Ask Lucky

Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
If you have questions about how to search for award space or how to redeem miles I’ve probably already answered it in a more detailed post, so check out the “Tips & Tutorials” page for some quick references.
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so feel free to jump in and share tips!

Comments

  1. @ Pete — The miles that posted are correct. You receive a 175% of the flown miles (~4,300 miles) plus the Platinum bonus (~1,800 miles).

  2. @Pete – I’m Platinum as well with UA. The award miles you received is correct. The mileage calculator is wrong/misleading. If you look at the “Award mile earnings” chart, the 175% includes class-of-service bonus. The way you calculate is: Base miles + (Base miles X 75% for class-of-service bonus) + (Base miles X 75% Platinum bonus).

    Hope that helps.

  3. @ Ernest — Yes, you can order as much food in the Clubhouse as you’d like. I usually tip in the lounge. It’s not required, but the staff there are top notch and it is the US.

  4. Hi Ben,

    I believe you’ve answered this before (probably many times) but I can’t find the answer. If I have award ticket in Business on CX (ORD-HKG) using AA and First opens up and less than 21 days, can you please tell me what the fees are and process for changing from Biz to First? (Don’t have status with AA.)

    Thanks.

  5. @ JD — Not really. Keep in mind that if you cancel you’ll end up paying two cancellation fees, but that’s it.

  6. Hi Ben,

    A buddy of mine has approx. 60k US Air miles and wants help finding a roundtrip from the US to ICN to visit his son who is stationed there. The US Air award search engine seems to find nothing. Idea on how to find him some options? He has a lot of flexibility.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  7. Lucky,

    I will arrive on OZ F to LAX, then connect on US domestic F, do I have access to OneWorld Lounge or Star Alliance Lounge at TBIT? or American Flagship Lounge at T4 (US Air flight taking off from T6)?

    About how long is the walk from TBIT to T4? thanks.

  8. @ pm6163 — Nope, no lounge access since you’re connecting from Star Alliance to oneworld. It’s maybe a five minute walk from TBIT to T4.

  9. Hey Ben
    i am based in TLV. however LCA is just a short 45 min flight that costs nothing (the ticket from LCA was on a really good promo).
    i usually fly 2 times a year to the far east from TLV usually using KE and around once every 2 to South America.

  10. Lucky,
    do you have any inside info as to when hyatt may offer another bonus point purchase promo? i missed out on the last one that ended last week.
    i need quite a lot of them for my upcoming trip to HKG in mid-april.
    do you think hyatt may put one out before then?

    another question is
    does point+cash availability improve closer to check in date at hyatt? it’s impossible to get one for park hyatt seoul.

  11. Thanks Ben and John. Why was I foolish enough to think that the mileage calculator on United’s site would be right?!?! Next time I’m coming straight here vs. calling the airline.

  12. Hi, I was hoping to do a splurge Emirates first class flight from NY to Dubai with my mum on November, just like what you did you your dad, but when searching on the Alaska website, I didn’t find any award availability for business/first after March. I was reading online that is likely because the Alaska – Emirates partnership for Emirates business/first looks to be ending. Do you have any insight on this? Are there any other options for award travel on Emirates first apart from using Emirates points?

  13. Ben, regarding Concorde room in LHR. My friend and I will arrive from YYZ on BA F this April. As arriving passengers, can we use Concorde room prior to boarding on Qantas F to DXB?

    Thanks

  14. Lucky,
    Have you tried double dipping amex offers and amex FHR? Because the terms state reservations must be made at waldorfastoria.com or by phone.

    Thanks!

  15. @ Joe — FHR bookings have to be made through the FHR website or by phone. So you could combine them if it were an offer for hotel spend, since you’ll still end up paying at the hotel. But otherwise you generally can’t combine them.

  16. @ Tiara — Qantas departs from a different terminal, so you couldn’t practically use the lounge. Instead you can use the BA lounge in the terminal Qantas flies out of.

  17. Hi Ben — just watched an Italian movie “Viaggio Sola” (A Five Star Life) recently, and thought about luxury travel reviewers/bloggers like yourself. Curious to get your thoughts on the film …

  18. Now that Qantas has been added as a Citi Thank You Points transfer partner, it might be time for a post on US-Australia redemptions on Qantas. No one else has Qantas as a transfer partner. Maybe this changes your calculus on the Prestige Card? There’s a non-stop to Sydney from DFW, my home airport!

  19. @ Tom — The redemption rates on Qantas are so high that I don’t really value the addition much, to be honest. There are better redemption options in almost all cases, in my opinion.

  20. Hey Lucky,

    I was able to book the Etihad Christmas fare to AUH. However, I thought it would be nice to try their new Business Class on the 789 back to the US and booked an AA award. Do you think there will be any trouble having the 2 tickets back to the US on the same airline? The cheap one is scheduled to leave first and the Business Class one 8 hours later. I don’t have my FFN on the tickets (just my AA# on the award ticket.

  21. Lucky,
    We are planning on booking a cruise trip and would like to figure out what is the best credit card to use as far as trip cancellation for medical reasons. Many cards have some sort of trip protection, but I am not sure which one actually has value.

    Here is what one card said…
    If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.

    Some cards we have:

    Barclays Arrival Plus
    Chase Sapphire Preferred
    Chase Ritz Carlton
    Citi AA Executive
    Citi AA Platinum Mastercard
    (No Amex Platinum)

  22. @ Dave Op — That’s a great question, and something I’m not too familiar with, to be honest. I believe the Chase Sapphire Preferred has reasonably good coverage, though you’ll want to check with them to find out the exact terms. I believe it’s a fairly standard benefit among many Chase cards, though.

  23. Hey Lucky,

    is it possible to redeem BA Avios on Qatar Airways? I would like to buy them now and redeem them for travel in March.

    Hope you can help me :)

  24. Yeah, thats what I thought… But I want to redeem them on a flight to Mahe Island and the website says BA doesn’t fly to Mahe Island…

  25. Hey Lucky, I have a peculiar question. I am arriving from Europe to IAD on a UA J flight connecting to a UA Y transcon, all booked on an Aeroplan award ticket :-) Will I have access to either the UA or LH lounges at Dulles? (I do not have *A gold status) Thanks.

  26. Hi Lucky,
    I’ve taken out the CitiAAdvantage and the Amex gold in prep for a trip to Thailand in December 2015. I met the minimum spends on both by early February, but now both cards are telling me the bonus points won’t hit my accounts for 6-8 weeks – ie not until mid-March! In the meantime, I have a 5 day hold on a Cathay Pacific itinerary that I had been planning to use my AA points on. Any advice on what to do? The 5 day hold I have right now is the ONLY itinerary I’ve been able to find and the hold expires tomorrow night!

  27. @ NRL — Typically the miles post once the qualifying statement closes, even though they cite the 6-8 week wait. At least that’s true with Citi. With American Express charge cards, the points often post with a one statement delay.

  28. @ Stannis — You should have access to the United Club if connecting same day off United international business class.

  29. I have a question that I’d love to get your help on. A couple of months ago I booked an aadvantage award flight on USAIR metal. For some reason, American redeposited the miles used (I only found out about it when I saw an increase in miles in my account.) When I look up the flight record locater, it says: “Your reservation details cannot be retrieved at this time. This may be caused by changes made to the reservation outside of AA.com.” I called USAir and their record locater works in that they can spot my itinerary, and I have an actual ticket number, I can change seat assignments, etc, but they said that the flight reservation is in “modified” status. What does that mean? Thanks.

  30. Lucky,
    When are you going to post the trip report from your recent trip with your mother? Also, when are we going to get a review of the Oman Air flight that was posted on Instagram?

    Thank You,
    Noah

  31. Hi Lucky,

    Need lounge access advice. I have this upcoming itinerary:

    (Paid Economy Ticket, PNR #1)
    SJO – MIA – American Airlines

    (Award Ticket Business, PNR #2)
    MIA – JFK – American
    JFK – NRT – SYD — Japan Airlines

    The stop in Miami is only 3 hours, so the paid ticket and the award ticket should be protected as I’m going from AA to AA. But…

    Will I have lounge access in San Jose?

  32. @ AussieJosh — I don’t believe there’s an Admirals Club in San Jose, or else you’d get lounge access there.

  33. Hi Ben,

    Trying to book a MH award via US and they tell me they can only put it on hold for 24 hours, not 72 hours like usual (trip is over a month out). Is this true? Will MH cancel space, or is US just being ‘creative’ again?

    Thanks!

  34. @ Ron — Hmmm, if the reservation doesn’t pull up at all on American’s site I’d be a bit concerned. It sounds like maybe it was being reissued but that was never completed?

  35. Hi Lucky,
    Hope all is well.
    I read your post about cheap F tickets from Colombo onwards.
    So, I found a oneway F ticket from Colombo to IAH for about 4000 on ek.
    Problem is, EK website says it will be charged in Sri Lankan Rupees not USD; I thought there used to be a feature where you can change that, but there isn’t anymore (or I couldn’t find it).
    In your experience, do the credit card companies charge extra if you charge your card in a foreign currency?
    Thanks!

  36. I posted this in the hotel card section, but should have put it here…

    I’m debating which hotel card to get. I travel 2-3 times a year (some work, some personal) and live overseas currently.

    For airline I primarily use Korean Air, but I also have Asiana’s loyalty card. I am planning on getting the Korean Air signature card as it will help me maintain elite status. My work trips I can generally get a Skyteam member, but getting Korean Air specifically (a requirement to maintain status) isn’t always as easy.

    I like the Chase Saphire you recommend, so that will probably be the second.

    The third (and probably final) is the debate, I would like it to be a hotel card. Can’t decide between Hyatt or Marriot, as I have no preference between the hotels. My goal is mainly to reduce costs on the personal trips, which is at least once a year, while being able to stay at a nice hotel. Which of those do you prefer, any why?

    What do you think about the Korean Air Signature card, I haven’t seen it mentioned on your site anywhere. The main things I liked is that the miles help keep the elite status alive and no foreign exchange fee (which is a must for me).

  37. Lucky, I’m still confused by AA routing rules.

    It seems that Europe-Australia is a sweet spot. Is routing via the Middle East free, or do I need to book it as 2 separate one-way trips?

    1) Europe-ME-Australia (160K RT first class)

    OR

    2) Europe-ME (80K RT first class) + ME-Australia (120K RT first class)

    I do hope it’s the first one…

    Thanks in advance!

  38. Lucky,

    We all know that 747 and A380 are some of your favorite airliners. I have three questions:
    1. If you could only fly 747 or A380 for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
    2. Besides 747 and A380, what are your favorite aircraft?
    3. Lastly, in general, Airbus or Boeing?

  39. Do you have any plans on trying aer lingus’s new business class. Have not seen any reviews of it yet. I hope it does not have the same problems of a standard vantage style seat. Also on that topic why does the vantage style staggared seat have the restrictive leg rest while the other type of staggared seats don’t. They both have the same amount of seats per row and same amount of side tables.

  40. Hi Lucky! Quick question….have a couple friends flying an award ticket in a few weeks: SEA-LAX (first on AS) then LAX-CDG (Business on AF). What lounge options are available for them in LAX? Any particular one you’d recommend over the other? Thanks for your help!

  41. Hi Ben,

    I will fly Etihad and stay overnight at the AUH airport (terminal 3) via business class . My question is that the business lounge in Terminal 3 open 24/7 so that I can get some sleep there during the midnight?

    Thanks,

    Yang

  42. @ILCD: Unfortunately its the 2nd (expensive) option, at least for flying EY or QR.

    Your only option is a direct flight from QF. It only starts in London, but if you start it with a short BA leg from outside of the UK you can avoid the the UK-departure tax.

  43. @ yang — The lounge is open 24/7, but I wouldn’t spend the night there as there aren’t really any sleeping areas. I’d instead get a room at the airport hotel.

  44. @ Noah Spranger —

    1) While the 747 is the queen of the skies, you can’t beat the comfort of the A380.
    2) 787, 777-300ER, and A350, I’d say.
    3) Airbus from a passenger comfort perspective.

  45. @ ILDC — The latter. You can’t route from Europe to Australia via the Middle East, so it requires two awards.

  46. @ Joe — I’m not a huge fan of the Korean Air Visa since you can also earn Korean Air SkyPass points through Ultimate Rewards, and the cards associated with that have a much more lucrative earnings structure.

    As far as hotels go, while I prefer Hyatt to Marriott, Marriott has exponentially more hotels around the world than Hyatt. Have you looked at Hyatt’s footprint? If they have hotels everywhere you want to go then I’d consider them. Otherwise I’d consider Marriott, given that they’re everywhere.

  47. Hi Ben,

    I always enjoy reading your trip reports. Thank you for always providing the best travel tips for hotels and miles! I received a targeted offer for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card for 50,000 miles. Is this worth it signing up for this card?

  48. Hey Ben, amazing page you’ve got.

    I have 140k points in Qatar QMiles (Platinum) and 110k in MAS Enrich (Gold).
    As they are both oneworld, I have sometimes claimed under each other (eg fly with MAS but the points goes to Qatar QMiles) but for this year I would like to focus on one. Or shoud I start accumulating on a new program eg AA Advantage which is also part of OneWorld

    Which would be better for for me to accrue my upcoming miles? For 2015, I would be flying for about 130k miles on both these airlines.

    I also have about 400k of credit card points that I will convert to Enrich (6000 points to 1000 Enrich miles) when I need to.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  49. Hi Ben,

    quick one: I’m trying to find business class award seats on Thai’s A380 from HKT (via BKK) to Tokyo or Osaka in May (preferably 22nd or 23rd of May).

    I’ve looked up ANA as well as United for award availability, and both come up not available (at least in Business). My question to you: Is this non availability set in stone? Or is Thai just blocking? If so, should I just wait? or is there any other possibility to find out? Would like to burn my Aegean Miles on this since I’d only need the 21k miles on a business award intra Asia.

    Thanks a lot for you advice, and please shout if the question is not detailed enough.

    thanks again!

    a loyal follower of you blog!

  50. I booked a flight with 1k UA agent as follows
    JFK-MUC LH J
    MUC-MXP LH J operated by (air dolomoti)

    I then called UA and LH to confirm the second leg and both agents said it’s waitlisted. Why is it not confirmed? Is this a glitch? Is there a work around?

  51. Mr. Lucky,
    I’ve been on a couple trips recently where I got some hotels. It seemed to me that the overall value was way higher going through pointshound, booking with a non-chain hotel, and getting airline miles as compared to going to the major hotel chains and getting hotel points. Now admittedly, I don’t have top tier hotel status (just the Hyatt and Hilton credit cards) but still I was wondering – what is it that you find compelling enough about the chain hotels that you go there? Is it that the top tier status provides that much more value? You prefer consistency of experience? I’m underestimating how awesome hotel points are? Any other insights in the matter?

  52. @ Matt — It’s the status benefits I receive. Free internet, free breakfast, suite upgrades, late check-out, etc. I agree if I didn’t have status I’d probably use Pointshound and the like and book independent hotels.

  53. @ Jeremy — Maybe there’s not actually award space on it? Try to have them take out the segment and place it in the record again. Maybe it’ll confirm.

  54. @ DT — Thai is usually quite good about releasing more award space as the departure date approaches, so I’d continue to monitor, as it’s quite likely that the space will open up.

  55. Ben,
    is Alaska blocking AF/KLM awards?
    I have been searching for VIE-NYC flights on Alaska website and they show nothing even tho AF/KLM website shows plenty of days with availability… what’s up with that?
    Thanks.

  56. @ Lantean — Nowadays AS seems to have access to the same AF/KL award space as DL. I would check if DL shows the award space or not.

  57. when did this switch? i’ve always thought that Alaska had access to same award seats as AF/KLM and Delta was the evil one blocking the seats… this is yet another major blow to Alaska miles… uh
    :(

  58. Lucky, I am planning on booking award flights to Kruger park in South Africa. I can see availability to JNB, but I would like to go to MQP. Would I be able to add that last leg on South African Airlink, a subsidiary of South African Airways? I want to use United miles, could their call center do it? I do not see the flights at all on United.com.
    Thanks!

  59. Lucky,

    Wanted to get your opinion on which business class products to Europe and Asia you think are the best value with the United discount on partner flights ending on February 28th.

    Can you tell me what your top picks are for a United partner redemption to Europe for 57,500 miles?

    Also, can you rank from 1-3 what you think of business class in ANA, OZ, and EVA?

  60. @ David — In theory it should be possible, though maybe there’s just not award availability? Otherwise it should show on ual.com.

  61. After an hour on the phone with the 1k desk, they had support call lufthansa support directly and confirmed the space.
    Incredible what status does

  62. Hey Lucky,

    Are you expecting Amex to be offering lucrative sign up bonuses in the near future on some of their cards? With them losing CostCo and JetBlue it seems as though they have to do something to attract more customers to use some of their cards.

  63. Lucky ,

    A quick question on La Compagnie All business flights from Paris to New York. When you travel do you get Fast track Immigration access and Fast track security ? There appears to be very Little info about this new airline online.

    Thanks in advance ,

    Dan

  64. @ Dan — The US doesn’t have Fast Track landing cards, but I do believe you get them when arriving in Paris.

  65. @ Matthew — Ultimately it’s anyone’s guess, though Amex’s business strategy seems to be more about retaining customers and attracting prospective customers with targeted sign-up bonuses, so I don’t think we’ll see any huge publicly available offers. I could be wrong, though.

  66. Lucky,

    Wanted to get your opinion on which business class products to Europe and Asia you think are the best value with the United discount on partner flights ending on February 28th.

    Can you tell me what your top picks are for a United partner redemption to Europe for 57,500 miles?

    Also, can you rank from 1-3 what you think of business class in ANA, OZ, and EVA?

  67. @ Charlotte — To Europe I’d probably choose Austrian, Swiss, and then LOT, and of those three Asian carriers I’d go EVA, then ANA, then OZ.

  68. Lucky; I tried to ask this question in your review of the JL F a few days ago but maybe you missed it. Basically I booked an F LAX – BKK on JL for me & the wife. However I’ve been wanting to switch that to CX for a number of reasons. 1) No connection. 2) PYE PJ look better + you can trade in the cert they give you for handkerchiefs or a discount @ PYE in HKG. But from your review makes me think JL might be better and then we also get on JL B787 on the NRT-BKK flight.

    What would you do as this is our first F flight?

    We do have a HKG-LAX in J a few weeks later on the return, that we theoretically switch to HKG-NRT-LAX F/J if there is space. JL’s F amenity bag looks better on the outbound vs inbound anyway.

  69. @ Vince — They’re both awesome options, really can’t go wrong either way. I might do Cathay, though, since it means you get an extra four hours in first class as opposed to business class.

  70. Thanks for the quick reply :)

    Hmm I guess another quick one. Our HKG-LAX was booked using my wife’s AA miles. Can the upcharge to F be taken from my account or does it have to come out of the originating account?

  71. Ben-
    I know some airlines waive the fee to book via phone when you cannot book online. And, I know that a partner award booked through Singapore Airlines wouldn’t qualify for the 15% discount for online booking. But, what about on an award that would, for example, be ORD-LAX-NRT with the ORD-LAX leg being United and the LAX-NRT leg being on Singapore. Would they allow the 15% discount on that one since it can’t be booked online, but does include a Singapore flight? Or, is the 15% online discount a strict rule?

  72. @ Cory — The 15% discount is only for travel exclusively on Singapore. If travel on other airlines is involved then you’d be charged per the partner award chart and wouldn’t be eligible for the 15% discount, even if the longhaul flight is on Singapore.

  73. Lucky

    Do you know which of the OW partner whom fly Australia Europe charge the least fees surcharges etc. when using AA points

    Thank you

  74. Have you considered getting a selfie stick? You take great photos, but would you consider putting yourself in a few of them? And if you have one, are they a problem with security at Airports, I think here in Australia they are more dangerous than nail clippers.

  75. Ben,

    Other than Singapore’s A380 Suites, what would you consider the most luxurious first class hard product from the East Coast to Europe? If your #1 choice isn’t bookable via Delta or AA miles what would be the best choice for them?

    Thanks!
    – Andrew

  76. As part of an AA award I booked about a 10 hour layover on CX from HKG to BKK. Mainly because out of 9 or 10 flights that day the late afternoon was the only one with a first class cabin. I guess they had an equipment change and now no flights that day have a first class cabin. BA.com shows several flights available earlier in the day (most of the time) but when I call AA they say it’s not available. Every once in a while BA doesn’t show availability but usually a few hours later it will return. Just now BA showed premium economy and business seats, Qantas showed business but no economy and AA said nothing. Any advice?

  77. Lucky, thanks for the response. Only thing I liked about the KoreanAir card is that it’s miles goes towards keeping the morning calm club status alive (since most of my flights are company paid for, I generally don’t get KE)

    Looking at the hotel cards (Hyatt and Marriot), what do they mean by purchases at X hotel? Is that just on booking rooms, or does that include any purchases at their properties (such as the resturants and other amenities that you have to pay for)?

    How good are the Hyatt platinum level perks?

    Do those free night vouchers expire, or can you hold on to them for at least a year+?

    I’m thinking of going with the Hyatt one, I mainly travel in Asia and Europe and there appears to be plenty of options to choose from with Hyatt. Another part I liked is they have a category 3 in Waikiki (which is where we generally go for my wife’s green card runs) which is far less points than the Marriot’s category 6 options there.

    My ultimate goal is that yearly trip (generally ICN-HNL, 3-4 day stay) to be as close to free as possible.

  78. Hey lucky,

    Booked an award ticket on Korean Air using Skypesos. Now 3 days out and my outbound flights disappeared. Called Delta and Delta stated that Korean Air canceled it. Delta blamed Korean Air. Korean Air blamed Delta. Now I’m having 1/2 a ticket (inbound segment) only with paying roundtrip mileage. Called Platinum line was no help. I asked Delta to call Korean Air to open the space up again but Delta stated that Korean Air refused. What could I do?

  79. @ Scousvind — If you have status with either program I’d probably go with it, given that it maximizes your chances of getting operational upgrades. Otherwise I’d just choose one or the other. I don’t love either program, but would probably lean towards Malaysia’s program.

  80. @ leon — Ouch, you’ll want to find out a reason, if nothing else. I’d suggest calling up SkyMiles and then having them three way Korean Air on the line (otherwise you can just get Korean Air on a three way call). Good luck!

  81. @ Joe — See here for more info on Hyatt Platinum perks:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2015/02/03/hyatt-platinum-really-get-anymore/

    The free night certificates expire after a year typically, though points stay active as long as you have some activity every so often.

    I’d absolutely go with Hyatt then if they have hotels where you need to be. The other program I would consider is Hilton, given that their co-branded credit card offers you Gold status, which comes with a ton of value — club lounge access, free breakfast, etc.

  82. @ Andrew — I’d say Lufthansa first class. Bookable with American or Delta miles? Well, you can’t redeem Delta miles for first class, so the most luxurious product with American miles would be BA first class.

  83. @ Ross — Hah, I’m always amused by people with selfie sticks, though can’t say they interest me personally. :D

  84. Hi Lucky,

    I have started flying alot more recently for work and pleasure. Luckily I can afford business class most of the time. I am based in the UK and use budget airlines for short trips to Europe about 5 – 10 times per year and I use the cheapest/shortest duration business class flights for long haul about 5 – 10 times per year too. I am a BA Gold member after only 3 flights with 2 of them being on Qatar and 1 on BA.

    So, my point is, do I just continue acquiring tier points and avios on BA or should I try and get elite status on more than 1 one world alliance partner?

    Also, what is the best airmiles club to be in, if you are based in the UK and fly similar to my pattern?

    Thanks in advance

  85. Lucky: My wife was declined for a SW Biz card because of underutilization of her other Chase cards. Ive since rotated her cards so it shows activity. What is an appropriate amount of time to wait before reapplying for it? If she wanted to apply for a different Chase Biz card, would you still wait the same timeframe? Her credit score is 820. Thanks!

  86. @ Rodney — I’d probably wait six months for the same card, and for that matter might wait that long for any new business applications, since it could take a while for the accounts to show activity. So I’d give it a minimum of three months, but maybe up to six months to be on the safe side.

  87. @ Scousvind — If status isn’t important to you and the fare classes you mostly fly are eligible for accrual with AAdvantage then they’re definitely seriously worth considering.

  88. @ Callum — With your flying patterns I think BA might just be the best option, since they’re fairly lucrative for upgrades on British Airways. I don’t think you’ll do much better crediting to another airline, and there won’t be many marginal benefits for pursuing status in another frequent flyer program, unless oneworld doesn’t have your travel needs covered.

  89. Hi Ben!

    I have a mixed AA/US flight coming up – segments are clearly separated: first two flights are AA/AA; after a couple of days I have an US/US flight; and then finally a final leg of AA/AA flights.

    I am having a hard time adding a Certificate to the TATL US marketed / US operated flight. I called the CP Desk a couple of times but the agents say they cannot apply the certificate – and I should do it at the airport.

    To make things worse, the flight is on March 21st – which means I may loose my certificates by then since the system merger might happen on the 20th…

    Any ideas of how I might be able to add the Certificates prior to the trip ? It is a US / US flight – there shouldn’t be a problem…

    Thanks!

  90. I am really interested to see if Aer Lingus’s new business class in better that AA’s new 767 business class or vice versa. Do you know if you are going to be flying AA’s new 767 business soon?

  91. @ Jacob — Don’t have any immediate plans to, but given that I have several systemwide upgrades, I’m sure I will at some point!

  92. @ Callum — With your flying patterns I think BA might just be the best option, since they’re fairly lucrative for upgrades on British Airways. I don’t think you’ll do much better crediting to another airline, and there won’t be many marginal benefits for pursuing status in another frequent flyer program, unless oneworld doesn’t have your travel needs covered.

    What I was getting at was, that alot of my flights won’t even be with BA even though I have a BA account. For instance Qatar Airways are generally alot cheaper for business class when I fly east. Do you generally get upgrades on other one world flights that are different from your airmile account?

  93. @ Callum — While you can book award tickets on partner airlines, you generally can’t upgrade on them. Having status in the “native” program (like Qatar status when flying Qatar) increases your chances of operational upgrades, but that’s about it. Keep in mind that Qatar doesn’t have first class on most of their fleet anyway, though.

  94. @ Lucky — It was ticketed through American. But there are different (but equivalen) record locators for both US Airways and American

  95. @ Marcio — I could be mistaken, but I think the ticket needs to be issued on US Airways ticket stock in order to confirm in advance, which might be the issue (even if it’s not a codeshare). :(

  96. @ Lucky – I see your point. Do you mean I should bought all segments through US instead of AA ?

    Wlel, the trip is composed of 3 different segments – and they are spread apart by several days. 1st and 3rd segments are marketed and operated by AA. The 2nd segment is marketed and operated by US (PHL-CDG).

    I though this would be enough…

  97. Oh I am so happy! I bought a room in the Ramada plaza docklands in London, two nights for €30?!?!?! Courtesy to miles and more, and 41,000 miles sitting around in two M+M accounts.

    What

  98. Sory,sorry,sorry. I am terrible on mobile and clicked post prematurely.

    To continue, what did you feel like the first time you flew first, stayed in 5-star-for-less, etc? What did it feel like to turn left for the first time? Or got a luxury hotel?

    Btw, if you have an account in venezuela, due to the exchange rate you can get a business class for three people for $1,200!! And that is the price of one business class in $$ fare on .us site. But who wants to go to venezuela anyway? To communism-and-scarcity-and-astupidpresident?

  99. Need an opinion. I jumped on the Etihad error fare out of JFK to India. Im scheduled to leave at 3:30PM on a Monday. My southwest flight from Atlanta is scheduled to arrive to LGA at 11:30AM on Monday. Do you think 4 hours is enough to land, grab my checked bag and get to JFK? I have the same situation on the back end.
    Worst case scenario, if I miss my SW flight back to ATL on return will they charge me for a new flight or will they re-book me on next flight.

  100. Quick question….I have 15 hours in Abu Dabi what places would you recommend for quick sightseeing? Feel safe here?

  101. @ Rodney — Yes, incredibly safe. I’d consider going to the mosque, Emirates Palace, and maybe walking along the Corniche. Enjoy your time in Abu Dhabi!

  102. @ Meag — If everything goes as planned then yes, that’s plenty of time. But the NYC area airports are also delay prone, so any sort of substantial delay could throw off your plans. Good luck!

  103. @ JMR — Sounds like an amazing deal, wow! I think the only way to sum up the first time I flew first class and stayed at a five star hotel was indescribably excitement. You really can’t put it into words the first time you experience it. So damn cool!

  104. @Lucky

    Today is 25th here but already 26th in Singapore, since SQ will lower fuel surcharges starting on 26th this month, I tried to book an award, to my surprise, for the same route that I tried last week, the tax and surcharges are more expensive! I made a note when I did dummy booking last week, same date, class, stopover, everything, cost $500 ish for tax and surcharges, just now I made exactly the same booking, it shows $700!!!
    Why do you think this happens?

  105. Hi Lucky,
    I know you have blogged a lot about Hong Kong. I have searched a bit but have not found clear information I am looking for. The final three nights of a 105 night around the world trip will be in Hong Kong. As this is a long trip we are looking to economize whenever possible. Wandering which hotels you would recommend to pursue using CC free nights or points? Thinking about getting the Hyatt CC or the Hilton Reserve for our next App/ Churn. The stay will be on a Saturday, Sunday and Monday night. We looking for a little luxury with an easy visit to and from the airport as I am sure we will be travel weary. We will be flying home on Cathay Pacific F! Thanks for any recommendations! Keep up your great blog. Thanks John & Robin

  106. @ Traveler

    Round the world trip?? wow!!! that’s amazing! it’s my dream too someday! Can you please share with me your route and on which flight? So I can get a picture on how to plan my round the world trip in the future. Thanks!

  107. @ Traveler — Both would be great options. The Conrad Hong Kong is gorgeous, and you can use free nights from the Hilton Visa there. And the Grand Hyatt is awesome as well, should you have free nights from the Hyatt Visa. Can’t go wrong either way!

  108. Follow up: Worst case scenario, if I miss my SW flight back to ATL on return will they charge me for a new flight or will they re-book me on next flight.

  109. I just canceled my US Airways card in hopes of applying for a new one before the merger and getting the 50,000 mile bonus. How soon can I apply for the new one?

  110. @bluedevil – be aware that Barclays has the following language expressly noted the terms and conditions for this card – “From time to time, Barclaycard may offer bonuses or awards of mileage credit or other premiums (for example, First Use Miles, First Use Certificates, and Promotional Companion Tickets) to new US Airways MasterCard Cardmembers. Unless otherwise stated in the offer, these bonuses and /or awards are intended for persons who are not, and have not previously been, US Airways MasterCard Cardmembers. You understand and agree that, unless otherwise stated, if this is your first US Airways MasterCard Account, once you become a Cardmember you are no longer eligible to receive these bonuses and/or awards for any new US Airways MasterCard account you open after this Account is opened. If this is not your first US Airways MasterCard Account, you may not be eligible for these bonuses and/or awards. If you receive a bonus or award for which you are not eligible, Barclaycard may direct US Airways to revoke the bonus or award, or reduce your mileage credit by the amount of the award, or charge your account for the fair value of the bonus or award, at our option.”

    This language suggests that they may not qualify you for the sign-up bonus if they believe you are “churning”. That will be solely their call and I suspect that they may get more rigorous about this with the merger approaching and the likely death of this card branding at some point thereafter. A better strategy might have been to threaten to quit and then let them offer you a retention bonus.

    In sum, good luck but you may be disappointed.

  111. @KahunnaTravel Thanks for the info. I’ll wait a bit and see what happens. I have no US Airways flights scheduled right now, so I didn’t need the free baggage benefit anyway. We’ll see what happens.

  112. @Meag – here is Southwest’s “no show” policy – “If you are not planning to travel on any portion of your itinerary, please cancel or change your reservation at least 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure of the flight. Customers who fail to cancel or change their reservations at least 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure or fail to board their flight(s) on any Wanna Get Away or DING! fare segment are subject to our No Show Policy. Additionally, the entire reservation including any remaining flights on the ticketed itinerary will also be cancelled and all funds from the “No Show” reservation will be forfeited and may not be used or applied toward future ticket purchases. Reservations booked using Rewards points, Companion passes, and Reward seats are not included in this policy”

    Given the above, my counsel is this – if you are using either a “Wanna Get Away” or DING fare, and you see yourself in danger of missing your ATL flight out of LGA, you should contact SW and either cancel or rebook your ticket. That will preserve the purchase value of the fare in full (SW does not charge cancellation or change fees), and it will be applied to any new ticket you purchase (which may or may not cost more). If you “no show”, then the entire value of your original ticket will be lost. Also note that the above policy only applies to “Wanna Get Away” and DING fare classes. It does not apply to the “Business Select” or “Anytime” fare class. If you have one of those fare classes, your fare value will be preserved in full and available for rebooking in case you “no show”. As an “insurance” strategy, you may wish to consider “buying up” your LGA-ATL flight to one of those fares classes before departing.

    Finally, also note that the “no show” policy does not apply to award bookings. Your inquiry did not indicate if the LGA-ATL flight was a revenue or award booking. If it is an award booking, your Rapid Reward points will remain available for rebooking.

  113. Hi Lucky- love the blog! I would like to book Cathay F ex-NA right when the schedule comes out. I know my Alaska and AA miles are a good value but it seems there is a delay for when those seats come available compared to BA/Asia miles. Since I will be booking after the BA devaluation, would you recommend Asiamiles as my best option? Thanks!

  114. Lucky – Apology if this has been asked…Is it possible to book say LAX-SIN outbound and SIN-SFO inbound in the same cabin on SQ for award travel? I do not see the multi-city option once I click on redeem award flight. Not sure if I have to call in? Or if this requires two one-way awards instead of a roundtrip award in the same cabin? I found availability in the dates and cabin I want. Thanks!

  115. Hey Ben
    Not really an aviation related question
    But have to been to any Grand Prix?
    The Malaysian Grand Prix is coming up
    Try it. We would love to read a trip report of that ( Atleast I would)
    Happy Flying

  116. @Lucky

    *UPDATE*

    So here’s my data point for tax and surcharges on roundtrip flight in SQ biz class for route SFO – ICN (stopover) – SIN , SIN – HKG (layover) – SFO

    A week ago: $550
    yesterday (2/25): $700 ish then on the middle of the night is back to $550
    today (2/26): $515

    So looks like the discount on fuel surcharges is around $35 lower for this international route. Is this correct? I’m hesitating to book an award since it seems their system is a bit glitchy or unstable with that fuel surcharges changing in 24 hours….it might change again later….

  117. I’ll be flying AUH-GRU on Etihad end of May. From 1. May on, there will be a 777-200LR instead of a A340. I read that they bought 4 or 5 777’s from Air India and will put them among other routes also on this one.
    Do you know if these new 777-200LR will feature Etihad’s new Business Studio?

  118. @ Thomas — They’ll feature Etihad’s current generation business class product. Not the Business Studio, but the same product on the A340, 777-300ER, etc.

  119. @ Sach — If you book right when the Alaska/American schedules open, you shouldn’t have any trouble booking the space, in my opinion. I’d book through them given the substantially lower award rates and lack of fuel surcharges.

  120. @ bluedevil — Unfortunately with US Airways it’s very much “your mileage may vary.” Some report being approved again, others report being denied.

  121. Hi, i would like to contact you since i have several questions about your trips and the way you perform them, could it be possible?

    Thank You!

  122. lucky-

    Could you give us a guideline of how many cards from each brand a person and business can hold?

    For example….How many AmEx CC can I have at any one time? And follow through on other brands?

  123. Love your blog. My partner and I are flying ZRH-LAX on LX in F this summer on July 19. We know it’s an A340, but how many of those planes have the new F product? I know it’s hard to know what exact plane they will use on a route on a given day (especially so far in advance), but is there a list of tail numbers with the new product somewhere? Thanks!

  124. G’day from Australia, Ben. Would it be possible for you to annotate your Instagram pics with the hotel airline you’re photographing? You’ve got some wonderful photos but often you’ll say something like ‘My home for the next nine hours’ and mention nothing about the airline (and sometimes the hotel or lounge). That’d be great.

  125. Hi Lucky! I have a question again. What’s the best way to check Cathay Pacific award avaiability? I tried to use British Airwys website but it doesn’t show any first class seats. Thanks

  126. @ Lucky

    SQ has one free stopover on roundtrip flights.

    So if I booked LAX-SIN in Suites, and SIN-LAX in business using Krisflyer miles, would I still be able to add a free stopover in NRT, Japan and get the 15% discount?

  127. @ Lucky

    Forgot to ask one more thing: If I am flying in First class 777-300ER SIN – NRT – LAX, will I get access to The Private Room? or it’s only for people who fly in Suites?

  128. Ben–if I book a two leg trip with AA miles and one flight is three cabin and the other is two and I get first on the three cabin flight, I still have to pay first prices for the full itinerary right? There is no “discount” for the business leg?

  129. @ Lukasz — The British Airways website is one of the best options. If they don’t show space it’s because it’s not available.

  130. @ Leif — I believe none of the A340s have the new first class product. I’m sure you’ll have a great flight regardless!

  131. If I am booked on the following ticket (all one ticket) on AA and will be Exec Plat

    TUES PM: DCA-> LGA
    WED AM: LGA –> YYZ

    1) Do you think they will let me same day standby all the way to YYZ on Tues? (so no overnight in NYC)
    2) Would they let me standby for a USAIR operated flight direct from DCA to YYZ on Tues?

    This would be in May.

    Thanks for all your help.

  132. I may not be digging hard enough for this, but I was wondering if, when you use an Systemwide Upgrade, you get the miles from the class you upgraded to, and not the class you upgraded from? My dad is offering me one/two if I can come up with the money for economy round trip DFW-HKG. I want to wait until next year if I don’t get the bonus, as one big trip is an award this year. Thanks!

  133. Hi Ben,

    I have enough miles from my Chase Ultimate Rewards for a full roundtrip LAX-ICN. But I would like to book a 1-way LAX-ICN with Korean Air Business class, and then purchase my own economy class ticket on Asiana OZ 204, ICN-LAX. Am I able to book the 1-way award flight for Korean Air Business class LAX-ICN? or do I have book a roundtrip award flight with Korean Air? Thank you!

  134. @ Lucky

    Thanks for the reply. Too bad that it has to be same class of service to be able to add a free stopover on roundtrip. But glad that that First class passenger (not only Suites) can access the Private Room as well.

    I have a question, I already booked SQ biz class roundtrip SFO-ICN-SIN, it costed me 136,000 miles + $455.77

    Then I realized I should as well go for First class, given the redemption value for the miles is better than business class. Can I “upgrade” my award seat from biz to first class through online or do I have to call?
    If have to call, how much is the charge to change or “upgrade” the class? And do I only need to pay the difference in miles between biz and first?
    I checked by making a “dummy” booking in First class, it cost 182,750 miles + $480.77, so total of 46,750 miles + $25 difference……is this the amount that I have to pay/redeem if I want to upgrade to first class?

    This will be my first flight in SQ premium seats, so I really appreciate your help.

  135. Hey Ben,
    I have Marriott Gold status through Ritz Carlton credit card. If I booked 2 rooms at Marriott hotel through Priceline for 6 people (3 people in each room) would all 6 of us get breakfast or only the people that would be staying with me in the same room? Thanks

  136. Hey ben dont know if you heard butyou can earn starwood points by riding uber! Currently set at 1 point per every dollar spent if your staying at a starwood property 2 per dollar and if your are current gold/platinum staying at a starwood propery it rise to 3 points per dollar and finally if your a platinum with 75 night or more at a starwood property and currently staying at one you recieve 4 points per dollar thought u might want to stay in the point loop if you havent hear yet

  137. Hi Lucky,

    I wanted your opinion about which would be the best hotel for a New York City stay, between the Westin and Andaz chains.

    To me bed comfort is the most important factor (I have a spinal cord injury), with everything else secondary. I need a soft but supportive mattress (I sleep on a top of the line Tempur mattress at home). I have experience with the Westin bed, which I know I can sleep on, but no direct experience with the Andaz bed (although your review of the Wall Street and 5th Avenue Andaz hotels suggests it was comfortable for you, but I’m not exactly sure if it is of the same soft but supportive grade as the Westin bed – I’ve been caught out before with others reviews of “wonderful beds” that turn out to be way to firm for me).

    Which, would you say, offers the best soft but supportive bed out of the Westin/Andaz hotels in NYC?

  138. Hi Ben – trying to transfer Amex MR points to Asia Miles, but “reward is no longer available.” Are they no longer a partner?

  139. following up on ian’s question,
    i went to AMEX website and cathay pacific is missing from the list of airline partners.

  140. hi lucky this might be the dumbest question ever, please don’t hate me ;) do you think US AIRWAYS will allow this kind of routing:
    1. sin-doh-dxb-doh-bkk-tyo-syd-bne with bne as destination and dxb as stopover
    2. sin-doh-bkk-hkg-pvg-tyo-syd-bne with pvg as stopover and bne as destination
    3. sin-doh-bkk-pek-pvg-tyo-syd-bne with pvg as stopover and bne as destination

    return
    bne-hkg-tyo-sgn-kul-sin if i do a stopover on the outbound, can i do another stopover on the inbound?

  141. Hi lucky,
    How often does American Express and/or ultimate rewards offer transfer bonuses? I’m looking particularly at british airways and Virgin atlantic. I knew about the 40 percent ba avois transfer recently from Amex but didn’t pull the trigger because I was unsure of my travel plans. I know now that I’m going to Europe in October 2015. Is it worth waiting for another transfer bonus or book now?
    Thanks in advance
    Jared

  142. I am flying business on miles in June to Vienna. I have a choice of connecting through DFW or MIA. Which do you think has better food in the Admiral’s Club? Can I use my Business boarding pass to use a difffernt airline’s club, like US Air. Oops, guess that won’t exist in June.

  143. Hey Lucky,

    When using Hyatt Points to upgrade to a suite what are the terms and conditions?
    Can you upgrade with points as long as there is suites available or how does it work?

    Thanks, Gabe

  144. Ben,
    I am new to this so thank you for all your great advice. My wife and I have booked a 35 day cruise to NZ and Australia in Feb 2016. We both have enough Usair points to hopefully book business class on Cathay or similar. We don’t return until late March 2016. Since I can’t book til 335 days out does that mean I have to wait til late April to book entire trip or can I book trip outbound in March and return at same time even though return is over 335 days? Would I have better luck flying roundtrip to SYD out of JFK and booking another flight to AKL where cruise starts or should I book JFK-AKL and SYD-JFK? Thank you

  145. Hey Ben,

    My wife will be doing 9 mileage runs in the next 40 days, which will get her Lifemiles’ Gold Status. As we live in Peru, it is extremely hard to find cheap flights out of Lima. For our luck, there were ~USD100 fares from Costa Rica to Lima, rt. We purchased 8 of these and 1 positioning flight for the first and last legs of the whole adventure.

    The big question and this comes with a little of fear, will authorities at any airport (SJO or LIM) give her any trouble as they will see her leaving and entering the country within hours? I am specially worried about Costa Rican authorities, since them banning her would mean this whole hassle would be for nothing. Do you know of anything that might have happened to other people? What should she do, should she warn them in her first arrival that she is doing this for the whole purpose of accruing miles and status and that she will be returning 8 other times? Can a country ban someone without a real reason? Please give us all the advice that you might have on this matter as we are a little nervous and she is departing for the first time in less than 24 hours.

    Thanks!

  146. @ Alonso A. — I don’t have any experience with those countries specifically, but I’d just recommend she be honest and transparent. As long as she does that I’m sure she’ll be fine. Good luck to her!

  147. I live in Singapore and have a wedding to attend in Aberdeen Scotland this coming September. We want to fly into LHR and rent a car as it will be our first trip to the UK and plan on spending about 10 days there, 4 of which have to be in Aberdeen. We want to use miles (Star Alliance, AMEX, HH, & Starwood) for the trip minimizing cost (surcharges) and miles. What would be the best way to do that? It will be my wife and I, along with our two children who will be 3 & 1 at the time.

    Thank!!!

    Joe C.

  148. @ al — You could ticket the outbound when the schedule opens and then later pay a change fee to add the return, though keep in mind tickets are only valid for a year from the date of issue. In other words, all travel needs to be completed within a year of the date you originally issue the ticket. You should be able to fly into Auckland and then do an open jaw out of Sydney on the same award. Enjoy the trip!

  149. @ Gabe — Yes, typically as long as there’s a suite for sale you can use points to upgrade. You need to book a publicly available rate directly through Hyatt to be eligible.

  150. @ Alexndra B. — The Dallas Admirals Club is a bit nicer, though the food selection will be similar in either lounge. I’d go with whichever flight is timed more conveniently, or based on whichever flight features a better business class product. Enjoy the trip!

  151. @ Jared leary — Ultimate Rewards almost never has transfer bonuses, while Membership Rewards seems to have them with some frequency. Historically we’ve seen them fairly often with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw one again soon. That being said, if you see good flights available now and don’t have a lot of schedule flexibility, I might book ASAP.

  152. @ reader12333 — No way any of those routings would be allowed, sorry. Dubai is no way enroute from Singapore to Australia. You can do one stopover along the way per roundtrip.

  153. @ Kieran — Hmmm, that’s a toughie. If that’s the single most important aspect I might go with the known (Westin). I don’t remember the Andaz beds in great detail, other than remembering that they were comfortable, and I like soft but supportive beds as well.

  154. @ KoolFatKat — I believe only the people registered for the “primary” room with status.

  155. @ David — If you call they should be able to rebook you. I think it would only be $35 or so, plus the difference in miles.

  156. @ Charles — You can’t standby on a US Airways flight, and you need to standby the same calendar day for the route, so couldn’t do it the day before.

  157. @ Joseph Cole — Pending award availability I think it’s tough to beat Singapore KrisFlyer. Great premium cabin products and reasonable costs.

  158. Hi lucky how about pvg? So if the routing sin-doh-bkk-pvg-tyo-syd-bne (id really like to try qatar airways new c class but if its not possible then sin-hkg-pvg-tyo-syd-bne) so i could have pvg as the stopover and i can argue to the agent that thats because id like to fly jal to australia so im going to north asia anyway.

  159. @ Reader12233 — That’s still too much backtracking and above the maximum permitted mileage.

  160. @Reader12233. Thats a huge amount of backtracking, plus likely over MPM (though I don’t know what the MPM is in that case). In addition, US normally only allows 4 segments in each direction and you’re asking for 5 or 6 because you want to make extra stops? Good luck arguing that point. Also the fact that you want to fly JAL isn’t a good enough reason for them to allow you to do anything you want. Maybe look into US awards more – may I suggest Flyertalk.com?

  161. Hi sg and lucky thank you for your answers. SG im not sure what you think stop is, do you mean a stopover or just transitting through a hub? Because id only like to have a stopover in pvg.

    @lucky so just want to confirm this routing sin-hkg-pvg-tyo-syd-bne wont be valid? Im curious because i have had a success flown this routing on my inbound leg last nonth lax-sfo-hnd-sgn-kul-sin with US awards

  162. Hi Ben…

    Out of curiosity, which fare class do AA domestic and international mileage upgrades book into?

    Thanks.

  163. Hi Lucky
    Its been impossible to get through to USDM on their US number for several days now. I’m trying to ticket a simple but still somewhat creative routing I have on hold. Ive read about calling the USDM UK number and spoke to a few UK agents there a few days ago – got straight through and they were very knowledgeable, quick and helpful. This however is actually working against me because they were also extremely cluey on geography and routing rules and politely shut my routing down without it even going to the rates desk.
    The big benefit of the US call centres are that some of the US agents are pretty vague on geography so let things slide. Whats your experience with the UK centre? Did I have bad luck or are they all so cluey/play by the rules that (unlike the US call centre) they wont let anything through that doesnt comply with MPM, no backtracking, no higher zone transit etc? Im starting to panic because I only have 20 days left to ticket this (AA would never allow it).
    Thanks
    Ben

  164. @ Ben S — For the most part US Airways agents are pretty good with routing rules nowadays, so I wouldn’t expect to get away with much anymore, regardless of which call center you’re booking through.

  165. @ Jason — Mileage upgrades book into “A” for first class domestically and “C” for business class internationally.

  166. @ Reader112233 — It’s simply not a legal routing either way. It’s way over the maximum permitted mileage.

  167. @Reader12233 I meant transit, not stopover. Maybe you could picture it better on a map.

    What you did last time looked like this: http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=lax-sfo-hnd-sgn-kul-sin
    multiple transits but int he same general direction.

    What you’re trying to do is this: http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=sin-bne,+sin-doh-bkk-pvg-tyo-syd-bne,+sin-hkg-pvg-tyo-syd-bne

    You’re trying to travel from SIN-BNE but your routing is all over the place. Your routing through DOH is more than 4 times the nonstop distance. And even without DOH you’re more than double. You have no way to argue that you should be allowed to fly such a route, besides that, I have zero doubt in my mind that it will be over MPM.

    SG

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