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. Norman says

    And Lucky, have you encountered a scenario where USDM ask you to pay the 21 day quick ticketing fee? I know that is waived for elites but just wonder if there’s any way I can get around this. $75 is about as much as I need to pay for the taxes and processing fee combined..

    Thanks a lot

  2. lucky says

    @ Ron — It could be that there’s just not award space yet. Lufthansa is great about releasing award availability as the departure date approaches, so I’d recommend continuing to monitor for availability.

  3. lucky says

    @ Emil —

    1) Correct, through Feb. 2017.
    2) If you earn Platinum through a challenge it would be valid through Feb. 2016, and then you’d need to qualify “the hard way” to get it valid through Feb. 2017.

  4. lucky says

    @ Brandon — Can’t say I’ve ever watch edit, but I’ll try to tune in. Congrats to your brother!

  5. lucky says

    @ Frank — You can book that all by phone, but you don’t get the 15% discount if partner airlines are involved.

  6. lucky says

    @ Norman — That is a standard fee they charge. The fee doesn’t apply to Gold Platinum, and Chairman’s Preferred members.

  7. digital01 says

    Any experience with seeing award availability on but not on It’s a short flight so for obvious reasons I’d prefer to use BA points, but its saying, even when I attempt to book a revenue ticket that there are no BA OR partner flights, and the AA flights aren’t showing up…some of the flights are USAir if that matters at all. It is for flights into and out of ALB if that helps too.


  8. lucky says

    @ digital01 — Sometimes BA’s site doesn’t show space even when available, but if you call it should be bookable.

  9. digital01 says

    As a follow up, apparently BA cannot see US Air flights (even over the phone), supposedly, until february 2nd. That apparently is why they were not showing up. The agent I spoke with said it was because of the merger.

  10. Frank says

    Hi Ben, I just booked two JAL business class award tickets (JFK-NRT) with AA miles. Before I booked the ticket I searched for JAL availability of my flight on BA website and it said there were 4 seats left, However I just now checked the BA website and it still says there are 4 seats left. On AA website it does say the tickets are ticketed. But why on BA website it still says 4 seats left? Should I be concerned? Thanks so much!

  11. CL says

    Hi Lucky,
    I booked US aiways award tickets on Monday, but need to change the travel dates (and potentially the service cabin due to availability). Is there a change fee for dates/routes/cabin? Do I need to pay the award book fee and tax/fuel surchanges again or just the differences?


  12. Keya says

    Hi Ben

    I have a question regarding earning elite status through SPG. If I’m staying at a SPG property for let’s say 5 nights and I book 2 rooms. Does that count as 1 stay and 5 nights or would that count as 2 stays and 10 nights ?

    Secondly, if I stay at one property for 2 nights and then another property for 2 more nights and then back to the first property for the 5th night, would that count as 3 stays and 5 nights or just 1 stay for 5 nights ?

    Looking forward to your expert answer as always :)

  13. lucky says

    @ Frank — Hmmm, it could have been that they opened up more award seats after the first two were booked. Very interesting.

  14. lucky says

    @ CL — There’s a $150 change fee plus any changes in taxes/fees. If you want to change the type of award altogether (like from an economy award to a business class award) you’d have to redeposit the award and start over.

  15. lucky says

    @ Keya — First scenario counts as one stay and ten nights. Second scenario would count as three stays and five nights.

  16. John says

    Hi Ben,

    I have an award ticket using USDM. The outbound itinerary is LGA-ORD-HKG. The LGA-ORD segment is in economy on AA (since first wasn’t available at time of booking) and ORD-HKG is in first on CX. If first seats award open up on CX from JFK-HKG, I’m planning to change my award ticket. I know I have to pay $150 for the change, but do I need to re-do my whole itinerary (i.e., redeposit the miles and start all over again) by making this change?

  17. says

    Ben, just found your blog and love it! I’m traveling first class on Emirates this June and your trip report with your dad has gotten us even more excited (if that’s possible)! (:

    We are booked one night in Dubai at Burj Al Arab and one night at Burj Khalifa Armani (a splurge, but airfare was free). Wondering if you’d like a hotel report for your blog on these two hotels from an English teacher/traveller/blogger?! I’m legit…was interviewed by Daraius on millionmilesecrets on December 5 and you can also check out my blog.

    You can private message if interested. Thanks, Ellen

  18. says

    Ben, just found your blog and love it! The trip report on Emirates with your dad made us even more excited, as we are flying first to Dubai, then Paris in June.

    We are booked at the Burj Al Arab one night and Burj Khalifa Armani the other night. Would you be interested in a report on these two hotels for your blog from an English teacher/traveller/blogger?! I’m legit…was interviewed by Daraius at millionmilesecrets on December 5 and you can check out my blog.

    Let me know, Ellen

  19. Rachit says

    Hey Ben!

    Does Etihad allow chauffeur service if we redeem business class awards using AA miles?

  20. Drew says


    I have an award booked through US airways to Venice. As part of the “new and improved” American airlines they are limited flights on the Seattle to Philadelphia route. Therefore since my SEA to PHL flight was canceled I was rebooked SEA to PHX to PHL. I typically like to give myself a buffer with international flights and my PHL to VCE flight is supposed to have a 3 hour layover. With the new itinerary my PHX connection is only 50 minutes. With such a short connection I’m worried about operational delays meaning I’ll miss the PHL to VCE flight. To you think this is significant enough change to the itinerary that US will allow my to redeposit my miles and book a different routing without the $150 change fee? I’m US Platinum so its not waived for me.


  21. Ty says

    Hey Ben, I’m looking for the best award ticket routing from London to Kauai or Honolulu and back. The only real sweet spot I’m seeing is 100K roundtrip on US Air in J. Unfortunately I only have th 40K or so from the card signup – would I be able to route through Asia if I wanted to, and would it be worth purchasing the balance of miles (I was only targeted with a 50% bonus offer)? Any other ideas? Thanks!

  22. ER says

    Hi Lucky – we have two CX J seats on the HKG-EWR route. In your esteemed estimation, what are the odds that two CX F seats open up on any given day to any North American gateway city close to departure? Thanks!

  23. Todd says

    Hey Lucky,

    We’re flying AA F to GRU (from DFW) and then continuing in economy on TAM to IGU. My understanding is that we’ll land at the new terminal 3 and then clear customs. I’m hoping AA will check our bags all the way through (the TAM flight is on a separate ticket). Regardless, what lounge(s) will we have access to? I’m assuming whatever lounge TAM has in terminal 3 is way better than their lounge in terminal 2. We’ll have a couple hours for the layover.

    Similarly, we’re returning from GRU to DFW on AA F, so I’m assuming then we would just use the TAM lounge in terminal 3? Is there a separate first class lounge or is it all just one lounge?



  24. Ian Lee says

    Hi Lucky,

    Sorry to bother you. I have a few questions for my upcoming Spring travel (NYC-Europe) and would need your advice.

    So I am planning to go to VIE-FRA on a UA award ticket, and now I am deciding between:

    1) outbound UA 763 BusinessFirst via LHR, UA 763 Global First via LHR or Austrian (it says Tyrolean Air, but I am assuming it’s Austria itself, right?) 772 Business

    2) return LH 748i Business or LO 787 Business via WAW

    So which ones would you prefer? I am travelling alone, not sure which might be the better choices.

    And I also wonder if 3) I choose for either one of the UA outbound option, but leave for VIE on the second morning after I arrived at LHR, would I still be allowed-in for the LHR Arrival Lounge?

    Sorry for the series of questions. Thanks for your help in advance!

  25. Emil says

    Hi Lucky,
    Thanks for your clarification on my previous question! I have another first world problem that I suspect you would be an authority on :D

    I am flying from IST back to the US in Business. My first leg will be on Turkish, but the second leg can be either LOT on the 787 or Austrian on their 767. Which one would you choose? I have not flown either. Looking at reviews and seatguru, it seems LOT’s seat is significantly more comfortable, whereas Austrian’s DO&CO catering should be much better… Will food on LOT be much worse? Worse enough to warrant going with Austrian’s tight seats?

  26. lucky says

    @ Emil — Your thoughts sound about right. I’d *definitely* go with Austrian, though. The food is just top notch, while it’s mediocre on LOT.

  27. lucky says

    @ Ian Lee — All else being equal (in other words, if there’s no cost difference/it’s not a factor), I’d do United Global First on the outbound for the hard product, and then Lufthansa on the return for the wifi and the fact that I love the 747-8, personally. Yes, you can use the Arrivals Lounge even if not connecting same day. That’s the point of it, actually. :)

  28. lucky says

    @ Todd — Hmmm, I’m not familiar with the new terminal setup, but they should be able to check your bags to your final destination. Whichever lounge TAM has in their domestic terminal is what you can use. On the return American has an Admirals Club, which is actually reasonably nice. I believe TAM no longer uses their first class lounge since they eliminated first class altogether.

  29. lucky says

    @ ER — Tough to say for sure, but if you’re flexible on routing I’d say pretty good, at least 50/50.

  30. lucky says

    @ Ty — No, generally the best you can route is go via the US mainland. You can’t typically go via Asia. So if US Airways is the only balance you have then that may be the best option.

  31. Gabe says

    Hey Lucky,

    I currently have the United Explorer Card, if I were to cancel it would the miles that I have earned through spend on the card disappear from my account?
    Also, if I were to apply for the BA Chase and US Airways Card, receive the Sign-up bonus and then cancel the cards would I still have the miles/avios or would they disappear when I cancel the card?
    Is there a difference between cards that accumulate credit card points, UR or MR for example or points that accumulate frequent flyer points, hyatt or united for example, on that policy is the points disappear or not?

    Thanks, Gabe

  32. lucky says

    @ Gabe — In all three cases you wouldn’t lose the miles if you canceled the cards. If you accrue a currency that’s connected to the card (like UR, MR, etc.) then you lose the points when you cancel. But if you’re collecting them in a third party account then you don’t.

  33. Paul says

    Hi Lucky, Is this possible?
    I am from Canada. My wife and I are planning to travel end of 2015 or early 2016 Toronto to India, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Los Angeles and toronto for 6 to 8 weeks bussiness or first class.
    I have 30000 Aeroplan and 8400 Avios and 100000 MR, my wife has Aeroplan 70000, Avios 8400 and MR 145000.
    Where should I transfer the MR to make the most of it?
    Thanks, Paul

  34. lucky says

    @ Paul — The best you’ll be able to do is book some of those flights as one ways using miles. There’s no way to get all those segments on a single award ticket. But you’re certainly off to a good start.

  35. Paul says

    Hi Lucky, I will be using your service in the near future to book my dream trip because they is no way I can do it myself. Where should I transfer the MR to make the most of it? One World or Star Alliance for route YYZ – BOM – SIN – PER – SYD – AUC – NAN and YYZ
    Thanks, Paul

  36. says

    Hey lucky, I am a blogger and a traveler im young I know a lot about travel but im still learning a lot. I have a website that I update daily with different blogs and reviews about airlines all kinds of stuff that have to do with Aviation. Is there any tips you can give me so I can improve on blogging and reviewing?

  37. sarah says

    lucky- the asiana flights are in booking code W. Mero suggested to credit to air canada which i would get 70% credit of miles flown, i used the flight calculator on united’s website and it said i would receive 3500 miles (approx) since the economy tickets were $720 each. we are flying lax to sgn.

  38. Adam says

    Hey Lucky,

    I travel within Europe a lot and was wondering what hotel credit cards are the best for airline point transfers? I know they are more valuable to use for stays but since I typically stay in hostels, for me it makes more sense to transfer them to airlines to top off points. Also, what is the best way to get miles for Lufthansa? Every time I read about your trips on Lufthansa it makes me want to try them!


  39. Ryan says

    Hi Lucky,

    I have a US Airways one day lounge pass that comes with the credit card. Can I use it when i don’t fly US Airways. i.e, I am flying Emirates flight on May, Can I use US Airways Lounge during that time?

  40. says


    Do you know if aa have interlink agreement with emirates? I’m travelling to dubai next week on emirates f from jfk. To get to jfk i will travel on aa f. Can i check my baggage all the way through? (About 10 hours lay over in jfk)

  41. Lauren says

    So, file this under #firstworldproblems, but I’d love your advice on which flight to take home from Asia in a few weeks.

    I was ticketed in Cathay in business class SGN-HKG(spend the night in Hong Kong)-JFK(transfer airports)-LGA-DCA — I was planning on trying to upgrade to F close in, but ended up needing to change my date of travel to a few days later.

    No Cathay availability for any route in any fare class (even economy!) for my dates, but I found a SGN-NRT(spend the night in Tokyo)-ORD-DCA on JAL mostly in first, except for the SGN-NRT flight which is in business.

    The JAL first looks really nice, but I do love Cathay F. And I love Hong Kong. But I also love Tokyo.

    I am currently booked on the JAL route. What would you do? Keep the JAL flights or try to change to Cathay F closer in? I think the JAL route gives me more time on my layover than the Cathay route, and I have never flown JAL F, so I am leaning towards that…

  42. Keya says

    Hi ben

    I’m traveling to NYC from Dubai next week with emirates. Since I’m travelling in F I believe the boarding will be from the new lounge itself onto the A380. I just wanted to know that for flights to the U.S. from Dubai do they have security check again at the boarding gate ? I’ll plan leaving from the lounge accordingly.

    Thanks as always :)

  43. lucky says

    @ Lauren — If it were me, I’d try to change to Cathay closer in. JAL is great, but SGN-NRT is a long flight in business class, and Tokyo is much further from NRT than Hong Kong is from HKG. But can’t go wrong either way!

  44. lucky says

    @ Ryan — You sure can, as long as you can physically access the lounge (in other words, that you have access to that terminal).

  45. lucky says

    @ Adam — Best way to get Lufthansa miles is through transfers from SPG. As far as hotel credit cards go, in general the SPG card is best for transfers to airlines. The others aren’t as lucrative, so you’d be better off going with one of the transferable points currencies, like UR, MR, etc.

  46. lucky says

    @ sarah — yeah, Aeroplan is a good option then, in my opinion, since you can redeem those for one-ways and that’s a good earnings rate.

  47. lucky says

    @ Paul — I wouldn’t transfer any points until you’re ready to book, because the best option is contingent upon availability.

  48. Robster says

    Hi Lucky. I want to book Emirates first class CPT-DXB-JFK using Alaska miles. I’ve been monitoring Expertyflyer and it seems DXB-JFK space opens up a few weeks earlier than CPT-DXB. If I book the DXB-JFK leg can I then call back to add CPT-DXB when it becomes available and price it as one award? I’ve tried asking this on Flyertalk but nobody seems to know. Thanks!

  49. lucky says

    @ Robster — Nope, unfortunately both segments would need to be available. There’s a stupid rule with Alaska awards on Emirates whereby you can’t just change one segment.

  50. Jason says

    Hi Lucky,
    I’m an avid follower of your blog and I’m glad I finally have an actual miles-related question. I have two Etihad RT flights coming up in Economy and I wanted to know if there was a way for me to use those flights to accrue miles in another FF program. I am hoping you will say, “Yes, Jason. BA Avios and Jetblue allow you to do this”, but I don’t think that’s the case. I hate the EY rewards program and I’d rather use these flights to get miles I can actually use except for trips to AUH. Thanks so much for your help!


  51. Melissa Finney says

    Hi Ben,
    Matt from Nomadic Matt suggested that I contact you. I have been amassing credit card points for sometime and have close to 300k to use toward my honeymoon (by the time we are done planning the wedding we will have another 100k) . But I dont really have the time or the desire to plan it.
    I am looking for someone (or a service/ travel agent) who I could pay to plan my honeymoon with points.

    Can We talk?

  52. Larry says

    Hi Lucky, Ive been trying to call US toll-free BA executive club (to book EI with avios) but am getting a disconnected/busy sound. I know they are terrible, but is that normal? Any other way to reach them.

  53. SQ Suites says

    Hey Lucky – have you heard any anecdotal evidence so far about SQ Suites availability decreasing for JFK-FRA, LAX-NRT and other routes now with so many point transfer partners? Looking 11 months out even there doesn’t seem to be much open for two seats. Thank you in advance.

  54. Kenny says

    @Larry, I have booked award tix w/ BA a few times, and found success with calling them on Sunday morning/early afternoon Eastern time. I usually get someone within 5-10 minutes

  55. Matt s says


    You helped answer a question recently for me and I just have one follow up.

    I’m going to book Chicago to Hong Kong (stopover) to Johannesburg on Cathay Pacific using Alaska miles. I am 7000 miles short of booking first class on leg one (70,000) but don’t have time to earn more miles (every segment I want plus my return flights are available so I want to book ASAP).

    This is probably an easy answer, but is the approximately $200 to buy up from business worth the cost for the Chicago-Hong Kong segment ? Since Hong Kong to Johannesburg is only business, I could just book the total one way for 62,500, which I have.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  56. Paul says

    Hi Lucky

    I need to be in London mid March and was looking to fly business or first. I have points all over the place and know every flight to London has heavy fees. Are there alternatives to flying somewhere near London? Or extending the trip into shirt euro trip eg flying to Dublin. What European airline rewards can I look into? I know of Lufthansa and Swiss on United and Iberia on aa. Any others?


  57. lucky says

    @ Jason — Yes, they partner with quite a few airlines, so you can credit to American AAdvantage, for example. They also partner with Alitalia, airberlin, etc. If you go to their website you should see all their airline partners.

  58. lucky says

    @ Larry — Usually they just make you wait on hold for an hour, but don’t disconnect you. Likely has to do with the storms. I’d recommend continuing to call, or to try one of their non-US call centers. Good luck!

  59. lucky says

    @ SQ Suites — Yup, definitely less space than in the past, unfortunately. Hopefully it gets better again.

  60. lucky says

    @ Paul — Well there are two fees at work. There are fuel surcharges, which only some carriers charge, and then there’s the UK Air Passenger Duty, which works as described in this post:

    You can avoid the fuel surcharges by simply choosing the right airline. For example, if you book an award on United, American, etc., there wouldn’t be fuel surcharges. So I think that’s your best bet.

  61. Auspointer says

    Hey Lucky

    Me and my partner have a set of return Dividend Miles OW partner award flights between Sydney and London departing late Aug and returning late Sept this year. The return flights from LHR to Syndey are via Tokyo, with the last segment booked on QF 22 from Tokyo Narita. QF have recently announced via the press that they are moving Sydney flights from Tokyo Narita to Tokyo Haneda (
    which is due to occur 31 July. Our itineraries on US Air DM site still shows the old flight out of Narita. Should we be following up with US Air to ensure we get onto the QF26 out of Haneda or would we be automatically rebooked to the new flight? Noticed that QF has only the new QF26 flight listed on their site when searching for bookings.

    Thanks for any assistance / advice you can give!

  62. FB says

    Are you planning to do a 2015 refresh of the value for each type of point? Last one I found was from March 2013. Thanks.

  63. Robster says

    Hi Lucky. After a couple of years of reading the blog it’s my second question in a day! Seems Etihad announced schedule changes from the US today (
    I think the interesting thing to note though is that the Etihad website now shows the Jet Airways plane as being the late 9.55pm departure whereas it used to be the earlier 11.40am (now 2.30pm) departure.
    I’m looking to book an award seat (with AA miles) in December so am now thinking I should book the new 2.30pm flight for genuine Etihad first class (and a chance it may go to A380??). ITA software still shows the original aircraft configuration though (Jet Airways operating the earlier flight).
    Any insights you have would be appreciated!!

  64. Dennison says

    Dear Ben,

    Really love your post and reviews, makes me wants to fly every single day, I would love to start to write a travel blog also.

    I saw that Oman Air hard products are pretty good, especially their business class, did you get a chance to try before ?

    Best regards,

  65. Rod says

    Hi Lucky, having a bit of a problem with an AAdvantage award I hope you are able to help me out with.
    I booked an award over the phone as was quoted 110,000 AAdvantage points per person (2 people) for flights AUH-GRU in EY First and GRU-EZE in QR Business (90min connection). When I checked my itinerary on the QR website, however, I noted the QR flight was booked in Economy.
    I have contacted AAdvantage, who have told me that the price to change the QR flight to Business would be 132,500 points per person – from what I can tell this is a First award Middle East to South America and a Business award within South America.
    My understanding was the highest award fee applies (First, even though its not available on GRU-EZE) rather than additive awards.
    Are you able to clarify and, if the appropriate fee should be 110,000 per person, let me know how to resolve this? The agent I spoke to checked with the rates desk and confirmed the rate of 132,500.
    Many thanks for your help!

  66. lucky says

    @ Rod — That’s very odd. It’s a legal routing and Etihad publishes a fare in the market, so the price should indeed be whatever the rate is between Middle East and South America. I’d suggest hanging up and calling again.

  67. grandgourmand says

    Hi Lucky,
    Have you noticed any trend of CX F availability disappearing? I’m planning a trip to Maldives on CX using AS miles and have been checking flights one year out pretty religiously in order to keep an eye on the pattern. Up until yesterday you could count on one F seat being available. Now they are all gone, though J is still plentiful. I’m looking from ORD, JFK, LAX and SFO using the BA website and it’s “not available” across the board. Even a few days before departure, which I also check, seems to have dried up.

    I’m fine with J, but for the incremental 7500 AS miles to go F…it would be a shame.

  68. grandgourmand says

    NP…hope it’s nothing. I only noticed this yesterday. Like I said, J is wide open. LHR to HKG in F seems pretty open as one of the ex-JFK options that kept popping up was that connection (which is not attractive to me).

  69. bren says

    Ben, do you have any tips on how often to make transactions on cards that you seldom use but want to keep open? Perfect example is my IHG rewards card, I dont use it for daily spend whatsoever but want to keep it open for the free night. I am always paranoid that it will be just shut down for inactivity. I tend to make one purchase every month or so, but its usually very small. Any tips ? An article would be much appreciated as well

  70. lucky says

    @ bren — I don’t think you have to put any spend on the card. I’ve never had a major card shut down over inactivity as long as I pay the annual fee, if applicable. :)

  71. SB says

    Hi Lucky

    We’re thinking of doing an ‘aspirational’ trip next year so you’re the obvious person to ask about this :-)

    As a couple, the plan is to fly LHR-SYD-TYO-LHR.

    LHR-SYD we thought we’d use Amex MR points for Singapore 1st Class via, unsurprisingly, SIN. But what’s best to do for the other two sectors?

    We’re tempted with Qantas 1st (using AAdvantage miles) for SYD-TYO as the flight times suit us better than JAL but I’m not sure if Qantas 1st is worth it over business.

    Same sort of goes for TYO-LHR – We’re keen to avoid BA…so that leaves JAL (using AAdvantage miles) as the only non-stop alternative. Would you go for 1st or Business?

    Anything else we should be considering?



  72. lucky says

    @ SB — JAL will no longer operate first class to Australia then, and I believe Qantas’ flight to Tokyo doesn’t have a first class cabin, so I think business class on Qantas is your best bet. Then if you can find the space, from Tokyo to London I’d definitely do JAL.

    For London to Sydney I’d also maybe consider Etihad’s First Apartments, if they have award space. Great use of AAdvantage miles.

  73. lucky says

    @ grandgourmand — I’ve been looking at space, and can’t say that I noticed that it disappeared completely. I still see some dates far in advance with one first class award seat out of the US.

  74. Michael says

    Lucky – A question for you:

    After being inspired by your stay at Qasr al Sarab, I started doing some research into desert resorts in the area. I found one property (not Qasr) particularly intriguing, by the official website (and the vast majority of OTAs) are showing room rates at, say, $1500 USD per night. I was tipped off a little to a potential best rate guarantee opportunity by matching a “tour operator” rate. I found a foreign website (developed Western European country) that seems to be offering the same rooms at a significant discount; call it $800 USD. I’m now wondering if I can find other “tour operators” that offer rooms

    My question is, do you have any tips for finding these tour operator rates? Any particular websites that could be helpful? Your advice is greatly appreciated.

  75. lucky says

    @ Michael — That’s a great question. Wish I knew, but can’t say it’s anything I have experience with. Sorry. :(

  76. says

    Hey Ben,

    I do have a questions about award tickets from north america to Asia zone 2 (se Asia) with one world. If I redeem the aa miles , using Qatar or etihad, does it require 67500 miles as well? Or should I book it with 2 separate awards, look from north America to middle east first and then middle east to Asia 2? Thank you

  77. Mike says

    Lucky, I was under the impression that some of the AirBus 330s between Melbourne and Perth have lie flat seating. When I look on Seat Guru, it seems that all I can find are the old business class. Ideas? Thanks.

  78. Larry Harte says

    Hi Lucky, I have an AA award ticket reservations on hold for Qantas 1st class (2 seats) in my AAdvnatge account but my friend is going to pay for the ticket with his miles. Is there any way to switch who account the miles is going to be deducted without having to take the risk of canceling and rebooking? If I cancel, how quickly can I rebook with his account?

  79. lucky says

    @ Larry Harte — Yes, just call and they can change the ticket from which the miles will be pulled, since the ticket is only on hold so far.

  80. Ben says


    I got the crazy Amex offer to book rev United or AA tickets with Amex points.

    For someone with no status and 500k points, what would be the best way to leverage this into something that would earn me back more than spend and get me some good travel?


  81. SB says

    Hi Lucky

    Thanks for the earlier reply – very helpful. Just one last clarification…

    On TYO-LHR is JAL 1st worth the extra AAdvantage miles over Business class?


  82. Tar_000 says

    Hi Lucky,

    I wanted to use Avios for a one-way from the US to Morocco and was wondering if I had to pay fule surchages irrespective of which airline I choose?


  83. Gabe says

    Hey Lucky,

    I have been looking at Singapore First Class availability between the US and Sydney, and I have seen a decline in seats over the last couple of weeks. A couple of months ago they released two seats almost every single day, but now I am having problems finding days with one seats. Is this due to the fact that their schedule is in January and they release less seats over peak travel or that they are simply releasing less award seats?

    So with that in mind do you think it is realistic to have as a goal to book 2 seats on SQ to Sydney if booking 11 months out? I will have more than a week of flexibility and I am open to going from
    LAX, SFO, JFK or IAH.

    Thanks, Gabe

  84. lucky says

    @ Gabe — Probably a combination of both. They’re generally releasing less space, and the fact that it’s over the peak season doesn’t help. I still think chances are good, though.

  85. Chris says

    I am looking at going from Miami to Naples, Italy and then returning Santorini, Greece to Miami. The flights, on AA, for Economy seats came to $2700 per person – they utilize British Airways for these flights. But, because of my time crunch, if I buy the miles on AA’s website (with the current bonus) I can fly the same routes in First Class for $2655 per person. Any other thoughts on how to fly first class cheaper than the $2655 or should I just buy the miles? The only real points I have right now are about 200,000 Amex points.

  86. lucky says

    @ Chris — The 200K Amex points should be more than enough to get you to Europe in business/first class. This might be a case where our consulting service,, can add quite a bit of value, if you’re not savvy with redeeming your Amex points.

  87. Gabe says

    Hey Lucky,

    I was thinking/hoping for that.

    If it wouldn’t be possible to flyg SQ First Class to Sydney, what other options would you recommend? I have about 500K MR points as well as about a million in other frequent flyer programs so I could transfers points if necessary.

    Thanks, Gabe

  88. lucky says

    @ Gabe — There aren’t many great options between the US and Australia. Best other option is Virgin Australia business class using Delta SkyMiles.

  89. Rita says

    Hey Ben…

    How ethical/unethical is it to place a hold on an AA award every week till AA and DM actually merge….I have an insane route which I couldn’t afford myself at all…but would love to use miles…I think you guys are the gurus in this field…so you could advise!

  90. Vikas says

    Hey Lucky,

    Does Skype/facebook cam /oovoo or a hundred such things work with inflight wifi? Especially etihad flights, if you know about it?
    Lastly is there a guide to which Etihad planes have inflight wifi capacity and the costs?

  91. grandgourmand says

    thanks for checking Lucky. still appears stingier to me. over the past few weeks, I’ve looked almost every day for one year out and could count on finding F out of ORD and JFK (one seat only, though) pretty easily. now all I see is “not available”. found a couple days with one seat going out of BOS…but i had to search a fair bit. anyhow, i’ll keep monitoring.

  92. lucky says

    @ Vikas — Voice communication isn’t permitted, but in practice it usually still works. Almost all Etihad longhaul aircraft have wifi, and it’s ~$20 for a pass that lasts the whole flight. The narrowbody planes don’t have wifi.

  93. lucky says

    @ Rita — Well in practice when you hold tickets and the hold expires, the space doesn’t necessarily go back into award inventory. Furthermore, if you keep doing it your account may be in jeopardy.

  94. Michael says

    Thanks for your earlier response Lucky.

    Have a totally different line of question for you. You know Delta award routing rules better than I, so would this routing be legal and price at the ‘right’ level:

    PPT-NRT-HAN, with first leg on Air Tahiti Nui and second on Vietnam. According to DL Award charts, SW Pacific to SE Asia should be 70k in business. EF shows MPM as 9410, this would be 8176 so I think this part would be okay. Does DL have issues with transiting other regions (a la AA) or combining SkyTeam airlines with random partners on single ticket?


  95. lucky says

    @ Michael — In theory I think that should be fine, though with Delta it all comes down to what the computer prices. Sometimes it prices itineraries, sometimes it doesn’t. But I would guess it will price.

  96. Tar_000 says

    Hi Lucky —

    I think you missed my question. Anyways, here it is…

    I wanted to use Avios for a one-way from the US to Morocco and was wondering if I had to pay fuel surcharge irrespective of which airline I choose? In addition, does it make sense to use Avios or AA miles? (keeping in mind which airline releases more business class space in May).


  97. lucky says

    @ Tar_000 — Whoops, sorry. If you fly airberlin or Aer Lingus there will be no/minimal fuel surcharges. Otherwise if you transfer your Avios through Iberia and book for travel on their own flights, there wouldn’t be fuel surcharges either.

  98. Jonathan says

    Is there such a thing as a good FF program for infrequent flyers? I live in an Asian country where rewards programs aren’t always as lucrative (especially considering… local purchasing power) so the options are more limited (piling up points is harder).

    FWIW, my (extremely few) miles are currently on Korean, and they are ludicrously good about when points expire (10 years). As far as credit card partners, the local Citibank card can transfer points to the following airlines

    – Cathay Pacific
    – British Airways
    – Singapore Airlines
    – Thai Airways
    – Delta
    – Etihad
    – Eva Air
    – Garuda Indonesia
    – Malaysia Airlines

    So my question, is there any program here that is particularly useful for my situation?

  99. Craig says

    Hi Lucky,

    With the us airways merger approaching I’m unsure what to do. My current us airways card goes up for renewal (had it for 1 year) next month. They have offered me 15k points with 1500 spend to keep the card. Should I keep the card? Should I just apply for another one for 50k? Or should I cancel everything and wait and see for the new product.


  100. lucky says

    @ Craig — 15K miles for $1,500 in spend is a good deal. With the US Airways Card some report being able to pick up another card even if they already have one, so whether or not you cancel it doesn’t necessarily impact your chances of getting the card again.

  101. lucky says

    @ Jonathan — That’s a real toughie. As an infrequent flyer I think it would benefit you to stick to a program which has a more generous expiration policy. In other words, you don’t want a program where miles expire after a certain amount of time, even with activity. So I’d maybe look at a non-Asian program in your shoes.

  102. says

    Hey Lucky!

    I feel like doing something crazy on my birthday and I have 100k LM-Miles and 150k M&M Miles we are 2 Pax and would be wanting to travel for approx. a week in March? Any funky ideas?


  103. wln says

    Lucky, a question about traveling with a companion on the QR 787 (in J). Are the center seats so private that it is hard to talk to each other? Or, would a window-aisle combination actually allow more conversation? Also, it looks like the seats don’t have an ottoman or other way to eat together – is that right? Thanks!

  104. lucky says

    @ wln — If you want to talk, two center seats are your best bet. They’re not so far apart that you can’t talk.

  105. Ken says

    Hi Ben,

    Is there an easy way to find the record locator for CX booked as an award ticket through US? Thanks!

  106. jake says

    Hi Lucky,

    I had two RT F tickets on EY from Dulles on hold and the hold expired while I was waiting for the SPG points to transfer. I called to put them on hold and now AA is saying that there is only one F seat (and one J) on those and other dates.

    Did EY just halve the inventory? If so, *(&&* slow spg transfers

  107. says


    Have you been or had lunch at Al Muntaha restaurant? is it the same location as sky bar?

    What do you think of it?

  108. Tar_000 says

    Hey Lucky —

    I was wondering if I will have to go through UK Border Control/Immigration for a flight that leaves from IAD to LHR on Virgin Atlantic and then onto CDG on Air France. In addition, will I once again go through Border Control/Immigration at CDG for a flight from CDG to CMN?

    Thanks so much!

  109. Abhi says

    Hi Lucky,
    Need some urgent advice.
    As you might know AA is not allwed to issue tickets going out of Philippines unless it’s part of a return ticket.
    I had a return ticket booked with AA miles going out of Philippines for December 15, 2014. I had that canceled and didn’t rebook another ticket at that time. Now I booked a return ticket for January 31, 2015, and the ticket agent on phone were able to locate the Dec 15 ticket and rebook the new Jan 31 ticket as the return part of the original ticket.
    However they are still not able to issue me the ticket and I am not getting a confirmation email despite speaking to a bunch of agents on phone all assuring me each time that I’ll get a confirmation within the hour (it’s been 24 hrs since).
    Please advice who to speak to.

  110. Abhi says

    Update on my situation above.
    Just got a confirmation email from AA.
    But when I go to and try to see the iterenary it shows
    Departure Date Departing Status Reservation Name
    01/31/15 CEB Ticketed on 01/28/15 CEB/HKG

    When I click select on that reservation it gives me error: We are unable to retrieve your reservation with the information provided. Please verify your information and re-submit. Otherwise, if you need assistance, please contact Web Services.

    I am worried if I have the ticket or if something weird is going wrong behind the scenes and wether I’ll actually be able to fly ….

  111. JD says

    Hi Lucky, I booked a nonrefundable domestic one way ticket on US airways, but canceled it due to change in plans. US airways’ cancellation policy wording is a bit confusing and I was hoping you’d be able to clarify – do I get what I paid back as an account credit (not credited back to my card) that can be used for any future travel, even if origin/destination are different?

  112. Erik says


    Hope you are enjoying the trip with your mom! I have a question regarding hotel rewards. My “loyalty” is currently with Marriott, I stay at Marriott properties about 20-25 nights a year and I get Marriott Gold as I’m UA Plat. However, I’m considering switching to SPG properties. Do you think it’s worth the switch? I know you value SPG points more than twice that of Marriott rewards(if i recall correctly), but switching to SPG properties would mean I will have no status.

    I’ve stayed at Marriott properties for 5 nights this year already…not sure if it’s worth sticking with it. I’m looking to use my hotel rewards at properties around southeast asia(mainly HKG), but as I was looking at redemption with Marriott properties…I don’t have many options.

    Apologies for the long email and thanks for your time. Safe Travels

  113. JG says

    My UA status allows me free redeposit of miles from award tickets, and I’m thinking about making a speculative international reservation for myself, wife, and <1 year old daughter. I know from Travis's post that we would need to pay ~10% of the regular premium cabin fare for my daughter to be a lap child. QUESTION: would this be refundable if we redeposit the miles? Is it a better idea to wait to tell UA about the lap child until we know we're making the trip?

    I know I might really be in Ask Travis… Thanks!

  114. mohamed says

    Dear lucky
    Regarding BA executive club coming changes my questions is foes this affect the earning with partner??like if i fly AA and what about tier points required and earned??

  115. janet caldwell says

    Hi lucky! I’m a long time reader of your blog! It is so helpful….and YOU have been so helpful TWICE before getting my family of four to Europe in the last 3 years!
    I’m trying to plan our third trip in May back to Europe (daughter graduating from Pepperdine and husbands 50th)
    My question is this: I’ve been trying to decide if I should go the Avios way (new for me)…with the AMEX bonus right now & if I book soon, I can get in before the devaluation. I have 180,000 AMEX. I’ve checked Expert Flyer and there’s some availability ORD-DUB (Since all of your wonderful posts, Boston’s out of the picture as far as availability it seems) Then we would fly DUB-DUS and DUS-NYC.
    My calculations put that at needing 191,500 Avios or 138,000 AMEX transferred and 54,000 bonus points (the 40% promo)
    I would use SW points and companion passes to get us back to LAS where we live.

    Is that the best use? Or should I go with an airline that has stopover potential, say ORD-FRA with a stopover in DUB? American? Aeroplan?
    Coach is fine…I mean I would prefer Business class but there are 4 of us…..

    thanks Lucky. You really are a treasure!


  116. lucky says

    @ jake — It’s not unusual for award seats to sometimes not go back into inventory. Sucks, though. :(

  117. lucky says

    @ LUKASZ — Sure. Or you mean with Alaska miles? In which case the answer is no, unless you’re connecting to the US.

  118. lucky says

    @ Abhi — It can often take more than 24 hours for a ticket to be issued, so I wouldn’t be worried. With the weather cancellations around the country the ticketing desks are quite busy.

  119. lucky says

    @ JD — Correct, you can apply it towards a future ticket, but you can’t get a refund to your card.

  120. lucky says

    @ Erik — To be honest if you’re Marriott Gold I’d say they’re a pretty good option. Marriott does have properties almost everywhere, so is tough to beat in terms of their global footprint. I might just stick with them in your shoes, as their mid-tier status is incredibly valuable.

  121. lucky says

    @ JG — In your shoes I’d just wait to book the infant ticket when you know for sure you’re going. It is refundable, but there’s no advantage to booking it sooner rather than later.

  122. lucky says

    @ janet caldwell — Thanks for the kind words! If the availability is there then I’d say that’s a fantastic option, and is definitely what I’d do. That being said, do keep in mind that the availability ExpertFlyer shows for Aer Lingus travel is different than what BA has access to. The only way to find out BA’s Aer Lingus availability is to call BA directly.

    Enjoy the trip!

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