Awards

A Transpacific Flight Where You Can Get A First Class Seat For Business Class Miles

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Did you know there’s a transpacific flight where you can redeem miles for a business class ticket but get a first class seat?

Specifically, I’m talking about China Airlines’ flight between Vancouver and Taipei, which is their only remaining flight to North America operated by a 747-400.

I suppose this is a very low yield route, given how they choose to sell the plane. China Airlines’ 747 features 12 first class seats, 49 business class seats, and 314 economy class seats. However, rather than selling first class as first class and business class as business class, the airline sells first class as business class, and business class as premium economy (with service corresponding to business class and premium economy).

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An Aer Lingus Business Class Award I’ve Never Seen Available Before

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I’m hoping to fly Aer Lingus soon, as they’ve greatly improved their business class product since I last flew them. They now have fully flat beds in business class, free wifi, pre-flight dining in Boston and New York, an arrivals lounge, etc. They’re also a fun and quirky airline, which I appreciate.

In general the best ways to book awards on Aer Lingus are through British Airways Executive Club and United MileagePlus. Finding awards from the East Coast to Ireland isn’t too tough, while finding awards from the West Coast to Ireland is extremely difficult.

Aer Lingus flies from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Dublin — only a couple of times have I ever seen award availability in business class out of SFO, while I don’t ever recall ever seeing business class awards out of LAX.

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Jet Airways Awards Are Now Bookable On Delta’s Website!

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India-based Jet Airways changed up their North America routes early last year, given that the airline has been bleeding money for a long time. The airline used to have a mini-hub in Brussels, and operated flights from Newark and Toronto to Brussels, with connecting flights to Delhi and Mumbai.

In theory it seemed like an efficient network, since the flights were timed so that travelers could transfer from Newark and Toronto to either Delhi or Mumbai, and vice versa. Unfortunately the bigger problem was that without nonstop flights between North America and India, they didn’t really have a competitive advantage over any other airline offering one stop service between the regions.

So they changed up their strategy, and eliminated Brussels as a hub. They discontinued flights to Newark altogether, and kept operating a flight to Toronto, except via Amsterdam instead of Brussels. As part of this, the airline launched a strategic partnership with Delta and KLM, with extensive codesharing.

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American Is Increasing Standard Economy Award Rates To The South Pacific

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American has just informed me that in February they’ll be adding additional AAnytime reward levels for travel between North America and the South Pacific. As some of you may remember, a few months back they raised some AAnytime reward levels for travel in premium cabins in this market. Here’s their statement regarding this change:

“In February we’ll be adding additional reward levels to our AAnytime fares in the South Pacific. The levels will apply to the main cabin on flights to and from Sydney or Auckland. As you’ll remember in September we introduced higher levels in the premium cabins in the South Pacific. There will be no changes to MileSAAver.”

We don’t yet know the exact dates these changes will kick in, though I’m told on some dates awards in economy will cost as much as 150,000 miles one-way. As it stands, American has the following award rates for travel in economy between the U.S. and South Pacific:

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What Happened To Etihad’s U.S. Award Charts?

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Several weeks ago, Etihad stopped displaying many of their partner airline award charts on their U.S. website. If you click on many of the individual partner award pages in the “spend miles” section, you’ll see the following message:

“Unfortunately, due to US DOT requirements we are unable to present this page to the United States of America. Apologies for any inconvenience, if you require further help please contact us guest@etihadguest.com.”

So, did Etihad pull a Delta and decide that there’s no need to be transparent with customers and publish award rates? Nope. Instead this is an innocent mistake, though it could quite easily be solved.

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Wide Open Peak Season American Business Class Awards To Australia!

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Finding premium cabin award seats between the U.S. and Australia can be extremely difficult, in particular in the high season. While we sometimes see a decent amount of space in the off season, it’s very rare to see saver level premium cabin space in December, etc.

Well, at the moment American has a lot of business class award availability between Los Angeles and Sydney.

The space seems to be available starting in November through the end of the schedule, which as of now runs through December 13, 2017. Many dates have up to five business class award seats available. For example, here’s what availability looks like for two business class award seats for the last month of the schedule:

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Great Deal: JAL Business Class Awards Wide Open Between NYC and Tokyo!

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Japan Airlines presently operates two daily flights between Tokyo and New York, though they’ll be adjusting that service starting in a couple of months, which is great for award availability. It’s probably easiest to explain what’s changing by showing a side-to-side schedule comparison:

Presently JAL operates the following flight daily using a 777-300ER:

JL6 Tokyo Narita to New York JFK departing 10:50AM arriving 10:45AM
JL5 New York JFK to Tokyo Narita departing 1:15PM arriving 4:25PM (+1 day)

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Good Air New Zealand Business Class Award Availability!

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Air New Zealand is an airline that has historically been pretty stingy with making premium cabin award seats available, at least for travel to the U.S. That probably largely has to do with the fact that they had a monopoly in the U.S. mainland to New Zealand market. Fortunately in the meantime both American and United have started service to New Zealand, so they have some competition, at last.

Last year we began to see some Air New Zealand award availability out of the U.S. for the first time in a long time, though we haven’t consistently seen space since then.

Well, at the moment Air New Zealand has a good amount of business class award availability between the U.S. and New Zealand. A majority of the space seems to be available between May and the end of September. Admittedly this is winter of New Zealand, though it can be a beautiful time to visit. I visited New Zealand in winter about a decade ago, and had an amazing time.

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Roundtrip Transcon Virgin America First Class Tickets For 15,000 Miles

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Several weeks ago Alaska announced that they were introducing some new discounted distance based awards. Specifically, there are discounted awards available if flying a distance of less than 700 miles, a distance of 701 to 1,400 miles or a distance of 1,401 to 2,100 miles.

As I explained at the time, this presented some incredible opportunities to book one-way awards for 5,000 miles including a stopover.

While not directly related to this type of award, there are certainly other opportunities to take advantage of discounted distance based awards.

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You Can Now Redeem Alaska Miles On Virgin America

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It’s a big day for Alaska Mileage Plan and Virgin America Elevate, as it’s now possible to convert your Virgin America Elevate points into Alaska Mileage Plan miles at a 1:1.3 ratio (though a transfer in the other direction isn’t possible).

However, that’s not the only new development today.

It’s now also possible to redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles for travel on Virgin America. This is an interesting opportunity, given that Virgin America Elevate is a revenue based program, meaning the number of points required for a redemption is based on how much a ticket would cost. Meanwhile Alaska Mileage Plan is a traditional program, meaning award availability comes at fixed costs.

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Korean Air Adds Online Award Bookings For Partner Airlines

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This news first broke last week when I was in Cuba without wifi, and it just occurred to me I haven’t written about it. So I apologize for the delay, as I figure I’m better off writing about it late rather than never. As of recently, Korean Air lets you book SkyTeam awards on many partner airlines through their website. I’ll explain why that’s awesome news.

First of all, the reason this will be useful to many is because Korean Air SkyPass is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, meaning that Ultimate Rewards points can be converted to Korean Air at a 1:1 ratio.

This is a great use of points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, for example.

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Here’s a Sneak Peek At FlyingBlue’s January Promo Awards

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One of the best uses of Air France/KLM FlyingBlue miles is booking their Promo Awards.

FlyingBlue publishes these every month, and they offer 20-50% off select award tickets on Air France and KLM metal.

Back in the day Promo Awards would consistently be for 50% off and would have a good number of options in business class, though unfortunately they’ve devalued the promotion somewhat since then, and the discounts are now pretty consistently for 25% off. That’s still very good, just not as good.

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Garuda Indonesia Has Pulled Their 90% Off Award Promo Early

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What a flippin’ mess. It looks like Garuda Indonesia has pulled their 90% off award promo as of December 24 (Jakarta time). Garuda Indonesia on Twitter claims that “available seat is fully booked,” though I’m guessing this just turned out to be too much of a headache. There’s no way all the seats have been booked, given that every single award seat throughout the system (including in economy) is available through this promotion.

The website seems to have just been updated to reflect this change, at least the Indonesian site (the promotion still shows when selecting English as the language). However, call center agents are consistently confirming that the promotion is over.

I guess the next big question is whether Garuda Indonesia will honor the promotion for those who had tickets on hold but hadn’t yet ticketed, or if it’s not being honored for anyone.

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A Reader’s Experience Ticketing A 90% Off Garuda Indonesia Award

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Garuda Indonesia has what I’ve called the mileage deal of the decade at the moment, as they’re offering 90% off award tickets booked through the end of the year. Unfortunately it’s also the most mind-numbingly confusing and convoluted airline promotion of the decade. For those of you not up-to-date on this situation, here are my previous posts:

— 9 Things To Know About Garuda Indonesia’s 90% Off Award Promotion
— Garuda’s 90% Off Award Promotion Is CONFIRMED!
— Best Deal Of The Year: 90% Off Garuda Indonesia First Class Award Tickets!!!

Before I share a reader’s experience with this promotion, I had a couple more thoughts to share:

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