Ask Lucky

Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so feel free to jump in and share tips!


  1. RKN says

    Hey Ben,
    First I’d like to say that your blog is great. I just started following it for the past few months and definitely have learned a lot.
    I was wondering if there was a way to know if a flight on Etihad would have the new pearl business class or old business class? Do the flights from the US/Canada to Abu Dhabi generally have the new business class?
    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. jake says


    Thank you for your helpful blog. You do a wonderful job and have helped us travel a bit (and dream even more). I was wondering if it ever makes sense to get 3 Business tickets from the Seychelles to Kenya next summer with miles? It’s Kenya Airways and I don’t know how to find their availability. If I can do it for a nominal amount of miles, they have 3+ seats daily for a while yet, etc… it might work. I was basically hosed, and drained my accounts getting to Kenya with Etihad.

  3. RV says

    Curious as to your thoughts on best option for business class – AC/LH, Emirates or Qatar?

  4. Stuart says


    I want to book the park hyatt milan in February for two nights. I’m thinking about doing the chase hyatt card that comes with two free nights as a sign-up bonus. My question is how long does it take to credit the two free nights once you hit the spend on the card? I’m worried about availability not being there, it’s there now, once I get the certificates. What’s your experience been with this?


  5. lucky says

    @ Stuart — The two free nights should post once the statement closes where you meet the minimum spend. I don’t think you’ll have any issues since Hyatt doesn’t have blackout dates. If there’s a standard room available for sale it should be available on points. I don’t see you having any issues in February.

  6. lucky says

    @ RV — All depends on the aircraft type. In general I’d say Emirates A380, followed by Qatar 777, followed by Air Canada, followed by Lufthansa’s new business class.

  7. lucky says

    @ jake — You should be able to use the FlyingBlue website to search for Kenya Airways award space. Since you’d be paying fuel surcharges through Delta as well, I would just book through FlyingBlue, in your shoes. Good luck!

  8. norm says

    I have a 50000 pt offer to upgrade to AMEX platinum from gold. I’d like to use it for booking via Fine hotels, but before I jump into platinum, I’d like to know hotel rates at a specific hotel. How can I find rates without being Plat?

  9. Jerry says

    I have 200,000 united miles looking for two (2) business class award tickets to Europe (Paris/Oslo ) from New York next spring(2015) Can I use my united miles with another Star Alliance carrier other than United which requires 140,000 for each person. Thanks Jerry
    PS: If I can, how is it done

  10. lucky says

    @ Jerry — If you book a carrier other than United for the transatlantic segment then you’d have to pay the Star Alliance rate of 140,000 miles per person in business class roundtrip.

  11. Terence says

    Hi Lucky:
    Had a conversation with the barclay’s rep for US Airways MS card; they were quite firm that in 2015 AAdvantage and Dividend Miles would be run separately. any thoughts on that? was hoping they would merge into one program with benefits well-aligned.

  12. lucky says

    @ Terence — I wouldn’t put too much weight into what they say, though it’ll likely be the second half of last year before they merge the programs, at the earliest.

  13. RV says

    AC/LH Combo would be 777, A340-300 and 747-8, Emirates would be all 777s, Qatar is 777s and A330s. Thanks again!

  14. Shawn says

    Ben – does SQ allow stopovers on one-way awards anywhere other than SIN? For ex, if I wanted to book SIN-NRT-LAX, could I build in a stopover in Tokyo?


  15. Chris says

    Lucky, I have booked a first class ticket to Munich on Lufthansa back when they have released First Class on the A330 service. I noticed today that they know have me going to Frankfurt on a 747-400 the getting connection flight to Munich in business. Whats up, and do I have options when they change like that. I am flying to Bangkok on Thai in first class. If no options, what would be your favorite seat on the 747-400 in first? Thanks Lucky

  16. lucky says

    @ Shawn — On a one way saver award, no stopovers are allowed, period. On a full or flex award you could do a stopover in another city, like Tokyo.

  17. Dave says

    Ben, I am trying to make sure that Etihad publishes a revenue rate for an award show if I’m trying to book to make it doable for business-class with miles. It is SEA to EBL. On this route, once a week they publish an ugly fair that Actually uses a combination of JetBlue, jet Airways and Etihad. Will this meet the criteria of needing a route that has a published fare? Allowing me to make my own itinerary segment by segment?

  18. Christian says

    Hi Lucky — I’m trying to book a flight on Dragonair from HKG to DAD using Avios points. Unfortunately, DAD doesn’t seem to show up as a possible destination in the BA award search. Any ideas? I’ve seen Dragonair flights in the BA Award Search before, so that shouldn’t be an issue, right? Do you think I could call and book? Would they waive any fees since you can’t book online?

  19. lucky says

    @ Christian — Yes, it should be bookable by phone, and they should waive the booking fee since it can’t be booked online.

  20. Jerry says

    Is there any way I can book JFK to CDG in business class roundtrip using my 100,000 miles with UAL.
    Thanks Jerry

  21. RV says

    I’d be flying IAD-HKG and MAA to IAD – Lufthansa would be MAA to IAD and in new business class per their website

  22. lucky says

    @ Jerry — The lowest business class award rate is 115,000 United miles roundtrip, if you stick to United flights.

  23. James says

    Hi Lucky! Going to start trying to book our Europe trip for summer 2015 in a few weeks. Couple questions for you….

    On our flight home we originally were going to try to fly 1st class LH FRA-YVR (we live in BLI and going to use LH miles) but it looks like no direct 1st class from there and you go through MUC. 1) Does the MUC-YVR flights all have new first class? 2) Any issues with us being able to use the 1st class terminal in FRA prior to our flight down to MUC the same day? 3) Really was hoping to fly the 747 for the separate bed into YVR. Any reason we should try to go out of our way to fly that, or is everything else pretty much the same on the non-747 planes with new first class? Our main priority is we want to use the FRA 1st class terminal (hopefully be driven to the plane!) and also fly LH new first class (we can go into either YVR or SEA, but SEA only has business class now. :-( )

    For the flight to Europe want to use our Alaska miles to fly Emirates. When I’ve been fooling around on the AS site, I don’t see really any availability between LAX-DXB (looking for 2 seats). I know there’s an issue with AS and phantom availability, not sure if that’s the issue or something else. Has Emirates been releasing award space far out, or only closer in? I had hoped to fly SEA-LAX-DXB-either to Milan, Zurich, Munich (somewhat flexible with our final stop in Europe) so we could fly the A380 for the shower experience. Is it worth the trouble to do that or go straight out of SEA to DXB without the A380 (or is there a route with better A380 availability we can get to from SEA)? I assume the rest of the product is the same besides the shower?

    Sorry for the long post and many questions. Trying to come up with a solid game plan within the next few weeks when the window opens so I’m not scrambling too much!


  24. Lauren says

    How’s Cathay F award availablity looking these days? I have two award seats in J from HKG-ORD on September 9, but would love to fly us in F if possible. Where and when should I start looking, given I know there have been issues with phantom award space on BA? And is AA going to charge me $75/ticket to make the change close in?


  25. Adam says


    Thanks for listing earlier for your preference, but 1A got snapped up. so, which do you think: CX840 HKG-JFK seat 2D, 1D, or 1K. Simple rationale?

  26. Adam says

    Hi Lucky,

    I asked you up earlier in a post about CX840 HKG-JFK and you gave the seat preference of 1A over 2D. Sadly it got snapped up, so the option now is 2D or 1D or 1K. Which would you take and why? I’m not familiar with the 1D/K proximity to the galley, bathrooms, et al.


  27. Peter says

    Ben: Thanks for your help with the SQ site the other day…happy to report that I snagged 2 Suite Class seats LAX-NRT-SIN (and the onward connection on a 777 to PVG).

    I’m looking to burn some AA miles for the return…preferably PEK-ORD, but as long as I start from PEK and end up somewhere in the US it would work. Cathay is the obvious choice…any other First or Business products you’d recommend?

    Thanks for your help, and the consistently fantastic blog!

  28. lucky says

    @ James — You should have access to the FCT regardless, and all the Munich-Vancouver flights have the new first class.

    Availability between Los Angeles and Dubai is incredibly limited right now, if you really want the A380 you might need to look at connecting in New York, or just fly Seattle-Dubai and then book an A380 flight between Dubai and Europe.

  29. choi says

    Lucky, how do you make reservation for afternoon tea at the Dubai Al Arab ? can the bill be applied to the Arrival Card for credits since its at the hotel ? Thanks

  30. lucky says

    @ Adam — I always prefer a window, so would take any A or K seat over the D seats.

  31. lucky says

    @ Peter — Nice award! If you want to use AA miles I’d also look at JAL in First – they have decent availability and a nice new product.

  32. Chris says

    Lucky, should have given this to you in the first place, sorry. I used Untied to do my booking for the trip and it was before the devaluation. My original flight was YVR to MUC direct on flight LH477 connecting to BKK on Thai Airways First Class. They have now changed me to YVR to FRA on LH493, then connecting to MUC to catch my Thai flight.

  33. RXB says

    Hi Jerry,

    Hope you’re doing well. I wanted to reach out to you to get your opinion on which airline to begin my loyalty program with.

    I recently moved to SF and I’m deciding whether I should go with UA or VX. I’m mosaic on JetBlue but they don’t have good non-stop service out of either SFO or OAK so I’m looking at other options. Here’s my “flying profile”

    - I typically fly only to major cities so SF to LA, NYC, DC, Las Vegas, and perhaps Boston, Miami, Chicago. Internationally I travel about once a year to London with other trips ad hoc and not worthy of basing my decision on.

    - I travel mostly on the weekends (Friday out, Sunday back) and choose airlines based on (1) non-stop service (2) price and (3) inflight product; I’ll be travelling in Y so stuff like personal tv, wifi, and power outlets are useful.

    Based on such habits and flying patterns, do you going with VX or UA is a better idea?

    Thanks in advance!

  34. lucky says

    @ Chris — That’s interesting. So, on the plus side if you connect you’ll have the separate beds, and would be able to use the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. If you’d really prefer to fly direct you could contact United, and they should be able to have the alliance liaison restore the routing.

  35. lucky says

    @ RXB — If you don’t care about accruing miles for international travel through flying, then I’d probably go with Virgin America in your case.

  36. Tyler says

    Hey Lucky,

    What do you think is the best first award from CDG to HKG, probably CX right? Any other worthwhile choices, looks like Qatar is an option as well. Would it be worth it to get creative and do a first award CDG to AUH on Etihad then biz award to HKG for the same amount of miles as a CDG-HKG first award?


  37. Jamie says


    I just started my Diamond challenge (woo!). Just wondering what your experience is in getting upgraded to best available room as a Diamond (when not using a suite upgrade). Do you have to ask for a bigger, nicer room or check in or do they usually just take care of you? We are staying at Park Hyatt Vendome and also the Hyatt Regency Churchill (both straight point redemptions) in a month or so and I am wondering if they will put us in a deluxe room. Ever get upgraded to a suite? Any tips?


  38. Patrick says

    Hey Lucky,

    Random question, what kind of camera do you use to take your pictures? Do you have a point and shoot, or do you just use your phone?

  39. lucky says

    @ Jamie — I typically don’t ask, and have nearly always received a better room if one is available.

  40. lucky says

    @ Patrick — Depends on the picture. I use my iPhone 5 more and more nowadays, but also have a Canon Powershot S95 for trip reports.

  41. lucky says

    @ Tyler — Yep, Cathay Pacific is probably best, or Qatar. Etihad would require additional miles, unfortunately.

  42. Chris says

    So on the Lufthansa 747-400, what is you favorite first class seat when traveling with someone?

  43. lucky says

    @ Chris — Any two seats across the aisle from one another are equally good. I prefer row 82 followed by row 83.

  44. Holly says

    Do you know what has happened to the direct flight from MUC-YVR on LH? We were scheduled to be on that flight, but upon checking my reservations, I see it’s been changed to the direct flight to Vancouver from Frankfurt on the 747. Expertflyer shows 10/11 to be the last day for LH 476.

    Thanks, Lucky

  45. Nick says


    Where should we stay if we have two nights in Singapore in June 2015?



  46. Ty says

    Lucky, qq about Alaska Airlines awards. Are they pretty much only for flights originating or terminating in North America? There are a few routes on their award chart that don’t, mostly on CX and a couple intra-region on KE/Lan, but is that it? If I’m looking for Europe-Middle East or Asia on EK am I out of luck?

  47. lucky says

    @ Ty — Yep, if Alaska doesn’t publish a chart for a region, you can’t redeem miles for it. You are indeed out of luck for the regions you’re looking at.

  48. lucky says

    @ Nick — What’s your budget, which chain are you loyal to, where do you have points, etc.? In general really like the St. Regis.

  49. Jerry says

    Looking to book business class UAL New York to BRU next May 2015 using 115,00 round trip.
    Is this possible? is so, some examples please.
    Thanks in advance Jerry

  50. Jerry says

    How do I book business class with 115,000 UAL miles New York to Europe for Spring 2015

    Thanks Jerry

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