Ask Lucky

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

Comments

  1. Drew says

    Hey Ben!

    Hope you are having a blast with your dad on your amazing trip thus far! Had a quick question for you. I’m headed to Porto in January to get warm haha (Belgium is gonna be chilly in January). Anyways, I was curious where did you stay when you were there or do you have any recommendations as far as hotels to check out and any recommendations on what are must sees and must dos?

    Thanks.

  2. Jim says

    Hello Ben!

    First of all thank you for writing this blog and responding to all our questions(including mine in the past). Besides this I also want to thank you for pointing out the USDM 100% bonuses on buying miles, after much consideration I decided to jump onto them and ticket an amazing F reward redemption.

    In April I will fly Qatar F (hopefully in the a380 by then) and their B787 in Business.. but what I am excited about the most is CX F from HKG to LHR. As a vivid reader of your blog I was always “jealous” of you making these amazing adventures… I can’t wait before it’s April 2015 and enjoy the life of a F passenger and make an amazing adventure myself!

  3. Gabe says

    Hey Lucky,

    I am need of approximately 25K AA miles. How would you go about to get them, I would prefer not to apply for a credit card as I already have quite a few. I looked at purchasing them outright but I am hoping there is a way that is a little cheaper.

    Thanks, Gabe

  4. Kevin says

    Hey Lucky,

    I am traveling to Iceland (KEF) in January and was wondering if you can recommend any hotels that are near the airport that are not too expensive but provide great service.
    Thanks,
    Kevin

  5. AG says

    Hey Ben, quick question for you, if I book an Alaska Air award on Emirates, can I fly SEA – EWR on Alaska to connect with JFK – DXB using the same miles as SEA – DXB (90k in First)?

  6. says

    Hey Ben!

    Been reading all your posts, and it inspired me to treat myself and a friend to fly to Japan on my birthday (in about 9 months). I’m based in Singapore, though – definitely planning to get SQ business class. But is there a cheaper sweet spot on other air carriers between Singapore and Japan?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Vin

  7. Nicholas says

    Ben,

    I’m new to Amex Bluebird. Is there still a way to earn points while using Bluebird to pay for my car and mortgage? I have read many places no longer accept credit cards. Do the regular Vanilla cards I could buy from Walmart.com work for reloading my account?

    A simple answer would be more then appreciated, but a post would be awesome as well. Thank you for your time :)

  8. EggSS4 says

    Lucky, if I’m not mistaken it seems that most airlines give their most prestigious (or flagship) flights single digit flight numbers. Given how much you enjoy talking about strategies for why airlines fly to/from certain markets or choose certain aircrafts for those routes, perhaps it would be interesting to consider which airlines give which routes these single digit flight numbers as a means of figuring out what routes they are most proud of or value the most.

  9. lucky says

    @ EggSS4 — It’s an interesting topic, I’ll see if I can come up with a post about it. Generally I don’t think that’s necessarily true anymore. It certainly is for some airlines, though for many it’s not. Thanks for the idea!

  10. lucky says

    @ Nicholas — Sorry, wish that were my area of expertise, but it’s not. I don’t do any manufactured spend so am not up to date on that — you’d be much better off asking Frequent Miler.

  11. lucky says

    @ Vin — I think KrisFlyer has among the most reasonable redemption rates for that market, so I think that’s your best bet.

  12. lucky says

    @ Kevin — The airport is a ways out from the city, so I don’t actually know of any near the airport, unfortunately. Sorry!

  13. lucky says

    @ Gabe — Buying Starpoints during the current promo is probably your best bet. Nothing cheaper that I know of.

  14. lucky says

    @ Jim — Woot, so happy to hear! Enjoy Qatar Airways and let me know how it goes, please. Hope it’s a great trip, and thanks for reading!

  15. Max says

    Can you please bring the old email format back?! All the posts, with all the content in one email was perfect.

  16. Keya says

    Hi again Ben

    A quick one. Please choose one :

    1. Virgin Atlantic Old Upper Class in A340-600 / B747-400 from JFK to LHR.
    2. Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class in A330-300 from Newark to LHR.

    Point is, should I go for a better seat (newer upper class in A330) or better lounge experience (JFK). Both flights are red eye if that helps make a decision someway.

    Thanks again :)

  17. Bill says

    Hi Ben,

    Question regarding award availability using Avios with partner airlines:

    Typically I used to find that whenever American Airlines was showing domestic awards at the saver level the same flights would be available for booking via britishairways.com with avios. Lately, however, that does not seem to be the case anymore. I find tons of availability for saver awards on multiple dates (MIA-IAH is one route for example) on the american airlines site but British Airways only displays flights if coded as a USairways flight.

    Any way to get around this? tips for searching?

    Thanks,

    Bill

  18. tim says

    HI Ben, I LOVED your post about your dad, and have shared it with everyone I know that’s interested in travel.

    Question: I have to be in Melbourne, AUS for two days in March for business. I want my wife to come with me, but it obviously doesn’t make sense to fly that far and not go somewhere else. If you chose one other destination to tie into the itinerary as a mileage stopover bargain, what would you choose, and what mileage award would you use? Cathay Pacific on AA and stopover in Hong Kong? Thai and stop in Bangkok/Phuket? Hawaiian with AA and stop in Honolulu? Thanks to you, I have many miles in most of the programs available to use. Thanks!

  19. Kevin says

    Hey Lucky,
    I am looking to go to Athens in spring 2016 and started looking at random months to see what Emirates availability might be so that I can burn my Alaska miles. I find flights here and there from many US cities to DXB but can’t find any flights to ATH from DXB on alaska’s website. I have tried searching DXB-ATH as well as multi-city with (Insert US city)-DXB, DXB-ATH and can’t seem to get anything. Is this a function of the Alaska search or do they just not release much availability to ATH? I want to fly my new bride in style for our honeymoon! Please let me know if there is something I can do to improve my search. Thanks!

  20. James Brooks says

    Hi Lucky,

    I’ve been thinking about applying for the double whammy US Airways and AA credit cards to diversify my opportunities to get to Europe in Biz, but no matter how near or far I search chronologically, I haven’t found 2 seats on any flight not named British Airways. Am I doing something wrong, or does AA almost never open up business class on their own metal or even Air Berlin?

  21. lucky says

    @ tim — American doesn’t allow stopovers, so I’d look at using another program, if possible. All of those options sound great, so I might choose the stopover point based on availability, if you’re not particular otherwise.

  22. lucky says

    @ James Brooks — American has terrible award availability on their own metal, unfortunately. There should be some airberlin space, but you’ll probably have to hunt for it.

  23. Kevin says

    Follow up. If I find availability (pretty wide open actually) on EK from DXB-ATH can i book a flight with Alaska over the phone if there seach continues to come up empty?

  24. lucky says

    @ Kevin — You can only redeem Alaska miles for travel on Emirates between certain regions, so if you’re just searching space between Dubai and Athens, that’s why it’s coming up empty — you can’t redeem awards exclusively in that market. That being said, if you search DXB-ATH-US in one search, you should see availability.

  25. Chris says

    When does Emirates open up first class award space to Alaska? I’m looking for an A380 trip from DXB to the US (would prefer LAX for the length, but don’t really care which US city) end of May/early June. Just wanted to get an idea on when I should start looking to reserve the award space. Thanks!

  26. mommafrica says

    Hello. Several things please.
    1) Do you ever think/believe that the 70K Ink Plus Bus offer will reappear?
    Apparently the in-branch offer must have stopped several days ago and I missed out several times by trying not to lower my score for a home refinancing only to find out I’m as low as its going to get.
    2) So now I will be applying for the US Airways and AA cc’s. Should I just wait to see if the 70K Ink Plus Bus comes back (if it does) until then?
    3) Barclaycard and Chase are 2 separate entities correct? I want to make sure that applying for the Ink Plus Bus will not be affected by the US Air later on.

  27. sanka naak says

    Hi

    I’m looking to book a flight between BKK and REP on bangkok airways (PG) and I see award availability on bangkok airways (PG) on ExpertFlyer.. matter of fact, the flight I want shows 7 economy class award seats available but when I called up JAL, they said everything is sold out… tried HUCA but I get the same response….any experience with this? Need desperate help!!

    Thanks!

  28. Randall says

    Ben – Moral dilema…is it wrong to book an accessible room if I don’t need it, because it’s significantly cheaper? I mean I really don’t need it, I’m going to run a marathon and this is the host hotel and the regular rooms are much more than I’m willing to pay and way too many points. Am I potentially stopping a disabled person from staying here? If so I’ll definitely pass because that’s bad mojo. I guess I don’t understand why accessible room would be this much cheaper (almost $100 less). I suppose I’m asking because a)I’m cheap and b)I’ve been put in accessible rooms many, many times when the non-accessible rooms filled up. Feel free to criticize if that’s what I deserve.

  29. JC says

    Hi Lucky – My wife and I have almost 110K MileagePlus miles each to book 2 one way tickets from Washington DC to Japan. We’re hoping to experience 3 different first class products and maybe have long layovers to explore a bit if possible. Do you think this is doable with United’s current routing rules? Below is the itinerary i came up with. Any suggestions would be appreciated! :)

    IAD to MUC – Lufthansa First Class
    MUC to BKK – Thai First Class
    BKK to NRT – ANA First Class

  30. James says

    I am a 1K expat member who is based in Thailand.. I earn around 140,000 miles per year (PQMs) on Star Alliance related trips, basically broken down as 55,000 in Asia related economy travel on TG and 85,000 in SA partner (2x per year, ANA, TK, etc.) and United (2x per year) business travel to the U.S.. With the rise in pricing of United business class seats from SE Asia to the U.S. which often exceeds my business travel budget and with the new $12,000 PQD requirement to maintain 1K status, I expect to fall short and am not sure achieving Gold or Platinum is worth it for me.

    I currently have ~900,000 United lifetime miles which motivates me to continue my trek (albeit slow) to Million Miler status, however I am wondering if there is a better SA partner program option that I should start to consider. I do greatly value the points redemption option on United and utilize the RPUs and occasionally GPUs for domestic travel. I considered my local options, but TG’s program is rather poor, even though they are my primary flying partner. As a side note, I have repeatedly tried to change my U.S. address to Thailand over the last 5+ years (and in recent years would make me exempt from the minimum annual spend requirement), but due to a range of reasons, this was not accepted by United.

    Thoughts?

  31. Lance says

    Hi Ben – Fiji Airway is a partner with Qantas but not part of OneWorld. Looking at booking a return business class flight from Melbourne to Fiji and wondering if can do this via DividendMiles. If possible would this be considered South Pacific – South Pacific?

    Regards. Lance

  32. Jack says

    Lucky,

    Once you have signed up for the card, hit the minimum spending requirement and received the sign-up bonus, do you then cancel the card? Wondering how you avoid having hundreds of credit cards laying around paying $95 annual fees.

    Thanks,

    Jack

  33. Lauren says

    Hey Ben, I was just on a call with Hyatt Gold Passport getting a DSU for the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires in April, which I booked using Points+Cash. As we were chatting, she said that she hopes they keep the P+C option for next year, since as far as she knows they haven’t decided to yet.

    And then she told me the best thing ever, which I guess I should have known, but didn’t — as a Diamond, I can make speculative Points+Cash bookings even if I don’t have the points in my account, and they will honor them in 2015 even if they don’t continue the program.

    So, I made two more Points+Cash bookings (PH Saigon, GH Belgrade), taking me through my fall trips next year. I tried to make one for a post-Xmas trip to the Andaz Papagayo, but it hadn’t loaded yet. She told me to call back in mid-Dec to see if there was availability.

    I am the only one that didn’t know about this making a booking without the points in your account? Does it work for straight points nights as well? Also, what are the changes for post-Xmas Points+Cash availablity at the Andaz Papagayo? A girl can dream…

    Also, any insider info on whether or not they will keep the Points+Cash program going?

  34. jim says

    The way it looks, I will only have enough Alaska points for one first and one business ticket on Emirates to Africa. Both me and the wife want the first class ticket (obviously).

    Is this scenario realistic?: I do the North American leg to Dubai and then we get Emirates to make a change during the stopover to let the wife do the Dubai to Africa leg in first.

    Have you ever come across a situation like this? Much appreciated!

  35. Nizar says

    Hi Ben,

    My wife and I are booked on BA98 in F in April 2015 and it seems the aircraft mostly used is the 744.

    Do you think the middle pairing 4EF or 5EF are better or just to go one behind the other ?

    We have selected 2K and 3K at the moment as 2A and 3A were taken (for some reason I always prefer the ‘A’ side if available). 4F is taken. Should be stay where we are or move to 5EF ?

    The main concern i had about the middle seats is that i read somewhere that they feel very exposed to the rest of the cabin and I can see how this can be the case as the seats seem to just be facing forward and not angled for privacy etc. Can you comment on this ? Would you suggest just staying where we are ?

    Look forward to your thoughts.

    Thanks

  36. says

    Ben,

    I have a SWA credit card. Reading the fine print on the site to sign up for a SWA Rapid Rewards Premier, I read that this card is not available to those who already have one. Is there a work around for this glitch?

    Thanks CR

  37. Max says

    Hey Lucky,

    absolutely love the updates from the trip with your dad. Also looking forward to the videos of him speaking German.

    Just wanted to let you know that I was flying with airberlin from Berlin to Stuttgart 2 weeks ago and the pilot was called “Captain Schlappig”. Gave me a little chuckle which was much needed at 6.30am on a Monday. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  38. Adam says

    Ben, quick question for you. I am currently a Hyatt Diamond with my status expiring in Feb 2015. I will not requalify. Will i get 4 more suite upgrade certs in Feb and have that month to apply them to future reservations or will i not get any more?

    Thanks
    Adam

  39. lucky says

    @ mommafrica — I don’t think the 70k offer will reappear in the near future, no. Maybe next year, but I wouldn’t count on it. Barclays and Chase are indeed separate banks.

  40. lucky says

    @ sanka naak — Not all Bangkok Airways award space is open to JAL, so if they don’t have space there isn’t much that can be done, unfortunately.

  41. lucky says

    @ Randall — No criticism here! But yes, you would potentially, theoretically, be stopping a disabled person from being able to book the room.

  42. lucky says

    @ James — Ouch. United is probably still your best option, sadly. I’d otherwise look at Singapore in terms of the redemption value. Odd that you haven’t been able to update your address though.

  43. lucky says

    @ Lauren — Haven’t heard of that, but could be a fun “unpublished” benefit. No insider info, but I’d expect Points+Cash to stick around.

  44. lucky says

    @ jim — I’m sure it would be fine to let your wife have your seat. Even better would be to build up your balances so you can sit together! Maybe you can change the second ticket to first closer to departure?

  45. lucky says

    @ CR ANDERSON — You’re not eligible to receive the bonus if you’ve already received the bonus in the past 24 months. There are several different versions of the Southwest card though, so I might look at one of the others.

  46. says

    Hey Ben,

    I do have a question regarding emirates first class award availability through Alaska Mileage plan, do they have a wide open space from North America region both from a very far time of departure and close to departure? If so, I read that they require 100,000 miles one way from NA to Dubai on first class, If I want to fly to Singapore, how much miles should I need so it would be LAX – DXB – SIN? I believe that the same route that you have with your dad currently on his birthday round the world trip. Thank you very much.

  47. Phil says

    Hey Ben,
    I have a very quick question for you. I am not much onto the miles system, but recently I have to travel very frequently and it supposes me a huge use of money. I was hoping you could give me some tips on different milage cards for airlines, because the hotel is payed by the company. I usually have to flight UK- South America, once a month (usually around £700-800 with connections). Thank you very much and hope you enjoy your world journey.

  48. JW says

    Hey Lucky,
    Great website! I’m a relative newbie and want to start planning a trip with my wife for next November from SFO to Hong Kong (staying at least a few days) to Bangkok and back. What strategy would you use for air travel? How about lodging in Thailand?

    Thanks,
    JW

  49. John says

    Is there any pattern to when Emirates releases first class space? It looks like there are tons of flights available in Jan, Feb and March from most of the U.S. cities but not much of anything outside of those months. Is it typical that availability is best 2-3 months out? I am hoping to either travel in August or if nothing at that time then May 2016

  50. John DELTA says

    Ben,

    Two quick questions. When you started this experiment living exclusively in hotels, you showed a picture of a hotel hallway in front of your room with a lot of luggage. Are you still traveling with all those bags?

    Secondly, what do you do about laundry while living in hotels?

  51. reader says

    hi lucky is it allowed to upgrade form biz to first for award travel (through AA miles), travelling on cx when the biz ticket is already issued? is there any fees (beside additional miles) doing that?

  52. Todd says

    Hey Lucky,

    I hope you and your dad are still having an amazing trip.

    Quick question for you: we’ll be traveling in F on AA from DFW to GRU (77W, yay!) and then connecting after a 3-hour layover in Y on TAM to Iguazu Falls (IGU). What if any lounge access will we be eligible for during this layover? Is there any “arrivals” lounge that we can use while we wait for the coach flight on TAM?

    Thanks!

    Todd

  53. Michelle says

    Hi Ben,

    I’ve never noticed before but is it true if I’m using UR’s Shop Through Chase for bonus points that each retailers’ bonus amount may differ depending on whether I sign in through my Sapphire Preferred (Macy’s 6x) Vs. my Ink Plus (Macy’s 4x) accounts?

    Thanks,
    Michelle

  54. Sam says

    Dear Lucky

    I have been heavy spender of Chase Ink, and my main transferring partner was KE. Now since they discontinued the relationship w/ KE, what would be my best option since I live near ATL, and would like to have direct fly to Korea (since i have kids.)

    I might consider switch CC if there is one.

    Thanks as always.

  55. SJ says

    Ben,

    You are a good son! The joy of seeing your parents travel to places they only read about is quite an experience. Life is short… Enjoy every moment with your DAD. I have met you in Bellevue few years ago and I couldn’t be more happier for you.

    I am approaching 20th Wedding Anniversary. What would be your top 3 Wedding Anniversary Trip?

    Thank you,

    SJ

  56. Seth says

    Hey Lucky,

    Can you tell me if this is a valid routing on DL at 125k in J:

    25MAY MSP-CDG-SVG (open jaw)
    30MAY OSL-AMS-ATH (destination)
    4JUL ATH-AMS (stopover)
    7JUL AMS-MSP

    Im not sure about the open jaw portion because I’m routing out of the way.
    Thanks!
    Seth

  57. Lucky too says

    I was flying from SFO to LAX.

    SFO>DFW>DEN>LAX, Booked with US, first two legs on AA.

    My DFW>DEN got canceled (weather I think) and they flew me straight to LAX.

    Do you think I can get credit for my missed flights as a trip in vain maybe stating that the reason I had the crazy routing was that I had someone to meet in DEN?
    If so, what is the best way to go about doing that?

    Mark

  58. tim says

    Ben,

    What is your experience with Emirates opening up first class seats close to departure? My wife and I want to go from Dubai to Melbourne in March, but as of now there is only one first class seat and one economy seat for all flights the week we can go.

    Thanks,
    Tim

  59. John F says

    Hi Lucky,

    Not so much a question as a comment that you may feel free to share. First, thanks for your reply re UA not admitting me in MSP where I was connecting at IAD to LH in C class to MUC. They finally replied that I was only permitted entry at the international gateway. Grrr.

    At any rate, I flew in their new business class on an A330-300 and had a very enjoyable flight. C was only about 2/3 full, and I had a middle seat (2-2-2) to myself. The flight crew was uncharacteristically warm, and service was nice if not doting. I slept 2 or 3 hours on the lay-flat seat; I’m not tall, but have broad shoulders, and found that I did have to put down the aisle arm rest in order to fit. The video screen is at a weird angle even when extended, and the IFE selection truly sucked. The Business Class lounge in MUC was rather nice, although the food selection was pretty limited. I had two hours there before my A320 to HEL, which was typical short-haul LH Biz class but the hot dinner was not bad.

    My return was another story. All went smoothly on LH from HEL to FRA in Y; I had redeemed UA miles, and went over in C class but back in Y class, paying $129 to upgrade to Economy Plus FRA-EWR, where I’ll connect to MSP. Got to FRA in fine fashion, cleared Immigration, spent longer than hoped getting my boarding pass issued for the UA flights, and went to the gate to queue up.

    5 minutes before scheduled boarding, the gate agent advises there will be a lengthy mechanical delay, maybe even a cancellation. They take C class and Star Alliance Gold to the next counter for re-booking. 2 minutes later, they decide to cancel the flight; As SA Silver (I’m UA Silver, although DL Platinum). Many of the East Coast flights have already departed or are full, but I’m going to the midwest so have more flexibility. There are no UA flights that will work, so they route me on LH FRA-DEN, connecting to UA to MSP with a 4-1/2 hour layover. Only now it’s a 747-400 with no windows or aisles available, so rather than my UA Economy + window, I’m in 38B in a 3-4-3 configuration for 10 hours. Fortunately, neither of my seatmates were large or smelly, so the flight passed well enough.

    We arrive DEN 35 minutes early; I sail through Global Entry and am hoping my bag will be off quickly so I can make an earlier connection. I’ll even buy a ticket on another carrier if I have to, to avoid a 5-hours layover and get home earlier. But NO. My bag is the last one off. I go to the UA bag re-check area and ask nicely if they would please put me on an earlier Delta flight to MSP since they have inconvenienced me and would put me home 4 hours later than planned after virtually taking away my Economy Plus upgrade. They say they can’t do that for a free ticket, but I can go to the ticket counter upstairs and ask. Up I go, and ask nicely if they’ll put me on Delta. No, they say, not on a free ticket. Now is when I put my foot down and reply that it may have been booked with miles, but that doesn’t make it a free ticket. I’ve flown United, taken advantage of bonus offers, used their credit card to earn my miles. This particular ticket may show no fare, but it’s not a freebie. She relents, books me, I thank her very kindly, and go check my bag and get my boarding pass at Delta. Through TSA pre-check, onto the DIA train out to C concourse, up the escalator and my phone rings. It’s the United agent; her supervisor has advised that they can’t re-book my on another airline on a free ticket so I’ll have to take the later UA flight after all. Doing everything I can to keep my wits and temper together, I advise that I’ve checked my bag, cleared security and am at the Delta gate where boarding will start in 10 minutes. She says something like, “Well, I’m not sure whether that will work,” and hangs up. I go ahead and board, anxious for the door to close and for the plane to get off the ground, worried that some United agent with a cop will come on board to pull me off. Ultimately, the door does close, the plane does fly, my bag does show up, and I actually get Delta miles at my Platinum level with a 50% class of service bonus as UA must have booked me as Full Y! I submitted for the refund of my $129 Economy Plus upgrade, so we’ll see if they have anything further to say.

    Living in MSP where we’re held captive by DL, I don’t love them but I do appreciate my Platinum perks and do actually feel somewhat appreciated. United had a chance to at least give some good service and get me on their good side, but it’s clear that they don’t really care. My last experience on AA was even worse, so I guess I’ll just stick to Delta, where I’m always at least Gold and will hit 1M miles in a few months.

    Best regards,
    John

  60. Dan Campbell says

    Hi Ben,

    Big fan of the blog and used your booking service to book my honeymoon to Italy next spring! One of those flights is booked using AA miles earned during the 100K Citi Executive AAdvantage Visa bonus. I’m coming up on the annual fee and would rather avoid the big hit as I don’t spend on the card or find value in the lounge access. Do you know if cancelling the card could potentially result in Citi pulling the miles and it affecting my already ticketed flight?

    Thanks,

    Dan Campbell

  61. lucky says

    @ Dan Campbell — Thanks for using our service! Nope, you’ll absolutely still be able to keep the miles.

  62. lucky says

    @ tim — They do frequently open up more space as the departure date approaches, though often only within two to four weeks of departure. So I’d keep monitoring.

  63. lucky says

    @ Lucky too — You should be able to request original routing credit, whereby you’ll get the miles you would have otherwise flown. Beyond that, it depends how the ticket was booked. Was it a single fare basis the whole way through, or had you booked SFO-DFW and then DFW-LAX, or something?

  64. lucky says

    @ Seth — It wouldn’t be as far as I know. The open jaw has to be at the turnaround point, which would be ATH in this case. You can’t have one mid-itinerary, plus a stopover.

  65. lucky says

    @ SJ — Thanks! In terms of top three, I think Bali, the Maldives, and Thailand are tough to beat for such a special anniversary.

  66. lucky says

    @ Sam — It does seem like the situation might be temporary, so I wouldn’t change your behavior based on what has happened so far.

  67. lucky says

    @ Todd — You should have access to the TAM lounge based on your same day inbound boarding pass in oneworld first class.

  68. seth says

    @Lucky,
    I thought i was pushing it but I’m glad i asked you before I wasted my time calling. Thanks.
    Seth

  69. lucky says

    @ John DELTA — Nope, I now travel with a single carry-on. As far as laundry goes, I usually go to a fluff and fold place every couple of weeks to get my laundry done.

  70. lucky says

    @ John — 2-3 months out can be a tough time to find space. That being said, they’ve been releasing a lot of space to DFW, SFO, and JFK lately. Closer to that, it’s pretty common for them to release space within 2-3 weeks of departure.

  71. Steve says

    Hi Lucky – I’ve booked a ticket pre United devaluation on Sept 14,2014.

    I tried moving my flight from Dec 7 to Dec 11. No change in origin/dest. and tried doing it online and was told to call in.

    Called in to United rep and was told that I needed to pay up additional miles on top of the change fee?

    Who is the one lying here? the United rep or the program supervisor that said otherwise

  72. steve says

    Update: Lucky – after denying the existence of the ability to be grandfathered in with the older calculation. I was able to change my departure date. Took some convincing to tell the rep to speak to the milelageplus department

  73. Phil says

    Yes I am based in london, if you know which card would be the most appropiate one for me i would really appreciate it

  74. Chris says

    Great Blog!

    Thanks to you, my wife and I have a trip to Thailand in Jan in CX First using AA Miles!

    We currently leave LAX on the 8 am flight to HKG. Short of 2 First award seats opening up on the same-day, earlier 12:05 am flight, have you had any experience with same day standby on CX while traveling on an AA Award ticket? There doesn’t seem to be any consensus on different FT forums.

    Thanks.

  75. SJ says

    Ben,

    Thanks for the recommendation on Wedding Anniversary Trip. It is possible to originate from SEA and travel to both Bali & Thailand. I would like to have some idea before I contact Jimmy. I am assuming Jimmy is still with you…

    Thanks,

    SJ

  76. Malc says

    Hi Lucky, I’ll be visiting London next year, and I’m unsure whether to choose Heathrow or Gatwick. Lots of discussions on travel websites involve which one is faster to a particular destination in London. I’ll be staying in Bloomsbury, but as someone who enjoys travel, I’m more interested in which airport I might enjoy more. Any thoughts? Thanks.

  77. Julia says

    Ben, first of all – absolutely love your blog and the posts on the Surprise Birthday Trip for your dad!

    So far, I’ve been loyal to LH and its Miles and More program. However, I have recently booked a flight from FRA to SGN with Etihad (and have collected the miles on the topbonus card) and am flying STR – LAX with British in February. Since topbonus belongs to Etihad and is at the same time part of oneworld, I figured I would sign up for a topbonus card.
    The miles I would earn according to the topbonus chart with the British flight would be roughly only 3.000 miles (25 % of the distance miles) round trip. The rewards with the Executive Club would be 11.700 Avios and 90 tier points. Would you open up a seperate Executive Club account? What is the best oneworld loyalty program in your opinion? I don’t really fly Air Berlin in Germany or Europe and try to stick to Lufthansa / Germanwings.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  78. tim says

    Dear Ben,

    Just booked my Emirates first class trip to Maldives! Is there a hotel award “sweet spot” for redemption there? We have points in all the programs. Thanks! Tim

  79. Lauren says

    I think I spoke too soon on the Hyatt Points + Cash speculative bookings. I called back tonight and had two different agents tell me no, I can’t book and then have the points deducted at the time of my stay. I can only go 1,000 points into the red as a Diamond. Very strange, and unfortunate, as I had wanted to book a couple nights in Seattle for July 4th weekend with Points + Cash and had hoped to see if there were any Andaz Papagayo Points + Cash nights for next December. Have you encountered this before, Ben? Should I just HUACA until I get back to the original woman who made it happen for me? I guess I could bite the bullet and transfer some UR points, but I know I am going to rack up Hyatt Points with stays all year and would rather use UR for something else….

  80. lucky says

    @ Lauren — Hmmm, as far as I know they do deduct them at the time of booking. That being said, the program won’t be discontinued in 2015. It’s My Elite Rate that’s no the line, and not Points + Cash.

  81. lucky says

    @ tim — The Park Hyatt Maldives is an especially good value, in my opinion, at 25K points per night.

  82. lucky says

    @ Julia — That’s a toughie. In that situation I’d probably collect Avios, since even just 11,000 is enough for a roundtrip within Europe, for example. Seems like a better value than earning just 3,000 AB miles. It’s certainly not a bad program if based on Europe.

  83. lucky says

    @ Malc — In terms of traffic I think Heathrow is hands down more interesting. Also a pain to transit, but can’t beat all the planes you’ll see there.

  84. lucky says

    @ SJ — Yep, you certainly could. Depends which miles you’re using, but even if just using American miles, for example, you could fly into Bali and out of Bangkok, and then just book a separate ticket between the two. Quite feasible to do both, for sure.

  85. lucky says

    @ Phil — Unfortunately I’m not an expert on UK credit cards. I’d suggest checking out headforpoints.com — he’s much more knowledgeable on UK credit cards than I am.

  86. lucky says

    @ Howtofreetravel — I started my blog on BoardingArea nearly seven years ago and haven’t left. I’m quite happy here, so no reason to leave. :)

  87. Nehme says

    Hey Ben

    Im flying First Class for the first ever time on Friday.

    My flight is with Emirates between Dubai and Sydney on EK412 and was wondering whether you had any tips from you and your fathers recent flights with Emirates so as to allow me to maximise my experience?

    Regards

    Nehme

    PS Props to your reporting of your fathers surprise trip.

  88. Julia says

    Ben, thanks for your feedback. I’ll sign up for the executive club then.

    On another note, do you have any expertise on German Credit Cards? I have the Lufthansa Miles & More, but would also be very interested in a AMEX Starwood, which as of now does not seem to be available for any countries but US, Canada and UK. Any recommendations for a good credit card program?

    Thanks, Julia

  89. lucky says

    @ Nehma — I’d suggest checking out my trip reports, as I think they have most of the “highlights” of the experience. Take a shower, enjoy the bar, and have lots to drink. Also leave plenty of time to enjoy the lounge in Dubai.

    Have a great trip!

  90. lucky says

    @ Julia — Unfortunately not too familiar with the German market when it comes to credit cards either. Sorry!

  91. Lars says

    Ben,
    my question is regarding Emirates travel with JAL Mileage Bank.
    In your post from July this year, you posted a very lucrative award chart.
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2014/07/15/japan-airlines-mileage-bank-emirates-award-fuel-surcharges/

    However, when I googled for award redemption today, I came across this not so lucrative award chart.
    https://www.jal.co.jp/en/jalmile/use/partner_air/p_ek/ek_mile.html

    Do you know if they changed their requirements for Emirates?

    Thanks
    Lars

  92. Sisozuki says

    Hi Lucky. I want to take my family to visit Hkg and KUL. I know aa doesn’t do stopovers so on the out bound I booked lax -hkg stop. So I could spend time there. On the return I did kul-hkg-back to the US. As one award. But what would be the best / nicest redemption to get from hkg to kul? I don’t mind stopping in another country. Even if it means having to get yet another ticket to kul from there. I already flew Sin suit from hkg to sin last year and although it was a dream I’m not finding any awards even in business. We are 5 people. PS I have chase, spg and aa

  93. Tom says

    Lucky,

    Been a long time fan and reader of your blog and just love what you write.

    Anyway, I’ve been saving some money for a long (15 years) time, I have nearly 27K. I was originally going to get a car, but eventually that idea lost its “magic” and I realized I would rather travel around the world. I started churning two weeks ago, but my workplace just gave me a huge break, and I’d rather use it sooner than later to travel around the world in business class. I was browsing both the Star Alliance and OneWorld websites, and my estimated total would be ~13k for 15 cities. The advantages of this are that it’s not based upon season, like travel demand, but more upon how many continents, cities, class of flying, etc. But then I went to ITA matrix and plugged in some cheapo CMB ideas and found this magical schedule: LAX-NRT-SIN-CMB (SQ) – SIN-HKG (CX)-TPE-LAX (BR) for a total of $5,280 dollars! So I was wondering, does it make more sense to book two roundtrip trips like these (e.x. : LAX-NRT-SIN-CMB-SIN-HKG-TPE-LAX-DXB-CMB-DXB-LAX)? It would be around the same cost and there’s less routing rules, but to be honest, I don’t really want to spend my whole vacation time in Colombo and have just ~20 hour layovers in the other cities. What do you think?

    Tom

  94. shen says

    Hi Ben,

    Hope you are enjoying your trip with your dad at AU.

    I have a question about emirate first class award ticket. I am specifically looking at two first class seats on EY87 from Dubai to ZRH on Jan 16 2015. But it seems Alaska mileage plan always show error message when I tried to search award space. Do you know why? Also, do you know other frequent flyer website that I can find the Emirate first class award space?

    Thanks

  95. ray says

    Hello Lucky,
    I love your posting blog specially the trip your taking with your dad. Anyway, I have a question and I cannot find the right answer as I am new being an elite. I became *A gold/ UA gold by three trips to Asia, with the changes with UAL next year I am changing FF to Asiana Club. My question is how can I enjoy my gold elite perks from United while I am crediting all my flight miles to Asiana Club? Is this even possible? Every time I update my personal profile and change my FF United to FF Asiana all my benefits are taken away like E+ seats and they make me pay for priority boarding. I would like to enjoy at least this small perks for a while, what can I do? Thanks for your help! I do not own any Airline credit card.

  96. Nick says

    Lucky

    Love your blog. Looks like Etihad has delayed the 787-9. It seems like its on Boeing’s end.

  97. David says

    @ Lucky: quick question, I am in urgent need to book a one way flight from Chicago (either from ORD of MDW) to SFO for 2 person(my mom & sis) on Nov 28 or 29 or 30. Given those date are Thanksgiving period, most likely award seat are slim and cost so much points/miles. What kind of frequent flyer program do you recommend to book the flight?
    I have companion pass, but can I use that to book for people other than me (I am not flying, just want to book ticket for them).

  98. Hyok Song says

    Hi Ben,

    I’ve been enjoying your blog.., and I have a question for you.
    I plan to fly with Swiss Air (return from MAD-ZRH) next summer and currently have no frequent flyer program membership with any of the Star Alliance airlines. Your advice is appreciated on which Star Alliance FF program I should join to bank the mileage. FYI, I am based on Los Angeles and mostly fly within North America.

    Thanks,
    H Song

  99. KahunnaTravel says

    @David – Assuming you are talking a domestic routing, and you have SW Rapid Reward points available, and SW serves the market you are looking to fly to, I would suggest that you use RR points to book the flight out of MDW. RR has no blackout dates so “award” availability is only limited by seat capacity on the plane. Also, if the companion pass you are referring to is the SW Companion Pass, the answer to your other question is NO. You, as the Companion Pass holder, must also fly the same itinerary to use the Companion Pass.

  100. Soltatio says

    Hi Lucky,
    I have an AS award in C flying JNB-HKG-LAX-YVR in January. AS just reduced their daily frequencies from 3 down to 1 between LAX and YVR and now it means that I have a 10 hour layover in LAX as opposed to my original 3. comments to my query on FT suggest that AS won’t put me on a DL or AA flight since they don’t combine partners, (even though it was their change), and that they would rather route me through SEA. My query is more regarding the possibility of extra award space being released on the HKG-YVR route. There are currently 11 seats available for sale in C for the day I need and I re-read your posts on CX availability. I understand how the F space works, but do they also release C space as religiously close to departure? I know I can get a free change (as opposed to $120) because of the schedule change, but I don’t want to waste it on changing to the route via SEA when there is a good likelihood that the YVR option will open up.
    Thank you

  101. David says

    @ KahunnaTravel: Thank you! I found that SW wanna getaway award seat on Nov 28 cost 12,633 RR points.
    I also found the cheapest paid ticket ORD-SFO on Virgin America Nov 28 cost $207.
    Which one is better option? 12,633 RR points or just buy paid ticket $207?

  102. R B says

    Amex MR points transfer instantly to Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer account, Chase UR points transfer within a few hours (less than 24 hours).
    However, SPG points transfer to Kris Flyer take between 3 to 7 days.

    Any idea why SPG transfers take so long? Are they still using fax in 2014?

  103. lucky says

    @ R B — That’s just the standard across the board with SPG. Not sure why, but all transfers do take longer with them.

  104. lucky says

    @ David — Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth ~1.4 cents each, so it seems that would be a slightly better value than spending the cash, in this case.

  105. lucky says

    @ Soltatio — Not as religiously, but they often do release space. I’d keep monitoring — there’s a good chance space will open up. Frankly I think you should be able to change to the route via Seattle and then if the nonstop opens up still be able to switch given the circumstances. I find Alaska agents to typically be pretty accommodating.

  106. lucky says

    @ Hyok Song — I’d probably credit to United or Singapore. United is practical when flying within North America, while Singapore has great premium cabin redemptions for travel to Asia.

  107. lucky says

    @ David — I’d say it’s far from guaranteed space will open up. You may just have to book a “standard” award, so American and United might be decent options.

  108. lucky says

    @ ray — I would recommend just changing your frequent flyer number at the gate. No guarantee you’ll be able to keep Economy Plus if you do it, but it’s your best bet.

  109. lucky says

    @ shen — Because you can only redeem Alaska miles for travel on Emirates in select regions, and between Europe and the Middle East isn’t one of them. You can otherwise use ExpertFlyer or Emirates’ website to search space.

  110. lucky says

    @ Tom — Yeah, I wouldn’t base my vacation time around the flights. I would rather have a less awesome flight experience and spend more time at other destinations.

  111. lucky says

    @ Sisozuki — I’d say booking using BA Avios is probably your best bet, ideally on Cathay Pacific metal.

  112. KahunnaTravel says

    @David – You’re welcome. I agree with Ben that using a point/value metric redeeming RR points for that itinerary is marginally more cost effective than paying for a seat on Virgin Atlantic. But I would add that you also need to consider some of the other intangibles for using SW such as no bag fees and no change fees for cancellation or changes. Depending on your circumstances, those can be “tie-breakers” where a point/value redemption metric is basically tied with buying a ticket on a carrier that charges extra for those items.

  113. Matt says

    Lucky,

    I just want to say thanks.  My wife and I had the option of flying Lufthansa home from Munich today in Business Class to JFK (which is ten minutes from our house) or in First Class to Newark.  I was debating whether it was worth the long trip home from New Jersey just to try out Lufthansa First and made the decision that it was based on how you’re always raving about it.

    Well, we took the First Class flight to Newark and it was the experience of a lifetime.  We were the only two people in the First Class Cabin and the crew made us feel like it was our home.  The captain personally welcomed us onboard and explained our route, flight time, and weather conditions to my wife and me.  He even cracked a joke about holding tightly onto our glasses of Weissbeer during takeoff – which they actually did let us keep.  First time in my life they let me keep my drink during takeoff.

    And the flight attendants were great.  When we boarded I asked the flight attendant how many passengers were booked in the cabin and she replied, “It’s just you two.  Sit in all the seats.  Have a party.  Make a mess.”

    Unforgettable.

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