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. Thanks. We’ll get to the airport early, and hope they’re open to a reroute that gives a better chance of making the connection.

  2. Hi Ben. I have a question about AA routing rules. I am excited for an upcoming trip with Etihad from LHR-AUH-SYD. However, I cannot find a reasonable way home from SYD and am looking at other options. My thought is to fly the A380 LHR-AUH-LHR and forget about SYD. With an award ticket originating in Europe, will AA allow me to connect in AUH and continue on anywhere else? I don’t want to spend 2 weeks in AUH and would prefer to head somewhere like SEZ, MRU, or Asia to hop a flight to DPS. Any insight on routing after the LHR-AUH leg?

  3. Lucky, question regarding BA Avios account audit. I created a house hold account with my girlfriend about a month ago (we legitimately live together), we made a booking for both of us on one PNR, and later earned the 50k chase bonus which posted yesterday. Today, both of our accounts had balanced zero’ed out with no communication, and about 10 minutes later we could no longer log in. We’ve never over-earned or under-paid, or did throwaway segments (all miles legitimately earned through spend, bonus, or amex transfer, never flights). Do you have any insight into account audits, how long they take, and what recourse I might have? Whether with BA or Chase? Thanks!

  4. @ Mark — On a single award you could indeed continue to somewhere else in the Middle East/India, though you couldn’t continue to Asia on the same award. That being said, one-way first class awards between the Middle East and Asia are quite reasonably priced, so they’re not a bad option. If you haven’t been to India, that’s one destination to consider.

  5. I am looking into redeeming AAdvantage miles for a trip SYD-AUH trip with EY. However, as I do not live in Sydney, but Canberra I would need to add a QF CBR-SYD leg to the redemption. The AA hotline told me thats not possible, as QF is a oneworld partner and EY a non-oneworld partner with AA. Was she right (and I should just buy a cheap CBR-SYD on my own) or is it worth to hang up and call again?

  6. Lucky, what are your thoughts on the new Bank of America Preferred rewards program? In general, how would you compare the value of 2.6% cash back on all purchases vs transferrable points?

  7. Hey Lucky,
    does Qatar Airways offer chauffeur service for business class arrivals and departures in Phuket?

  8. Ben thanks for the response. Do you know which region Male falls under within the AA award chart? Hoping its India as you suggested!

  9. Hey Lucky,

    I have a BA avios award booking (redeemed on AA metal), but my outbound flight has been cancelled. BA has rebooked me on a later flight (which I am yet to accept). They’re also giving me the option to cancel the entire booking and get a refund. Now since this was a reward booking, I presume I would get the taxes back and also the avios? Or would I end up losing the avios that I used for this redemption?


  10. Hi Ben,

    I enjoy your blog so much. It has become my everyday reading. I want to ask you If I want to accumulate one of Star Alliance member mileage program. Which one is the best for redeeming? For example, I use BA to look for tickets availability on One World, and redeem on AA. Does Star Alliance have the similar thing?


  11. Hi Lucky
    I was trying to do AKL-HKG-ORD(Stopover)-SEA-LIH on Alaska Award Travel. Is this allowed? It seems like backtrack.Thank you

  12. Hi Lucky, Hope your having a great day, wherever you are in the world. I see you have lots comments today, but may I ask your opinion. Am a BA executive club member. Always have over 200,000 points on hand. Need to get my daughter (18) from DRS to YYC (calgary) early next week (on points only) . MY options: Wait couple more days, hope they open a premium or business seat on LHR to YYC (mar31 approx.) they have 9 prem. and 14 bus. still unsold for that day, so hoping they put in as point seats. (have no problems getting from dresden or TXL to LHR) . Could do Air Berlin into JFK, then pay for a home flight. Could do Air Lingus from Dublin, to Toronto, then pay for a flight. AA or US have no point seats open. Can you give me a glimpse of WWLD? Any other suggestions I have not thought of? This is her first overseas flight alone. thanks so much !!

  13. Hey Lucky,
    I realize this is a long way off, but do you know if you will be on the inaugural Etihad flight from AUH – JFK on the A380 on December 1? I know you have flown the Etihad A380 1st class before, but on the shorter route. I was just curious if you’ll be on the JFK flight to have more time to enjoy the hard product and experience. I’m planning to buy my ticket this weekend.

  14. @ Brian — I’d certainly like to be, though as of now don’t have plans to be on it, unfortunately. If I am, hope to see you onboard!

  15. @ susan — That’s a tricky one! I think you’ve considered most of the good options. If your daughter absolutely has to travel on those dates, I’d probably book the option that’s available now on Aer Lingus or airberlin, and then if something better opens up you can make the change for $55. I’d note that it might not actually end up costing more to do one of the above options, since neither incur fuel surcharges, while travel on BA incurs hefty fuel surcharges. So I don’t necessarily think there’s a right answer, though I’d probably book now if the dates are set in stone and she has limited flexibility.

    Good luck!

  16. @ Makalo Lee — How do you mostly earn miles, what are you looking to redeem for, etc.? Tough to say without knowing details of your “patterns.”

  17. @ Joanne — Can’t say I’m familiar with it. Will look into it, and if I have any thoughts I’ll write a post about it. Thanks for your patience!

  18. Thanks for the fast reply. She does have a few days after March 31, up to April 4th. Have you seen BA throw in point seats at the last minute ?
    Can you recommend Aer lingus or Air Berlin, both would be business class ?
    And yes, either way, its all gonna come to close in price whether I do BA or One world partner, with a additional paid ticket . Air Berlin website flys TXL to YYC, but the stop in Toronto goes on to Air Canada, which is Star Alliance, so I cannot book that one with BA points, Correct ?

    Best Wishes, Susan

  19. Just want to see how to get from DRS (great city) to a boring city YYC in the next couple days using Aeroplan miles and partners and here what I found:

    1: Apr 1 – DRS-FRA-CHI-YYC LH/UA-C/F 456.60 CAD
    2: Apr 1 – DRS-FRA-YOW-YYC – LH/AC C 409.30 CAD
    3: Apr 2 – DRS-FRA-IAH-YYC – LH-UA C 161.50 CAD
    4: Apr 3 – DRS-FRA-YYZ-YYC- LH/AC C 413.82 CAD

    You need only 45.000 Aeroplan miles all the way – so absolute not bad – special UA B788 via Houston.
    Aeroplan (mostly AC) cannot connot be together with BA Avios miles

  20. on your post Jorgen/yyc: I was also checking out Aeroplane (even though I have to do a $200 family transfer to get to 30,000 points) , is 45,000 aeroplane points for a premium or business class, as I saw economy for 30,000 ? Why is pick #3 so much less in cash? Also looking at using my BA points to get here, same root.

  21. Route 3 is much cheaper because UA has NO fuel charge as LH and AC has. (Same AB and EI has NO fuel tax)
    Premiere will be 37.500 on AC and only if you can find B787 – all the mention route is in Business Class and UA First IAH-YYC but that is nothing to write about – These First in United 3-4 hours flight is NO special service at all. The price is good and over Atlantic is Business

  22. Jorgen/YYC :
    Thanks. Best of luck and have a great flight Jorgen!
    If you find anymore great ways to get from DRS to YYC in next few days, let us know. Flying daughter home from her spring break. Totally agree on the DRS to boring YYC!

  23. Ben–I’m trying to plot a SQ award for travel to Cancun/Havana. I was able to find availability for the following routing: bos-ewr-msy (stopover)-iah-cun (open jaw) hav-pty-bos. It meets the six segment rule with the first four on UA and the last two on Avianca. The SQ rep said it wouldn’t ticket because of the last legs exceeding MPM and “backtracking” (which I agree is how it looks on the map but there really is no direct way of getting to the US that doesn’t involve flying around a little). Have you run into this problem while booking on SQ? Any workarounds when there are no direct alternatives between a particular city pair? Thanks.

  24. Lucky, I’m looking at some flights from LHR to DOH. Which of the following would you recommend?
    * QR F on an A330
    * QR F on an A340
    * QR J on an A380
    * BA J to CDG and then QR F on an A380 with ~6 hour layover in CDG

    The most obvious answer is probably going through CDG (A380 F and saving a bunch on APD) but it looks like the lounge there is fairly lackluster as compared to the one in LHR. I know you raved about their A380, though, which is why I thought the direct in J could be a contender.

  25. Oh, or option 5 of
    * BA J to FRA and then QR J on an A380

    (I’ve flown non-QR A380s but no A350s)

  26. Where by “BA J to FRA and then QR J on an A380″ I meant on an A350 – I am apparently incapable of typing it correctly (as in I mistyped it trying to correct it just now)

  27. @ Matt — That’s a toughie. If cost is a factor then I’d do J on the A380. You get the bar, reverse herringbone seat, and Qatar Airways Heathrow Lounge. But first class is ultimately still better than business… though the A330s and A340s are pretty boring. So I’d go with business on the A380.

  28. @ Gaurav — Correct, Singapore is pretty strict about backtracking. The outbound stopover probably wouldn’t be allowed either since it’s more indirect than it needs to be. In this case there might just not be a way to book an award to Cuba yet given the lack of direct options. I’m afraid you probably won’t have much luck with KrisFlyer.

  29. @ susan — Yes, they sometimes do make seats available last minute. Airberlin has a fully flat business class product, so is a great option.

  30. Lucky,

    I have a question about the Airline Miles Program from Marriott Rewards. Do you know anything about it and what are your thoughts? Also, with this do you get Marriott points AND whichever airline you designate you want miles towards or is Marriott points OR miles? Can you chose multiple airlines at a time or is it one airline per stay?


  31. Thanks Ben. If I switch out the last leg to CUN-ORD-BOS, they were able to price it at 35k R/T so it looks like that might work. Too bad, I was really hoping to spend a few days in Cuba before the floodgates open. Paid tickets are super expensive too, even from Mexico.

  32. @ Sean — You can only do one airline partner per stay, and you’d be earning miles in lieu of Marriott Rewards points.

  33. hi. first time here, so pease excuse any faux pas. just found this venue today.

    so, thanks for the info. already connected to the rewards club for dining.

    my question is this: going on first trip to 3 Greek islands (mykanos-naxos-santorini)…will take any tips or help or dinimg, electronics converters, anything.

    p.s. does the restaurant search for united rewards only show domestic? I don’t seem to pul up any foreign. ? thanks.

  34. @ Lucky,

    Quick question since it’s urgent: I am flying to HND from SFO tomorrow in JAL F, I used AA miles to book it.
    1. How to obtain the record locator for JAL? I went to AA website and didn’t see it.
    Also can I check in online in AA website if I don’t know the record locator for JAL but have record locator for AA?

    2. I plan to arrive 4 hours early at SFO to take advantage of trying different lounge – lounge hopping – such as BA, Cathay, and JAL lounges in international terminal before boarding. Being that JAL counter doesn’t open until 1 hour prior to boarding and my boarding is midnight 1 am so I risk of not being able to try the BA and Cathay lounges since they will closed at that time, so what is my option or work around for this? print the boarding pass at home? or do they have a kiosk there for self-print boarding pass?

    3. Does the FA in F class can know if I am not revenue passenger and got into F class by redeeming miles (award seat)?

    Thanks a lot!

  35. @ John —

    1) Call American and they can give it to you. You can check in online potentially on JAL’s website, and not American’s.
    2) If you can do online check-in then yet, that would work. But the counter definitely opens more than one hour before boarding. Typically airline counters open at least 3.5 hours before departure.
    3) It varies by airline. I believe JAL does show that. But I wouldn’t expect lesser service as a result.

  36. @ Lucky: thanks a lot! if they open 3.5 hours prior boarding then I can still hop around the lounges :)

  37. @ Lucky,

    Pardon me for asking again but I am just super excited for my first JAL F flight tomorrow.
    Among BA, Cathay, and JAL lounges in SFO, which one you like the best?

  38. Hi Ben: Love the blog and read it pretty much daily! Your posts about paid premium cabin fares from certain cities (CMB, CAI) got me wondering: Is there a web tool anywhere that helps one find the “best value” for such a thing? In other words, I’m trying to find a premium cabin fare from anywhere to anywhere that represents the best possible air miles/$. As you have noted, the fares from CMB are generally rock bottom, I’m just wondering how far I can go for the least spend possible. How do you find those? Thanks!

  39. This isn’t a question but I thought it was interesting (amusing?). After the BA miles fiasco that hit a number of people (mine were ok, at least as of yesterday) today I get a survey from BA asking about:

    “Based on your recent visit to, we would very much welcome your opinions about certain aspects of your experience, and would be grateful if you could spend a few minutes completing our survey.

    We are always striving to improve the service we provide you with, and your feedback helps us achieve this.

    The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete.”

    Not sure how many others got it but I’m guessing the responses from many may be a bit negative.

  40. Hi,

    Do you know what the upper class suite is for Vigin Atlantic on the 787-9s are? To me it looks like the same as the old suite except the ones on the 787 have newer IFEs and ac power ports(instead on the dc ones on the 747s and a340s). The website does not show anything about this being a ne suite so can you please clarify the changes. Thank You

  41. @ Flyinryan — Long time no talk, hope all is well! Unfortunately there’s not really a single great resource, though I think the Premium Fare Deals Forum on FlyerTalk is a great place to start. I do wish there were such a resource out there. Sorry!

  42. @ John — None are great, really. Frankly I don’t think any are worth arriving at the airport early for. I’d just check them all out if you want to do a lounge hop. Enjoy the trip!

  43. I’ve noticed that you use the gym while traveling. What gym shoes do you pack? Or do you wear gym shoes on the plane? I want to be able to pack gym shoes more often but usually don’t have room in the carry-on. I’m sure there are lightweight compact shoes out there — just curious about what your game is here.

  44. @ Nat — I just have a “normal” pair of Nike running shoes. They do take up a bit of space, but I stuff them with socks to save space.

  45. Lucky — I want to book a Lufthansa business ticket in advance. Therefore, I would need to transfer points to Miles & More from Hyatt (I know, bad conversion rate, but I can get a promo ticket in biz for 55K round trip). So I opened up a M&M account, but it won’t let me view award availability until I have an ‘official account’ (and apparently I have to have a SA flight to get an ‘official account’). Any recommendations on how to make my account official so I can view availability, and then transfer miles and book my ticket?

  46. Hi Lucky
    Need recommendation for hotel stay in Maui.
    1. Westin for 12k spg
    2. Sheraton for 12k spg
    3. Sheraton for 6k spg plus $100
    4. Hyatt regency for 16k
    5 any other I do have Marriott points too.

  47. hi lucky,
    i stayed at the raddison hotel at crystal city, va (reagon airport) for 3 nights each week for 3 weeks in total, i.e., 9 nights – promotion says, 30K points for 3 nights. i booked double points biz and chose to upgrade to 4 people’s free breakfast every day (paid $219/night). the hotel refused to give me 4 free coupons per day (gave me one coupon only per day). then, the last week on tuesday evening when i returned to my room, all my stuffs are thrown away (by cleaning ladies, i guess). toothpaste, toobrush, hair comber, razor, socks, ties, paper/documents, book, snacks, sausages, bluh bluh, are all gone. club carlson said they do not compensate my personal belongings loss at their hotel and the hotel manager contacted me without sincere attitude. please advise what i can do. thanks a lot, andy

  48. Hi Ben

    First, thanks for your very informative blog – I am new to the world of points and your blog has inspired me to book my first multi-airline first-class trip this year using a mix of points obtained via credit cards and AAdvantage purchases.

    That said, I am hoping you have some experience to share on flying out of Amsterdam on SQ. Do you have any advice on the ground experience for a First Class Singapore Airlines’ passenger at Schiphol Airport? Specifically, the lounge seems to be a shared, out-sourced lounge (Menzies lounge 41 for First, Business and elite passengers). Is the lounge worth visiting? Would it be preferable to use the Schiphol VIP Services Lounge (at an additional fee)?

    Any advice very much appreciated.


  49. Hey Lucky,
    is it possible to enter other lounges beside the CX lounge in FRA with an CX F award ticket and no status?
    Reviews are not really great for this lounge…
    Regards Thomas

  50. @ John — With American? You’d just want to call them up with the record locator and they can process it over the phone.

  51. @ Thomas — There’s also the JAL lounge, though it’s not very nice either, unfortunately. I’d just live as little time at the airport as possible.

  52. @ Shane — I’m sure you’ll have a great trip! Unfortunately I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of the ground experience, though in general it’s not worth showing up early for a contract lounge. The VIP service would definitely be a better experience, though if you’re originating in Amsterdam I might just recommend arriving as close to departure as possible and not leaving much time for the lounge.

  53. @ Andy — I’m a bit confused. They threw away all your stuff and lost it, or…? What was their reasoning?

  54. Hi Ben,

    I’ve been following your blog for just a couple of months and since you posted about the QR CMN-SEA fares I’ve been contemplating doing one of those trips. I’m interested in flying a product I’ve never tried, seeing some places I’ve never been, and seeing if I’d actually enjoy doing the complete round-trip in 9 days, or if it would just be exhausting. Home airport is ORK so positioning to CMN not too expensive or time-consuming.
    At this point I’m pretty set on doing one trip and seeing how it goes…. but that then gives me a few further decisions to make – which is where I’m hoping you might be able to offer some advice.

    I’m currently BA Silver and so crediting one trip to EC would push me to Gold. However I’m of the opinion that the only real benefit of that would be the ‘soft landing’ back to Silver the following year, thereby giving me an extra year of OW lounge access. (I most likely wouldn’t requalify for Silver otherwise.) Am I off-base here in missing some particular Gold benefit that’s worth having?

    So instead of BA I could credit to AAdvantage which might not be a bad option anyway given the Avios devaluation.

    Then that got me thinking….. if I’m going to do one CMN-SEA trip and credit to AA then why not do 2 and go for Exec Platinum instead! With other travel I’m taking anyway and could credit to AA that would get me to the 100k needed.

    So my actual question is do you think it’s worth doing 2 trips to gain Exec Plat status rather than 1 and getting BA Gold?
    My thought process is that the AA SWU offer a real benefit (although probably less usability being Ireland based rather than US based). Given my travel patterns I could use the SWU on 2 trips between DUB or ORK and RSW/MIA/MCO/TPA depending on what prices / upgrade availability were. So round trip for 2 pax would use them up.
    Do you think there’d generally be SWU availability booking Y and upgrading to J on those routes traveling Feb/Mar and Oct/Nov? I’d be traveling with a toddler so I’d want to confirm the upgrade at time of booking and I’d rule out long-layovers, but 2 stops both ways would be fine.

    Any thoughts, advice, comment you’d have on any of this would be most appreciated. Even if it’s just that you think I’m wasting my time!

    Thanks. And keep up the good work – I’m delighted I ‘discovered’ your blog.


  55. Lucky,
    i am based out of dfw. i have plenty of AA, BA and QR miles. i am trying to find the best way to secure QR award biz class. multiple times a year.
    do you know of any trick with this airline.

  56. Hi Ben,

    Apologize for all the questions. I’m very familiar with USAirways but not so much with AA. When I’m looking at AA flights, I see “Systemwide Upgrade” in the various flight choices I’m looking at. Just to confirm, when I see this, it means that SWU is available instantly and all I have to do is call AA and ask for the SWU? Also, I will have a companion who will be in the same reservation. Will he be instantly upgraded as well even though he’s not EXP?

    Thanks. (I will eventually get the hang of AA benefits, process, etc.)

  57. Ben/Lucky,

    You have an issue with the Airline reports page. There seems to be some kind of redirect code in there that sends visitors to a third party website that contains either spam or malware. Please review and fix to maintain security for your visitors.

  58. Quick question on flights to SE Asia. Planning a trip for next year in June. We want to fly Singapore Suites and Cathay First. Given a choice, would you take the SQ option on the outbound that gets in at like 3:30am, or the return that leaves SIN at 9:30am? Which is enough time to enjoy the airport and lounge? I’m leaning towards CX SFO/LAX to HKG and then on to EITHER DPS or BKK. Which one would be the better option for a layover in HKG as using AA miles won’t allow a stop over?

  59. @ Edward — I’d probably do Singapore on the way back, as you get two daytime flights on Singapore that way. Then Cathay on the outbound is a great option. With BKK there are more frequencies, so you could do a longer stopover (but still less than 24 hours) by going to Bangkok rather than Bali.

  60. Despite your best efforts, multiple articles, and excellent advice, I am still a bit undecided on which credit card to go for to best meet my travel goals. In the end, I could probably just go with one and not try to be perfect and not worry about it, but thought I would ask for your help anyway.
    To give you a perspective, I am already heavy in Delta and Marriott points, so definitely would like to diversify away from those and currently use Amex for just about all spending, so a Visa/MC would be helpful. (I think that rules out Starwood and similar)
    Travel goals would be 1st Class on long routes (business class if I have to) – to Europe, Eastern Europe/Russia, Australia, and after that, maybe Far East.
    Also seems like better to go with a flexible card that would be good for hotel stays as well as airline.
    Your Beginners Guide says to go with Chase Sapphire, but you don’t mention the Citi Thank You there which also seems like a good option.
    I don’t have the spending levels really needed to diversify more than a couple cards so I don’t see myself churning cards.
    Any thoughts and advice?
    Keep up the great work!
    Thank You!

  61. Hi lucky
    I have status with hyatt -platinum and Marriott -gold.
    So u remember my question I’ll paste it.
    Need recommendation for hotel stay in Maui.
    1. Westin for 12k spg
    2. Sheraton for 12k spg
    3. Sheraton for 6k spg plus $100
    4. Hyatt regency for 16k
    5 any other I do have Marriott points too.

  62. Hi Lucky,

    I’ve read a lot about mistake fares regarding air tickets. What about ‘mistake fares’ regarding auto rentals? I recently completed an auto rental reservation with Alamo for a week long mid-size car rental for 20 euros. Can I expect that Alamo will honor the reservation when I arrive to pick up the vehicle? Thanks for any advice that you can offer.

  63. @ Mike — Hmmm, that sounds like quite a deal. Can’t say I’ve ever seen that happen, so not sure what the precedent there is. Sorry.

  64. @ Abhi — Of those options I’d probably do the Hyatt Regency, but none are awesome options, in my opinion. If the Andaz Maui is an option, I’d consider it as well.

  65. @ Rob — Great question! I’ll answer it on the main page of the blog tomorrow, if that’s okay.

  66. Andaz Maui is an option but I have already stayed there.
    So was thinking maybe something new.
    So what is an awesome option ?

  67. Hi Again Lucky! Got your opinion the other day on flights for my young daughter from DRS to YYC.(airline/airberlin/BA) . BA has not opened any more avois seats as of this minute (thats my preference) for travel on either mar. 31to apr. 2, LHR to YYC portion, even though they have at least 8 cash seats in premium or business. Would they let them go empty, rather than let them go for points ? only a couple days away? thanks so much. And sorry, just remembered your from Germany, my daughters are in Herrnhut, east germany!

  68. @ susan — Unfortunately sometimes they do let it go out empty rather than releasing seats. I’d probably look at another option for her.

  69. @ Abho — Maui unfortunately just isn’t a great market as far as hotels go. After the Andaz I think you’d be disappointed with any of those properties.

  70. Lucky — I want to book a Lufthansa business ticket in advance. Therefore, I would need to transfer points to Miles & More from Hyatt (I know, bad conversion rate, but I can get a promo ticket in biz for 55K round trip). So I opened up a M&M account, but it won’t let me view award availability until I have an ‘official account’ (and apparently I have to have a SA flight to get an ‘official account’). Any recommendations on how to make my account official so I can view availability, and then transfer miles and book my ticket?

  71. Ben,

    Been trying to redeem 3 20K AA tix from Europe back to the US East coast in early Jan. I can’t find ANYTHING that isnt BA @ the 20K level. Thoughts? Am I too early? Late? Tickets to Europe @ the 20K level were easy to find, its the coming back I can’t make work. :(

  72. @John- just how wed are you to something on the east coast and coming out of LON? I found availability out of MAN to ORD for 3 seats at 20K each on AA metal for 1/5, 1/10 and 1/12-1/15. You might want to book something like that and then change if the east coast opens up.

  73. Lucky,
    do gift card purchases from supermarket qualify for chase freedom 5x bonus?
    thanks as always.

  74. Ben,

    I have noticed recently that F award space is pretty much non existent on BA when searching BA site. However, when looking for F space on AA site, I find plenty of F space on BA flights. What’s up with that??? Thanks!

  75. @ John — How early January are we talking? I’d expect a lot more space will open as the departure date approaches, so I wouldn’t be too worried.

  76. @ Car — You might want to transfer a few points to the account first so that you can view availability. That being said, in general you should be able to book business class in advance through partners as well.

    Ouch, the prospect of redeeming Hyatt points for Lufthansa redemptions really stings!

  77. @ Jon Birchall — Welcome to the hobby! That’s a real toughie. A couple of things to consider:
    — One of the things I struggle with most in this hobby is marginal value. I fall into the same trap of “well, if I do one then I might as well do two and then I might as well do three,” and then the next thing you know I’m flying nonstop.
    — The main benefit of BA Gold over Silver is that you’d get oneworld Emerald, which gets you first class lounge access regardless of which cabin you’re flying
    — Crediting to American isn’t crazy, though keep in mind the program could also be devalued sometime soon, as it has remained pretty constant over the past few years, so it’s “overdue”
    — With American you’ll generally clear your systemwide upgrades as an Executive Platinum member, though rarely at the time of booking; most upgrades seem to clear much closer to departure

    So I don’t think there’s a right answer, but I don’t think your idea is crazy at all.

    Good luck!

  78. @ Simon — I believe nowadays they use the Wingtips Lounge, which I haven’t yet reviewed. Not a lounge worth arriving early for, I think.

  79. lucky – I have a bunch of Singapore miles and I was hoping I could route to Europe though South America. Is IAD-GRU-BCN possible? I did research but couldn’t find specific routing rules. That way we can fly United out of DC and Singapore out of São Paulo.

  80. Hi! Quick question. I’m trying to redeem AAdvantage miles for a trip to India this summer on Etihad Airways. I just called AA and put my award on hold for 5 days. I need to purchase a few extra AA miles to actually make the redemption though, and they’ll take a short time to post.

    I wanted to know if you’ve had experience with these 5-day AAdvantage holds on Etihad Airways… Does Etihad honor these holds for the whole 5 days or do they cancel them some time before? I’ve read that some airlines such as Qatar Airways cancel these holds after 24-48 hours, and I don’t want that to happen to me since I snagged the last available seat on the Etihad flight I want! Thank you so much. :)

  81. Benny,

    Can you write an article about “nesting” and “back to back” tickets? It would be great to hear about your experience so we can gain a clear understanding about this issue.

    Thank you

  82. Thanks Ben.

    Appreciate you taking the time to give your thoughts.
    Make sure to tell those guys at FTU to schedule another session in Europe soon. I was aware of the last one this side of the pond and I just can’t make Dallas work without eating too much in my vacation days. Working for ‘the man’ sucks!!

  83. Ben, do you know how far in advance I can book AA award tickets on CX? And if PEK-HKG-ORD-DTW is valid? I know AA allows exceeding the mileage by X% but I am not quite clear. Thanks in advance for your help!

  84. Hi Lucky, I don’t know if you’ve come across a new website called “Airport Codes” (
    It’s a very interesting, simple website explaining how certain airports (the majors ones are features, with the possibility for users to suggest additional ones) got their IATA codes. Just thought it’s an interesting site (also visually) and give you a tip. Thanks.

  85. Hi Ben

    if I remember correctly I think you’re planning to fly back from Maldives to the States via Hong Kong on Cathay. I realise from your blog that you haven’t stayed at any Starwood properties in HK. Do you intend to do that this time around ? Don’t you think your readers (including myself) would rather have you try new products than same products even though they consistently offer good service ? W Hong Kong or Sheraton Towers would be a great option dont you think ?

    Just a personal suggestion/opinion as your avid reader/follower.

  86. Hey Ben – So, this is a question about crediting cheap Star Alliance fares: basically I booked LH ATH-MUC-TXL in T, and OS TXL-VIE-ATH in S. Normally I would credit these in A3, but both of these classes get zero miles. Same with UA. So far as I see, my options to get at least some miles in programs where I could feasibly redeem them (after transferring in other currencies) seem to be Miles & More, Aeroplan and Krisflyer… I have zero balances in all three of these programs… I do intend to make an SQ booking in the reasonably near future, but I think the T class tickets would earn no miles. Miles & More would earn me some miles, but any miles I credit there tend to expire (damn three-year rolling periods!) Am I missing a good option here?

  87. Hi Lucky — I have an award on US Airways. There has been a slight schedule change (10 mins). 1) Am I eligible to cancel/modify the award with no fee? 2) If so, where will the miles go? 3) If I rebook, I assume its AA chart and rules? Finally, if I don’t cancel the award, will the old US Dividend miles rule apply re: no changes after travel? Or will I now be able to use AAdvantage rules? Thanks!

  88. Another question — is there a way to book SQ awards using KF miles, from Asia to SFO/LAX, then continuing onto another US destination using a partner (UA, VX, etc), while still getting the 15% discount online? Thanks!

  89. I enjoy your blog, but am unable to read the bottom articles. They do not come up for me to read when I click on them. For example, I cannot read the blog: “20,000 miles in 72 hours.” You can reply to me personally if you wish since this may be a problem experienced only by me.

    Thank you.

  90. @ Stratos — Unfortunately not. Miles & More might be the only option here, though you might not end up being able to efficiently use them. :(

  91. @ Keya — In this case I’m just connecting, but next time I visit I do hope to check out the Starwood options. Thanks for the feedback.

  92. Hi Ben,
    I love your blog and often check the page 5+ times per day. The breadth of your content is the best on I’ve altered my international travel habits in major ways as a result of your blog and I’ve diversified my points into new programs. As a Delta Diamond living in ATL, I have few other choices, but make due when I can with VS, AF, KLM and KE and other partners.

    My question today is:
    “Would you consider taking 3-6 months dedicated to only reviewing new business class products to fill out your portfolio?” I believe this would add a ton of value to the blog and help us make better decisions on where to book our business travel.

    As you know the business travel world is getting pretty pricey with airfares climbing steeply over the past 18 months. My company last year put an edict out that we can only fly coach, no more business class, even on ultra-long-haul flights. This is becoming very common. This has forced us to be creative in finding updgradeable coach fares (which are still allowed). [I’ve flown F class on KE and CX upon your recommendations. But, the out of pocket points spend is rough, and you don’t get accural of base miles.]

    I know that you often fly F class on most of your trips, and these reviews are very diversified. You have some good business class products reviews mixed in as well. There is a bit of a gap in the total reviews of business class products including UA, DL, BA, CA, NH, and many others.

    Kind Regards,

  93. Ben,
    I am trying to combine my avios from Iberia to BA through the BA website but it won’t let me it gave me this error message “You cannot use Combine My Avios with this account.”CMA-1102074744.14463802. So what do you think is the issue?

  94. Hello Ben et al,

    I had a question. I got an email from American Airlines saying I had a new Aadvantage account number. I logged in as indicated and in that account, only my USAirways dividend miles show up. If I log in to my original AAdvantage account then only my original American Airlines miles show up. So I now seem to have two AAdvantage accounts, rather than one consolidated one.

    Has anyone had this issue and is there a way to merge them?

    Many thanks!

  95. Hi Lucky,

    Do you know when is the earliest that I can call AA to change my award tickets booked with US airways miles? Would changing carrier without changing origin or destination trigger the $150 fee? i.e. changing JFK-HKG on CX to JFK-NRT-HKG on JL and CX? Thanks.

  96. Say you have friends flying together and they don’t have enough miles for First Class, can your friends in Economy/Business visit and hang out with you in First Class?

  97. Hey Lucky, if you had to fly from North America to TLV, how would you do it? I’ve been agonizing over which airlines to fly, and what city to stop over in for a day or two. I would have flown CX F (the long way, I know!) via HKG, but booking HKG-TLV is expensive and inconvenient it seems, and I’m traveling with an infant. Stopping in Europe seems like a waste since most probably I wouldn’t be in a real J seat for the second half.

    Thank you!

  98. Hi Lucky,
    Just thought I’d let you know Barclays website now shows US Airways MasterCard as “AAdvantage Aviator”. And the picture has changed as well!


  99. Hi Lucky,

    Since you book a lot of awards for clients, how do you deal with legal name changes when a client changes their name when getting married for example? Any useful advice? My friend married last year and booked a bunch of awards using their partner’s old name (AA awards flying on AB, and Avios award flying on AB), both AA and BA are saying they need to cancel and rebook. Is this the only alternative? I’m afraid award space will not re-appear once cancelled to re-book. Thanks in advance.

  100. @ Jeremy — Don’t quote me on this, but I believe if they just have the record notated as such and show legal documentation of the name change, that should do the trick.

  101. @ shauly — Going via Europe is going to be the most efficient, especially if traveling with an infant. I’d just probably fly British Airways or Lufthansa via their hubs to make the journey as quick as possible.

  102. @ Sam — You should be able to do it now, and there should be no change fee for that type of change.

  103. @ Adi-T — Did you link your accounts before the programs merged? If not, you’ll be able to merge multiple AAdvantage accounts starting in a week or two, so I’d recommend just being a bit patient.

  104. Lucky,
    this is not a question but rather a request.
    when you get a chance, can you write a post about credit cards with best (most lucrative) anniversary bonus?

  105. @ Rachid — In order to combine points your Iberia Avios account must be open at least 60 days. Is that the case?

  106. @ Willbw02 — I appreciate the feedback, and it’s something I’ll seriously consider/work towards. Thanks so much for reading!

  107. Ben,
    I ve had the Iberia account open for more than a year and I have combine Avios between the two account before I don’t know what’s the issue now

  108. Hi Ben,

    Not sure if you can help. I’m in the Iberia website wanting to book a flight using Iberia. I’m finding good airfares for my destination and dates. However, I cannot find the fare basis/code for the air fare because I want to make sure that I would earn AA miles for the flights. Do you know where/how to determine the fare basis/code in the Iberia website?


  109. @ John — Hmmm, not sure, unfortunately. Did you try checking an OTA to see if they can display a similar fare/show the fare basis?

  110. @ Rachid — Hmmm, wish I had an answer. Their linking system is really inconsistent, unfortunately. :(

  111. @ Adi-T — Did you link your accounts before the programs merged? If not, you’ll be able to merge multiple AAdvantage accounts starting in a week or two, so I’d recommend just being a bit patient.

    No I had not linked my accounts. Cool, I’m fine with waiting a couple weeks.. Will they be sending us emails telling us we can/should merge?

  112. Hi Lucky. Just discovered this site and there are some great tips. I’m flying American to LHR in May with checked golf clubs. I see where American arrives Terminal 3. After clearing the usual passport, customs, etc., my group of 4 has a 4 hour layover before taking Virgin Atlantic (Little Red) to Edinburgh. Any tips where to lounge for awhile? If I read the maps correctly, it’s a 10 min walk from Terminal 3 baggage claim to Terminal 2 check in. Was thinking the American Arrivals lounge may be a candidate location. Thoughts?

  113. @lucky –

    Wanting to take my wife First/Business class to HKG in early Spring 2016. We each have 55K+ AAdvantage miles and a LOT of SkyMiles (We could also transfer some Ultimate Rewards to another carrier), plus we could get cards we do not currently have.

    Very willing to do one way with one carrier and return with another (now that we can use our US Airways Miles w/ one-ways and Delta is also doing them.) She is also intrigued with Emirates, Etihad & Qatar (now that they are expanding routes from SEA.)

    It is best for my wife to have a flat-bed seat, given the long TransPac flights.

    Any good suggestions staying within these mileage amounts? Of course, if you suggest, we can acquire more miles/points as the summer goes forward, but hopeful we can lock something down soon as the booking windows open…


  114. Hi Lucky,

    This is a very basic question about a hotel you’ve stayed at. My dad and I are exploring hotels in Seoul (well, only I am right now), and it looks like the PH is the best option (we are huge Hyatt fans) for us. However, I have a concern about the rooms and the all glass style. My dad isn’t a fan of heights, he can only go up to 30 floors or so before being physically unable to walk (he has to crawl). I know this hotel only goes up to 25 or so, so that won’t be an issue. The issue is that it seems all the rooms have full glass floor to ceiling windows. This concerns me, so I was wondering if you think it would be a problem for someone like him. I think he could do a lower floor, and I’ll obviously show him pictures, but I just wanted to check in with you and see what you think about the windows. Sorry if this seems like a weird/dumb question, but I know you’ve stayed here and would hopefully have some advice.

  115. Hey Ben,

    Bought that super discounted J fare DTW-GRU. I have wait listed for F using SWU upgrades so thanks for the “heads up”. The question is this: connecting to TAM domestic flight to IGU. I see carry on restrictions are pretty ridiculous. Wondering if in your experience ( I know you have gone through GRU a lot) how strict TAM is with carry ons? Was hoping to just do carry on, but weight limit will not work. Any thoughts?

  116. Hi Lucky

    Do you know how soon the Hilton Points post after buying them off Daily Getaways? Thanks, have been waiting for them, planning on making a booking.

  117. Hey Ben!

    I did it- I booked a first class Etihad award!!!!!!!! I am literally dreaming of the B787 now – Thanks a lot for helping me out with all the questions and I can’t wait to fly…Hopefully next year it will be JFK in the A380!

    One question again! – My current itinerary is IAD – AUH (first class) and AUH – BLR (Business class). I have a ~8 hour layover…Do you think I will get to use the first class lounge if it is completed by then…travel is in November.

  118. @Ben @Danny — I experienced exactly what Danny is talking about, but with TAM. Back when TAM still had first class, I held 2 F seats (in two different locators) through AA for 5 days. TAM cancelled them after about 2 days. I repeated this several times, and each time TAM cancelled them before the 5-day hold. AA said there was nothing they could do about it.


  119. Hi Ben,

    See you will be at the FTU in Dallas. I live in Canada, will I still benefit from this weekend ?

    thanks, Susan

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