to HKG via Japan on the way on ANA and Korea n the way back on Asiana. It was $300 with taxes and booking fees etc. for two tickets in business. Great deal. I didn’t have the time to go back through Europe but did find availability, mostly through FRA and Brussells. I could also get to Moscow but no good connections after that that fit my time frame in November.
    Thanks for the post.

  88. Hyper3 says

    Thanks for this great post…you’ve inspired me to put together my first business class trip – after taking your CC advice etc I’ve amassed enough miles to make this happen!

    Question – did some searches and with the exception of one airline you mentioned above I found NO availability between NYC/PHL and Europe for Sept any day. Does this seem normal? Do you think it’s possible seats will open up or is that way it’s going to stay?
    Europe-Asia is a bit more spotty but for example nothing on ANA.

  89. lucky says

    @ Hyper3 — September is one of the toughest months for transatlantic award space and while I’m not seeing a lot of space, I do see some scattered space between NY and Europe, especially between NY and Warsaw.

  90. Hyper3 says

    Thanks! I’ll confess that after your less than glowing review of LOT (I know the seat will be different…but the food…ugh) I left it out of my search – but searched all the other airlines.

  91. R301 says

    Hi Lucky,
    Thanks for the awesome post – informative and helpful!

    Is LHR a star alliance hub? I wanted to book SFO to HKG with a stopover in LHR – is that possible?

  92. lucky says

    @ R301 — While it’s not a Star Alliance hub, it is a US Airways gateway city, so you should be able to have a stopover there.

  93. Zia says

    I have United miles and I registered on the ANA website so I could use their search tool, but it is telling me that I cannot search for booking partner flights because I do not ANA miles to use. Is this normal?

  94. lucky says

    @ Zia — You actually need some miles in your account in order to search, so you can transfer some points from either Starwood or Membership Rewards to “activate” it.

  95. Yuhao says

    I have a question about the UA side of things. United.com errored out when I tried to book a trip from USA to China with a European stopover. Tried several city combos – same error, says trip isn’t bookable for an award. Do you know if this trip just isn’t allowed by UA, or is it allowed but their website can’t handle it? Seems like a pretty straightforward trip to me (only one stopover, no open jaw).

  96. lucky says

    @ Yuhao — It’s probably allowed but their website can’t handle complicated itineraries. You’ll have to book it by phone.

  97. Ace says

    @Lucky, assume VIE was your short stopover on this trip, with PEK as the final destination? Thanks.

  98. lucky says

    @ Ace — Correct, in this case Vienna is the stopover point and Beijing the final destination.

  99. Mike B says

    Hi there, I was close to booking a trip, and then the availability to Tokyo vanished. If I wait till a few weeks within the departure date, will there likely be a lot of Star Alliance first class seats that will open up, or is this wishful thinking? Does US Air charge an extra close in booking fee, in addition to their regular charge of $150? Thanks!

  100. lucky says

    @ Mike B — It depends in part on the time of year you’re traveling. Generally there’s not a ton of first class award space closer in, though space definitely does open up as the departure date approaches. US Airways’ close-in ticketing fee is $75, and it’s for bookings made within 21 days of departure.

  101. AndrewP says

    Looks like LX got the 90k award via SE Asia to NE Asia. Have you seen anything be possible to route from US to SE Asia via Europe?

  102. lucky says

    @ AndrewP — Routing from the US to Southeast Asia via Europe shouldn’t be an issue. That’s perfectly legitimate.

  103. Danny says

    So we can use the ANA tool to find Star Alliance seat availability… If I want to use United miles (120k for saver), do I have to make sure there’s Saver Award availability on the United site?

  104. lucky says

    @ Danny — If ANA shows the saver award space, it should be bookable using United miles as well.

  105. Danny says

    With regards to phantom availability – is it possible to have United’s site list no availability while ANA Tool lists availability? Is it some sort of reverse phantom unavailability by United?

  106. Moey says

    @ Lucky – Is it possible to route the 90K award so that the stopover is in South Asia, like BKK, then heading to NRT as a destination? Your examples give Europe as the stopover, but am wondering if another region such as South Asia is a possibility.

  107. lucky says

    @ Joey — Routing via Southeast Asia should trigger the higher price (since it’s the furthest destination), though tickets are manually priced by agents so it’s not impossible to get the North Asia price.

  108. Benjamin says

    Hello. Thanks for the post – I’m going to try and do something similar with the current USAir promo.

    Just wondering about the connection times…. Arriving at 0855 on one airline and having to fly out on another airline at 1035 seems a bit close. You’d have to go to baggage claim, customs, check-in and security again, no? Maybe change terminals. While the latter two would be w/ priority access it still seems tight. Same with arriving in Zurich 1120 and departing at 1230…..

    Are those times really something you’d be comfortable doing or was that just for example purposes?

    THANKS

  109. lucky says

    @ Benjamin — Yes, they are times I’d be comfortable with. You don’t have to check-in again or collect bags — your bags will be checked through and you’ll be issued boarding passes for your connecting flights.

  110. Raymond says

    Would it be possible to book a business class ticket from San Francisco to Hong Kong with a stopover in Singapore (SFO-SIN-HKG) while still only pay 90,000 miles?

    Does anyone have experience with this? I’d appreciate any advice.

  111. lucky says

    @ Raymond — You should be charged the higher price given that you’re transiting South Asia, though in practice some agents might still price it as a North Asia award. So if you try often enough you may be able to price it at the North Asia level.

  112. Danny says

    Hi Ben,
    I’m going to call USAirways and try to book my very first award redemption! Thank you for all the tips on this post. I really appreciate it and hope it all works out!

  113. Paul says

    There’s no rule that says you need to do Europe first, right? You can do US to Asia (stop) to Europe (stop) to US? Was thinking of trying to do 120k in first, nyc to Hong Kong in asiana first (layover in Seoul), then hk to Paris in Thai first (layover in Bangkok), then Paris to nyc on united (first or business). Does this sound posible?

  114. lucky says

    @ Paul — Correct, you don’t have to go to Europe first. That being said, keep in mind that if you route via Bangkok you may technically be subject to South Asia pricing, which is 160,000 miles in first class. Very much depends on the agent, though.

  115. Paul says

    @ lucky — thanks! Yeah I thought about that problem. I guess I’ll keep trying agents until I get one that let’s me do it for 120k. Any tips on how to convince them? Just say that you want to go from hk to Paris and have a flight number that another agent gave you earlier and that agent said it was your best bet? It actually is the best ans easest way to get from hk to Paris on star alliance I think.

  116. lucky says

    @ Paul — I doubt you’ll have to do much convincing, I’d just hope that the agent prices it at 120,000 miles. If they don’t I’d just call back. Your strategy of just telling them you want to fly between Hong Kong and Paris is perfect.

  117. jack says

    How do use ANA tools? Hit your link and it wanted an ANA mileage club number, so I joined and now it says I can’t use it because I don’t have any miles in my account.

  118. jack says

    I’ve found biz available for this: EWR,NRT,PEK-3days,FRA Stop,MUC,WAW,JFK. I haven’t called yet but does it look right?Would I have to do FRA to WAW instead of my preferred MUC to WAW?I am planning to stay in Germany 6 nights, longer than the Beijing stay but I’m hoping the agent will let it go.

  119. lucky says

    @ jack — Routing looks fine and having the stopover be longer than the destination is fine too. Only thing is that the open jaw technically has to be at your turnaround point, so you shouldn’t be allowed to fly into Frankfurt and out of Munich. That being said, there’s a chance an agent may allow it.

    Good luck!

  120. jack says

    Do I mention to the agent that I’m trying to book this as a “90k” to North Asia in biz trip, or just spoon them the details and let them come up with a total? There is a segment I will be trying to book that has a first class and economy seat available but no biz. Is there a chance of me getting the first class seat instead of economy since I have biz the whole rest of the way? Thanks

  121. lucky says

    @ jack — No, I wouldn’t mention the price, I’d just spoon feed them the flights and then they should come up with the total. As far as first class goes, you can only get it at the business class price if it’s a domestic two cabin flight, like US Airways first class. Otherwise it would raise the cost of a first class award.

  122. Paul says

    Hi,

    Quick question for you. I’m looking to book us->Asia->europe->us in first (or business) using us airway miles. Planning to take this trip next May so award availability will start to show for my first flight this week. I know you can hold flights for 5 days with us airways but that’s not enough time (the Europe to US flight wont be bookable for another 11-13 days depending on when I fly back).

    Are there any tricks to hold an ideal nyc to Asia flight if one becomes available (while I wait for the rest of the trip falls into the 11th month window)? Or do I just need to hope that it’s not taken in those 11-13 days until the whole trip is bookable?

    Thanks so much…

  123. lucky says

    @ Paul — US Airways actually only allows holds for three days. I’d actually recommend just starting once return space opens up. Planning 10 months out should still give you plenty to work with!

  124. NB says

    This is a great primer on these awards. Any tips on getting from the west coast to the east coast (or vice versa), however? there seems to be a lot more availability on East Coast or Midwest to Europe flights than on the west coast nonstops, and I’m having trouble connecting to one of those without going over the US segment limit. Thanks!

  125. lucky says

    @ NB — Not really a trick, but your best bet is just to find award space on United or US Airways to the east coast. While award space isn’t amazing, it shouldn’t be impossible to find either.

  126. thewendygirl says

    So buy your miles on US Air but your miles on United will work too, can you buy them US Air and then combine them to your United miles?

    Plus Can you get to Phuket on the 90,000 miles?

  127. thewendygirl says

    Do you not check a bag? B/c I am thinking it will get lost. Can you do the Asia via Europe if your on the West coast?

  128. lucky says

    @ thewendygirl — While United and US Airways miles can be used to book the same airlines for the most part, you can’t combine those mileage currencies towards a single ticket. All miles for a ticket have to come out of a single account.

    Phuket is in South Asia, so the pricing is different for travel there.

    You can go from the west coast to Asia via Europe, that’s not an issue.

  129. Monica says

    Thanks so much for the post. This is very helpful. I have a quick question: I am booking a very similar route with your post. I am planning a trip from ORD to Beijing and want to stop over somewhere in Euro on the way there but I want to fly back from Beijing to ORD using a direct flight or a flight through pacific side.

    Would this be allowed?
    Thanks in advance for your help.

  130. lucky says

    @ Monica — Absolutely, you can route in one direction via the Atlantic and in the other direction via the Pacific.

  131. bill says

    I’ve pieced together a routing with availability in business that I think might either violate MPM or anger the reps for having too many segments, but it’s three one way, four the other way, and the only rule I’m technically breaking is returning via South Asia through Europe. But it sounds like maybe I could play pick a rep. But would this be palatable?

    JFK-WAW on LO
    WAW-IST on TK (23 hour layover)
    IST-NRT on TK (NRT is the destination, stay for two nights)
    NRT-BKK on NH or TG (six-day stopover)
    BKK-FRA on TG
    FRA-WAW on LH (23 hour, 50 minute layover, arriving at 1:05 PM and leaving at 12:55 the next day)
    WAW-JFK on LO

    Would that ever likely be ticketed by a US agent?

  132. lucky says

    @ bill — The number of segments is fine, the only potential issue is that you’re stopping in South Asia so should be charged that cost. That being said, there’s a decent shot you’ll find an agent willing to book it as a North Asia award, in my opinion. At least if you play enough agent roulette.

  133. lucky says

    @ Jason — Well with the DOJ trying to block the merger, joining OneWorld seems like more of an “if” than a “when.” But if there were a new award chart (which I’m sure is coming soon either way) there will definitely be adjustments.

  134. Bill says

    I was actually able to get this booked by the first rep I spoke to. (!) I did see a quick change I wanted to make and was charged the $50 processing fee — can I call within 24 hours to change it without a penalty?

  135. lucky says

    @ Bill — Congrats! You might find an agent willing to change, though even within 24 hours you’re supposed to be hit with a $150 change fee.

  136. Elly says

    Would the following routing be allowed?
    LAX-ORD-Munich-AMS (stopover)
    AMS-IST-PVG (destination)
    PVG-LAX

    It has to be 4 segments to the destination, so 5, in my case would not be allowed? Thank You

  137. Elly says

    Sorry, I made a mistake:
    LAX-ORD-Munich-AMS (stopover)
    AMS-IST-CAN-PVG (destination)

    So it is 6 segments outbound. Or as long as it is 8 segments total I will be fine?

  138. lucky says

    @ Elly — You’re allowed four transfers (five segments) in each direction, so five transfers (or six segments) wouldn’t be allowed.

  139. Elly says

    Thank You Lucky for reply. I kept checking diferent dates and here is what I placed on hold:
    LAX-IAD-AMS (stopover)
    AMS-ZRH-PVG (destination)
    PVG-ICN-LAX

    I spoke to few agents and all of them caught and declined my request to have PEK-ICN segment, stating that 1 stopover OR 1 openjaw is allowed.
    Is there still a chance to keep calling and hope that one of the agents will change PVG-ICN to PEK-ICN or just buy a separate ticket from PEK-PVG (the tour starts in Shanghai and ends in Beijing)?
    Which airline would You recommend for PEK-PVG?

  140. lucky says

    @ Elly — I mean it’s not supposed to be allowed, though if you call often enough you can get US Airways to allow just about anything, in my experience.

    Between Beijing and Shanghai the airlines are all just about equal in my opinion, so I’d take whichever has the most convenient service.

  141. Monica says

    I booked the flights from ORD to Beijing and received a very simple confirmation page and the cabin all displayed as N/A on the confirmation email even though the agent reassured me that all seats are in business class.

    Is there any way that I can confirm my business cabin seat on each flight using my confirmation number? Will I have problem checking in the flights the day before my departure?

  142. lucky says

    @ Monica — That’s normal and you won’t have any issues. On the itinerary you should see “I” class listed, which is the business class award fare bucket.

    If you have the individual airlines’ confirmation codes (which you can retrieve either by calling US Airways or the partner airline) then you can confirm your itinerary on the airlines’ respective websites.

  143. Ding says

    Hi, I want to book a ticket as follows
    MEX-IAH-PEK-BKK(desitination)-NRT(stopover)-ORD-MEX

    The only possible route from mexico to asia has to transit through US, which make me confused, will this route be charged as mexico to southeast asia (90K) or as US to southeast asia (120K)?

  144. lucky says

    @ Ding — You would be charged the Mexico rate, which is quite a nice gem on the US Airways award chart.

  145. Italo says

    Hi Lucky, thank you for the very helpful post. I didn’t know about these US Airways promotions. I’m really interested in the ANA tool for finding flights in Star Alliance partners . I joined ANA mileage club to use this tool but at the website I can access only the ANA International Flight Awards. The option for search Star Alliance Partner Awards is not available. I hope you can help me because I don’t Know why is this happening ? Thank you !!!

  146. lucky says

    @ Italo — There’s a workaround for that, as follows:
    1) Click on “ANA International Flight Awards”
    2) Enter any (valid) city pairs and any (valid) dates
    3) Click “Next”, NOT of Flight Search
    4) Scroll all the way to the bottom
    5) You should see “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” button, click this to search *A availability.

  147. Italo says

    Thank you very much Lucky !!! Now I got it !! I’m from Brazil and it’s particularly difficult for us to Know available award flights on airline partners. Thank you !!

  148. Polido says

    Hello guys, could you please help me in one question:
    I will fly in business from GRU-IAD-DXB(final destination for 12 days) and from there to ADD-JNB(STOPOVER in JNB for 6 days), so my question is: should I pay 120k since my route is south america-middle east or I´ll have to pay 140k for doing a stop in Africa?? I´ve called and the agent quoted 140k, I really don´t know what to do now. Thank you.

  149. lucky says

    @ Polido — That routing wouldn’t be legal, unfortunately, since you can’t have both a stopover and an open jaw on an award ticket — you’d have to choose one or the other.

  150. Polido says

    No, no Lucky, the route is legal, actually is: GRU-IAD-DXB-ADD-JNB(STOPOVER in JNB for 6 days-GRU. My final destination is DUBAI, and I´ll do the stopover at JNB, so I called Us personal and they told me that the cost is 140k, but south america – middle east is 120k. I´m calling them daily to get the route for 120k and getting a final answer I´ll post here. :)

    Another question: the africa-africa business cost is 50k, leaving from JNB, I wanna go to cape town and mauritius, is there any chance of that doing a stopover in one city and final destination at the another? What do you suggest? Thank you again.

  151. lucky says

    @ Polido — You’re not supposed to be able to do a stopover on an award within a single region, though I suppose anything is possible if you get an incompetent enough agent.

  152. Polido says

    Lucky I´ve got my solution to the 120x140k south america – middle-east issue, ok then, the first booking was really quoted as 140k, but I´ve made another one and the agent was capable of doing all the route with only 120k, so It´s really possible to fly south america-middle east for 120k, with a stop in whatever place you wish, in my case JNB. It only depends on the understanding of the attendant in the program rules or the will of them to help. Cheers.
    PS: I´ve called 14 times to USair, it’s really not easy or cool, but it was worthy in the end.

  153. greek2me says

    I got the 25% US Airways award rebate promo and I have a hotel booking at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island for 1Q14. Need flights and love to use the 30k mile award rebate to get SO and I there. Can you advise on what would best way to get to Maldives in conjunction with US-Europe stop-N. Asia 90k award? Would cheapest award or paid flight be from somewhere in Europe during stopover or from some destination in N. Asia? Thanks for any tips!

  154. lucky says

    @ greek2me — To be honest flights to the Maldives tend to be really expensive, so I’d suggest just booking an award directly there. Even if it’s a bit more expensive you’ll come out ahead.

  155. jake says

    lucky,

    thanks for this great primer. I keep re-reading the above comments, so I just want to be clear this routing would be legal:

    LAX-ICI (stop for 3 days) ICI-MUC (stopover 11 days) MUC-LAX

    I just want to be clear on is that I can initiate my trip westward from LAX, then come back across the Atlantic and utilize my stopover eastward.

  156. says

    @ jake — Hmm, which airport are you referring to with “ICI?” Seems that Cicia, Fiji, though doubt that’s where you’re actually trying to go.

  157. says

    @ PK — Sometimes they do, though I’m not convinced it’s intentional. Seems to be a glitch in their system best I can tell.

  158. RR says

    Lucky, Forgive me for naive newbie questions – how do you manage your extended stay in a transit city, in this example 3 or 4 days in Beijing? What does one do? And when factoring the cost of this itinerary, does it make sense to include the cost of hotel stays for stopovers of more than a few hours?

  159. says

    @ RR — To be clear, an extended stay on an award is voluntary, so if I were in Beijing for three days I’d go sightseeing. You absolutely should factor in the cost of hotels into the entire trip.

  160. dean says

    Hi Lucky: I’m looking to use the 110k USair to australia in biz from phl. I’d like to add new zealand too. Where can I do a stopover? Or does New Zealand have to be the stopover? If can add some other countries as layover less than 24 hrs, I’d to add as many as I can too. Thanks.

  161. says

    @ dean — You can stop for up to 24 hours at any of your connecting points, and do a stopover of more than 24 hours in addition to your destination in either Australia or somewhere else. For example, you could route via Asia and do a stopover there.

  162. Mike B says

    Lucky, if I fly NYC to ICN to TYO for my stopover, I can then fly TYO to HKG as my destination, and if I want return straight from HKG to NYC, correct?

  163. jenny says

    I’m interested in the 100% bonus promotion but I don’t know anybody using USDM except myself in my family or friends.

    Where shall I go to find somebody to share the UADM?

  164. ali says

    I’m looking to use the 110k USDM to australia in biz from phl (same as Dean above). Instead I would like to stopover in CPT for few days before heading to SYD/MEL. Is it doable?

    PHL-MUC (LH or US)
    MUC-CPT (LH) stopover
    CPT-SIN (SQ)
    SIN-SYD/MEL (SQ) stop
    SYD/MEL-ICN/NRT (OZ)
    ICN/NRT-WAW (layover of < 24hrs, haven't searched for the flights but thinking of using LOT, not sure how)
    WAW-IST (TK or LOT)
    IST-JFK (TK)
    LGA-PHL (US)

    Possible for 110K USDM in J?

  165. says

    @ ali — It depends on the agent you get, but my guess is you’ll have a hard time finding an agent to book that, unfortunately.

  166. ang says

    hi lucky,

    if i am using united to search for star alliance availability and i only see standard and no saver pop up, can that “standard” seat still be booked using my us airways miles or does it have to show saver on the united site?

    i am trying to book something from ewr/jfk to icn to hkg and back and searching for seats. i tried using the ana tool like you suggested and based on the above, it looks like the ana tool only shows saver availability?

    thanks!

  167. David says

    Hi Lucky,

    I wanted to book a flight like this

    New York – FRA
    FRA-TPE
    TPE-LAX

    I would prefer LAX – FRA, but I see no availability on my flight dates.

    Would this be possible because it is technically using a stopover and open-jaw?

    Thanks!

  168. says

    @ David — You can only do a stopover OR an open jaw, and not both. That being said, you can always book an LAX to JFK flight on the tail end of it and just skip it. Then it’s not technically an open jaw anymore. ;)

  169. Charlie says

    Hi again Lucky,

    This May my wife and I are going to use 60k each Dividend Miles for Austin, Tx to Seoul with a stopover in Europe (maybe 3 nights). Neither of us have ever been to Europe. Could you recommend a city and the best way to book the trip? Been reading all the info but am a little confused. Thanks

  170. says

    @ Charlie — Lots of great cities, what are you most interested in? In general for a first timer to Europe it’s tough to beat London, Paris, Rome, Munich, etc. You would want to find space on the individual award segments, and once you find space you’d call up US Airways to book.

  171. Charlie says

    Mostly seeing the sights. Honestly, we are just happy to be able to go. It’s possible it may be the only time we visit Europe. If you had only one shot?

  172. Joan says

    Thanks for the great information!

    I would like to book a trip in October using US Airways miles in Business from LAX to Tokyo then to Rome and back to LAX. I was able to find the following award spaces:

    1) LAX – HND (stopover)
    2) NRT – IST – FCO (destination)

    I am a newbie and have some questions:

    1) Would it be an open jaw if I arrive in Tokyo Haneda and leave from Tokyo Narita? I would think it’s not an open jaw because it’s still the same city but just different airport. Am I correct?

    2) I have a hard time finding 2 award spaces from Rome back to LAX. I saw some Lufthansa availabilies but US Airways agent is not seeing it. I was on the phone with US Airways for over an hour last night (after 2 hours hold) trying to find 2 business award spaces for my last leg (Rome to LAX)but I had no luck. Do you have any suggestions on what routes may have better award spaces? I am looking for any date from 10/24 to 10/27. Any insights on this are greatly appreciated!

    2) I am having a hard time finding a award space from Rome back to LAX.

    Would this be possible because it is technically using a stopover and open-jaw?

    Thanks!

  173. says

    @ Joan — Technically Tokyo would be your destination and Rome your stopover, but that should work.

    Haneda and Narita are co-terminal, so that wouldn’t count as an open jaw.

    As far as award availability goes, I’d take a look at space on LOT (keep in mind they don’t show award space on united.com) or Brussels, both of which release a good amount of award space.

    Good luck!

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  2. […] it at a 90k US to North Asia award that just happens to stop in Europe on the way home. See info here and here. This special award will only exist until the US/AA merger is complete and then it will be […]

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