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!


  1. Lantean says

    Ben, have you noticed how awful CX F availability from JFK is? One seat a week at max… or is BA search just broken? What’s going on?

  2. lucky says

    @ AZDave — Yes, systemwide upgrades can be used to upgrade flights to any regions and can be confirmed at the time of booking. 500 mile upgrades only work in certain regions and clear at most four days before departure.

  3. Lantean says

    close to departure… now thru the end of the year.

    but also looked at next September… there wasn’t much either.

    i haven’t looked at Qantas or JAL websites.

    it’s just sad.

  4. lucky says

    @ Lantean — That’s indeed what’s available. They only have six first class seats so they’re selling many of them given that the economy has improved.

  5. AZDave says

    @Lucky, thanks. Do you need multiple System wide upgrades for long, are they restricted to 500 miles as well?

  6. OSea says

    Hey lucky
    Seattle based AS flyer here (I was on the Detroit mileage run flight u posted about)
    Got a question for you

    Alaska flight sea-ord $177
    Alaska flight sea-ord-bna $148
    Same flight # sea-ord
    What happens if I buy the ticket to bna but don’t take the second leg on AA? This is on a one way ticket.

  7. lucky says

    @ OSea — Short term that’s fine, nothing will happen. If you make a pattern of it, you could get in trouble.

  8. Jamie says

    BA’s search engine won’t show First class availability from YVR to London. I thought that route had first. It’s giving me business but won’t even show the first class (just shows econ, premium economy, and business). Not listed as sold out or not available or anything. Looking for early Dec.

    Any thoughts? Works on every other route.

  9. Andrew says


    I booked an award ticket on US from SEA to VCE with a layover through PHL. I was checking the itinerary and was surprised to see the fare code as Y instead of X which I believe is the normal coach award fare code. I know I won’t normally get an upgrade on an award ticket (DM Gold), but since the itinerary is showing as a full fare economy ticket can I automatically upgrade the SEA – PHL leg?

  10. lucky says

    @ Andrew — Which airline’s miles did you use, did you book a standard award, and which receipt are you looking at where it shows “Y?”

  11. snaills says

    Hi Lucky,

    Thank you for the prior advice. I am going to use US Dividend miles on AA first class. Since there is no availability for the returning flight showing on US website for AA, can I book outbound on AA, then return on CX or JAL?

  12. Moon says

    Hey Lucky since are you are living in hotels full time, can you consider writing a blogpost just for all the ‘airport hotels”? By that I mean just the hotels that are located inside/across from the airport(s) within walking distance, with no shuttle/transporation required…for folks who may get stranded at different airports at some point?

  13. Andrew says

    @ Lucky – Booked with US miles on a standard award ticket. The trip record on US Airways shows the Y fare code.

  14. lucky says

    @ Andrew — Ah, yes. Standard awards do show as being in the “Y” fare class, though in practice you won’t be able to upgrade, since it is coded differently.

  15. PhatMiles says

    Is there a way to expedite the transfers to SQ from UR? I have an urgent trip coming tomorrow and the seats are on UA. I am no elite on UA and trying to save the $75.00 close in fee.

  16. KahunnaTravel says

    Hey, Ben just got the error acknowledgement email from IHG Rewards concerning their Into the Nights promo. Checked my account, and my “goals” have, in fact, been restored to “original” and the points awarded for the mobile app “book and stay” goal. Here is the text of the email received –

    “An apology from
    IHG® Rewards Club

    Dear XXXXXX,

    During a recent update to our Into the Nights website, we experienced some technical issues that resulted in an unexpected change to one of your offers. We apologize for the confusion and for any inconvenience it may have caused you. We have fixed the issue and we have restored your original offer.

    We want you to know that we appreciate your loyalty and always welcome your feedback. In the meantime, continue enjoying our latest promotion.

    IHG® Rewards Club”

    I note that they are intimating this is an IT error. Seems to be “a lot of that” going around these days…just ask Delta!!! LOL. Best travels.

  17. Dan says

    I’m staying just for 1 night and leaving the next morning.

    >>@ Dan — How long are you staying for?
    >>Hi Ben,
    >>I have the SPG Starwood Amex card. I want to stay at a SPG Starwood property in NY, I’m flying into >>JFK, i’m leaning towards staying at the JFK Sheraton, but where do you usually stay if you are in NY? >>Also, what mode of transportation do you recommend if you have to venture off into the city. Thanks!!

  18. KahunnaTravel says

    The real hoot about all of this is that my original (now called correct) “app and book” task was a single stay while my “revised” (now called erroneous) task was 59 stays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just a wee bit of a change…………LOL

  19. Marius says

    Hey! You are writing a lot ablir Credit cards and how easy they can give you free First Class. unfortunately I live in Norway, and can not apply for those CC. Do you have any suggestions for CC’s or other things we in Europe can do to get very cheap First Class tickets?

  20. lucky says

    @ Dan — If you plan on going into the city I’d spend the night in the city if possible. Prices vary SO MUCH that I’d go with whichever hotel is the most reasonably priced in the city. If you just plan on hanging around the airport I’d do the Sheraton JFK. I think the best way to get from the Sheraton is to take the shuttle to the airport and then the AirTrain and subway from there. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, though.

  21. lucky says

    @ Marius — Unfortunately the credit card offers in Europe aren’t nearly as lucrative, sorry. In general buying miles at a discounted price is going to be your best bet for getting into premium cabins as cheaply as possible.

  22. Wroom says

    Have you read about the most expensive hotel suite in the world @Hotel President Wilson for over 65.000 USD per night? It’s a SPG-property, so you should try do a “trip report” of that room. Do you think it is possible to redeem points for that room? Do you think you will earn 3 points per dollar spent if you pay full price? And, if you stay at a standard room at that hotel, do you think one can ask to see the inside of that suite/get a tour of that suite?

  23. portakal says

    Lucky – for the past 10 months, I had been anxiously looking forward to our Asiana F suites flight JFK-ICN in mid-november. Just a few days ago, got an itinerary update showing an equipment change to a 747 combi! I checked and the change doesn’t affect any days before or after our date of departure, just ours. I had booked using United miles pre-devaluation. I’m crushed – can anything be done? We have the flexibility to leave a day earlier. Could United be convinced to open up award space the day before due to the circumstances? Thank you as always!

  24. portakal says

    Lucky – I just saw that you had answered my same question earlier in the week. I missed it while traveling. Sorry for the duplicate posting and thank you very much for the response as always!

  25. Gabe says

    Hi Lucky,

    I have about 55k Delta Miles. what would you recommend me to do with them? Is it possible to transfer them to another program?

    Thanks, Gabe

  26. lucky says

    @ Gabe — Not efficiently, no. If it were me, I’d try to collect a few more (ideally 62,500) and then you’d have enough for a one way business class ticket between the US and Europe once SkyMiles 2015 kicks in.

  27. lucky says

    @ Wroom — Hah, highly doubt you can redeem points for it, though I’m sure you’d get three Starpoints per dollar. Hotels are often willing to do tours of their top suites if available, so it can’t hurt to ask. Didn’t realize that was the most expensive room in the world, though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *