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.

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